Designing Fashion for Different Women's Body Types


It’s one thing to choose the best garments for yourself to wear- it’s another thing to learn how to design for different body types. One size never fits all when it comes to fashion. A dress which would look flawless on a particular person/body type can turn out to be a complete disaster for another. 

In this blog, I will discuss how to design for different body types. In fashion design, especially in bespoke design it is pivotal to understand body types and garments that suit them. So first things first- you have to be able to identify different body types. Now everyone's body is different but there are a few general ways to categorize body types. And remember these are just guidelines- you don’t have to follow them. Fashion doesn’t follow a set of rules. 

With that in mind, let’s get started!

#1 Apple Type:

These women have broader shoulders and bust compared to their hips. Their limbs are slimmer, and they look heavier on top. They usually have an undefined waist. Think like Kate Winslet’s body type:

pear body type

They should choose flowy tops and structured jackets that can highlight broadness in the upper body and make the waist look slimmer. Highlighting broadness up top can draw the eye away from lack of hips. A pair of wide legged pants or bootcut trousers are recommended. They give the leg the illusion of more curve. You can also choose flared bottoms like palazzo pants.

Go for dark colors, especially when choosing outfits for the upper body. Dresses or tops with a plunging or a V-neckline would best flatter your body shape. Choose dresses and tops with ¾ length sleeves, otherwise known as elbow sleeves. Go for A-line dresses, as they flare out past the waist. 

I would recommend avoiding clingy fabrics for your upper body. Horizontal stripes are a strict no-no for your body shape. They are going to add to the broadness of your shoulders and bust. Same thing goes for tops and dresses with a boat neck or halter neck.

#2 Pear type: 

Pear shaped women are broader and heavier at the hips and the thighs.The hips are wider than your shoulders. A small bust, well-defined waist, and full thighs are common attributes of the pear body type. With narrower shoulders that appear sloping, they look pretty curvy. Think like Kim K’s body:

pear body type - kim k

For this body type, I recommend wearing tops that reach either above or below the widest part of the hip. You don’t want the hem of your top to cut off at the widest part, otherwise you could end up looking boxy, and I think it’s better to highlight those beautiful curves. For the same reason, this body type should wear pants higher on the hips. A rise at the natural waist is ideal. 

Dresses and tops with sweet-heart and boat necklines would accentuate your bust. Layering is your best friend when it comes to adding fullness to your upper body. You can go for cardigans, shrugs, and embellished jackets. Go for dark colors when picking up pants or jeans. Choose dresses with bell sleeves and kimono sleeves. You could wear anything flaring from the mid waist.

Things to avoid: maybe crop tops. Stay away from embellished bottoms. These things will make you look bottom heavy. 

#3: Rectangular or Straight type: 

Also known as the model body type, this shape is characterized by the same width of the hips as the bust with little or no definition to the waist. These women have shoulders, hips and waists of nearly the same size. Think like Nicole Kidman:

straight body type

Tops and jackets with belts and three-fourth sleeves are good choices. Three fourths sleeves disguise the widest part of the forearm because it tapers from the widest part to the slimmest part of your wrist. It gives you a little more shape. Also, cap sleeves and loose fit and flared sleeves would work best for your body type. Choose tops and dresses with scoop and boat necklines. 

Wear belts on your waist in order to create the illusion of an hourglass figure. An A-line skirt is a great choice for bottoms. Low or middle-waisted pants also work because they will highlight your hips more and give the illusion of more of a curve. Also while choosing bottom wear, you may pick flared trousers and pencil skirts. 

This body type should avoid wearing shapeless clothes. Avoid vertical stripes. Stay away from pencil trousers.

#4 Hourglass type: 

Women with hourglass bodies have same-sized shoulders and hips, while the waist is smaller and more defined. The hips and the bust are roughly the same width. Think like Jennifer Lopez:

hourglass body type

Stick to tops or dresses in solid colors. Opt for sweet heart and scoop necklines. V-necks for tops are also highly recommended. You can wear single-breasted coats or other form-fitting tops and jeans or trousers with a little flare at the bottom.

Body-con & shift dresses, and peplum tops would hug their bodies at right places and accentuate their curves. Draped dresses are very appropriate for this body type. Adding a belt at the narrowest part of your waist will emphasize those beautiful curves. 

For bottoms, flared pants, palazzos, pencil skirts, and high waist jeans can be your best bets. 

Stay away from turtle neck and high neck tops and dresses. Avoid double-breasted jackets as they would add extra volume around your bust.

That’s all of the body types, I wanted to cover today. 

Always remember that fashion does not come with a set of rules. Therefore, whether you opt to follow these guidelines while picking up clothes for your body or choose to wear whatever you feel like, it’s up to you. 

Comment below if you’d like me to do more videos/blogs on designing for different body types. I would love to show you guys how some of these techniques work. Let me know if you have any questions or specific topics you’d like me to cover. Subscribe to my channel and click the bell to get notified when I upload new videos every Friday!. Thanks for watching and have a great day!

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What to watch next? 

Watch this video on Designing from a Mood Board

Watch this video on Fashion Design in the Circular Economy

Watch this video: 2021 Fashion Trend Forecast

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