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Back view of woman wearing houndstooth dress

Tips for dressing for your body type

If you’re struggling to feel confident in the clothes you wear, don’t fret! You may just need some tips on dressing for your body type. Certain clothes will flatter your figure more than others, but all types of garments are cut in ways that make you look amazing. Use these tips to help you find the right women’s dress suits, tops, pants or dresses for your body type.


This figure is normally what people think of when they see the phrase “curvy body type.” Hourglass figures have even hips and shoulders with a smaller waistline.

If this sounds like you, then rejoice knowing that your natural curves don’t need much enhancing. In fact, you’re such a stunner that it may be best to take things simple. Go for snug tops and short, tailored jackets. Narrow necklines will slim down your bust and soft fabrics will drape naturally over your curves.

Curvy woman wearing purple shirt and black stripe down the middle

Pear or triangle

If you tend to be wider in the hips and bottom than you are in the upper body, you’re what’s commonly called a pear shape. Drawing attention upward with volume and embellishments helps you appear balanced.

Your neck and shoulders are great features, so show them off with off-shoulder or boat-neck tops. Elegant sleeves with also draw the eyes upwards, as will tunic tops and billowy shirts with a snug waist.

Meanwhile, dark colors on your lower half with lengthen your legs and narrow your hips. Try skirts that lightly brush against the sides of your body without adding bulk or pants that fall straight down from the widest part of your hips.

To learn more about how to dress a triangle body shape, check out our article.

Woman wearing houndstooth dress


If your upper and lower body are equal in width and your waist only slightly more narrow, you probably have a rectangle body shape.

Enhance your natural waist with wrap tops and fitted v-neck shirts. The angles of these pieces draw the eye down and in. You can also easily pull off all kinds of skirts, including A-line, pencil and even maxi skirts. Peplum and fit-and-flare styles are also a great choice.

Apple or inverted triangle

Apple shapes tend to be well proportioned, carrying weight mostly in the torso and upper body. Unlike hourglasses, apple-shaped women may have a hard time finding their natural waistline and generally aren’t as curvy through the hips.

If this sounds like you, try outfits that emphasize your bust and legs. The resulting contrast makes your waist more visible. Try flattering dresses in an A-line cut and jackets that end at the hips or upper thigh. Also, you can pull off a boyfriend-style button-up shirt like no one else, so try these on in lots of different colors and fabrics!

Woman wearing pink jacket and black and pink lace skirt


Oval women are widest in the middle; their bust and hips are narrower than their natural waist. Again, go for V-shaped necklines and wrap dresses and shirts to enhance your curves, draw the gaze to your natural middle and flatter your sides. Tops with vertical details will also elongate your body, making you look taller. Opt for mid-thigh, knee-length, below-the-knee or maxi skirts.

Identifying your body type

If you’re reading this article and asking yourself, “What body shape am I?” don’t worry. It can be hard to eyeball, so check out our handy guides to take your measurements and find your type.

Once you know what clothing styles look great on you, you’ll never again have a problem finding outfits that fit and flatter.

Comments (18)

I just started receiving your magazine. I did not know that you recently had a sweepstakes contest. I would love to have been able to enter. I love clothes, love color, sometimes I don’t buy the right pieces though.
I get overwhelmed with so many cute choices. I would love a personal makeover and fashion advice from you gals. Do you want to come to Texas? We can eat some BBQ and go to a street dance on Saturday night.!!!

Love it Dannette! Thanks for the comment. Welcome to Monroe and Main! We also love clothes and color and glad that you like us. Stay tuned, we will have another sweepstakes and you never know-we just may be coming to TX to eat some BBQ with you! 🙂 You can also get updates on our Facebook page since we do some sweeps there too-in fact we have one coming up in a few weeks! . Thanks again for the comment and hope to hear from you more!

Thanks for the great guide lines. As women we sometimes forget the basics.

This is a great guide. I am finally getting around to myself and I have changed so much. It can get so time consuming when you have no idea where to start.

I am definitely an hourglass figure! However, I’m down from a 4X (YIKES!) to a 1X and still losing!

I love most of your sleeveless tops however I cant wear any of them bc I have excess underarm fat.
also I would love to see more maxie in cotton fabric for my climate which can reach up to 106 with humidity
come summer. I am large busted in a size 2x yet hipless.

Please give me ideas for my grandson’s wedding. it is on a cruise ship. I am a full plus sise

Hi Vanita, thanks for the comment. Congrats to your grandson! When is the wedding? Can you give us an idea of styles that you like, length your prefer, sleeve-length or colors, etc. Is it going to be more casual since it’s on a cruise? We’d also like to know your measurements if you have taken them recently in order to figure out your body type for the most flattering style of dress. Here are some quick options and you can let us know if we are on the right track. You can email us at if you’d like to chat over email instead. Thanks again for the comment.

How about this one?
Maybe in Red?
A nice, pretty blue?
How about an elegant suit?
Or this one from our sister company Midnight Velvet:

Another great and helpful article! I can always count on Monroe and Main to have a great selection of flattering designs for all figure types! Thanks for such current tips!

This is extremely helpful. I fit into 2 categories (hourglass and full bust) and your clothes always fit me perfectly. Thanks for considering women of different shapes and sizes.

Love your styles and fashions. Always get the most compliments when wearing your clothes. As a plus size customer I love the fashion you have. No tent dresses here. You make me feel sexy and fashionable even as a plus size.

I’m along time customer and big fan of your clothes….I just looked at your site on my iPhone,
so thrilled to see you using real looking people so much like your customers… to get a much better sense how the clothes will look on….

I would like to see more dresses and blouses that have a higher neck line and at least three quarter sleeves for religious reasons.
Thank you

I love your clothing line, the only thing that would make your catalog better is to see some clothes on some plus size models. Looking at the clothes makes me want to buy almost everything. I just wondered if there were some size 14 and a little over models that you could show. I’m sorry if I’m asking for too much, but it would be nice

Thanks for loving our catalog Angela! You are definitely not asking for too much! Thanks for the comment. We do show some of our items on a plus-size model, but a very small amount. We are still exploring adding more. Thanks for the feedback! 🙂

Thanks so much for starting a blog about something that is important to full grown women. LOL, I will be checking back.

I like the blue jacket, but what I really want to see is the houndstooth dress or tunic. Where can I find that?

Sorry Teresa, we no longer carry the Houndstooth Dress. We have lots of other dresses though! Take a look and thank you for checking out our blog!

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