Dressing for Your Body Type

Dressing for your body type is the ultimate key to finding your perfect personal style and always looking fantastic. It doesn't matter what the latest trend is or what color a certain magazine claims is hot-it all boils down to how an outfit it looks on you.

The basic trick to dressing for your particular body shape is to enhance your good points and draw attention away from your trouble areas. Your good areas call for noticeable colors, patterns and cuts. Your troubled areas require more muted colors, patterns and cuts. It doesn't matter if you're male or female because fashion rules exist for every body type.

Men's Body Types
There are many different theories and names for body types, but in most Western countries the basics are usually split into three categories: Endomorphic, mesomorphic and ectomorphic. However, these categories can be mixed and matched within one person, and your body shape can be the result of more than one body type.

Body types are easier to identify in men, since they tend to have far fewer curves than women do. Men can easily figure out what works for them by finding out which category matches their shape.

Endomorph. An Endomorphic body type tends to be round and on the heavy side. Endomorphs have slow metabolisms. They literally carry more fat on their frames, and they often have full-figured or round body shapes.

If you are an endomorphic man, you should avoid horizontal stripes and busy patterns. Use tailored garments, and remember that anything cut too tight or too loose will look unflattering. Choose a combination of dark colors with brightly hued accents to help break up your silhouette.

Mesomorph. Mesomorphic body types carry heavy amounts of muscle on sturdy frames because of their efficient metabolism. They tend to be athletic because their bodies lose fat and build muscle with relative ease. Mesomorphs usually have apple, pear or hourglass body shapes.

If you are a mesomorphic man, avoid horizontal stripes, loose cuts and anything that breaks your silhouette up into too many sections. Avoid too much layering, especially if your shoulders and chest are already broad. Choose long, unbroken lines instead, and always show off those bulging biceps.

Ectomorph. Ectomorphs carry neither fat nor muscle on their tall frames. They tend to be thin or even scrawny due to their very high metabolisms. Ectomorphs usually have stick body shapes and have a hard time putting on any weight.

If you are ectomorphic, add bulk to your appearance, and should avoid vertical stripes, tight cuts and monotone ensembles. Cut up the tall shape with some eye-catching layered styles. This adds both bulk and dimension to a lanky frame.

Women's Body Types
General appearance categories have to be changed when it comes to a woman's body. The female body shape falls into one of four basic categories: Hourglass, apple, pear or stick. Hourglass shapes are large at the top and bottom, but thin in the middle. Apples are top-heavy, and pears are bottom-heavy. Sticks are made of straight lines in which the top, middle and bottom are even.

Hourglass. An hourglass figure has long been held as the ideal female form. Think of two inverted triangles with the thin tips meeting in the middle. The shoulders, bust and hips are all close in size, but the waist is significantly smaller.

Women with hourglass figures can wear almost any style and can get away with almost any fashion. However, solids and bright colors help draw attention to your perfect figure, and anything that clings to those curves is a great choice.

Apple. Apple-shaped figures are large on top and small on the bottom. The best style for apple-shaped women is something that evens out your figure while still calling attention to your good points. This body type usually sports a great-looking pair of legs, and anything that shows them off is a benefit.

Nevertheless, apples need to avoid anything that shortens their torso. Avoid super-short shorts and skirts, especially if you're wearing a long shirt. Never use a baggy shirt to cover up, it adds volume to your form and makes you look heavy.

Pear. Pear-shaped figures are right under hourglasses as far as desired female forms go. The hips and rear are significantly larger than the shoulders, chest and waist. If your shoulders are extremely narrow, try to use tops that accentuate your waist while adding a little width to your shoulders.

Generally, if you are pear-shaped, you should show off your naturally narrow waist and soften the curves around your hips. Stick to darker colors and subtle patterns in bottom garments, and add color and flair in your upper garments.

Stick. Stick-shaped figures have little to no curves because their shoulders, waist and hips are about the same size. Though stick figures are often associated with scrawny frames, they can actually be from any weight category. Regardless, if your waist is one inch or one thousand inches wide, you can have a basic stick shape.

As a stick, you need to create some curves in your straight frame. Your garments should be tight at the waist and loose around the hips. Depending on the exact stick measurements, either keep things loose around the bust and shoulders, or tight around the bust and loose around the shoulders.

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