Clothes are more than just pieces of fabric – they are a way of expressing our personality and our feelings. Still, it’s easy to fall prey to dressing for a trend rather than personality.
There are many women who just wear what’s in vogue forgetting that apart from covering our body clothes are worn to fit and make you comfortable. From voluptuous vixen to lean machine, we’re all different, and are suited for different clothes. What suits your best friend may not necessarily suit you. It’s important to understand the different body shape categories, so you know which one you fall into, and can start dressing in a way which flaunts your best assets.
The main body shapes are apple, pear, strawberry and rhubarb. Whilst this may sound like a fruit bowl, below are the basic building blocks to dressing for your shape:
If you’re an apple shape, you’re the most rounded of all the body shapes. Your hot points are your slender yet shapely legs. You are also likely to be in possession of a voluptuous and completely natural chest which you will have for the rest of your days.
Apple figures tend to have quite chunky arms, but usually very slim wrists.
If you have an apple-shaped figure you usually gain weight around your tummy, but there are many ways of creating a waist, including wearing tailored jackets and coats that nip in at the waist. Go for A line skirts as they make your hips look curvier, in turn making your waist look smaller in comparison. Wear thick belts around the waist, as they clinch it in, giving the illusion of a tiny waist. Invest in a corset – a good corset can take up to 6 inches off your waist. Apple figures should wear V-necks or wraparound tops, as they break up your torso, and make the most of your cleavage. You can also wear pencil skirts to show off your shapely legs.
If you have a strawberry shaped figure, you probably have a wide back and wide shoulders. It is very important that you dress properly some clothes can make you look more masculine from the back – unless, of course, that’s what you want.
The main hot point of the strawberry figure is the full cleavage, which should be showed off with V-necks or wide scooped necklines. As well as showing off your cleavage, these types of tops also soften your shoulders, balancing out your whole torso.
Strawberry shaped gals usually have slim legs, and these are showed off best with fitted skirts, or straight leg jeans. Ideally, team skirts and jeans with heels to lengthen your legs even more.
As a strawberry shape, you probably gain most weight around your tummy. You may want to try wraparound dresses, as these accentuate your waist. Also, wearing thick belts around the waist bring your tummy in, creating a more hourglass shape. Strawberry shaped girls should avoid polo necks, as they make you look too heavy. Also, try to avoid heavy wool sweaters, as these add bulk to your tummy.
The rhubarb shape is very simple to explain. Just like a rhubarb – straight up, straight down. This can also be referred to as a ruler figure, or a boyish figure: very slim legs, long torso, and a relatively small chest.
Rhubarb shaped girls should go for short skirts or shorts, which show off slim legs. You can also go for skinny jeans, which will show off your nice long legs. As with the figures that have a wide waist, you can also benefit from a belt, as this will give the illusion of a waist. Because the rhubarb shape can get away with pretty much anything, you can wear jumpers with horizontal stripes, as they will flatter you, and make you look a little wider, but without adding bulk.
Think Marilyn Monroe, Beyonce, Dita Von Teese, Jenifer Lopez and of course our very own Mercy Johnson!
Hourglass figures have a full chest, small waist, rounded hips, and tend to carry weight on the legs. If you have an hourglass figure, opt for sweetheart necklines, as they flatter your bust, and draw attention away from potentially chunky arms. Wear cropped jackets which nip in at the waist. Don’t be tempted to hide your curves under baggy clothes. Heels are your best friend, and will make legs appear slimmer and longer.
Chioma Ebubedike Igbokwe is the chief executive of West n Couture. She has been nominated twice as Designer of the Year for The Future Awards, and was shortlisted as one of the 12 finalist at the MTN British Council Young Creative Entrepreneur of the Year 2011. She is also a service provider in Fashion Education with the Oil and Gas Post-Amnesty project and is founder of Au Marceh (At the Market); a fashion retail market.