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Amy Jackson styledin “Don't Make Promises” Image courtesy : getty images

Styling

The Pear

  • Your waist is wider than your bust
  • You consider yourself to have fuller hips
  • You have narrower shoulders in comparison to your hips
  • You have a fuller rear

What to avoid:

  • Narrowing leg, pleats or creases in your leg line, pinstripe suits, turn-ups in your trousers, wide or flared leg lines. Also avoid combat or cropped trousers or culottes
  • Details, patterns, pockets on your thigh and hip area and belts on your hips
  • Flared or ruffled sleeve lines, straight skirts or pencil skirts
  • Bags that sit on your hips
  • Ankle straps, kitten heels, delicate footwear, round toe shoes, ankle boots with straps around your calf area, Uggs
  • Mini skirts or any other hemline (including single or double vents in jackets) that finishes on your hips, thighs or any other full point of your leg
  • Dropped waistlines or dropped panels
  • Sloping or narrow shoulder lines

The Rectangle

  • You’re not particularly curvy
  • Your shoulders and hip measurements are nearly the same
  • Your waist isn’t very small or well-defined, but rather straight up and down
  • Your weight is evenly distributed throughout your body

What to avoid:

  • Details at the waist such as noticeable waistband; high-waisted trousers; belted jackets and coats at the front
  • Straight lines from top to toe e.g. straight jacket worn with straight trousers/with pin stripes/with a pencil skirt
  • Boxy jackets or coats as well double breasted coats and jackets; boxy pleats
  • Fussy, busy or droopy style in your clothing
  • Rectangle shaped bags or clutch bags
  • Square toe shoes

The Hourglass

  • You’d describe your body as curvy
  • You have a well-defined waist
  • Your bust and hip measurements are roughly even
  • You may have fuller bust, hips and thighs

What to avoid:

  • Any styles and shapes that hide your body shape. They will add extra volume to your waist

The Inverted Triangle

  • Your bottom half is smaller than your top
  • You have little definition between waist and hips
  • You have flat hips and rear
  • Your shoulder line is straight and squared

What to avoid:

  • Necklines that make you broader on top e.g. boat or bardot, big straps, halterneck tops, big shawl collars
  • Styles that extend or accentuate shoulders e.g. details, volume, fuss on your shoulders such as puff sleeves, shoulder pads
  • Styles that hide your silhouette
  • Patterns on top, scarves around your neck or shoulders
  • Stiff fabrics on top and narrowing hemlines e.g. pencil skirts or skinny jeans
  • Clutch bags
  • Petite footwear

The Apple

  • You have a rounder shoulder line and flattish rear
  • You have an average to big bust
  • Your waistline is not well defined

What to avoid:

  • Wearing belts whether big or small
  • Sleeves which finish next to your bust
  • Any details, fuss and volume near bust, tummy or hip area e.g. no lapels, double breasted coats or jackets, high-waisted trousers or waistbands
  • Skirt above knee length
  • Clothing that finishes at your fullest points e.g. jackets, cardigans
  • Excessive fabric in the mid section
  • Gathered or tiered skirts
  • Clutch bags or shoulder bags
  • Petite shoes, kitten heels, boots with buckles, Uggs boots

Styles for each body type:

Necklines:

The Pear: Wider collar and lapels, in general you are quite flexible here if you don't have a big bust or a short/wide neck. Great necklines are boat and bardot.

The Rectangle: Opt for lower, wider necklines such as jewels, scoop boat necklines - this looks even better with details such as embellishments around your décolletage.

The Hourglass:  Very flexible — as long as you don't have a short or wide neck

The Inverted Triangle: Wider collar and lapels, in general you are quite flexible here if you don't have a big bust or a short/wide neck. Great necklines are any form of V-necklines.

The Apple: Choose lower and wider necklines like scoop, square, large V-neck or sweetheart.

Sleeves:

The Pear: Cap, ¾ length, dropped, batman, puffed, wrist or above wrist are great for you. If you are small to medium busted, puffed and short sleeves will work as well.

The Rectangle: Loose fit, puffed, cap ¾ sleeves, flared, cuffed or rolled up sleeves.

The Hourglass: The choice is yours — they will all work for you.
The Inverted Triangle: Simple fitted sleeves that do not bring attention to your shoulders will work.

The Apple: Cap (avoid these if you have big arms except in the most informal of settings), ¾ length, above the wrist, built in shoulder pads (which ensure that your clothes will hang from the shoulders), wrist length, flared or draped.

Tops and Shirts:

The Pear: Fitted shapes are a must e.g. wrap tops or empire lines; vests, waistcoats and stiff fabrics, straight yoke, breast pockets, big collars are great; whether patterned or horizontally striped; all shoulder enhancing shapes e.g. shoulder pads, big shawls, bolero, wide straps, boat neck.

The Rectangle: Simple and clean style lines; add roundness to your necklines or sleeves; empire line, tops that drape under your bust and give the illusion of movement; splits at your waist.

The Hourglass: Your choice is versatile as long as you opt for fitted styles. Wraps, waistcoats, layering and crossovers will highlight your shape and waist.
The Inverted Triangle:
Simple straight lines, wrap tops, splits on the waist or hips, layering on hips.
The Apple:
A well fitted bra is a must, simple lines, avoid details and fuss, empire line or styles that go in under your bust, open front, opt for zips at the side or back.

Jackets:

The Pear: Details, collars, pockets, single or double breasted, shoulder pads are excellent, but only on fitted shapes. Hoods, breast pockets, back yokes and back belts in the waist area look great.

The Rectangle: Structured and shaped with round lapels and/or neckline
The Hourglass:
Fitted shapes with waist definition - again the choice is yours e.g. shoulder pads, single or double breasted, belted or empire line, lapels, breast or hip pockets.
The Inverted Triangle: Straight lines or flared with fuller hemline, lower pockets, vents in the back.
The Apple:
Single button - ideally placed under your bust and above your tummy, simple empire line or straight line that hangs from your shoulders, should have a deep neckline or be worn open, shoulder pads.

Dresses:

The Pear: Choose empire or wrap dresses; separates work better.

The Rectangle: Kaftans with splits at waist, simple straight lines, empire line, shift dresses.
The Hourglass:
Any style either shaped or belted, short or long will work.

The Inverted Triangle: Simple straight lines, shifts, A-lines are even better, full or tiered skirts, pleats or patterns or other details.

The Apple: A-line, wear dress designs which take attention away from the tummy.

Skirts:

The Pear: Straight tapered knee length or between the knee and mid calf; bias or skirts with flip are most flattering.

The Rectangle: Crossover, flip, paneled; A-line.

The Hourglass: Again you can be very flexible in your choices. You can wear straight, A-line, pencil skirt, paneled, flip, dropped waistline, bias cut, pleats, waistbands, full skirts etc as long as they have waist definition.

The Inverted Triangle:  A-line is great, while straight is ok. Tiered, volume or dropped waistlines work well. Details such as panels, box pleats or vertical lines at the top ending in a full skirt are good. Skirt lengths can be extreme from very short and flared, to long and flowing.

The Apple: Flip, A-line, paneled or box pleats but they need to start at a point below your tummy, side fastening and flat fronted.

Trousers:

The Pear: Plain, flat-fronted, bootleg or flared (for long legs), full leg line or ankle length are best, simple style e.g. no belt loops, creases, pleats, pockets, pattern, turn ups.

The Rectangle: You are quite flexible, but opt for low-waisted options (if you prefer, mid-waisted is ok) that flow in their leg line e.g. boot cut, flare or wide leg. Choose trousers with hip, thigh or leg details such as pockets, pleats or turn-ups.

The Hourglass: Any type will work for you whether long or short; wide or narrow; pockets or none; pleats or plain front; with or without turn ups etc.

The Inverted Triangle: Any style that will accentuate your bottom and leg line such as pockets, embellishment on your back pockets, pattern and print, baggy trousers, turn ups, combat, palazzo, flares, culottes, wide legs. Fullness can be worn with horizontal lines at the hip and hemline to offset and balance the width above.

The Apple: Flat fronted, wide leg, fastened on the side and should not cling to the body.

Glossary

Fit

Wide Leg

A type of style of pant which is designed with an extra wide fit around the hip, thigh, knee and hem that helps to balance out curvy hips.

Fit and Flair

Refers to a dress style characterized by a form-fitting Bodice with a skirt which flairs out towards the hemline, often with pleats or folds.

Oversized

Enlarged garments, scales are played with to alter the natural silhouette of the wearer.

A-Line

A dress or skirt silhouette that is narrower at the top, flaring gently out to make an ‘A’ shape silhouette. Flattering on most figures in particular pear shapes.

Styles/Style details 

Halter-neck:

A top for women with a single, sometimes tied strap that passes behind the back of the neck.

Lapel:

The two triangular pieces of cloth that extend from the collar of a suit jacket.

Maxi skirt:

The name given to a long, full length skirt.

Mini skirt:

Short skirt with a hemline that is usually at least 20cm above the knee.

Peek-a-boo:

Any part of a garment that has been cut-out to reveal skin.

Racer back:

A feature usually in vest tops where the back is cut away to reveal the wearers shoulder blades.

Yoke:

The yoke is the fabric across the back shoulders of a shirt or dress that connects the collar, sleeves, front pieces and back pieces together. There may also be a yoke on a skirt, where it would cross just below the waist.

Cowl:

A soft draping of fabric, cut so that the fabric can hang in soft folds. Often found on necklines and backs.

Blouson:

A loose fitting top that ends around the waist. Drawn snugly, it hangs just over the waistband.

Empire waist:

An empire silhouette features a high waist, usually just under the bust, and a flowing, loose bodice. You may see an empire waist on dresses or shirts.

Wrap dress:

A wrap dress fits by wrapping around the body and crossing in front to close. The wrap dress is often secured with ties and features a deep V neckline.

Chinese/Mandarin Collar:

A  short unfolded stand-up collar style on a shirt or jacket.

Fabric/Fabric Manipulations

Brocade:

Originating in the 17th Century Brocade is Italian for embossed cloth. A rich, ornate fabric with elaborate design - often reversible and featuring motifs such as flowers, foliage and scrollwork. Made with a jacquard loom.

Knife–pleat:

Very narrow pleats pressed to form regular sharp pleats to skirts and dresses. Particularly popular from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Quilted:

Padding technique enclosing a layer of wadding between two pieces of fabric, held in place by sewing a diamond pattern over fabrics

Applique:

Applique is a method of decorating garments in which one fabric is applied to another, often with floral and leaf patterns, but can be of any design and are stitched around the edged.

Charmeuse:

A light weight, soft ,drapey fabric with a semi-lustrous satin face with a dull back.

Smocking:

Decoration on a garment created by gathering a section of the material into tight pleats and holding them together with parallel stitches in an ornamental pattern.

Sleeves

Dolman Sleeve:

Similar to a batwing; a dolman sleeve has a large armhole, extends from the bodice and narrows at the cuff.

Raglan:

Widely used sleeve construction in which the underarm seam of the sleeve is extended to the neckline at the front and the back.

Kimono sleeve:

Cut as part of the bodice of women’s blouses, a kimono sleeve has a wide, sloping shape.