UPDATE May 2024. This blog was written in 2019. In the past few years, I’ve been working on unlearning the patriarchal norms I have internalized, and making a concentrated effort to eliminate them from my work with clients. I now actively reject dressing based on the heteronormative male gaze and the hourglass as the ideal feminine form, which is what traditional image consulting and this article reinforce. It doesn’t matter that my intent was not harming clients and anyone else consuming my content. I apologize for any harm I may have caused by reinforcing these outdated and arbitrary standards. Focusing on meeting a certain physical ideal (hourglass) prevents us from noticing how a certain garment, outfit or style feels. We look in the mirror and see without feeling, without embodying, and this keeps us in a fashion- or trend-chasing cycle. Instead of deleting the blog, I wanted to leave it with this “disclaimer” added.

Over the years a lot of catchy, confusing, and even downright insulting names (fruits?!) have been used, by women themselves, to describe common woman’s body types.

The most objective choice is probably shapes, but who can remember which is a triangle vs. an inverted triangle?

I’ll describe each body type with a couple of phrases, and note the shape as well, for the traditionalists.

Today’s Body: Bigger In the Middle (a.k.a. the Oval)

As women we’ve often been taught to cover up or camouflage the parts of our bodies that we don’t like. But I think it’s more important to use clothing and accessories to bring your body in balance. Read on for real life examples focusing on today’s body shape:

Bigger In the Middle:

In my opinion, the best thing about having more body mass in the middle is the shapely legs that usually accompany it. Show them off!

Characteristics of this body type are:

  • Larger upper body (shoulders, bust, waist)
  • Undefined waist
  • Small hips
  • Thinner legs

THE GOAL is to draw attention away from the middle of your body.


     1. Silhouette — Try figure-skimming, A-line silhouettes in a fabric with moderate body and stretch: not too thin to show every curve, and not too stiff to add unwanted volume. Dresses can be in semi-busy prints, depending on your height and the scale of your features. Pair with a solid colored jacket that’s at least hip length.

     2. High (Empire) Waist keeps the emphasis off of your waist.

     3. V-Neck — the V shows more skin, drawing the eye from your hairline to the bottom of the neckline and lengthening the middle of the body.

     4. Legs! short skirts will show off those shapely legs. If you opt for pants, choose a flat front and boot cut or wider leg. If you like skinny pants, choose a light color, as this will add weight and help balance out your middle.

     5. Shoes, shoes, shoes Wild colors and prints, embellished or textured leathers, special finishes if you like it, go for it. Choose shoes with ample leather, as opposed to strappy sandals or evening shoes. Heels are your friend, as they make you taller, which counterbalances your width. Choose a somewhat thicker heel as opposed to a stiletto. Platform and wedge sandals and boots are also good choices.

     6. Bags — choose a medium-sized shopper to drawn attention to those shapely legs and away from the middle.

     7. Bracelets — as with bags, your wrists, with your arms extended, land at mid-thigh, drawing the eye away from your middle. Whether it’s fine or costume jewelry, feel free to let your bracelets sparkle, shine, make noise and be colorful.

     8. Necklaces — A collar statement necklace will draw attention to your neck and face, and away from the middle of your body. But long necklaces are no no’s.


     1. Please don’t try and hide in a tent. Lots of fabric and stiff fabrics add bulk, making your middle look bigger.

     2. Don’t draw attention to the waist. No belts. Don’t tuck shirts in.

     3. No ruffles on the bodice of tops and dresses. These just add volume to an already full middle.

     4. Stay away from double-breasted jackets. This adds more bulk and draws attention to the middle.

     5. Skip the gathered skirts. Gathers at the waist are adding bulk and attention here when you want to minimise.

     6. Don’t wear long necklaces ending at your widest point.


Treat yourself to a proper bra fitting and invest in a good bra. As this body type tends to have a large bust, it’s important that the breasts are well-supported, so they don’t blend into and accentuate an undefined waist. Visit SuperBra in their Rotterdam store for an expert bra fitting for D+ cups. After your first fitting, you can order online.

Breaking the Rules

Having a color analysis doesn’t mean that from that point forward you can only wear “your” colors. It’s the same with learning about which clothes flatter your figure. This doesn’t mean that you can never wear something that doesn’t typically flatter your figure. Experiment, try on things you like even if they’re not on your “list of approved clothing”. For instance, let’s say you like rounded toe shoes, but you know that pointy toes make your shorter legs look longer. If you’re showing some leg, try rounded toes in a skin-colored leather. If you’re wearing pants, choose shoes to match the pants. Both of these tricks will visually lengthen your leg.

The most flattering thing you can wear is confidence. Feeling good in what you’re wearing will add to that tremendously.


Please try out one or more of these tips. Let me know in the Comments how it went, and ask me any questions you might have.

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