I’m ashamed to say it but I’m a salesgirl’s nightmare. You should see a dressing room when I’m done with it. On second thought, you shouldn’t. It’s a mess, I’m a mess, and it’s not even my fault. Somehow, nothing ever looks on me anywhere near how it does on the mannequin. In fact, I’m pretty pathetic at choosing clothes off hangers, too, because it’s taken me years to figure out what to wear—and not to wear—for my particular body shape.

It turns out my biggest shopping problem is not picking clothes to fit my personal silhouette. We all have different body shapes and we have to dress for them, according to author and fashion diva Mary Duldouras who wrote about how to do it right. A one-stop guide to identifying your body shape so you can dress to accentuate your assets,this book takes the nightmare out of shopping and the guessing out of dressing. It discusses specific styles, cuts, shapes and types of garments for each body type and explores what colours work best based on your individual colour tones.

All so you can stop sweating yourself sick in the dressing room.

Here are the basics:

What to wear and what not to wear for your body shape

Start with the 4 main body silhouettes and tips to dress for them. Well? Which are you?

1. RECTANGLE SILHOUETTE How to Dress for Your Body Shape -Rectangle Silhouette

What You Look Like: You look balanced from your shoulders to your hips

What You Want: To create the illusion of a traditional feminine hourglass figure by making your waistline appear smaller while highlighting your assets

How to Achieve it:

  • Choose skirts or pants that fit snugly at your waist but flare out at the bottom to create curves
  • Wear a fitted jacket to create a waist and the appearance of fuller hips
  • Ruffles and wispy sleeves add volume and make the waist look smaller in comparison
  • Avoid tight dresses and clothing with Empire waists or an unstructured waist

2. TRIANGLE SILHOUETTE      How to Dress for Your Body Shape

What You Look Like: Your hips are wider than your shoulders

What You Want: To make your shoulders and upper body appear wider while making your lower body look smaller

How to Achieve it:

  • Wear dark wide-leg pants to slenderize the thighs and create a longer and slimmer silhouette
  • A tailored jacket will accentuate your shoulders and even out the lower body’s proportions
  • Wear tops with a wide neckline to broaden your shoulders and offset fuller hips
  • Add a selection of tapered skirts to your wardrobe
  • Avoid shapeless, oversized sweaters, skinny jeans and pants, and skirts that hug your curves

3. CIRCLE SILHOUETTE How to Dress for Your Body Shape

What You Look Like: You carry your weight in the middle of your body

What You Want: To make your waistline appear smaller while highlighting the face and upper body

How to Achieve it:

  • Choose clothes that fit loosely around the midsection
  • Play up your long trim legs and let them take centre stage
  • Pair slim cut pants with a blousy top or a tunic Empire waists are very flattering
  • Avoid clothes that draw attention to the middle – high-rise pants, belts, and waist-cinching tops

4. INVERTED TRIANGLE SILHOUETTE How to Dress for Your Body Shape

What You Look Like: Your shoulders appear wider than your hips

What You Want: To minimize the look of your upper body and highlight your desired assets

How to Achieve it: 

  • Details like ruffles and pleats to add volume to the lower part of the body
  • Choose darker colours on top and lighter ones on the bottom
  • Look for tops that drape, simple straight lines and wrap tops
  • Empire cuts, wrap dresses and high-waist puffy skirts create the illusion of a waist
  • Pants that accentuate your hips with pockets and embellishments as well as baggy, combat, wide leg and palazzo pants and jeans will look best
  • Avoid oversize and shapeless tops and details like puffy sleeves and shoulder pads that will accentuate the shoulders and stay away from skinny jeans

Which body shape are you? Were you surprised?

Women’s What to Wear by Mary Duldouras is available exclusively online for $39.99 at maryduldouraseverythingfashion.com

About the author

Randi Chapnik Myers

Randi Chapnik Myers is Co-Founder and Content Editor of BrazenWoman.com, the only lifestyle site by women 35+ for women 35+. A journalist, blogger, editor and marketer, she specializes in custom content creation for publications, companies, brands and authors at RCMContent.com. Proud to call herself a social media addict, Randi is never far from a screen—even when she's out hunting for designer bargains.

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