How to Dress for Your Body Shape

How to dress for your body shape

I remember reading Cosmo as a teenager, and trying to figure out what shape my body was. Was I a pear? A column? An hourglass? I’m definitely not an apple, my legs are too big and my boobs are enormous. I never quite fit in the definition of any of those shapes, so the “how to dress for your body shape” guides were never all that helpful. As a plus size woman, I found them even less helpful – I’m big in this bit, even bigger in that bit and small in that bit. I decided that I was peanut shaped – sort of hour glass but with more lumps and bumps. How do you figure out what shape you are? I get asked to write guides about dressing for your body shape all the time, so here it is – a really easy guide to figure out what you should wear depending on your shape.

This might come as a surprise, but you actually don’t have to dress a certain way depending on what size or shape you are. Remember my Fat Girls Shouldn’t Wear Stripes project? Not only do I think fat girl style rules are bullshit, I think body shape rules can get in the bin as well. No matter what shape you are, you can wear whatever the hell you want. Apple shaped and love bodycon? Wear it! Pear shaped and want to wear patterned pants? Hell yeah! Peanut shaped and want to rock a bikini? Bring it on!

How to Dress for a Plus Size Pear Shape

How to Dress for a Plus Size Pear Shape. Source: EziBuy

My friend Rachel showed me this guide from EziBuy, and to be honest my eye rolling was at an all time high. It’s full of things like “High waist briefs can help minimise your spreading midriff”and “Thigh shapers & body suits will compress your tummy, hips and rear” for apple shapes or “Darker tops will de-emphasise the breadth of your shoulders” and “Stay away from bright tops with prints” for inverted pyramid shapes. My body doesn’t need to be compressed, minimised or de-emphasised, thanks.

All my life, regardless of what size or shape I’ve been, there have been people, clothing brands, magazines, blogs telling me that I should dress a certain way, look a certain way. Well guess what? I’m done. I wear horizontal stripes, bodycon, patterned pants and spaghetti straps because I like those things.

You’re under no obligation to wear clothes that are “flattering”, things that create the illusion of you being smaller, or that hide supposed flaws. It’s all crap. Measurement-wise, I’m closest to being a pear shape (albeit a very busty one) and I break almost every one of EziBuy’s style suggestions on a regular basis. You know what? The world doesn’t end and small children don’t run screaming.

I don’t want a clothing company telling me that I should wear a certain kind of neckline or a certain colour of pants to look more pleasing; I want them to sell clothing that fits my body and my style. That is all. Let’s just stop with ridiculous rules around what women should and shouldn’t wear based on their age, weight or body shape, and just wear things that we like, okay?

What’s your favourite “style rule” to break?

Title image silhouettes designed by Vecteezy



  1. April 26, 2017 / 1:43 am

    I don’t fit a specific type either. I’m a combo of a few of them. And now that I’m a senior citizen (and REALLY short), the same thing goes with age as in, “You shouldn’t wear this after 40, 50, 60 and. . . . ” to which I call BS. Took me a long time but now I wear whatever the f*** I want. Really not trying to be mean, but anyone who doesn’t like it can simply look in another direction.

  2. Abi T
    April 3, 2017 / 3:29 am

    I don’t fit into any of those categories. I am not of an egg on legs kind of girl. As an “apple” shape, I’m not supposed to wear skinny jeans. I beg to differ. I rock the hell out of skinnies. Short jackets that are meant to make me look longer make me look more like an egg. Wear what ever you like! As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters!

      • April 9, 2017 / 9:22 am

        I don’t know where you got your information from but I guess it is why I became a shape stylist…. it’s a lot of wrong and contradiction created usually by skinny people and what they think – not know. Apples can have perfect legs so if you rock skinnies… then ROCK em. Short jackets make people look… short. It’s about creating a long line and a hem on anything is where it cuts people in two. I agree, wear whatever you want…. it’s about learning how to wear it if your aim is to look taller, shorter, bigger, smaller or whatever.

  3. March 31, 2017 / 11:42 am

    I was asked to post that guide from Ezibuy and I’m sorry to say I didn’t even reply. I’m SO sick of this shit. Wear what you want, when you want and if someone doesn’t like it, remind them their heads move from left to right so they can look elsewhere. Magic! *sarcasm*. xx

    • March 31, 2017 / 12:40 pm

      I’m starting to feel like I am one of the only plus bloggers who wasn’t asked to share it?! Glad to hear that others feel the same way I do xx

  4. Eloise
    March 30, 2017 / 12:22 am

    I love a double breasted coat!

  5. Lynne
    March 29, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    Great work, Meagan. I found that once I found my own style I also bloomed personality-wise. Were the two things related? I suspect so. πŸ™‚

    • March 29, 2017 / 9:54 pm

      Same here Lynne – when I dress in the clothes I love and make me feel good, I feel more confident in other ways too!

  6. March 29, 2017 / 9:41 pm

    I had a feeling your guide to dressing for your body shape would go something like this and I so agree! I’ve never been able to figure out which of the types I am either, there’s always one little thing that prevents from being one type or another. I definitely have styles I tend to prefer or not but that doesn’t always line up with what’s considered the most flattering.

    • March 29, 2017 / 9:53 pm

      You know me so well Emma! πŸ˜‰ “I definitely have styles I tend to prefer or not but that doesn’t always line up with what’s considered the most flattering” <-- Yes, this!

  7. Emma
    March 29, 2017 / 8:31 pm

    Yes yes and yes!!! I once went into my favourite specialised plus size store here in NZ and the sales consultant made a comment on a dress I loved saying that there was no way I could get away with wearing it because of my shape. Apparently it wasn’t ‘Flattering’ and I needed to choose a different style. Safe to say they are no longer my favourite store and I haven’t shopped with them since. Don’t need that negativity ✌

    • March 29, 2017 / 9:21 pm

      Oh man, that makes me so sad. Think of all the cool options someone could miss out on if they took that to heart! Glad to hear you didn’t Emma xo

  8. March 29, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    I’m going to play devils advocate here and say that I think that some people do find a body shape guide useful.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m actually with you on the whole “wear whatever you want” thing, I think if you love it, wear it!

    But when I’m talking to clients as a personal stylist, sometimes they are just so overwhelmed with the choices in stores, they don’t know where to start.

    I use body shape (actually, I now use the term “best bits”) as a filter, along with things like colour, and style personality, to help my clients wade through the overwhelming array of choice that they struggle with.

    If they know that a V-neck is going to look nice on them, then they can start by looking for V-necks…. as their confidence grows, they can try other styles they like too, but it just helps them start somewhere.

    I also want to add that I would NEVER tell a client what NOT to wear. I’m all about creating a positive experience, so if they want to wear a certain thing, we workshop ways to make it look their best.

    I also don’t think there is anything wrong with people wanting to show off the bits of their bodies they they love the most (so yes, that means wearing things that are “flattering”). There is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best. What I DON’T believe in, is women having an unrealistic expectation of what “your best” is. Love your body, and own it, just as it is, but don’t feel bad about wanting to show off your good bits either!

    I think the message we are both trying to get across to women is the same – wear what you love – but if you aren’t as confident and amazing as your lovely self, then sometimes people need a little help. x

    • March 29, 2017 / 9:52 pm

      I think style guides (and stylists!) that help you emphasise bits of you that you want to show off or find styles you like are great, but TBH the “don’ts” are what get to me here. Style guides and so-called rules for YEARS have said that we should make ourselves smaller, hide ourselves as much as possible, cover ourselves up. There is a very real difference between wanting to show off the bits of your bodies that you love the most and being told to compress, minimise or de-emphasise :/ I really love the approach you have as a stylist Cait (which is why I recommend you to my readers often), you encourage women to wear what they love rather on focusing on “what not to wear”.

      • March 30, 2017 / 7:32 am

        totally with you on this lady πŸ™‚

        I hate the “what not to wear” stories…. and I do have to say, that I have seen my fair share of body shape guides that are totally wrong anyway haha!!


        • April 9, 2017 / 9:26 am

          Totally agree, with you both on this. It’s about achieving the outcome you want from what you wear… not the outcome you think others want. I ask my customers what do you want to achieve with this outfit then go from there.

  9. Jess
    March 29, 2017 / 8:19 pm

    Preach preach preach! πŸ™Œ

    Ps I got super concerned thinking wholly shit if she tells me how to dress as an apple we may just have to break up! I recall as a teen despairing cos I couldn’t work out my body shape. I figured I was a brick cos I’m just solid all over. Cue heartbreak.

  10. Rochelle S
    March 29, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    Totally okay πŸ™‚

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