How to dress your body type like a stylist

Forget what you know about “body type.”

Good news for women! You are not a fruit or a geometric shape. Magazine articles and quizzes want to categorize you to sell you on whatever clothing items they need to promote in that month’s issue.

In her book “The Pocket Stylist” Kendall Farr advises there are three types of body frames for women. Your frame is based on your bone structure NOT your size.

How you fill out your frame is determined by your weight. Also, your frame never changes. Once you can dress for your frame, you start focusing on dressing for flattery. You can focus on playing up and accentuating the parts of your body that don’t change. When you dress for flattery for your frame, everything else comes into place beautifully. This should feel very liberating.

In addition to honoring your frame, you always want to follow the universal style rule which is to create an unbroken visual line. Essentially this means we tend to dress to appear taller and leaner vs. shorter and dumpier – a request I have yet to receive from my clients.

Perhaps you’re thinking the only way to do this is to wear black and high heels? Good news – you have options. Here are some tips to get started.

Three universal ways to create the unbroken visual line for your body type

Elevate your waist – by this I mean, use accessories like belts, gathering of fabric, tailoring (like a peplum top), patterns or other stylistic effects to make your waist appear higher than it is or even just accentuate your natural waist. Due to the popularity of low-rise pants, we have forgotten wear our real waists are. By accentuating them at the true waist, you can visually lengthen your legs making you appear taller.

Continue your leg – by this I mean do not cut yourself off at the ankle with thick straps, chunky shoes, or cuffs on pants. Avoid the “high water” look which is when your pants are too short on the leg AND flare away from the leg. Look at the color of your shoes, I am HUGE fan of nude or flesh colored shoes because they make your leg look longer. Are you wearing dark colored chunky shoes or streamlined, lighter colored shoes? Do your pants make you appear shorter or taller? Read how to pair pants with shoes for flattery. 

Low contrast outfits – this does not mean wearing all black (or all dark colors). It can be any color combination but the key is to create a smooth transition from top to bottom instead of creating a color block effect in your outfit. You can certainly wear the same color on top and bottom but you don’t have to.

What can you do to create the unbroken visual line in your outfits? Think about how to experiment with what you own to create the looks you want.

Scroll to Top