I’m a strong believer that your should wear whatever you like, period. Therefore, I am always a bit reluctant to write a “best-for-your-body-type post”, as I hate any rules that dictate what we should wear. That said, over the years, I have been asked to write a post that offers some guidance on what silhouettes, best flatter specific body types. Being I am only one body-type myself, I can’t possibly know what it is like to walk in someone else body. But, from years of selecting styles and working with all body types in a retail environment, to studying what works well on different women, I have gleaned some insight, as to what styles best flatter certain body types, and am happy to provide some guidance. Since we are in the thick of winter, today’s post focuses on sweaters. That said, the same guidelines apply to other areas of your wardrobe. Please feel free to drop any additional comments or thoughts, in the comment area below. In one post, I am only able to cover the tip of the iceberg, in a very general sense, so your thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated!
So What Are the 5 Basic Body Types?
Left to Right: Strawberry, Banana, Apple, Pear, and Hourglass – Plus Petite & Plus Gals, Within These Body Types.
Said to be the most common body type with women. Women with this body type are smaller on the uper half; that is, shoulders and the bust area, while the lower half, buttocks, hips, thighs, and calves are comparitively larger, holding most of the weight. For this body type, look to draw attention toward your upper half, and away from your bottom. Think boatneck, v-necks, cowlneck styles. A slightly fitted sweater with an a-line skirt, or leggings/skinny jeans, will balance out your look.
Dawn Lucy of Fashion Should Be Fun
“For us pears, a sweater is best if it hits at the waist, to about the hip bone. Longer sweaters tend to hit us at our widest part, bringing attention there. Here, a hipbone-length sweater with a long coat over top – left open. All black on the bottom, with color and print on top, draws the eye UP, away from the bottom. Long cardigans, mid-thigh or longer, are flattering as well – if left open and flowing!”
“Printed sweaters are great because they draw your eye to the top. Steer clear of chunky knits as they will add unwanted bulk.”
I love how Melissa often adds a crop vest or jacket – to create definition at the waist.
Hourglass shaped women, your upper and lower half of your body have the same width. Belts are your friend. They accentuate your figure and your well defined waist line beautifully! Fitted sweaters that fall below the hip, lightweight semi fitted/fitted cardigans, or wrap-front styles work well. Define your waist, and steer clear of bulky shapes that hide your gorgeous hourglass shape!
“It’s no secret that I love wearing turtlenecks! Why? Because they are form fitted, keep me warm, and still give me the silhouette figure. For work, to avoid looking frumpy – but stay warm, I layer turtlenecks under my dresses. The dress keeps my shape, and the sweater provides warmth. I also love to pair a sweater with skinny jeans and OTK boots.”
Bukky is a master with a belt – a must for our hourglass gals! She belted this poncho, to perfection!
Women with a strawberry body type, have broad shoulders, big bust, and narrow hips. Creating a balance between your top and bottom half is the key, to dressing a strawberry shaped body.
Avoid anything that will cling. My girlfriends whom are well endowed, say sweaters are not their best friend. The preference being a V-neck blouse or semi fitted tee. Sweaters with ballet, or v-neck neckline, rather than a high or plunging one, will de-emphasize your bust even more. Avoid ribbed, or turtleneck sweaters. Look for sweaters that drape, and avoid batwing styles as they draw attention to the chest. Thin knits, like cashmere, fine wool, or knit jersey will lessen bulk on top as well. A long pendant necklace can take you far, as it creates the desired v-shape. with whatever you choose to wear it with.
Amy, Mom of 3 Teen Boys
“For the most part, I find sweaters to be bulky and unflattering. If necessary, a ballet neck, vneck – in lightweight cashmere or knit jersey, is best. Shorter lengths, or 1/2 tucks are more flattering than tunics. Cold shoulder tops work well for me, as they take the eye away from the chest area.”
Women who have this body type have shoulders, waist line and hip area measuring almost the same. This is also refered to as the boyish/rectangle body type. Wear clothes that give an illusion of a more curvy body. Avoid tight fitting clothes, instead wear semi-fitted clothes, and avoid to much bagginess on top. As for the bottom, choose the skirts or pants that are slightly curvier. For example, skirts that adds flare to the bottom half create an illusion of having more curves down below.
“Many women shy away from white and cream colors. With the right fit and styling, the lighter sweater can be so figure flattering. I love this cowl neck sweater because it frames my face so well. By pulling my hair back, it allows the dramatic collar to really shine. I added to this face framing detail by wearing a long pendant necklace to provide a vertical line up my body. Since I am short waisted and regular length items appear like tunic length on me, I half tucked this sweater into a metallic midi skirt and pushed up the sleeves to three-quarter length as to visually make the sweater appear shorter on my torso, giving the illusion of a longer leg line.”
Suzanne of AskSuzanneBell.com
“With narrow hips and shoulders, I am always looking to create some definition within my straight shape. Drop waist peplum styles, tunics and long over short are my go-to looks. I love long cardigans, but I leave them open as I, like Janeane, have a short waist, and a belt would hit me right below my bustline, chopping me off. I love how this v-neck tunic opens up my neckline, widening my shoulders. High side slits, allow the tunic to flow over my hips and stomach area, nipping in a bit at the waist, and slightly flaring out at the hip – creating a slight hourglass silhouette. I often will add a loose scarf, to create width across my shoulders. A wide cowl, hoodie, ballet neckline, all work to widen my shoulders.”
A few of my favorite styles:
Cyndy, AKA My Stylish Petite Mom
“I think petites can wear everything, proportion is the key. Nothing worse than rolling up too long jeans and jackets. Stay clear of bulk, it makes a petite person look overwhelmed in fabric. Oversized looks can be OK, but the fabric needs to be draped and light; like in a sweater or top. I look for smaller versions of what I like. This blanket scarf here, is a smaller version of a huge blanket scarf, making it work proportionally. Most retailers offer petites; lately I’ve been shopping Anthropologie Petite and Talbots Petite.”
Petite sized sweater dresses are another way to wear a sweater, and not feel overwhelmed.
This petite-sized fur vest, adds structure to her dress.
More on Petites
Petites can be any of the above – in petite sizing. The key being; stick with petite sizing. These garments are proportioned just for you, so take advantage of the shorter sleeve, length and higher waist. Thick knits may make you appear wider than you are. Go with thinner knits or cashmere for a body skimming look. For belts, stick with skinny belts and consider a color that matches your sweater to elongate your torso. A long sleeve lightweight v-neck cardigan in a thinner knit is flattering and can be worn multiple seasons. Best length hits at the hip. Avoid chunky knits, heavy turtlenecks, tunics – you’ll tend to get lost in those. You can still do a tunic, just keep it in a thinner knit and pair it with a fitted bottom like leggings.
Are You a Broad Shouldered Banana?
Not all banana shapes have narrow shoulders. Dolman style sweaters and deep necklines are great for drawing attention to the center of your body, and away from your shoulders and arms. Add a long pendant necklace to pull the eye toward the middle of your body, and focus off the shoulder area. Kimono and Batwing style are your friends as well!
Apple-shaped gals normally have slim legs and thighs where as there bust and abdomen fall out of proportion as compared to the rest of the body. Look for pieces that make your shoulders and waist appear narrower, while showing off your legs and chest. Longer tunic-length cardigans that skim your figure and don’t cling are great for doing just this. V-necks are great for drawing attention to your chest, as do wrap styles. Sweaters with dark colors and small patterns are also good choices. This cold shoulder sweater and skinnies, is perfection on Kanesha!
“I love turtlenecks and cable knit sweaters, especially ones with peekaboo shoulders. I’m a short waisted apple shape – on bottom I am all about skinnies, to show off the legs!”
Thank you to Dawn Lucy, Melissa, my dear friend Amy, Janeane, Bukky, Kanesha and my Mom for generously allowing me to share your gorgeous selves and style in today’s post. To follow Dawn Lucy, Melissa, Janeane, Bukky and Kanesha, I’ve linked their websites above, and here for you:
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Keep this as a guide, but never let anyone tell you what your should or should not wear! We each have our own unique styles, and personalities, that shine through in how we present ourselves to the world!
Go out and be you!
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