The Ultimate Guide to Women’s Clothing: Dressing According To Your Body Shape

Mon, 2021-12-13

models of different sizes in different outfits

Most of us would have heard of the term “body diversity” countless times, but not many truly understand what it means. It essentially involves embracing all variations of the human body because there should not be a thing such as a “perfect size”, nor is anyone superior to others. 

Although more are starting to acknowledge the need to celebrate body diversity, the reality is that our society still has a long way to go in making the world a more inclusive place for people of all shapes and sizes. Thankfully, there have been conscious changes made in recent years, such as plus size models making their mark and fashion brands being more inclusive with their designs and sizings.

You may wonder, “why is body positivity so important?” That is because it greatly influences one’s mental health and well-being, and having a healthy body image plays a huge role in how people feel about their bodies. This is why here at Her Velvet Vase, we focus on creating women’s clothing you can shop online in Singapore that will flatter all body types. We believe fashion is a powerful tool in promoting body diversity because when one looks good, she will naturally feel good too. 

This guide to dressing according to your body type - be it for office wear or smart casual outfits - will help you to gain confidence and recognise that you are more than a number on the scale. Read on to find out more about the benefits, what to avoid wearing and the types of cuttings and designs that will flatter your body most. 

Everything you need to know about body types in women

1. The different body shapes

different body shapes

While women come in all shapes and sizes, there are five main body shapes that the majority refer to when choosing outfits. Understanding them will help you to make better choices when it comes to picking out clothing online, especially since you will not be able to try them on before purchasing. 


The hourglass figure is typically categorised by the hip and bust measurements being nearly equal in size, with the waist being the narrowest portion of the body. Some other characteristics of an hourglass figure are round shoulders, bigger thighs and weight gain is usually distributed evenly throughout the body. 


This body shape got its name from its similarity to that of an apple, with the typical characteristics being having a large bust, narrow hips and a full midsection. Some other characteristics of an apple body shape are little to an undefined waist, slimmer limbs and weight gain is usually first visible in the tummy area. 


This is another body shape that got its name thanks to its similarity to that of a pear and is used to describe figures with hips that are wider than the shoulders and bust. Some other characteristics of a pear body shape are a smaller frame in the upper body, a defined waist and weight gain usually go to the hips, thighs and lower part of the body. 


A rectangle body shape is categorised by equal measurements in the bust, waist and hips. This figure typically lacks curves, has a straight shoulder line and weight gain is usually evenly distributed throughout the body. 

Inverted triangle

An inverted triangle figure involves having broad shoulders and bust with the body narrowing from the waist down to the hips. Some other characteristics of an inverted triangle body shape are slim legs, straight and squared shoulders, and little to no waist definition. 

2. How to determine your body shape

Now that you have a clearer idea of the different body shapes, knowing how to determine your own is the next step to dressing yourself up in a way that will make you feel confident. This is one of the most crucial parts of picking out an outfit, regardless of whether you are getting work clothes in Singapore or buying dresses online

There are two main ways to find out your body shape:

#1 Using measurements

lady measuring her body wearing swimwear

Knowing the measurements of your shoulders, bust, waist and hips is one of the most accurate ways to ascertain your body shape. Here is how: 

☐ Shoulders - get somebody to help you measure from one end to the other and the measuring tape should ideally be high up on your shoulders.

☐ Bust - wrap the measuring tape around the fullest portion of your bust.

☐ Waist - wrap the measuring tape around the smallest part of your waist.

☐ Hips - start at one of your hip bones and wrap it around your bottom to the other side of the hip. 

#2 Using the mirror

lady looking at herself in the mirror wearing casual clothes

If you prefer not having to use a measuring tape, then this method may be more suitable. Simply put on a tight-fitting dress or swimwear and observe your body in front of the mirror. Evaluate where the widest or narrowest portions of your body are and take a photo so you can refer to it later. Some questions to ask yourself while evaluating are:

☐ Is my waist defined?

☐ Which is the widest part of my body?

☐ Where do I usually gain weight?

Note the measurements and your findings down, then refer to the body shape explanations above to determine your body shape. 

3. Embracing your body shape and size

At the same time, finding out your body shape could be triggering to some as we have been so conditioned to think that only those with a curvy and slim waist or thin and long legs deserve the love - further magnifying the significance of body diversity

However, learning to determine your body shape is not for you to undermine yourself nor to amplify any of your insecurities. Possessing this knowledge allows you to find the perfect clothing to help you look your best so that you feel comfortable in your own skin and body. Increased body positivity is also associated with improved self-care behaviours that will all ultimately benefit one’s health. 

By acquiring this new information about body shapes, you can now shop for women’s clothing online in Singapore without worrying that they will not fit or look good on you. 

 A guide to dressing according to your body type

1. The benefits and importance of dressing according to your body shape

You will be surprised to know that dressing according to your body shape has many benefits you probably did not think of. Here are some of them: 

Helps you to save money

Everybody knows the struggle of purchasing outfits online, only to have them arrive in a size that does not fit or in a cutting and design that does not flatter your body. If you relate to this woe, then knowing how to dress according to your body type will certainly help you to save a considerable amount of money since you will no longer be spending them on clothes that you will never wear out. Your wallet will thank you in the long run.

Brings attention to your best features

The main goal of dressing according to your body shape is to bring your best features forward so you feel more confident. For instance, if you have an hourglass figure, then wearing a cropped top that ends at your waist paired with a high-waisted fitted skirt will accentuate your curves. 

Increases your self-confidence

When you find that you look good in your outfits, chances are your self-confidence will increase too. The benefits of being confident are endless as it is closely related to self-worth and self-esteem. On the other hand, low self-confidence is often linked to depression and self-doubt that can negatively impact one’s life. When you are confident in your body, your health improves, you feel happier, you get the freedom to do things you never did out of fear and it even reduces social anxiety. 

Improves mental health

Once your attention is no longer put on your flaws and insecurities, your self-esteem improves, which also makes a positive impact on your mental health. Although it may seem frivolous to associate self-confidence with our outward appearance, the reality is that looking and feeling good is, in fact, one of the ways to increase self-worth. 

2. What to wear according to your body shape

Feeling convinced to try dressing according to your body shape but are not sure how? We have compiled a list of clothing, ranging from casual wear to office wear that will suit your body shape to a T, along with recommendations so you can save the hassle of scouring the internet and shop directly from Her Velvet Vase instead. 


If you have an hourglass figure, your best feature is most probably your defined waist so it will be wise to maintain your body’s naturally balanced proportions by accentuating it. Try not to unbalance the body by wearing something either too top- or bottom-heavy. 

Model wearing Christal Knit Off Shoulder Top

When looking for tops for women online in Singapore, consider those with rounded necklines such as oval and deep oval since they will not draw too much attention to your bust. Our Christal Knit Off Shoulder Top comes in a wide and rounded U neckline to put the focus more on your collarbones, rather than your bust. Avoiding heavy and chunky knitwear is also key, which makes this great as it has a relaxed fit and uses soft, thin knit material.

 Model wearing Madonna Contrast Knit Maxi Dress

But if you want to show off your figure and accentuate all the right places, then wearing a bodycon dress is the way to go. Our Madonna Contrast Knit Maxi Dress is the perfect mix of sexy and formal as it is tight in all the right places while its black and white combination makes it versatile for all occasions.

Model wearing Live Wide Leg Pants

When choosing trousers, go for wide-legged and loose-fitting designs such as our Liv Wide Leg Pants. Its high-waisted design puts emphasis on your defined waist while its flared cutting keeps your body looking proportionate. This is also a must-have office wear item, as it can be easily paired with any top of your choice. 


An apple body shape can appear to be top-heavy, which is why it is essential to add curves through the use of clothing, especially in the lower portion. You may wish to flaunt your assets, such as your bust and legs, but take the focus away from your tummy area. 

Model wearing Ambrosia Button Wide Leg Pants

Defining your waist is a good way to achieve a more proportionate-looking body and you can do so by wearing darker colours around that area and creating the illusion of a waist with a belt. Avoid tapered trousers as they may make your upper body appear larger. The waist cinchers on our Ambrosia Button Wide Leg Pants is a great example of what to look for in trousers. 

Another tip is to go for monochromatic outfits where you wear one colour but in different textures or similar shades. It will help you to look more put together and create an illusion of length which translates into a slimmer and more proportionate body.

Model wearing Sorbet Linen Blazer

When choosing blazers or cardigans, avoid those with too many details such as buttons and pockets that will only clutter up your figure. 

Our Sorbet Linen Blazer’s design is kept simple for everyday wear and has clean lines and just one front pocket to eliminate clutter. Wear your cardigans or blazers unbuttoned too so as to elongate your figure. 


A pear-shaped body is the opposite of an apple, with your figure being heavier on the bottom. Your goal will most probably be to shift attention away from the lower portion of your body and it can be done so by wearing clothing that emphasises the upper body more.

Model wearing Gwyneth Ruched Cropped Top

When purchasing tops online in Singapore, look out for embellishments or details that will bring the eyes to your upper body. For instance, our Gwyneth Ruched Cropped Top with a ruched front detail will draw attention away from your hips. It is a cropped top that ends at the waist, accentuating your upper curvy body.

Model wearing Sonja Floral Tie Shoulder Midi Dress

Long dresses that can hide your hips and thighs are also something to consider but make sure to look out for those with a tight waistline and flared ends. 

Our Sonja Floral Tie Shoulder Midi Dress is tight at the waist to show off your curve but flowy at the ends with a ruffled hem to balance out your hips. Wear this to a picnic outing or date and you will surely turn heads.

Model wearing Kinsella Knotted Wrap Jumpsuit

If you think having a pear-shaped figure means not being able to pull off a jumpsuit, this tip might just change your mind. You should be adding volume to your upper body but skimming over your hips and thighs. 

Simply choose a jumpsuit with patterns at the top but with a design that flares nicely over the hips, like our Kinsella Knotted Wrap Jumpsuit. Darker colours will also make your lower body appear slimmer. 


If you have a rectangular body shape, it means your upper and lower body is proportionate so your focus should be on defining your waist. A rule of thumb is to stay away from shapeless and oversized clothing that will not add any curves to your figure.

Model wearing Genie Bustier Peplum Top

Go for peplum tops like our Genie Bustier Peplum Top that cinches at the waist, calling more attention to it while adding volume at the same time with its ruffles for the illusion of a curvier figure.

Model wearing Fallon Ruffle Wrap Dress Hunter

When choosing dresses, opt for a wrap dress to let it fall over your straight body frame to create curves, especially at the waist. Our Fallon Ruffle Wrap Dress gives you free rein to tie it as tight as you want around your waist. 

Inverted triangle

An inverted triangle body shape has wider shoulders so creating a balanced silhouette by adding curves to the lower portion of the body is key. Try softening your shoulder line by steering clear of complicated patterns and details on your tops.

Model wearing Siobhan Belted Wide Leg Pants

It is pretty easy to pick out trousers because all you have to keep in mind is to add volume to your lower body for a more proportionate figure. This means flares, wide legs and culottes are all suitable. 

Our Siobhan Belted Wide Leg Pants is a great example, as their light colour draws attention to your legs and the flared design accentuates your leg lines. 

Model wearing Amur Plaid Midi Skirt

The same theory applies to skirts too - choose something that flares out from your hips, such as an A-line skirt. Our Amur Plaid Midi Skirt is designed with pleats for that extra bounce in every step you take while adding a curve to your figure. Wear this for formal occasions like a wedding or fancy dinner.

Model wearing Elyse Tie Shoulder Midi Dress

Although we recommend softening your shoulder lines, it does not mean you cannot show them off. After all, they are your best feature. Just remember to balance it out with a dress with volume at the hips and we assure you that will be a sight to behold. Get our Elyse Tie Shoulder Midi Dress in a pretty off-white shade to nail the look. 

3. What to avoid according to your body shape

Alas, being equipped with the knowledge of what will flatter your body shape best is not enough. Knowing what to avoid is equally important so you never have to worry about accidentally making the wrong choices when purchasing women’s clothing online in Singapore. 


Clothes that will unbalance an hourglass figure include tops with high necklines, shapeless outfits, wide belts and slouchy jeans. All of these tend to cover up your best features, which is definitely not what you want. 


Try avoiding tight-fitting tops, outfits with details and embellishments around the midriff area and belted jackets that will give you a heavy-looking and boxy figure. 


Ill-fitting tops and tapered pants are some things to avoid since they do not accentuate your waist or show off your curvy silhouette.


Shapeless and oversized outfits, tops with a square neckline and wide sleeves are big no-nos as they only bring attention to your straight silhouette.

Inverted triangle

It is best to avoid tops with wide necklines that further broaden your shoulders and skinny, tight bottoms that will only visually reduce your lower body. 

With all that said though, it is also vital to note that it can be difficult to categorise your body into one exact shape. Everybody’s body is different, so keeping an open mind and acknowledging that you may identify with more than one body shape will help you to pick out the best outfits. For instance, if you think that you are a little bit of both an apple and pear-shaped body, then experimenting with outfits that flatter the two body shapes will allow you to find what you look fabulous and feel comfortable in. 

Ultimately, there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to shopping for clothes. This is simply a guide to refer to in times of need and will hopefully inspire you to embrace your body shape and who you truly are. 

If you have no idea where to start shopping for women’s clothing online in Singapore, consider Her Velvet Vase. We pride ourselves on producing outfits that celebrate the different body shapes and sizes. 

Each item has been categorised into tops, dresses, loungewear, bottoms and more for a fuss-free shopping experience on our website. Or sift through our catalogue by choosing an occasion, such as smart casual, office wear and weddings for an even more seamless  Take a look at our bags, accessories and shoes while you are at it and you may find something that will go perfectly with the outfit you have just picked out. 

Our designs range from classic for everyday wear, to elegant for the modern lady and romantic for any special occasion. Each piece is designed with the cut, fit, body type, function and comfort in mind to only provide the best. 

Apart from what we have already recommended for each body shape, you can also shop our wide range of apparel to find more suitable outfits. Shop now