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How to dress an oval body shape

If you have an oval body shape, you are most definitely not alone – in fact, it’s one of the most common body types for women to have. And as with any body type, feeling good about how you dress takes understanding how to use clothes to highlight your assets and downplay the areas you aren’t so crazy about. But how do you know if you have an oval, or sometimes called “apple,” body shape? Read on for how to determine whether your body type is oval-shaped and how you can dress to show it off to the best of its potential:

How to know if you have an oval body shape

The best way to determine your body shape is to first take your measurements. Use a cloth measuring tape to calculate your hips, waist and bust (check out our infographic to learn exactly how to measure yourself). Then, use those numbers to identify your body shape. If your waist measurement is larger than those of your bust and hips, you have what’s considered an oval body shape – visually, people with this type carry weight in their tummies.

Plus size model wearing floral long sleeve with jeans.

Define your waist

If you have an oval body shape, your waist isn’t naturally defined. That’s often true of women with rectangle and even inverted triangle body shapes, too, and it can be easily fixed using clothes. Find tops and dresses that help you create an hourglass shape by cinching in at the waist (or appearing to) and flaring out over the hips. This includes A-line skirts and dresses, wrap tops and dresses, and anything that’s belted at the waistline. If you want, use shapewear to define your waist underneath your clothing. Corset tops, in particular, are amazing assets for women with larger tummies.

A-Line Skirt

Consider empire waists

Empire waist tops and dresses are versatile additions to a wardrobe, particularly for oval body shapes. These garments cinch just below the bust, creating a balanced and proportionate silhouette while accentuating the narrowest part of your torso, enhancing your natural curves.

This design not only defines your waist but also can make your body appear shapelier, creating the illusion of an hourglass figure. Additionally, many empire waist pieces feature captivating necklines and intricate details, drawing the eye upwards and away from the midsection. These design elements contribute to an overall slimming effect and provide a focal point that enhances your appearance.

Incorporating empire waist clothing into your wardrobe is about celebrating your individuality and feeling confident in your unique body shape. Whether you choose an elegant empire waist maxi dress for a formal event or a beautifully detailed empire waist blouse for a casual outing, these pieces empower you to create a stylish and flattering look for any occasion.

plus size model wearing a blue and black printed shirt with a jean jacket.

Elongate your gams

One of the standout features for many women with an oval body shape is their beautifully shaped legs. To truly celebrate and showcase these assets, it’s all about selecting clothing and footwear that not only flatter but also elongate your gams, creating a stunning, confident look.

When it comes to bottoms, opt for boot-cut or straight-cut jeans and trousers. These styles work wonders because they create a seamless and elongated line from your hips to your shoes. This elongation creates the illusion of added height, making your entire body appear taller and slimmer. Boot-cut pants gently flare out at the bottom, providing a balanced and proportionate look, especially when worn with heels. Meanwhile, straight-cut pants maintain a sleek and tailored appearance, adding sophistication to your outfit while ensuring your legs remain the focus.

Footwear also plays a pivotal role in enhancing the length and slimness of your legs. Heeled shoes are your best friend when it comes to adding some extra height. Whether you prefer wedges or heeled boots, these shoe styles elevate your stature and, in turn, elongate your legs. Wedges, in particular, offer comfort and stability, making them an excellent choice for warmer months when you want to remain agile and stylish. For colder seasons, heeled boots not only add an element of elegance but also provide warmth and protection, ensuring you maintain your chic appearance while staying cozy.

Elongating your gams isn’t just about creating a physical impression; it’s about feeling more confident and elegant. By selecting clothing that flatters your legs and shoes that add that extra lift, you can confidently embrace your unique oval body shape and let your shapely legs take center stage!

plus size gaucho jeans

Play with prints and colors

Experimenting with prints and colors is a versatile strategy for fashioning a flattering wardrobe for oval body shapes. Opt for vibrant or patterned pants and skirts while keeping your tops in solid colors to strike a visual balance between your upper and lower body. When selecting dresses and tops, consider engineered or block prints, like those featuring dark side panels or vertical lines, which cleverly create the illusion of a longer and slimmer figure. Select for smaller, delicate patterns or those with vertical elements, as they guide the eye along a slenderizing path and contribute to a sleek and polished look.

This strategic use of prints and colors not only showcases your favorite features but also achieves a more proportionate and elongated appearance, boosting both your style and confidence in celebrating your unique body shape.

plus size model wearing a printed orange and yellow dress with black pumps.

Remember: Confidence is the most important thing you can wear to look great!

Want to explore the other body types? Here’s more:

Comments (3)

I love the up- to-date styles you carry in plus sizes. Which are very hard to find in department stores. You keep me looking Fabulous!

Love these shirts.. what website do I find them???

Hi Cathy, Check out for all our flattering, versatile fashions. Here’s a link to our tops:

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