Determining and Dressing for Your Shape

Posted Mon, 30/04/2012 - 09:47


Hello, my name is Rebecca and I have a problem. I am hopelessly addicted to shopping and fashion. I like to think I know what's going on in the style stakes and can put a snappy outfit together which is both flattering and on trend yet looks effortless... but lately I've been wondering whether I've gone from fashion savvy to fashion victim! I'll tell you why...

More often than not I lay in bed of a morning hitting the snooze button and pondering what to wear for around half an hour... then I realise how late I'm going to be and jump out of bed and put the perfectly planned outfit on and I find unless it's an outfit I know is tried and true (makes me look and feel my best) I usually end up changing my mind 5 times or leaving the house and immediately thinking "I really wish I hadn't worn this".

I put this down to bad shopping habits. Firstly, I have a tendency to see something that looks great on someone else and want to buy it for myself... without considering whether it actually suits my body shape or my colouring. And secondly, I have to admit I am a bit of a chain store shopper. I love a bargain, but am now coming to realise that a bagain is not really money saved if it is a piece of clothing you only wear once or twice, it is money down the drain. So I've decided it's time to evaluate my wardrobe and myself and really think about what I'm buying and invest in quality.

I spoke to a stylist friend of mine about what I  should be buying - she advised that the first thing I do is work out my body shape and buy clothing that will work with me, not against me! I realised that a lot of people probably don't consciously think about this when they're shopping - you try something on, you look in the mirror and you either like what you see or you don't, and your decision is made. But it's easy to be seduced by trends and ignore the fact that perhaps that high waist is making your torso look short, or that skirt with the amazing bold stripes is actually making you look wider and shorter... So I've put together some tips (after much research for myself!) on how to work out your body shape and what to embrace/avoid when hitting the shops.


HOURGLASS FIGURE - characteristics

*Your hip and bust measurements are equal

*Your waist is well defined


  • Softly draped bodice details that skim over the bust and neckline
  • Open collars, asymmetrical details, v-neck or styles that expose the neckline
  • Styles with embellishments, ties, or extra details at the empire waistline
  • Cincher waist belts to accentuate waistline, flared skirts, fitted bodices
  • Wrap or faux wrap tops and dresses, wide leg pants
  • Shoes with rounded toes, peep toes or cute bows to complement your curves


  • Unfitted or oversize tops without belts, dropped waist dresses
  • Batwing sleeves, blouses with bows or flounces
  • Smocks
  • Short length tops, stiff, bulky fabrics
  • Capris or cropped pants, tapered or straight leg pants, baggy styles
  • Knife pleated skirts or gathered, full skirts
  • Flat lace up shoes, ankle strap, pointy shoes, and cowboy boots.

1. Mela Purdie Palm Print Martini Jacket $385 2. Mela Purdie Zipper Fan Top $280 3. Mela Purdie Long Jersey Pant $195 4. Mela Purdie Teardrop Dress $280

TRIANGLE/PEAR SHAPE - Characteristics

*Your top half is smaller than your bottom half

*You may have narrow shoulders


  • Scoop, boat neck, v neck or styles that visually extend your shoulder line (think subtle shoulder pads) and expose your neck
  • Styles with pleating, ruffles or extra details accentuating the bust area
  • Belts, cinchers, empire silhouettes and wraparound dresses
  • Cocktail lenght dresses, maxi style dresses and A line skirts
  • Bootcut, wide leg or flared jeans and trousers to elongate and de-emphasise fullness of legs


  • Turtlenecks or styles that hide the neck
  • Blouson styled tops, dropped waist dresses, tulip shaped skirts
  • Super narrow pencil skirts (though classic pencil could be flattering on some triangles)
  • Extra skinny or baggy pants, jodphurs
  • Shoes with ankle straps or stilettos

1. Mela Purdie Drop Ruffle Blouse Floral Silk $355 2. Gabriella Fratini Cloud Tunic $149.95 3. Morgan Marks Textured Knit Tunic $160.95

INVERTED TRIANGLE - Characteristics

*Your hips are generally a smaller measurement than your bust

*You may feel top heavy and typically have broad shoulders


  • Asymmetrical, v-neck or styles that elongate the neckline
  • Styles with sweetheart bodice to accentuate the bust shape
  • Bottoms that are lighter in colour to create balance with the top
  • Pencil, A-line or flared skirts
  • Slim heeled shoes


  • Light or bright coloured tops paired with dark bottoms
  • Very wide and off shoulder necklines that widen the frame
  • Three quarter sleeves
  • Structured, stiff fabrics
  • Big collars, shoulder pads or puff sleeves
  • Platform shoes

1. Vigorella Zebra Dress Pocket Collar $149 2.