How to Dress for Your Shape: Top Tips From Real Women Plus Find Your Perfect Maxi Dress

Ladies, we all know that dressing for your body shape can sometimes be a minefield. No matter what shape or size you are, we’ve all got it wrong one time or another and with holiday season approaching fast, there is no better time to get it right. We asked four different women what their top tips are for making the best of your shape this summer….

Scarlett Dixon from Scarlett LondonScarlett Dixon, Editor in Chief, Scarlett London Blog

Scarlett London is the Editor in Chief of the popular Scarlett London blog. From being nominated for a Cosmo Award (2012), to grilling the cast of Made In Chelsea, and attending several out-of-this-world showbiz parties,Ai?? Scarlett herself is a showbiz and fashion journalist who knows exactly how to dress, and here are her top tips on how to dress for your body shape:

I have always follow the mantra ‘dress for your shape, not to just follow the trends’. Once you start to get the hang of what suits your shape , rather than what’s in the magazines, shopping for new, flattering clothes becomes much easier.Ai?? Curvier shapes suit more fitted, tailored clothing ai??i?? so peplum skirts, dresses and skater dresses etc suit me a little more.

I have more of an hourglass figure and I went through a phase aged 14 where I followed exactly what my friends wore which in hindsight wasn’t a good thing as I have always had more of a curvier figure, whilst my friends were very petite. Once I had stopped beating myself up about not being able to wear crop tops and hot pants , I started to figure out how to dress for my shape. I wear items of clothing that are cinched in at the waist so that the overall look is much more flattering than something that is a-line and doesn’t give any indication of a ‘shape’.

I definitely take my shape into consideration when shopping. If something is cut in a certain way, or cinched in at a certain point, I know immediately how will it look on myself. However, with brands like Ted Baker – where their clothes tend to be more tailored and better quality, what I initially think might not suit my shape actually does, so sometimes it’s worth giving items a second glance and taking a risk.

Top Tips:

  • To make your legs appear longer and slimmer, heels are an obvious choice, but I think many people follow the misconception that the higher the heels the slimmer you look. A flattering, shorter heel (which doesn’t do as much damage to your feet) can look just as lovely (if not more so) than a pair of 6 inch stilettos.
  • We all get a little self-conscious about our tummies from time to time, so make sure your outfit is tailored and fitted properly, flattering in the right places and you won’t even notice your tummy!
Fitness Guru Laura Williams

Laura Williams Fitness ExpertDiet and fitness expert Laura Williams runs her own personal training business andAi?? shares her top tips on how to make your natural body shape work for you:

If you’re blessed with a certain body shape, you can certainly exercise in a way to help balance out bits you don’t like. For example, a pear shaped woman can work on moves for the upper back and shoulders to balance out bigger hips; an apple shaped woman can focus more on cardiovascular exercise to help shift stubborn stomach fat; an hourglass shape might like to accentuate her waist by working on lower body moves for the hips and bottom, while a woman with more straight up and down look might like to work on both upper and lower body to create a more curvaceous look.

For women that struggle with fat deposits (pear shapes on hips and thighs; apple on stomach) a lower saturated fat diet should help, especially if they restrict fatty carbohydrate foods that are very more-ish such as sweet treats, puddings, toast and butter and crisps.

Top Tips:

  • If you want a more hourglass look, you can achieve that through diet and exercise but you’ll have to continue with that exercise and eating regime to stay that way, otherwise you’re going to revert to the body and shape nature originally gave you!
  • You can’t change your original shape but you can add bulk or enhance muscle tone in certain places to either detract from areas you don’t like, or to create a more balanced figure. Aerobic exercise plus a balanced, portion controlled diet will always help to shift even the most stubborn areas of fat.
Georgia Adolpho How to dress for your shape Content Editor Georgia Adolpho

Copy Queen and Content Editor Georgia Adolpho talks us through her dressing rules for her hourglass figure:

I am quite lucky to have an hourglass figure which is super easy to dress but I try and keep necklines low. Sweetheart and V-shaped necklines are great for me as I have a size DD bust. When it comes to jeans my curves are a nightmare but I find adding a pair of heels will elongate my legs and make my bum look smaller.

The most important thing for dressing an hourglass figure is to ensure the waist is properly defined. I am lucky to have a small waist but if I don’t wear clothes with a naturally cinched-in waistline then I look like a sack of potatoes.

Once you’ve built the foundations of an outfit, the styling can come second. It’s horrible to go out for the day or the evening wearing something you don’t feel comfortable or sexy in. Sometimes I go shopping for a party dress and think, “I’ll just try that floaty trapeze dress because it’s so so pretty.” But 9 times out of 10 it makes me look ten times bigger than I actually am. Then a girlfriend will hand me a V-neck dress that’s nipped in at the waist and voila! My shape is transformed.

I always say dress in what makes you feel sexy. However, I understand how difficult it is for women who either don’t know what their body shape is or are set in their ways of dressing a certain way. If you’re unsure of what suits your shape, my advice is next time you go shopping with the girls, pick a few things that you would neverAi??usually try on and see if they surprise you.

Top Tips:

  • A tip for an apple shape: Bring all the attention to your best asset.
  • A tip for pear shape: Try a maxi dress that gathers at the waist but falls loosely over your hips.
  • A tip for hourglass: Halter-necks are great for flattering a large bust.
  • A tip for straight shape: Try a maxi length with a high neckline to create the perfect proportions.
Blogger Steph Cosh
Steff Cosh - How to dress for your shape

Blogger Steph Cosh who writes the blog Cowbiscuits, gives advice on how to feel comfortable and confident no matter what your shape or size…

I dress for my body shape by usually wearing something floaty on the bottom or a dress that isn’t tight around my hips. However my top half is fine to wear something a little tighter. As long as I don’t feel uncomfortable I’m fine.

I would give the advice to show off your curves/your best assets but make sure you feel as fabulous as you look. If you feel self conscious about a particular part of your body then focus on finding the right fit for the specific area.

Top Tip:

  • Finding the right fit makes you look and FEEL a lot better. If you wear something ill fitting and you are uncomfortable in it then you won’t feel as good in yourself.


If you’re still unsure on how to make the most of you’re shape, a fail safe item for the summer is a stunning maxi dress that suits all body shapes. Available in multiple styles and colours, here are HoF’s top picks for your body shape….

Apple Shape: You will generally hold your weight around your middle but have slender arms and legs with small hips. Look for loose fitting dresses that don’t cling to your body like this beautifully pleated Biba maxi dress. The fluid chiffon material will skim rather than hug your middle and the halter-neck will show off your arms.

Celebrity Icons: Jennifer Hudson, Drew Barrymore and Queen Latifah


Biba Maxi Dress


Biba Maxi Dress

Pear Shape: Wider hips and bottom are balanced out by a small waist and top half. Strapless styles like this TFNC strapless maxi dress which will show off your petite shoulders and disguise your hips and bum.

Celebrity Icons: Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Kristin Davis.


TFNC Strapless Maxi Dress


TFNC Strapless Maxi Dress

Hour-glass Shape: Considered by many as the ideal feminine shape, your hips and bust will be proportionally balanced with a small waist. Show off your curves in fitted dresses and emphasise your waist with a belt. This simple jersey maxi dress by Vero Moda is perfect for showcasing your figure.

Celebrity Icons: Kelly Brook, Scarlett Johansson and Catherine Zeta Jones

Ai??Vero Moda Maxi Dress

Ai?? Vero Moda Striped Dress

Ai??Long and Lean Shape: Athletic and slim, there isn’t much you can’t wear if you’re this body shape but look for clever ways to add curves with ruffle details and defined waists. This Warehouse maxi dress will create the illusion of curves but will show off your slender arms.

Celebrity Icons: Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson



Warehouse V Back Maxi Dress


Ai?? Warehouse V Back Maxi Dress

Kate O'Brien

Hi I'm Kate, in a previous life I was Womenswear Editor but these days you are more likely to find me pouring over a planning calendar than the latest copy of Elle in my role as Online Content Producer. A Northern tourist in London, some of my favourite things in life include red wine, chutney (accompanied by cheese), sequins, grey cashmere and Matt Damon. I am known in the HoF office for owning far too many coats for one person, laughing too loud, and drinking full fat Coke only when hungover. My life's ambition is a simple one; to own a Puggle.

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