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A Guide On What Colours To Wear For Your Body Shape

You’ve probably got a good idea of which styles of clothing suit you by now. After all, we’re always being given advice about how to enhance our figures and choose the most flattering outfits. But one thing that we don't hear so much about is which colours suit us best. And while that might seem a strange thing to consider, surely you just buy the colours you like, right? Choosing flattering colours is just as important as the clothes you're buying.

You wouldn't choose a colour that completely washed you out now would you, so why would you buy clothes in a colour that doesn't flatter your shape? Knowing which colours to go for can be confusing, especially with trends changing from season to season. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to choosing the right colours for your body shape.

Identifying your body type

Firstly, you’ll need to identify your body shape - and there tends to be at least five commonly agreed upon and recognised shapes. These are outlined in more detail below - read on to decide which shape best matches you.

  • Pear: Those who are considered pear shape have narrower shoulders and busts, and wider hips (not a dissimilar shape to a pear, hence the name).
  • Apple: Those who are apple shaped are the opposite to above and have a wider chest and bust than their hips. This shape is also sometimes referred to as the inverted triangle.
  • Hourglass: If you picture an hourglass it is equally wide on the top and bottom, with a thin middle. That’s how this shape got its name. With hips and bust that are almost the same width and a defined waist.
  • Rectangle: If you are pretty much straight up and down, your hips and bust are equally as wide and you have no real waist, you're considered a rectangle (sometimes called ‘the banana’ shape).
  • Oval: If your bust and mid section is fuller than your hips and you have slimmer legs, this is referred to as the round or oval shape. 

If you're a pear

For those who are pear shaped the worry can be drawing too much attention to the larger hips and bottom area. As such, you’ll want to choose colours that are going to help you slim out your legs and hips.

In the summer, choose colourful blouses or shirts as these will work wonders for your shape, bright hues can help to draw the eye to your slimmer shoulders and chest and away from your broader hips. Another perfect summer look is tunic tops or dresses. These elongate the figure but disguise the wider body underneath - just be sure these are a nice fit, the last thing you want is them clinging to your hips or stomach. It’s also a good idea to avoid khaki at all costs! Though this is a popular summer shade, it’s not the most flattering to pear shapes.

In the winter choose dark jeans or trousers, but nothing tapered at the top as this can attract the wrong attention. When choosing jackets in the colder months, make sure these finish past your hips. Choosing brighter coloured coats and jackets can once again help to bring the attention back up to the top of your body, these could be light greys, dusky pinks or camel colours.

If you're an apple

If your top half is your problem area, or perhaps you simply want to slim out your shoulders and bust, then it’s a good idea to play around with darker tones up top. In the winter apple shapes should choose rich tones such as burgundy, emerald green or deep purple and avoid chunky knitwear as this can cause you to look wider. Pair these darker colours with lighter trousers as this draws the attention to your slimmer legs and away from your upper body.

In the summer choose light hues, especially for the lower half of you body, but be sure to avoid block white clothing if you're trying to disguise a large bust. This will only make your body shape appear fuller, even if your slimmer legs are on show. Monochrome clothing can help to add height and slim you out if you're more petite, but just be wary that there is enough colour to avoid the scenario mentioned above.

If you're an hourglass

With an hourglass figure, wearing darker colours on the bottom makes your overall look slimmer, whether you choose, black, navy or darker greys. In summer opt for light skirts or wide leg pants in these shades. In the winter jeans or trousers will do the trick!

Up top, you can be a bit more adventurous with your colours, but sticking to block colours is always best. Choosing patterns can confuse the eye, with your figure already so voluptuous you want to keep your outfit simple and faltering - so block colours are best.

If you're a rectangle

If you are a rectangle shape, you’ll want to try and create the illusion that you have more of a waist than you do. Bright colours draw attention to your chosen area, so it’s best to choose brighter hues. In the summer wearing white, yellow or pastels can help to draw the eye to your waist, adding a belt or fitted top (or dress) will help to shape your figure even further.

In the winter the temptation is to go for darker colours. But as these are slimming colours and they can add to the up and down nature of your shape, making you look even more rectangular. Instead choose brighter colours that lend themselves to this time of year such as greens and reds. This will ensure you don't make your body look to ‘boyish’.

If you're an oval

For those of you with an oval figure the general rule is to wear darker colours, black in particular, as these are slimming colours. That said, while this may be fine in the winter months, in the summer you don’t always want to be dressed head to toe in dark shades.

For that reason, in the summer months you could choose colourful stripes (or even monochrome stripes) as these vertical lines trick the eye into seeing the body as long than it is. This will help you to appear taller and generally slimmer.

Written by Hayley Sturniolo, owner of personalized jewellery boutique Inscripture.com.