Tips for Working with Your Body Shape: Beyond Apples & Pears

Inverted Triangle

The Goal: Minimize upper body, maximize hips

The inverted triangle body type is wider on top -- a swimmer's body, if you will. Or sometimes it's not the shoulders but the bust that throws the shape off-balance. If the ideal is the skinny hourglass figure, then what we need to do with clothing is to add some width to the hips and make the upper body look narrower.


Giving the hips a bit more oomph is the easier effect to achieve. There are lots of ways to accomplish this, including skirts and pants with side pockets or pleats, full skirts, or a thick belt worn low on the hips. Balance can also be achieved via boot cut, flared, or wide-leg jeans, which draw the eye downward and provide width low on the body to counter broad shoulders.

Removing width is harder than adding it, but there are lots of ways to do it. Making the shoulders appear narrower relies on balancing them with the above methods, avoiding any added bulk, like shoulder pads or puffed sleeves, wearing dark colors on top (dark tends to slim), and simply drawing attention elsewhere. Accessories can accomplish this nicely -- wearing a bracelet instead of a necklace, for instance, draws the eye downward. Platform shoes can have a similar effect.

Styles to Avoid

Inverted-triangle types may want to avoid skinny jeans, tapered pants, and pencil skirts, which will all tend to accentuate the width of the upper body. Boldly printed or heavily embellished tops will draw attention to a broad upper torso and should be worn sparingly, if at all.

Look to Try: Flare leg jeans, simple cotton tunic, wide leather belt on hips, platform sandals.

Up next, it's about adding curves…