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Dressing for your body type

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By Crystal Snook contributor

Shopping for clothing should be a magical event, but for many women it can be an unpleasant, avoid-at-all-costs experience.

In order to adore shopping, you need to learn what every self-respecting woman deserves to know – how to dress for her body type. Not Gisele’s body type, not Kate Middleton’s body type, but your body type. In the words of Coco Chanel, “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”

Shape your style around your body. While it’s fun to dabble in trends, they don’t always look great on every body type. You’ll never go wrong choosing to maximize your assets and dressing to fit your body.
But determining your body type can be difficult, because the way you perceive your body is likely skewed from reality. To determine your body type, stand in front of a mirror in your undergarments and assess what you see.

How do your shoulders fall in comparison to your hips? Are they narrower or wider? Are your hips the fullest part of your body? Get crazy and pull out some lip balm and right on the mirror, mark your hip points, shoulder points and the smallest part of your torso/waistline. Connect the dots. You should see the semblance of a shape.

The beautiful thing about women is their differences. We won’t all fall into the cardboard cutouts of the shapes below, but this is a great place to start.


This sought-after shape features a narrow waist paired with shoulders and hips that are approximately the same size. Look for pieces that emphasize the narrow waist, such as sheath dresses. Avoid pieces that exude boxiness, which would only take away from the hourglass’s sizzling curves.

Inverted triangle/wedge

This body type features straight, square shoulders that are wider than the hips. This shape will have little definition between the waist and hips. The goal for this body shape is to balance the bottom half with the broader top half. Inverted triangles should look for bottom pieces that showcase interesting details while sticking to clean, frill-free tops.


Also known as the athletic or long and lean body type, the rectangle has a straight shoulder and hip line with a minimal waistline. Rectangles should try pieces that create curves and dimensions, so look for details such as ruffles, ruching or side cinching.


This shape features narrow shoulders and waist with full hips and thighs. Women with this shape tend to purchase tops a size smaller than bottoms. Play up the triangle body type by looking for tops that accentuate the narrow waistline. Interesting details in tops, such as a boat neck, will draw the eye upward while providing balance between the slighter shoulders and wider hips.


The shape displays fullness in the stomach area coupled with rounded shoulders. Typically one of the apple’s best assets are her legs. The apple should look for pieces that elongate their torso (think V-neck tees) and show off their amazing gams.

Crystal Snook is owner of Mountain Maven, a women’s clothing boutique in Big Sky.

Megan Paulson is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Outlaw Partners.

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