Finding dresses that flatter your body type can be a challenge, if you don't know what you should emphasize. Body types differ dramatically, but most people fall into one of five general shape categories. Along with dressing for your body type, wearing the right colors can make or break an outfit. Depending on your skin's coloring, certain clothing colors will either make your skin look washed-out or give it a special glow. Learn what category your skin tone fits into, and then dress in complementary colors.
Things You'll Need
- Measuring tape, flexible/cloth
Determine Your Body Type
Measure your bust. With your arms at your sides, have a helper stretch the measuring tape around the fullest part of your bust, keeping the tape parallel to the floor. Write down the measurement.
Measure your waist. Wrap the tape around your waist where the waistband of your pants typically sits. Keep the tape loose enough to fit a finger between it and your skin. Write down the measurement.
Measure your hips. Put your feet together and wrap the tape around the fullest part of your hips. Write down the measurement.
If your bust and hips are the same size and your waist is slightly smaller, you have a straight body type. If your hips are larger than your waist and your waist is larger than your bust, you have a pear-shaped body. If your bust and hips are close to the same size and your waist is smaller, you have an hourglass body type. If your waist is larger than your bust and hips, you have a diamond body type. And if your bust is larger than your hips and waist, you have an inverted triangle body type.
Clothes for a Straight Body Type
Wear form-fitting dresses that hug your body.
Wear a belt around your waist for emphasis.
Wear clothes with embellishments, such as ruffles, large collars and shoulder pads, that emphasize your upper body.
Clothes for a Pear-Shaped Body Type
Wear dresses with fitted waists and embellishments -- such as pockets, ruffles or a collar -- in the upper area.
Wear dresses with V- or U-shaped necklines, with shoulder pads or flared sleeves.
Wear bold patterns and colors from the waist up and solid colors from the waist down.
Clothes for an Hourglass Body Type
Wear dresses with belts to accentuate your waist and a hemline at or above the knee.
Wear dresses that have similar volumes on top and bottom, such as ruffles around the neckline and at the hemline.
Wear clothes that hug your form, or wear loose-fitting garments with a belt.
Clothes for a Diamond-Shape Body Type
Wear dresses that emphasize the waistline, such as those with belts and an A-line skirt.
Wear dresses that feature embellishments around the bust to help balance the wide waist.
Wear clothes that show off the lower legs, such as knee-length dresses and skirts.
Clothes for an Inverted Triangle Body Type
Wear dresses that are full around the hips and have hemlines that fall at or below the knee.
Wear dresses that have a deep V-shaped neckline.
Wear clothes that are darker at the top and lighter at the bottom. Embellishments around the waist and bottom add fullness to balance your proportions.
Choosing Colors that are Right for You
Determine your skin tone. Look at your inner thigh or the inner part of your upper arm in natural light. If your skin has blue or pink undertones, you are a "winter." If your skin is pale pink, you are a "summer." If your skin has gold or brown undertones, you are an "autumn." If your skin is very pale with gold undertones, you are a "spring."
Wear dark, rich colors such as navy blue or red if you are a "winter." For lighter colors, wear white, pink or blue. Avoid earth tones.
Wear neutral colors, such as beige and ivory, if you are a "summer." Cool pink, blue and yellow pastels will also work with your skin tone. Avoid bright colors.
Wear rich, warm colors, such as shades of orange, gold and brown, if you are an "autumn." For lighter colors, wear shades of gray. Avoid bright colors and pastels.
Wear pale colors, such as shades of yellow and blue, if you are a "spring." For brighter colors, wear true reds and bright greens. Avoid black and white.