How to dress for your body shape

Petite women come in all body shapes and dress sizes. If you struggle to find clothes that flatters and fits,  it could be because you aren’t dressing for your petite body shape.

Not sure what your body shape is? Have a look at the 5 body shapes along with some style tips.

As part of petite fashion week, my clothing recommendations have come from our petite fashion week partners, online petite stores Gambita and The Petite Shop.

Pear Shape (Narrow shoulders, wide hips with a small waist)

This is the most common body shape in the UK. The key for dressing a pear shape is to:

1. Keep the attention on the top half of your body
2. Highlight your waist
3. Ensure that your skirts and dresses skim your hips

For example,  the Seven Blooms Ruffled Petite Blazer from The Petite Shop is perfect for petite pear body shape.

Seven blooms ruffled petite blazer


Hourglass (Shoulders and hips are the same width with a defined waist)

If you’re lucky enough to have an hourglass figure, ensure that you highlight your waist.  You can do this by wearing a fitted top or a fitted dress which fit neatly on the waist.

For example,  Lady Doll Dress the from Gambita is perfect for petite hourglass body shape.

Gambita Lady Doll Dress


Apple (Carries weight around the tummy area)

If your tummy is the area you hate the most, look for styles which will skim the tummy area such as the Drew Silk Top from Gambita.

Gambita Drew Silk Top


Rectangle (No defined waist)

Although you don’t have a waist, it is possible to create a waist through the power of optical illusion dressing. An easy way to do this is to opt for  a dress that fits and flare out such as the Adrianna Papell Retro Petite Red Dress by The Petite Shop.

Adrianna Papell Retro Petite Red Dress

Strawberry (Wide shoulders, narrow hips)

The key to dressing for your Strawberry body shapes is to wear clothes that takes attention away from the shoulder area. This can be done through  wearing a plain  colour on your top half and pattern on the bottom half such as the Tracy Reese Petite Contrast Frock from The Petite Shop.

Tracy Resse Petite Contrast Frock

I hope that you’ve found this blog post helpful.  To help spread the word on Petite Fashion Week, I’d love for you to hash tag #petitefashionweek on twitter.To do this, simply [click here].


  • TheLondonMum

    Great blog post, I like how you attributed each shop to a petite issue problem.

  • I’m either a rectangle or an apple for my body type. When I was skinnier, I was more of a strawberry. I find it funny that they relate them to food.

  • Samantha King

    Keri, you are so right! I find it comical that they name body types after food 🙂 Carol, I find it hard to determine whether I am a hourglass or a pear. What do you suggest for people like me who straddle in between two types?

    • I think they are named after foods as they are easier to remember. Both Hourglass and Pears have a slim waist so I would recommend that you make your waist the main focus.

      Generally pears wear bigger size on the bottom and smaller size on the top and also have a smaller bust.

      Hourglasses tend to be the same size top & bottom, with an ample bust.

      • Samantha King

        Thanks, Carol. Then I am definitely an hourglass. Now I know 🙂

        • You’re welcome Samantha 🙂

  • Delia @ Blog Formatting

    I love the Drew Silk top, Carol! In fact I have a few pieces like that and I feel great wearing them. I am not petite, but I like that your tips can apply regardless. Thanks for the great ideas 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting Delia. You’re right a lot of the tips which I write are relevant to all women, not just petites!

  • Guest

    Nice, simple, to the point. thanks

    • Thanks for commenting. I like to keep things short & sweet 🙂

  • Nice, simple and to the point. thanks.

    • I like to keep things short & sweet 🙂

  • Lisa Mallis

    Thanks! I love how your body shape tips apply to all . . . not just petites! I’m a “strawberry” and darker on the top is exactly how I dress! Fab resource!

    • Thanks for your kind words Lisa

  • Margaret Heisworkingitout Reed

    I am a combo, lol…great post, my biggest problem is length in pants. If I combat that I would have a lot less hassle shopping. Enjoyed the read.

    • It’s quite common to a combination of the body shapes!

  • Jen Hale

    I’m definitely an apple so the Drew Silk Top is fantastic for me. I can’t stand my stomach and hide it all the time.

  • Phoebe Thomas

    I’ve heard of apple and pear shape before but this is the first time I’ve heard of strawberry! Lots of good tips, thanks!

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