The right outfit can make you look confident and way sexier! From outfit ideas for every occasion to what not to wear rules for curvy, here’s how to dress a curvy body according to your body shape. Spoon, mango, pear, hourglass or strawberry – what’s yours?
Hey gorgeous! Everybody is different and so are their style choices. And most importantly, the same clothes look different on everybody. So what we see in magazines or on runway models rarely ever works well in real life. Wondering how to dress a curvy body? Whether you’re curvy or skinny or somewhere in between, personal style is more of a matter of what makes you feel confident, rather than what’s trendy.
From tons of experience I’ve had dressing up my curvy friends and giving them style advice over the years, I’ve learned that even if you’re curvy, something that looks good on a curvy model won’t necessarily look good on you. And that’s because curvy body shapes are all different too.
How can you flatter your fuller figure? You gotta learn how to dress for your body type and age.
What is Considered a Curvy Body Type?
Simply said, a curvy body type is the one in which a woman’s curves, created by her waist, bust and hips are prominently seen. This is opposed to a skinny body type, in which the hips, bust and waist are not prominent and the body is more like a straight line or something of a lazy S.
There are five curvy body types – mango, spoon, pear, curvy hourglass and strawberry. To know more about what does curvy mean on a woman and what are the 5 body types, read my article: What Does a Curvy Body Type Mean? A “Full” Guide to Curves!
What size is a curvy woman? Actually, there is no particular size that’s considered curvy, as all bodies are different. However, for curvy women, the bust-waist-hip measurements are larger than those of skinny women and the ratio between these measurements is also larger. For example, 36-32-40 or 40-35-46 (in inches).
How Do I Know My Body Shape?
Simply read the above mentioned article, which details the 5 Different Curvy Body Types. It has helpful tips and exact measurements to help you determine your own body shape.
How to Dress a Curvy Body
Dressing for a curvy body is very tricky, especially because most brands make outfits for larger measurements just as an afterthought. Most designers design for skinny women, and even most models are skinny. This makes it so difficult for curvy women to know what would look good on them, unless they try everything themselves.
And even then, tons of outfit issues crop up only when you actually wear something the whole day. A camisole that keeps riding up your waist, a skirt that shows more than you want when you bend over, and jeans that just won’t fit at both the waist and hips – issues are endless!
So are you wondering, “How should I dress if I have curves?” Well, we have created some helpful tips for daily comfortable dressing. Since curvy bodies are so different from one another, let’s go over each body type so that you can flatter your best parts and hide the problem areas.
1. How to Dress for Mango Body Type
Mango body type is the one in which your hips and thighs are the most prominent parts of your body. Your hip measurement is usually larger than your waist and bust, but you also have heavy thighs. Here’s how to dress for mango body shape:
1. Knee-length A-line skirts and dresses with a well-defined waist are your best friend, since they hide the prominent thighs. Plus the defined waistline mimicks an hourglass shape.
2. How to dress a curvy body for parties? Go for flared skirts, fitted trousers or dresses in light fabrics like satin, georgette, chiffon, cashmere that don’t make the thighs seem heavier. Avoid stiff fabrics and poufy skirts.
3. Shift dresses will suit you, too. These are great summer outfits for curvy shapes.
4. For street-style/casual wear, you can try harem cargos or palazzos. Palazzos will balance your whole leg, hiding heavy thighs.
5. Wear skinny or boy jeans with a tucked-in tee, especially if you have a flat-ish tummy. Avoid mom-jeans, since they’ll make the thighs seem even bigger.
6. Go for medium-waist jeans, and you can try a semi-tucked-in top that gives a casual vibe.
7. If you have a large tummy, go for kimono dresses. Or try flared shift dresses with a little ruching in the waist area. Go for wide-belts to define your waistline.
8. For work, you can go for a straight or boot-legged trouser and pair it with a shirt tucked in, under a long blazer or cardigan.
9. Unless you have a flat tummy, avoid empire-waist dresses, as they’ll give a maternity look.
10. Avoid calf-length midi dresses, which will make you look stocky, as your lower half is heavier. Instead, try knee-length dresses or skirts.
11. Use a wide belt to define your bodyline, over high-rise dresses, skirts or trousers. It’ll make you look like an hourglass woman!
Celebs/Instagram bloggers to follow: Jada Sezer @jadasezer
2. How to Dress for Spoon Body Shape
Spoon body type is the one in which the hip measurement is the largest out of all three – bust, waist & hips, but you also have a well-defined waist. Here are some basic tips on how to dress for the spoon body type:
1. Wondering how to dress a curvy body if you have a well defined waist? Fitted pencil or bodycon dresses can look really flattering on you if you have a toned body.
2. If you don’t have a toned body, try knee-length, A-line dresses or wrap dresses. These silhouettes bring out the waistline and hide the hips.
3. Pair skinny belts with A-line dresses to highlight your waist, mimicking hourglass figure. This would be a perfect date or lunch outfit.
4. For a more modest outfit, try long belted tops, worn over skinny jeans or tights.
5. For casual wear, you can go for bootleg jeans + button-up shirts. Skinny jeans with tucked in tops will also suit you. Add a thin but wide belt to keep it in place.
6. To emphasize your hips, go for pencil skirts + tees/blouses, which can be great for parties, casual occasions or even office. Tuck in your blouse or shirt to emphasize your waistline. Or go for skirt-suits.
6. For office wear, you can also wear fitted pants + shirts.
7. Here’s how to dress a curvy body for parties. Flattering gowns for curvy body for spoon shape include A-line, mermaid and modified A-line.
Celebs to follow: Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Ashley Graham
3. How to Dress for Pear Body Shape
Pear shape is the type of body shape in which the hips have the largest measurement out of waist/hips/bust. In pear shaped women, the hips are the most prominent; whereas the waistline is not well-defined. Here are helpful tips on how to dress the pear body type:
1. Flared midi dresses or knee-length A-line dresses look the best on you for dates or casual outings.
2. Belts are your best friends. Add a skinny belt to dresses, which will bring out the structure. Wide belts, on the other hand, may make your waist seem larger than your bust.
3. Try color blocking with darker colors at the sides, making your hips seem narrower.
4. Also try belted high-low dresses, that are slightly above the knee in the front. These dresses will accentuate your waist in the front and hide hips at the back.
5. For parties, you can also wear maxi gowns, especially empire-waisted or A-line. These will elongate your silhouette, making it look balanced.
6. How to dress a curvy body for office? If you are toned and want to emphasize your curvy figure, go for belted pencil dresses paired with long blazers. Or pencil skirt suits.
7. Also wear long tops that have a front slit, or go for shirt-dresses. The front slit or button placket will divert attention away from hip-line.
8. Long tops + skinny jeans are also a good combo for you. Or high-low tops.
9. Go for darker colored bottoms and lighter colored tops, so that your bottom part never looks much bigger than the top.
10. Avoid poufy fabrics like tissue, stiff silk or tulle for your skirts, dresses or bottoms, which add too much volume.
11. The best idea is to layer a long cardigan over a tucked-in top or bodysuit, paired with pants. You can also try cardigans over belted dresses. This will create vertical lines on the sides, making your hips appear narrow.
12. Avoid peplum tops at all costs. They add extra volume at the hip area, which will make your silhouette seem more unbalanced.
Celebs/influencers to follow: Kelly Clarkson @kellyclarkson
4. How to Dress for Curvy Hourglass Body Type
Curvy hourglass is a balanced body type, in which your waist is well-defined, and your hip and bust measurements are almost equal. Let’s go over some tips on what kind of outfits best suit your shape:
1. Sheath dresses will look the best on you, since your body is well-proportionate. If your stomach is not toned, wear it over a shape-wear. And go for regular tummy-toning exercises, which will keep you in shape.
2. Empire-waist and belted A-line dresses would suit you. Since you have a narrow waist, they’ll bring out your bust in a flattering way.
3. High-low dresses would work well on you, too. And for weddings, go for mermaid gowns.
4. Straight-cut jeans + tees/tops are a great idea for casual wear. Tuck in your top to accentuate your waist and make your legs seem elongated.
5. For office, you can try straight cut trousers with button-up shirts, tucked into the trousers. Add a belt to highlight the waist.
6. Jumpsuits with a fitted top would also look good on you, since they’ll accentuate your curves well.
7. Fitted wrap dresses make for cute outfits for curvy figure.
8. High-low tops + skinny jeans are also a good idea for casual wear or parties.
9. Go for stretch fabrics with at least 5% spandex or elastane so that your dresses hug your curves in the right places.
10. If you wanna know how to dress a curvy body when you’re short? Go for a single-color outfit. Monochromatic color palette works well for outfits for curvy petites.
Follow on Insta: Beyonce, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Lawrence, Chrissy Teigen, Sonny Turner @sonnyturner___
5. How to Dress for Strawberry Body Type
Women whose bust measurements are considerably larger than their hip and waist measurements have a strawberry body type. Strawberry body type means you’re top-heavy. Let’s check out some outfit ideas that will suit your body shape :
1. You want to balance your body shape by making sure there is no extra volume added to the top half, while adding some volume to the lower half. So go for flared skirts paired with body-hugging tops or bodysuits.
2. You can also try wrap dresses, which will hug the bust, while flaring out at the hips.
3. If you want to accentuate your bust, go for bodycon or tank dress.
4. For formal parties or weddings, try gowns with an over-skirt. This adds some volume to the sides of your hips.
5. Go for skinny jeans + off-the-shoulder tees/tops. These will bring the emphasis up to the shoulders while covering your cleavage.
6. Go for a color combo of darker colored top with jeans, which will give the illusion of a narrower bust.
7. To give more coverage at the bust area, try dresses or tops with flutter sleeves that extend like a scarf over the chest.
9. Peplum tops would look great on you, since they’ll mimic hourglass figure. Perf date night outfit, or even a work look.
10. You can also try cape dresses, in which the fabric extends to cover the chest area. This will work both for parties and office.
11. For office, you can also go for cape cardigans + skinny jeans. For a more formal look, try a cape blazer.
12. The most important thing on how to dress a curvy body that’s top-heavy? Never forget the power of a good bra with extra coverage, which does not create spillage.
Who to follow on Instagram: Katy Perry, Kate Upton, Kat Dennings, Mariah Carey, Simone Charles @simonecharles_
What Kind of Dresses Look Good on Plus Size?
Not all curvy women are plus-sized. Curvy body type just means having prominent curves. Whereas plus sized women are those whose body measurements are larger than average. Plus-sized women are sometimes curvy (not always) and they have the body shapes as described above. The guidelines for dresses stay the same for each body type, so refer to your body type above to know what kind of dresses will suit you.
So I hope our guide on how to dress a curvy body was helpful. What’s your body type? Lemme know below. And if you created any new stylish outfits after reading this article, I’d love to see them. Share them with me by tagging me on your Insta post @shilpaahujadotcom! I’ll be be sure to double-tap!
Shilpa Ahuja a designer and entrepreneur. She is the editor-in-chief of ShilpaAhuja.com, which she founded with the goal of inspiring confidence in the modern working woman through fashion.
Fashion has traditionally been for the rich, white, thin woman. That’s how it evolved over centuries and that’s how it’s been represented in fashion media. But Shilpa believes that with the changing role of women in the society, fashion has changed, too. She believes that fashion is for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, color, body type and background. So she translates runway fashion into easy style advice that one can incorporate into their daily lives.
Shilpa’s work has been published in the University of Fashion blog and Jet Airways magazine. She is also an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She is also the creator of Audrey O., a comic series that represents the lifestyle of millennial women. She enjoys creative writing and world travel. Her art has been exhibited at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh and been published in Chandigarh Times.
Originally from Chandigarh, Shilpa also has a professional degree in architecture and has worked in interior project management. She is also the author of the book “Designing a Chinese Cultural Center in India”. Shilpa has a Masters in Design Studies degree from Harvard University. For feedback and questions, please email [email protected]