Why knowing your body shape is key to stylish dressing.

By accredited Yorkshire Stylist Sara Anson

As a Style Coach one of the very first steps I take when working with a new client is to establish their body shape. Your body shape is unique to you, it can change throughout your life especially after a dramatic body change such as pregnancy, menopause, weight gain or loss. No two people are exactly the same shape and often the clothes you wear make you appear to be a certain shape.

There are five different body shapes Apple, Strawberry, Pear, Hourglass and Rectangle. Whatever shape you are the intention is to balance proportions, increase your body confidence and self esteem, draw attention to your best features (yes, we all have them) and help develop your authentic signature style.

My aim is not to change your body shape but to encourage you to accept and love the body you have.

Lets take a look at the different body shapes in more detail.



• Your shoulders, bust, waist and hip measurements are all similar (often with a little extra in the middle).
• You have rounded (often sloping) shoulders
• You tend to carry weight around your tummy and upper body
• You have balanced hips and shoulders but without waist definition
• You have shapely legs and an average to generous bust
• Your overall silhouette is curvaceous and shapely



• Your shoulders are about the same width as your hips
• You wear almost the same size on your top and bottom
• You have a clearly defined waist
• If you have a Full Hourglass figure, then you will have a generous bust and hips. You'll also have a clearly visible but shorter waist.
• You have all-over curves (subtle or generous).
• The beauty of your shape lies in its balanced silhouette



• Your shoulders are wide in comparison with your hips
• You wear a larger size on your top and a smaller size on your bottom
• If you are slim, you can be quite angular with no obvious curves
• You have slender hips, a straight waist, athletic shoulders and long, lean legs
• If you have a fuller figure, then you have a generous bust, heavier arms at the top and a shorter waist



• Your shoulders are narrow in comparison with your hips
• You wear a smaller size on your top and a larger size on your bottom
• Your waist is wider than your bust
• You consider yourself to have fuller hips and a curvy bottom
• If you have a Full Triangle figure, then you may have a fuller middle, a shorter waist, noticeable 'saddle bags' & a fuller bottom
• You have a beautifully curvaceous and feminine figure



• Your bust, waist and hips are all quite similar measurements
• You have a straight shoulder line, a straight torso and a flat bottom!
• You have very little waist definition (not a lot of curve). This creates a look that is fairly straight up & down
• If you have a Full Rectangle figure, then you will look sturdy & strong, carrying weight evenly over your body
• You might think you have a "boyish frame" but your body shape is so fun to dress. You'll look great in almost everything!

Style tips for dressing for your shape.


The aim is to create a waist and a more structured shoulder line, to highlight your best features while elongating your overall silhouette.
• Choose wrap dresses that define your waist to give you definition.
• Maxi dresses are effortless, comfortable and super stylish especially during warm summer months.
• Monochromatic outfits in flattering colours
• Tops with V-necks, scoop necks, sweetheart, wide or deep necklines
• Jackets & coats with structured shoulders, and narrow lapels

• Dark wash jeans with minimal detailing (keep the lines clean and simple)


Celebrate your balanced figure and emphasize your feminine curves. Add your Style Personality and authenticity with colour and accessories.
• A-line, bias-cut, softly pleated skirts... or fit & flare! They all look fabulous.

• Fitted jumpsuits & other 'on-trend' items in waist-enhancing styles

• Tailored shirts & work wear blouses that show off your narrow waist

• Belts that emphasize your waist - add them to dresses, around coats, etc

• Coats that don't drown your waist - classic belted trench coats are pect.

• Accessories that modernize, add interest, and reflect your unique personality!


Show off your lovely legs and add some volume to the bottom half of your figure to balance your shoulders. Soften your shoulder line while defining your waist & accentuating your hips.
• Tailored jackets with slim lapels & a single button that flare slightly at your waist
• Deep, slim V-necks that draw the eye into the centre of your body

• Skirts with a lot of detail such as panels, ruffles, pleats, patterns, flounces, etc
• Wide-leg, boyfriend or boot-cut jeans in a variety of colours

• Plain tops in neutral colours, teamed with a statement item on the bottom half
• Dark blazers left open, with a lighter, contrasting top exposed through the centre


Bring attention & add volume to the top half of your body by widening your shoulders & accentuating your waist. The aim is to balance out your silhouette.
• Jackets, blazers and tops that sit below the hips or above, but never on them
• Dynamic patterns, light or bold colours for your upper body

• Simple, flat-fronted trousers that skim your thighs & bottom

• Plain trousers and skirts in subtle, dark colours (no frills, pockets or details)
• Jeans and trousers of medium-rise that support your lower tummy

• Dresses with dramatic sleeves, wide necklines, belted waists, or open backs


Dressing your body shape is all about highlighting your waist to create a curvaceous silhouette. We can also accentuate your legs & other curves.
• Gently tailored jackets that accentuate and create a waist
• Fit-and-flare dresses to define your midsection, while adding femininity

• Fitted, tailored shirts to give some shape & definition to waist, bust & hips
• Tops that can be tucked in to add some curve to your waistline
• Rounded accessories: scarves, belts, statement earrings & chunky bangles
• Outfits consisting of mixed and contrasting colours

Discovering your body shape along with identifying your colour palette and style personality are the three key building blocks to nailing your effortless and authentic style.

If you would like to learn more about identifying your body shape, style personality or any of my other style services I would love to hear from you.

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**The pictures I’ve included do not take in to account individual style personalities and colour palettes.