As any woman knows, shopping for clothes can be fraught — especially when you’re plus-sized. But just because you have more generous curves doesn’t mean you can’t look sexy and stylish in clothes that flatter your shape and accentuate your best features.

You just have to know how to dress for your body type. Determine whether you have a square, round, pear, hourglass, or inverted triangle shape, and then choose cuts and styles that can hide your flaws while showcasing your best qualities. Read on to learn more.

Dressing a Square Body 

If you have a square (also known as rectangle or straight) body type, your shoulders and bust are about the same size as your hips, so that your top and bottom half are balanced, but you lack a clearly defined waist. Your waist will be less than ten inches smaller than your bust and hips. 

Dressing this body type is similar to dressing an hourglass figure. You’ll want to choose pieces that accentuate your waist and make it look smaller while calling attention to the curves of your bust and waist. Choose tops with ruching, peplum, or ruffles to make your bust look bigger and your waist smaller. Tops with V-neck, halter, or surplice necklines can also give this effect. Cinch a thick belt around your natural waist to make it look smaller and bring out your curves. Wear dresses with color block patterns to define your curves and make you look slimmer.

Dressing a Round Body

A round (or apple) shaped body has shoulders and hips about the same size, with a curvy bust and around the torso that lacks a clearly defined waist. Usually, your legs will be slim as you’ll carry most of your excess weight in the top half of your body. The goal in dressing this body type is to balance the figure with fuller bottoms and choose tops and dresses in slimming cuts.

Full skirts and pants are a great choice for apple body shapes, but you can also choose a range of styles that slim and streamline your torso. Wrap tops and dresses are a good choice, as are tailored blazers and jackets. Tops with ruching can hide your large abdomen, and tops that extend to just below the hips can balance and slim the figure.


Dressing an Hourglass Body

The coveted hourglass figure consists of a large chest and curvy hips that are about the same size, with a small, defined waist that is at least ten inches smaller than the bust and hip measurement (which should be about the same). But it’s a myth that any style of plus-size clothes will look good on an hourglass body.

Just as with other body types, choose pieces that will accentuate the best parts of your hourglass figure. Greenlight anything that highlights your narrow waist — wrap tops and dresses; peplum dresses, tops, and jackets; and deep V-neck, scoop, halter, or surplice necklines. Show off your narrow waist with a wide belt.

Dressing a Pear-Shaped Body

Pear-shaped body types are bottom-heavy, featuring a small bust and narrow shoulders atop wide, full hips, and thick thighs. A pear-shaped body can be very appealing, especially when the figure is balanced with the right clothes. Choose statement necklaces and accessories that draw the eye upward. Wear tailored blazers and jackets that define your small waist. Choose A-line skirts and dresses, or dark bootcut jeans, to slenderize your lower body. Make sure tops and jackets come down to either just above or just below your wide hips.

Dressing an Inverted Triangle Body

The inverted triangle body type is the opposite of the pear shape — the shoulders and bust are the widest part of the body, and they taper down to narrow hips. This body type often appears athletic and muscular, with powerful shoulders and long, toned legs, but the waist is undefined and the hips and bottom are flat and straight. 

To dress this body type, tone down the shoulders with soft, draping fabrics. Avoid shoulder pads and wide necklines. Choose a color block pattern that draws attention to the hips, and show off your nice legs with short skirts and dresses. Keep the look clean and minimalistic on the upper body — avoid loud patterns and bright colors on scarves and tops, as these will draw attention to the broad shoulders. Choose full, voluminous bottoms that will balance the figure, and don’t shy away from bright, light colors or fun patterns for skirts and pants. Wide hemlines will create the illusion of a fuller bottom, and a wide belt cinched at the waist will make your curves look curvier.

Dressing for a plus-sized figure isn’t always easy, but with the right pieces, any woman can look fabulous. Just make sure you’re dressing to bring out the best parts of your figure, and you can look cute no matter what.