Understanding your unique body shape to gain confidence

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1st August 2016 | Written by Bernadette

Bernadette and Body Shapes

When it comes to looking and feeling amazing, it’s not your size or shape that matters. It’s about choosing what actually suits you and what makes you feel comfortable and confident.

When I am styling women, I very rarely label them by body shape. I work with them to really understand what they feel are their problem areas and then point out the areas that are their best attributes. These are the areas we really want to draw the eye too.

The Majority of women focus on their imperfections. This means they are always dressing to cover up the areas they don’t like (i.e. tummy, arms, bottom, thighs etc.) rather than establishing a realistic view of their overall body shape.

Body shape is all about proportion. It’s about accentuating your unique shape and enhancing what you have. You decide where you want to attract the attention. An affordable way to do this is buying on trend accessories for the season. A statement piece like Lisa Choker will draw the eye to your shoulders and neckline.

Each of us is unique — and our bodies are, too! Humans are far too complicated to be simplified into body shape categories. There are some basic principles behind dressing to certain body shapes – there are endless books and article written on the subject.

Body shapes are generally narrowed down to five categories: Triangular, Inverted triangle, rectangular, diamond and hourglass.

Body Shapes

I have put together a few tips for dressing to suit your body type:


Draw the eye to the upper body with a few simple tricks

  • Wearing colour or print on top back with dark bottoms
  • Thinking about using embellishment near the neckline or try off the shoulder necklines
  • Utilising fitted tops of jackets to accentuate your slimmer upper body and waistline


Your goal is to minimise your middle section by highlighting your shoulders and legs

  • Wear woven fabrics, rather than clingy knits with an open neckline or V to draw attention to your bust and neckline
  • Invest in flat front pants or jeans to minimise bulk
  • Aim for tops that finish on your hipbone to help with balance of proportions


Your aim is to make your hips and bust appear bigger

  • Play with ruffles, frills, pleats in bust area to add volume, like Aliisa Crop Top
  • Add extra layers like a longline vest or jacket to a pair of straight leg pants
  • Try a shift dress that has design lines to create the illusion of a waistline


Your goal is to highlight your curves.

  • Using belts or self-ties to draw in your waist
  • Wearing tailored and fitted jackets with soft feminine skirts
  • Experimenting with tucking in your tops and adding a statement belt.


The aim is to illusion dress to balance your proportions

  • Try a fuller leg pant or a culottes
  • Wear your jackets open
  • Open your neckline with V necks or unbuttoned shirt

As a personal stylist I don’t only focus on body shape principles. I look at the individual as a whole. Everything including colour, personality, height, lifestyle etc. all have to be taken into account. As a whole it creates a style that is unique to them.

I truly believe women need to celebrate their shape. Appreciate what they have and learn to dress to accentuate their best attributes. We come in all shapes and sizes. With acceptance comes confidence! If you have confidence, you can make any outfit look great.