Dressing for Your Body Type

One thing that I’ve really learned over the years is the importance of dressing for your body type. For years, I struggled with finding clothes that fit properly. And by years… I mean essentially my whole life. Seriously, since birth… I giant when I was born so I’m sure that I wasn’t fitting into any newborn clothing. Then there was elementary school where we wore uniforms (thankfully), but dance costumes were always an issue. Almost always, a new costume would have to be sewn especially for me. (I was very lanky. Super tall, super skinny.)
And then… middle school hit. All of my friends were just beginning to fit into “grownup” clothes from Gap and American Eagle and Abercrombie & Fitch. I was stuck wearing jeans from Gap Kids with elastic waistbands, and even then they were likely too short and too baggy. I tried. I really tried, but it always seemed like what I wanted to wear was something that I couldn’t wear because of my body type. And oh did I fight back. I wore jeans that didn’t fit just to wear them. And I wore dresses that were too big to fit in. And I wore whatever was in style no matter if it actually looked good on me or worked with my body type.
It made me really dislike my body. I wished that I had curvier hips to fill out jeans. I wished that my chest was smaller so I could wear those little camisoles. I wished that I was four inches taller so I could rock a short dress.
Only recently have I begun to accept my body for what it is and wear clothes that actually work. And it’s certainly a game changer. I have so much more confidence and I appreciate my body for what it is… and not distraught by what it’s not.
The other day, someone at work mentioned how long my legs were. I was shocked… My legs used to be long when I was, like, 10. But then the rest of me continued to grow and my legs just stopped. Truthfully, my legs are SHORT. I can bend down and put my palms flat on the ground with my legs straight. And it’s not because I’m flexible. It’s because my legs are short.
But I have (at least somewhat) finally figured out how to dress for my body type.
I know that magazines often (read: every issue) label body types and tell you what to look for, what jeans to wear, and what types of belted dresses to wear. But I don’t think that it’s as simple as that.
My tips for dressing for your body type:
ONE | Don’t look at the number on the tag

The number is just a number. If you need to go up a “size,” go up a size. A skirt that’s too tight (or too short) won’t be flattering. And the best part about tags? No one sees it.
TWO | When in doubt, get it altered

Love that print? Need to have that dress? But it just doesn’t look fabulous? Bring it to a tailor to have perfected for your body type. I often have to buy dresses in a size (or two) bigger because of my chest size… but then the dress would totally not work. A couple of darts here, and inch off the hem there and it’s practically a new dress! This is also a great solution for when you buy clothes on sale or get a hand-me-down from a friend.
THREE | Figure out what you want to highlight

Magazines are always talking about what you want to “hide.” Instead, focus on what you want to HIGHLIGHT. Maybe it’s your long legs or your hourglass figure or your neckline. I think the easiest way to do this is to look through old photographs and look for the ones where you’re glowing with confidence– you knew those jeans looked great that night. (We all have those favorite photos, right?) What about that outfit worked for you?
FOUR | Wear the right undergarments

Both in size, shape, and color. I recommend getting properly fitted for a bra. It makes all the difference. I always get uncomfortable talking about underwear (#prude), but what you wear underneath your outfit can actually make or break it. A good rule of thumb: Black bras/panties under black clothes; nude under white. And I swear by Hanky Panky and Commando.
What tips do you have for dressing for your body type?

Say Hello

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Such a great post! When I was younger I had a lot of trouble accepting myself, but I have learned to just rock who I am. It is no fun trying to be something you aren't! As far as shopping for my body type, I usually fit into the petite section for dresses, shirts, etc., but pants are still so hard to find. The two stores I have found pants that fit well are Gap (skinny mini khakis) and Lucky Brand jeans 🙂



I totally agree that wearing the right clothes is a game changer. I am super super short and small. Since that tends to make me look younger I really try to dress professionally just to give myself a confidence boost. And yes, get things tailored!


AJ | TheAJMinute


I spent so much time learning what looks right on my body type too. I'm relatively average height (5'4") and I'm very thin with a boyish figure (no hips, small butt, small boobs). So I really struggled to figure out how to make myself feel like a girl. Turns out, it wasn't that hard. High-waisted anything is my friend. That gave me a bit of a figure. Accentuating my waist with a belt on dresses. What was really important was finding feminine cuts for button downs that didn't make me look "manly" and hide everything. I wear clothing that has very delicate lines and cuts, if that makes sense. Surprisingly, however, form-fitting clothes are not flattering on me. The tighter the clothes, the more they show how boyish my figure actually is. So the secret is to find something that isn't too snug, but also doesn't drown you.

Alyssa Tomasic

I've always had issues finding the right clothing for my body– I have long legs, a very short torso, and a small chest. I've come to accept that certain styles, no matter how chic they are, just don't flatter my shape.

Jessica Joyce

Thanks for mentioning Tip #1 because as I've been doing MY back to school shopping, I keep stressing over that number on the tag. I definitely agree with you.
I was really small and skinny growing up as well and struggled with clothes, but I've definitely grown into myself now. All I recommend, is to just search for your style.
Your Friend, Jess


I love this! I think so many people are more concerned about wearing what's "trendy" rather than what looks good on them…it's a good reminder that clothes that fit properly always look a million times better and *more expensive*, even if they're not!

I struggle with finding clothes that fit well off the rack. I have a petite-size ribcage and top half, a larger-than-petite size chest (30 D), and long legs and arms. Basically, if I didn't get clothes tailored, I'd be dressing like a mess.

Julia D.

Wearing what you feel good in. Just because you are above a size zero doesn't mean you can't wear a bikini or tight clothes if you want to. Limits are for calculus!


I have a slight pear shape and am super petite. We are talking bust is a 30C/D (depending on brand), 23.5 in waist, and then 36.5 in hips (well hey there hips. nice of you to stick out) and I'm a pint-sized 5'1". I wear a ton of fit and flare type dresses because it highlights my waist, and also balances me out well :). Skinny jeans and nicer blouses are also a life saver. And Tailors are a life-saver. Especially in the dress department. Sheath styles look great because I have a lot of shape, but a good tailor is a must so they hit in the right places being so short! And honestly learn to love what you don't like! I hated my hips, but have grown to like them 🙂


Love your post! I have been struggling with fashion for quite a long time – ending up wearing only black clothes.

What I have learnt is that you must be confident to try things out – however never buy things that don't suit you, no matter how much you like them.


I think there needs to be more of this going around in the fashion blogger world. I adore this post and am pretty certain I'll be blogging about this subject on my blog, and linking back to your post to spread this around. I'll tweet you when I do!

Fashion and Happy Things


Hi, I empathize,because I don’t fit basic body type either: I’m five feet and one inch tall, with big round boobs (39ddd), relatively narrow hips (same circumference as boobs), very short waist, arms and legs, and muscular (I’m glad I’m strong, but wish it didn’t show so much!). So I usually have to buy separates; buying dresses is painful because most designers think all women want to magnify bust lines and minimize hips (I’m opposite); I have to take in extra material in hips,etc. Do you know of any designer who I can refer to for this? Anyway, I’ll take your tips into consideration. And thank you.