Dressing for Your Body: A Helpful Guide to Expressing Yourself Authentically

Dressing for Your Body: A Helpful Guide to Expressing Yourself Authentically

April 4, 2023
By Erin Clark

Read more and get $30 OFF our dresses with a FREE Queenly account

Here at Queenly, we are dedicated to making young women feel like their best selves, and that wouldn’t be possible if you didn’t also believe in yourself. But believing in yourself isn’t always the easiest thing to do, and if you aren’t making style choices that best compliment your body, we know that confidence isn’t overflowing.

So, here we are, standing in front of our fashionistas, saying, “you are worth it.” We are here today to go over different body types with you and to help you find the styles and fits that best help you feel as good as we know you are!

1. How To Get To Know Your Body

The first step in understanding how to dress your body type is to know your body type. We don’t mean just knowing the shape of your body, but also the measurements of your body. A lot of brands these days offer up the measurements for sizes, and thanks to strong women like you, the sizes have become more inclusive. So having these measurements will help ensure that you can buy a garment confidently and reduce the chance of sending items back.

You are going to want these measurements as accurate as possible and that won’t happen without the right tools (pun intended).

You will need a measuring tape of course, and no, we don’t mean the one from your dad’s toolbox. It needs to be one that is flexible and is meant for fabric measurements; you are going to want these measurements as accurate as possible and that won’t happen without the right tools (pun intended).


The first measurement you will want to take is your chest or bust. This is a measurement that will go directly across the middle of your bust and will give you the inches around the bust that many dresses and some top designs use. Many times, dresses and other garments do have a bra size associated with this area of the sizing guide so you can reference that as well if need be.


The waist can be a tricky measurement because many times people get confused about where this is taken. Your waist is the smallest part of your torso essentially, so take this measurement from the belly button area. Wrap the measuring tape around your torso and ensure that the tape is snug against your body without pulling and cinching.

If you do this, then the measurement will be obviously incorrect, and smaller than it needs to be, so you’ll end up with a dress that allows no room for breathing or zipping up potentially if you pulled really tight. Trigger warning for any Victorian Era woman who was constantly fainting in public due to air supply being cut off.

Hips and Thighs

The hips and thighs measurement will be taken around your hip bones/across the middle of your backside. This is basically the widest measurement or part of your body and comes into play in any figure-hugging dress or pants. Again, you want the measurement to be snug and fit close to your body without pulling tightly, or else the measurement will be too tight when looking at garments online.


Your inseam measurement is the most important when you’re shopping for pants but will also come into play with jumpsuits or possibly floor-length skirts and dresses. You will need this number to ensure that the crotch of your outfit will be in the right place and that your outfit actually reaches the floor. This measurement is taken from the top of the inside of your leg and goes down to the arch of your foot, essentially where a jumpsuit or pair of pants would naturally hit when you’re wearing them.

You are going to want to make sure you start at the very highest point of your leg and make sure that the tape is pulled taut to the floor, so it is most accurate. Understand that if you like high waters, that’s fine, the cropped leg look is really cute! However, keep in mind that if the inseam of the garment doesn’t match your inseam, then you run the risk of the crotch area of the outfit being off which could result in something too high or too low, throwing off the fit of your fashion.

Apple and Pear and Hourglass, Oh My!

There are quite a few shapes that are used to describe a woman’s body shape. They’re ever-evolving and adding to them to include every shape and size of a woman, and this helps understand what you like, what you want to highlight, and the areas on your body that you want to cover up.

We want you to always feel good in your body, there’s only one of you so that means there’s only one of you in this specific shape of your body, but we all have areas on our person that we like better than others. Understanding your body type isn’t meant to deter your fashion choices, rather it should be used as a guide to steer you in the right direction for accentuating your best features.

Apple Body Types

You might have an apple shape if you have a bigger bust in comparison to your waist. This will generally mean that you have broader shoulders and ample bosom and start to narrow around the waist and hips. Like an apple, it means you are basically bigger on top. Whether you are comfortable with your bust size or not, the best place to accentuate this type of body will be the narrowness of your waist.

Because you are heavier on top, your waist will have an illusion of being smaller than it is, so picking tops that cinch at the waist or high-waisted anything will show this off. When it comes to dresses, the mermaid-style gown is a great fit; it will make you seem curvier where you’re not and help you show off that small waist you’ve got going on. If you aren’t comfortable with your bra size, try something with a high or mock neck to help feel a bit more covered up without hiding your figure. Check our some of our mermaid-style dresses:

Pear Body Types

A pear shaped body is the entire opposite of apple: you are narrower in the shoulders through the bust, and wider around the lower waist through the hips. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna flaunt their pear shaped bodies on red carpets across the globe.

Like apple-shaped bodies, your best fashion feature will be your waist and neckline. With a narrower shoulder width, don’t be afraid to show those babies off; halter dresses will be great here because they will give you breadth where there isn’t much and cinch at the waist. Skinny jeans will help create the illusion of an hourglass shape when paired with a loose shirt.

With your hips naturally wider, your waist will look tiny, and you will get a curvier shape out of your clothing. A-line dresses or something in a ball gown will be great options for those dressier nights (prom, duh!), and having you looking so good you will own that dancefloor. Some popular A-line dresses on Queenly:

Hourglass Body Types

An hourglass figure will be the narrowest at the waist and have almost equal width in the bust and hip areas. Many refer to an hourglass body shape as a “coke bottle” figure and Marilyn Monroe probably had one of the most iconic figures of this hourglass shape. Because this is a very classic feminine silhouette, you will have a very sultry shape in form-fitting clothing choices. If this is something you’re comfortable with, work it, girl! If you would rather highlight your defined waist or perhaps your legs versus your hips, try something with a bit of volume and a belt.

This is a great time to try a midi dress or something high-low. You will be able to find something form-fitting that will give you a great shape (think cinched midsection), but nothing tight through your hips or thighs so you can still be confident without feeling like your shape is on display.

A full skirt will be very flattering, as will V-neck tops, scoop neck tops, sweetheart necklines, and wrap dresses. Midi skirts, A-line skirts, or high-low skirts will make you look taller and show off your legs so you can walk in there like Tyra Banks on a runway! Some trending examples below:

Oval Body Types

Women with an oval shape will tend to be narrower in the shoulders and hips and be fuller-figured around the waistline. With a shape like this, your best features to show off will be long legs and your narrow shoulders. Your upper half has shoulders that can handle a halter or strapless neckline without making your shoulders look broad, a feat that isn’t always easy to pull off with these styles of dress. However, with your widest area being in your waist, you might want to mask this area. Again, this is ok.

We ALL have areas we want to show off and others we would rather disguise. To do this, look for outfits that feature an empire waist. With an oval shape, you have the luxury of wearing almost any neckline, but empire waist dresses will cinch just under the bodice and then give you movement and a looser fit through the waist.

It will mask this area but take your natural waistline up and still give you a shape that you’re comfortable with. Another pro tip here is that a shorter dress will work out great for you! With a narrower hip and thigh area, you can show off your legs in flattering dresses that will give you a vertical shape, and that is something we all love!

Athletic Body Types

You don’t have to be an athlete to have an athletic body shape. In fact, many athletes don’t necessarily have athletic shapes due to the muscle toning they do that changes their figure! What this means is that you generally don’t have curves. Your waist is a bit narrower than your shoulders and your hips, but not a vast difference. Likewise, your hips and shoulders have the same width, giving you sort of a straight line to your figure.

This means that you will want to wear dresses and other garments with a little flare that give you more shape. So, try two-piece sets. It’ll break up the fabric, giving you more volume in the skirt and the illusion of a little more hip action. We recommend a strapless or one-shoulder top. These types of tops will accentuate your shoulders and bust, making them stand out more and hinting at more shape than you naturally have. Embellishments and ruffles will finish up the job. See some of our favorite two-piece dresses below:

Always Be You

We hope these style tips and tricks today help you find the best looks to fit your body and personality. You have to feel good in the clothes you wear in order to look good and when you dress your body in the best way possible the confidence flows more naturally than ever before. Clothes that give you the best shape possible will have everyone doing a double-take so make sure you’re serving looks everywhere you turn!

Get the app.

One girl's dress is another girl's treasure.

Apple App Store LogoGoogle Play Store Logo
Get the Queenly app on iPhone or Android
Contact Us
880 Harrison St Suite 204
San Francisco, CA 94107
Mon-Fri 9am-8pm PST
Sat-Sun 11am-5pm PST

Contact Us
Terms of ServicePrivacy PolicyReturn PolicyCookies PolicyCopyrightShipping InfoPayment Methods Accepted
DMCA.com Protection Status