How to Dress for Your (Outer) Silhouette

Submitted by Alexa Graham

People come in different shapes and sizes, which is why having an understanding of your own is the key to dressing well and feeling confident enough to take on the world. If you’ve already gone through our guide on How to Find Your Signature Shape‘, you’d know how essential it is to match your face shape with what you wear. But did you know that the same rule applies for your silhouette?

Whatever your silhouette, it is the ‘perfect’ silhouette for you. To dress for your silhouette and make the most of it, have your outfits harmonize with the same shape. Rather than trying to change your silhouette – be true to yourself and go with it! Let’s take a closer look at the different silhouettes, and the best ways to dress for them.

There are two types of silhouettes. The outer silhouette is the outline of shoulders to hips. The inner silhouette is the outline of bust to hips. In this article we are focusing on the outer silhouette.

Inverted Triangle Silhouette

Women with an inverted triangle silhouette have shoulders that are significantly broader than their hips. If you belong to this category, you can take advantage of your shoulders by adding definition to your hips. This can be done by investing in skirts or dresses with an A-line silhouette just like this frock from Ralph Lauren, which hits at the waist and gradually widens towards the hips. A-line pieces will harmonize with the inverted triangle silhouette, while making you look effortlessly polished.

Flared pants or wide-leg trousers produce the same effect. And since you’ve been blessed with powerful shoulders, you can go for tops or blazers with soft shoulders so your body type can really shine.

Teardrop Silhouette

The central point of a teardrop silhouette is the hips, as they’re distinctly wider than the bust and shoulders. If this sounds like your silhouette, it’s good to draw attention to your body’s upper half to bring out the best of your teardrop silhouette, so look for thoughtful details that draw the eye to this area. For its part, this lightweight hooded jacket from Woman Within has a sleek zip front with a snap placket that adds more volume to your bust and shoulders. The hem sits right above the hips, so there’s still room to accentuate your key body parts.

To strike a stylish balance for this silhouette, go for bottoms that have a straight silhouette and come in darker hues to highlight your curves gracefully. Lastly, steer clear of baggy pieces as they can drag you down.

Hourglass Silhouette

In an hourglass silhouette, the shoulders and hips are about the same width and the waist is well-defined. The key to dressing well for this silhouette is to accentuate your waist. In this regard, wrap dresses like these chic ones featured on The Cut will fit like a glove for your hourglass silhouette, as the belt stylishly cinches the waist. You can also go for bottoms that are high-waisted, as they not only highlight your waist, but also elongate your legs. Be sure to check the fit — keep things elegant by wearing clothes that aren’t too tight.

Rectangle Silhouette

A rectangle-silhouette features shoulders, waist, and hips that practically have the same width. If your body is a rectangle silhouette, your aim is to follow this silhouette. Look for boxy tops and jackets with high necklines. Pair with a pencil or tubular skirt that hugs all the right places the way this black number from Topshop does. Accentuate your arms and legs. Go for a sophisticated halter for the former, and slim-fitting pants to suit the latter. You can avoid cinching in the waist – you don’t want to look like you’re trying to be an hourglass! You can wear great styles that look sloppy on an hourglass!

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Submitted by Alexa Graham

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