The Different Body Shapes of Women

Las diferentes formas de cuerpo de las mujeres

I know, I know. You’re probably letting out a sigh right about now and thinking, “What can you tell me about my body type that I haven’t heard a hundred times before?” – and you have a point. Many articles promising to spill new information about women’s body types have let me down time and time again, too. Are we all simply destined to live with the fact that each woman’s body type is supposed to fit into a few different exclusive shapes? The short answer is no!

The thing is, no one body is the perfect representation of a pear or hourglass shape, and that’s the problem. While you might identify with some of the different body shapes of women, you are a person, not a shape. Women’s body shapes might lay out a certain style of dress to make you look like everyone else, but where’s the fun in that? You are unique. You’re a rare limited edition. You are you, and that is something to celebrate!

trio of black shapewear

I want you to understand that it’s not simply about what you wear, but how you feel in your clothes. It’s so important to have confidence in your body, even if that means wearing shapewear or adjusting your look to help you feel your best. Having said that, know that these different body shapes of women are only a guideline. Knowing your body type can help you highlight the best of your body and draw attention away from the parts you’re most insecure about. It will also help you achieve greater harmony between the upper and lower parts, making your figure look symmetrical.

It’s okay to make your own rules based on your unique body! It’s also totally okay to take a few tips from here and a few from there. Like I said, you’re one of a kind, so why would you check only one box? These should serve as ideas and inspiration for your clothing, shapewear and underwear needs, but by no means is this an all-inclusive list. Take what you need to help you feel confident and fabulous!

Let me start this off by saying that all body types are beautiful. Large bodies, skinny bodies, athletic bodies and everything in between are truly magnificent.

Our bodies are our home, and that’s not something to be taken lightly. By no means is it right or worthwhile to spend the entirety of your time or attention on trying to make your body look like someone else’s. Why would you want to do that when you have an amazing body giving you life and cheering you on? Different body types are like different versions of the same beautiful thing. They are classifications that can be helpful at times, but know that you are not defined as a two-dimensional classification. You are so much more than that. On that note, let’s begin!

womens body shapes

Inverted Triangle Figures

First up are my lovely ladies with a unique and very sexy body type. The inverted triangle body type is commonly described as a body with a large bust, broad shoulders and narrow hips. If you embody some or all of these descriptions, I have some ideas for you to try!

  • Highlight the Hips — Highlight the hips with pretty details, colors and eye-catching prints to help draw the eye downward. Define your waistline and hips by wearing shapewear leggings or tighter bottoms. Wear straight pants with back pockets as well as dresses and A-line skirts that add extra volume to the hips.
  • Choose the Right UnderwearSince you’re probably working with a larger bust, make sure to choose bras with good support and coverage. Even things out by wearing butt lifter knickers with removable pads to give extra volume to the butt.
  • Mix and Match Colors and Patterns — Mix and match your garments to draw the eye where you want them to go. For sportswear and swim, choose lower garments in bright colors and bold prints and lower pieces in solid, dark colors to play down the volume. Choose tops with solid colors in light fabrics with less structure and keep the big prints and patterns to your lower half.

nude shapewear

The right undergarments can really help you out here! I’m all about a great shaping bodysuit, and I promise there are comfortable options out there. Look for shapewear that has light to medium compression in the leg and hip areas. You want to show off the shape of your amazing bottom half, too!

Triangle or Pear-Shaped Bodies

I love seeing a beautiful lady with lovely hips rock her shape! Pear-shaped gals, this one's for you. I think with these kinds of body types, it’s so easy to see what you don’t like or would like to see concealed. With this body type, the hips are predominant and the shoulders and bust are small. Here are some styling tips to try.

  • Bring Attention to the Top — Bring all the attention to the top half of your body through details, accessories and textures. Enhance the bust to create the illusion of greater symmetry between the upper and lower part. Wear a contour or push-up bra on top to get that perfectly balanced look, with details on the neckline such as lace to attract attention. The more volume at the bust, the better!

pear body shape

  • Play Down the Hips — Avoid wearing anything with details at the top of the hips, as this will give the impression of more volume in this area, which is just what we want to hide. Wear short-style knickers to hide the hips and shapers or girdles to help control the thighs and legs, making them look more defined. Wear shirts that extend below the waist (not cropped), and tuck in your shirt or knot at the waist to avoid visual cuts at the hips.
  • Use Patterns and Prints — Bring attention to the top half of your body with bulky shirts, boleros and large prints in bold colors. When shopping for sportswear or swimwear, go for printed tops, V-necklines, boleros or eye-catching details to focus attention on the top. Keep the bottom half in solid colors.

Apple Figures

Does anyone else think that body shapes that are compared to fruit are getting old, or is it just me? First off, I'll say that the “apple” shape can be a bit difficult to define. Just like the many different flavors and types of apples out there, there are a lot of different ladies who identify with this particular body shape. Of course, they all don’t look the same! I like to describe the apple shape as bodies with a large bust, pronounced abdomen and wide hips, but it can vary from one lady to the next.

  • Divert Attention Away from the Volume – Bring attention to your top or bottom, such as above the shoulders or below the hips, to divert attention away from areas with a lot of volume. Don’t wear anything that would bring attention to the waist, such as tops with detailing or cutouts at the belly button Wear leggings with tummy control to help slim the middle section and create more balance.

nude bra support

  • Use Your Underwear to Your Advantage— Choose a bra with good support and coverage that prevents the bust from drooping. Bras with a wide back and sides can help conceal the rolls, enhancing the figure. Wear knickers with tummy control or control garments such as bodysuits and knicker girdles that extend to the base of the bust to help conceal abdominal and waist rolls.

  • Lengthen the Figure — When choosing tops, go for garments with a V-neckline to elongate the torso and lengthen the figure. Stick to dark, single-tone garments to conceal the volume, avoiding large prints. Choose swimming dresses with good coverage to avoid breaking up the figure.
  • Keep it Loose— Avoid tight-fitting garments, as they accentuate the curves. Looser fabrics will better conceal the extra volume. Wear straight pants or wide boots to avoid playing up the curves.

Hourglass-Shaped Bodies

hourglass body shape

I don’t think I’ve ever heard an ill word spoken of the hourglass shape. The shape itself is fluid and dynamic and the ladies who rock any version of this shape are killing it! As I think about how to dress an hourglass figure, the idea of movement comes to mind. The traditional hourglass shape features shoulders and hips of the same width and a defined waist.

  • Define the Waist — Create a more harmonious shape by defining the waist and highlighting the curves. Do this by avoiding very structured garments or straight cuts that distract from the definition of the silhouette. Wear knickers and high-waisted leggings that slim your waist.
  • Highlight Your Cleavage — Women with hourglass figures often favor triangular bras without padding, as they usually have plenty of volume on the top. Look for a much more enhanced and rounded neckline to avoid the appearance of a sagging bust. Choose swimwear with plunging necklines and bikinis that highlight and flaunt your cleavage.
  • Choose Drapey Fabrics — Emphasize your curves with clothes made of drapey fabrics. If you prefer tight-fitting garments, just make sure to choose styles that frame the waist.

Straight-Shaped or Rectangular Figures

straight body shape

Straight or rectangular-shaped ladies typically have shoulders and hips of the same width with a straight waist. Though you are beautiful the way you are (and I hope you know it!), you might be in search of ways to play up different parts of your body and help them stand out. I say go for it!

  • Draw Attention Away from the Waist — Draw attention away from the waist, bringing it instead to the bust and hips by adding volume or eye-catching accessories to these areas. Avoid anything that might draw too much attention to this part of your body, such as decorative belts. Instead, bring attention to the neckline with eye-catching accessories, V-necks and voluminous sleeves.
  • Highlight and Enhance the Curves Wear high-waisted knickers or knicker girdles that lift the buttocks and enhance the curves, giving the illusion of a more pronounced waist. The most flattering swimwear will be styles with diagonal cuts and transparencies that help give the illusion of a more defined waist. Wear pants and skirts that add volume to the hips such as mom jeans and paper bag pants tied at the waist.
  • Wear Light, Loose Fabrics — Wear light fabrics and avoid those that are stiff and structured, as they will give more angles to the body. Avoid very tight pants on the legs and hips. For sportswear, try leggings or high-waisted shorts paired with a loose T-shirt to enhance volume and create some dimension.

group of ladies in black shapewear

Love The Skin and Shape You’re In

If there’s one thing you take away from this, it should be that you have your own unique (and totally amazing) body type. The different body shapes of women can be mixed, matched and switched up to equal a totally amazing and one of a kind you. There is one all-around quality when it comes to these body shapes, and that’s beauty! Know that you are beautiful no matter what size or shape you are, and don’t allow anyone else to convince you otherwise. Remember to wear confidence on your sleeve at all times and rock your unique shape with pride.