If you’re anything like me, you will be reluctantly accepting that you’ll never be the shape that (a) you wanted to be and (b) you were sure you would be again if you lost those last few pounds. With each child I’ve had, my body has changed because it has been stretched beyond recognition with each successive pregnancy. Not only that but my hips have widened through giving birth, the skin on my abdomen is looser and even my feet are a whole size bigger! However let’s just remind ourselves that it’s the badge of motherhood and if anybody said that it would be the price of our children before we started, we’d still have accepted readily. (Oh yes we would!). Still it means everyone probably needs to relearn how to dress for your body shape after 40.

Hopefully you’ve followed the process that I did in my last post and uncovered your new shape. Now it’s time to explore it and see what works best. Here’s a reminder of the different shapes:


How to dress for your body shape after 40:

Pear shaped figures

Pears tend to be wider at the bottom than the top but have waists that can be emphasised.

Tops for pear shapes

These need to work to balance your figure out – details like large collars, lapels, scarves, structured shoulders and bright colours help to do this. Avoid baggy tops – they will skim over your waist straight to your hips giving you no definition and making you look like a tree trunk.

Well structured coats with good shoulders will work well for you, especially anything with a collar detail like fur.

Bottoms for pear shapes

Go for slim leg trousers rather than skinny. Palazzos and wide leg trousers look great on you. Stick to darker colours on the bottom and steer away from bold prints to avoid emphasising your hips. Avoid high and low rises and go for a mid-rise waistline. If you’re wearing a skirt, keep it loose – pencil skirts will only emphasis your beam. A-line is your friend, emphasising your waist and balancing out your shoulders.

Inverted Triangle shaped figures

An inverted triangle has a broader top than bottom – this could mean a big bust or broad shoulders with a smaller bust. This means you have to balance out your silhouette by drawing attention down.

Tops for inverted triangles

Avoid shoulder pads, large lapels, epaulettes and puff sleeves – you risk looking a bit Tootsie. Instead keep the top half clean and go for a V-neck or low scoop neck – drawing the eye away from the shoulders to the clavicles. Open cardigans will look good. Keep the top half lean and fitted rather than adding bulk so avoid chunky knitwear, loose tops, ruffles and pussycat bows.

Single breasted coats and jackets will flatter you and waisted jackets will work better than boxy ones. Zipped jackets and hoodies look good as long as you use the zip to create the V neck that suits you so well.

Bottoms for inverted triangles

This is where you shine. Mini skirts look good as do wide trousers and boot cuts. Skinnies and leggings can be a bit tricky though – think of the outline you create from your shoulders down and plan to balance it out.

Hourglass shaped figures

The hourglass shape is the one that most women long for but surprisingly it isn’t always that easy to dress. Hourglass figures look good when dressed formally in evening wear or at work in a suit but casual wear can be tricky. You need to work with your shape to emphasise  it and avoid drowning it in anything too unstructured.

Tops for hourglasses

Try to keep tops fitted to show off your shape – if you’re wearing anything looser, add a belt. Square and sweetheart neck tops work well. Layer a fitted cardigan over the top leaving the top buttons undone so that it cinches the waist.

Fitted jackets and coats work well – especially one button blazers and bomber jackets. Trenches and other belted coats also suit you.

Bottoms for hourglasses

This all depends on just how hourglass you are. If you have a very curvy bottom, wide legs, boot cuts or flares would work best. If you’re slim go for skinnies or straights. Avoid baggy jogging bottoms or harem styles unless you’re slouching in from of the TV!

Rectangle shaped figures

Rectangles are the most common shape for women, the challenge here is to create curves which means staying away from baggy or unstructured clothing. You also ned to think about proportion and work out where a good waistline should be – crop tops and low rise jeans can make you look long or short bodied so be careful with them.

Tops for rectangle shapes

Work with layering to create shape. Rectangles can wear round necks, polo necks, halter necks and boat necks which can often be unflattering on other shapes. Avoid sheath dresses and straight tunics that don’t give you any definition. Opt for coats that give the illusion of a nipped in waist – either tailored or belted. Alternatively a jacket that stops at low hip will work well for your shape.

Bottoms for rectangle shapes

Skinny and slim leg jeans will look great on you and work better for your shape than flares. Wide leg trousers work well, especially with a tight or tucked in top. You can wear A-line or mini skirts without a problem but also pencil skirts and maxis the only skirt shape that doesn’t look brilliant on you are very full or puffball skirts..

So there you have it – a guide for everybody. Once you’ve worked out your shape have a look through your wardrobe and see if there’s anything you need to discard. The first step to the new you.

Apple shaped figures

Apple shapes tend to carry their weight around their waists. You probably have great legs and bust so concentrate on those.

Tops for apple shapes

Try low or embellished necklines to draw the eye upwards, empire necklines or add sleeve details or waterfall tops.  Tunic tops also work well as they skim over the waist.

Avoid round neck tops and polo necks along with thick jumpers. Don’t wear anything with a boxy shape and avoid pleats or full skirts, quilted jackets and gilets

Bottoms for apple shapes

Bootcuts and flares balance out your shape, avoid skinny jeans – they won’t do you any favours – if you’re going for that look try leggings with a tunic top.

Dresses for apple shapes

Stay away from shapeless shift dresses – empire line and wrap dresses will look great on you.

how to dress for your body shape

In the spirit of sisterhood – if you have any helpful tips on how to dress for your body shape after 40 I’d love to know.

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