Wardrobe Basics by Body Type
These pieces are the building blocks to your wardrobe and without them it is really hard to #justgetdressed. Everyone's basics will be different though and unique to you - based on you style, taste, lifestyle and body-type. In the seasonal Style System Planner Program I make recommendations to members based on their individual needs, but here are some guidelines for the main categories - top and bottoms. Access the shopping catalog for all the items here.
1. CHAMBRAY SHIRT
Pear: Look for flowy material that can be worn tucked, half-tucked or untucked, that hits at your hip-bone zone (within 1-3 inches of hip bone). Go with the classic button-down style or one with a ruffle collar. Bell sleeves and scoop necks also look great on a pear body type.
Rectangle: Anything goes, but if you have a large chest and don't like a button-up, consider a popover style and flowy fabric that drapes over your curves. Look for one that can be tucked, un-tucked, half-tucked or tied at the waist.
Inverted Triangle: Flowy material that fits your shoulders but isn't too big in your waist. You may need to have a tailor take your shirt in at the waist and add darts to give it shape. Avoid ruffles or details that add visual weight to your shoulders and opt instead for an angled neckline (which is automatically created with a button-down or split neck shirt.
Hour Glass: Stay clear of button-downs that pull at the chest, but don't go oversized either. Look for something that is tailored that skims over your curves with an open neck. Split neck tops or popover button-downs in a soft material that has some shape are great. If it is too boxy looking, accentuate your waist with a loose half-tuck.
Round: Wear shirts that flow under your bust, or peplum styles that expand at the waist. Wear open necks - i.e. scoops and V-necks - as they can lengthen your body. Tops should fall lower than your hipbone. AVOID: Avoid high necklines and boxy, baggy or formless tops are not ideal as they make you look larger.
Adding an open cardigan or jacket over the chambray shirt creates a vertical line down your front...a great trick for many body types.
2. BLACK PANTS
Pear: Look for pants with a curvy cut or lots of stretch to accommodate your smaller waist and curvier hips and thighs. Straight leg , flares or wide leg are best, with straight leg ankle pants being the most versatile - and they work with more types of shoes from flats to heels to booties.
Rectangle: Anything goes....The key to creating a proportional look is to make sure your pants complement the silhouette of your blouse or T-shirt. If you’re going voluminous on top, balance it out with something fitted on bottom, and vice versa. High and mid-rises are generally best.
Inverted Triangle: Wide-leg pants will balance out your wider shoulders and straight leg ankle pants are an easy go-to and so versatile and shoe-friendly!
Hour Glass: Skinny and straight leg and bootcut pants with a high waist will elongate your legs and highlight your curves. Look for a curvy fit with stretch to flatter your smaller waist and reduce "gap in the back".
Round: Straight-leg ankle pants are your friend! fitted bootcut/flares are great too.
As you can tell from above, I'm a big believer in the power of the universally flattering straight leg ankle pant for all body types...It's a matter of finding the right pair for your particular needs and body. Here are some suggestions:
3. TOPS & BLOUSES
Use these tips as a general guide for your white and black tops as well as all others! And see below for some suggestion for tops to hide a belly/midsection.
Pear: You want to draw attention up and create visual fullness on top to balance your fuller bottom half. Look for tops with patterns and interesting details, higher necklines work on you, especially if you have a smaller chest. Avoid deep v-neck which will make your upper body look smaller. If your shoulders are narrow, consider boat necks, puff sleeves and shoulder details. Peplum style tops will accentuate your waist and glide over your hips.
Rectangle: Create the illusion of curves and a waist with scoop necks, puff sleeves, v-necks (not too low if your chest is small), sweetheart necklines, ruffled collars, split neck tops and the use of a half-tuck to create a waistline.
Inverted Triangle: Minimize the size of your upper body with v-necks, scoop necks, and use peplum style tops to define the waist and create more balance on your lower body.
Hour Glass: Wrap tops, v-necks and peplum tops will accentuate your balanced figure as will half tucking less structured tops. Avoid oversized, shapeless tops that hide your curves and make you look bigger.
Round: Look for tops that accentuate your shoulders, neckline, or bust. Wrap tops, faux wrap tops, tunics with a rounded hem, straight tunics that can be half-tucked or that have a high-low design, v-necks, scoop necks are both better than high neck or crew.
Regardless of your shape, extra weight in the mid-section is a common struggle so here is a collection of items that can camouflage extra belly weight: