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Monday to Saturday
9am - 5.30pm

Sunday
10.30am - 4pm

Refined Rig

73 Great King Street
(corner of St Andrew Street)
ph.03 477 0908
fax.03 477 0910

PO Box 5096 Dunedin 9058
New Zealand

Learn to Dress the Best for Your Body Shape

Body shape is an important starting point when trying to understand how to dress but don't get too hung up on fitting into a particular category. Many women will be a combination or variation of the six different types we feature here.

Start by stripping down to your underwear and looking in the mirror. Look at the whole you rather than zooming in on particular bits. Turn to the side and look at your profile as well. Next, take a look at the following descriptions and see which one you fit most closely. Then take a look at some of the style “rules” for that shape.

Apple Shape

You will most likely have:
• Rounded shoulders
• Fullness around the middle
• A flattish bottom
• Slim or average legs
• An average to large bust

Tips for dressing to your shape:
Use colour with some restraint.
Avoid horizontal stripes and thin belts.
Go for wrap dresses, empire line dresses or a well cut shift dress.
Balance your hips with more emphasis on the top half – using big jewellery or a cropped jacket.
A wrap A-line skirt works well.
Define and show off shoulders with frills or cap sleeves.
V necks also suit.

Inverted Triangle (Strawberry) Shape

You will most likely have:
• A square and solid shoulder line
• Flatter hips and bottom with little definition between them
• Wider shoulders than hips
• And wear a larger size on top than on the bottom

Tips for dressing to your shape:
Go for V necks and avoid high neck lines.
Keep the top half simple and wear more detail on the bottom half such as
frills, ruffles and feminine prints.
Go for floaty volume looks on the bottom half.

Hourglass Shape

You will most likely have:
• Shoulders in proportion to your hips
• A defined waist
• A curved bust and bottom
• Wear same size top and bottom

Tips for dressing to your shape:
Perfect for 50’s dress styles.
Shift and body-contour dresses are great.
Wear fitted tops and a tailored waist. Don’t wear baggy!
This balanced figure calls for balance in the dress – avoid frills, flounces and bows.
Use a slimmer belt so you don’t lose your waist.
V necks are good.
Pencil skirt looks great.

Rectangle Shape

You will most likely have:
• A solid, square frame
• The same size top and bottom
• A small bust
• Little waist definition
• Flat hips and bottom

Tips for dressing to your shape:
Look for a dress with volume.
Bold prints and florals are suitable as are frills and flounces.
Create curves with a belt.
Have fun with accessories.

Lean Column Shape

You will most likely have:
• A long, slim body
• The same size top and bottom
• A small bust
• Little waist definition
• Narrow hips and small bottom, in line with your shoulders

Tips for dressing to your shape:
Wear flowing and loose-fitting garments.
Don’t do tight or clingy.
Create the illusion of a waist with a belt. 
Ruffles and details around your neck will enhance your chest.

Pear Shape

You will most likely:
• Be larger around the bottom and bigger around the hips
• Have a smaller top
• Have a fairly flat stomach
• Wear a size larger on your bottom half than on your top.

Tips for dressing to your shape:
Add more shape and structure above the waist.
Balance out your curvy bottom half with bold bright tops or tops with large collars, lapels or sleeves.
Avoid tube, pencil and fishtail skirts, especially tight-fitting ones that will only emphasise your hips and behind.


If you are still confused then just drop into Refind Rig and we will be happy to show you styles that work for your shape.