Pillow Talk: Dressing Solely for your Body Type

Today I want to talk about dressing for solely for your body type. I have been mulling this topic over for months, and am really interested in what you all have to say about it.

The fundamental concept I have settled on is that dressing for our body type may be hindering us more than helping us. I am consistently receiving comments on the blog explaining that someone doesn't want to try a specific style because they are sure their body type forbids it, and it makes me incredibly sad.


One of my greatest concerns about dressing for our body types is that the entire concept infers that there are only certain things "right" with our body type and many more things we are trying to minimize or play down. As a woman, why on earth should I be trying to minimize my hips? Is that not an inherent quality of womanhood (and eventually motherhood)? I despise the idea of dressing a specific way because we are ashamed of our body, or parts of our body. (If you want some solid reading on this topic, I suggest Sal's Down with Shame post.)

If there is a style type you admire but fear you may never pull off, I say let go of some of your prejudices and at least try it on. Observe other women you know that dress outside the box and decided for your self if something might work for you.

Some of you may remember my favorite quote from Nina Garcia's book,

"I marvel at a six-foot tall woman in stilettos, a big bottom woman in a curve hugging skirt, a flat chested woman in a tight, low-cut t-shirt. When a woman embraces her imperfections, they can become her greatest strengths, definers of her character and spirit."

So how about you? Do you think about your body type when getting dressed or shopping? Do you care or could you care less? Do you let body issues limit your choices? Or...?

I'm very interested in what you all have to say about the topic. Leave a comment...


  1. Well said! I totally agree with you. There's a fashion website that tells you what you "can" wear based on your body type, and it annoys me. (It also REALLY annoys me that it tells you how to dress your baby's body flaws. Babies are naturally adorable. They don't HAVE flaws.) I have a pudgy tummy, so I should avoid anything with shape and structure? Turns out I love wearing high-waisted pencil skirts, even if it doesn't hide my kangaroo pouch. Why should I have to hide it? Not everything I try is going to be comfortable or look great, but I shouldn't let someone else's opinion of what is "right" for my body stop me.

  2. I think there's some things that are cut so that certain body types simply CANNOT wear them. For me that's 95% of all pencil skirts. If they fit my legs and my butt they'd be too big in the waist.

    However, I said 95% of all. I do own one that fits pretty well.

    I also have tried on dozens of pairs of skinny jeans and never found one that fit until recently.

    That's why I agree with your advice. TRY IT. Some things you'd be surprised how good you can look and how good you can feel in it.

    And remember that all designers do not create equally!

  3. I think stepping out of your comfort zone and giving everything a shot at least once is a great idea.

    That being said, I DO shop for my "body type"...by which I mean I look for shapes and cuts I know make me look good, feel good, and fit the right way. When I put a big red X through certain styles in my head, it's not because I don't want someone to notice my hips or belly or what have you, so much as how some styles can create an awkward shape that wasn't there to begin with.

  4. I agree with this line of thinking for sure! I believe in knowing my body, understanding it, but not labeling it. When I have tried to fit my shape into the box of a "body type," I really limit myself. I have found that I know my body pretty well. I just have to give things a try, and sometimes style my outfit in a way that gives me the most flattering look.
    I do have to say, though, that not all styles work for everyone. I think it is more important to dress your own body than to try to make your body fit the dress...

  5. It is funny that you used that quote - I just read that book yesterday and I really liked that quote.

    I think there are ways to dress your shape that are more flattering but I don't think anyone should avoid a style they love just because it doesn't ideally fit their shape. Nina Garcia writes in her book that women have style and beauty not because of what they are wearing but because of how they feel - the confidence they have. I feel confident in a pencil skirt - it makes me feel beautful and shows of my curves, so I get compliments when I wear pencil skirts - not because of the clothes, but because of the confidence I have in the clothes.

    I also think dressing is all about balance - if you are a pear shape you shouldn't hide your hips (because as you said they are beautiful) instead you should balance your hip by creating more of a focal point up top. Just like you would balance a tight pair of pants with a loose top or a tight top with a flowy skirt.

    To Haven - a tailor should be your best friend! Clothing is not meant to fit off the rack - buy the skirt so it fits the biggest part of you (for you, your legs a butt) and get it taken in at the other parts (your waist) and it will fit you like it should.

    Great post - thanks!

  6. I always try to dress in such a way that I FEEL good about myself. If I look in the mirror and I feel good about how I look, than anything is game. That being said, I definitely shop for my body shape. I have gotten more adventurous though, and I have tried things I didn't think would look good on me. Sometimes, it still doesn't look good, but other times, it surprises me and looks great! But no one should feel limited because of their body or because of some "imperfection" they feel they might have. We should embrace who we are and what we look like and have confidence in our body's. Every size and shape is beautiful in my book.

  7. I totally agree. Sometimes women are way too hard on themselves. We should be showing off our assets instead of trying to hide them.


  8. I try things on that look cute on the hanger. If it doesn't flatter, then I don't buy it. For example, I have a larger chest, so some shirts don't fit properly or hang well. As long as it doesn't look sloppy or the fit isn't bad, then I'll wear it.

  9. I am so sick of being told that my curves are to be minimized! What if i don't want to hide my wide hips or big booty??? Everyone's idea of beautiful or sexy is not the same, and i resent "experts" that tell me that my body is not ideal. Instead of encouraging shame about our bodies, why not embrace differences? I believe you have to love your body because its the only one you'll have.

  10. I have a hard time with "body type" because honestly mine doesn't fit in any of the categories...I'm a combination of slim, athletic, and inverted triange, and I'm short. (Plus I've got the mommy pouch from having kids) It can get confusing! I just try on what I like and go from there. If I like it, I wear it. I can't keep track of all the rules the "experts" give us anyway.

  11. Great post, Madeline!! Love the quote, too.

    I agree with the confidence thing, it makes all the difference!

    After I had Penelope, I had NO CLUE how to dress my body. I felt like I needed to change the way I dressed to flatter my body, when all I really needed to do to look/feel good was buy a bigger size.

  12. I say try it on, always! You just never know until you try it on! I'm flat chested, tummy pouch and short but still on the small side and I have many different styles in my closet.

  13. I only think about it as it relates to the experiences I've had. My tiny waist and big bottom just looks better in some things and absolutely doesn't fit into others. No amount of great tailoring can fix some things that don't fit.

  14. Thank you so much fro writing this! It's so true, we shouldn't discriminate certain pieces of clothing because of some magazine article. I bought into that. I recently bought skinny jeans after years of being convinced I could never wear them because I don't have a "boyish" figure. I love 'em! Thanks again.


  15. I do agree with you.. partially.
    For me, it's hard to dress the trends for my body type. I've got a pear shaped body and I buy things that flatter my body regardless if they are in "style" or not.

  16. I feel like we should wear whatever helps us feel confident, happy, and great about ourselves. If you consider part of yourself an asset, wear clothes that play it up, whether others see it as an asset or not. Wear what makes you happy!

  17. After you talked about this when we were shopping, I thought about it a lot. I agree with you. I think a lot of looks can be pulled off if you wear it with confidence.

  18. I disagree. I think that if you dress for your body type, you can make a simple black shirt, with the right cut, look like a million bucks, just because of the fit. I am petite and thin and I know that wearing a long maxi dress, like all the tall ladies out there, will just make me look even more tiny. I think its important to know your limitations, in that respect. You can't buy a gladiator sandal if you're 5'2" and expect it to look great, like it does on a long legged woman that is 5'9". :)

  19. I was just thinking about this topic two days ago. I can't tell you how many times I've seen something and thought, "Oh, that's cute, but I couldn't wear it." I realized that I'm not even trying things on because I don't think they'll look good and that's just silly. Even sillier, I'm not trying things on because I don't think they'll *fit*! (Like blazers. I love them but have large boobs so have never found one that fits well. But I've only tried on like 5 and then I gave up. But that doesn't mean I can't wear blazers, just that I need to try on more to find one that fits!)

  20. I'm with you. I am quite conscious about my body type and what clothes will flatter me - because I look super-awesome in the right clothing and simply not a good in the stuff that isn't right.

    That's not to say that one cannot TRY a certain style. We shouldn't fear clothes. Try them on! If you like it, try it! If it doesn't work, it's not you, it's the clothes.


  21. awesome post! I also love that quote... when I read that book a year ago, that was the thing that struck me the most.

    I can't say I always follow it... I dreamed of wearing a particular wedding dress but (because of my lack of curves) i passed it up for an empire-waist a-line that flattered my bodytype.

    I definitely have more confidence now then I did then, I wonder what I would have done if the decision was before me now.

    But I can boost of being 5'2 and wearing flats--even to events where I am the only one--and I feel great!

    I always preach the fake it til you make it approach, works for me and I'll tell you what others believe it too :)


I would love to answer any questions you have. It would make my day if your email address is linked in your profile. If you're not sure if it's linked, you can add it by following these instructions.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...