OMG - we have so much awesomeness for you today. We are looking at casual wear for Pears, Rectangles, Apples, and Inverted Triangles. There are so many great patterns and great looks, so stick with us and read through to find the advice for your body shape.
Don't forget to enter the amazing giveaway HERE to win patterns and knit fabric to get your sewing on.
Dressing your shape can be tricky! Especially since there is a lot of contradicting opinions out there on what each body shape should wear! But once you learn to dress your body shape, you can enhance all of your body's best features and find an outfit that really flatters you.
I am a pear shape, I have a smaller chest and waist and full hips and thighs. But to make things really tricky for dressing my shape, I have shoulders that are a bit broader than your average pear from years and years of swimming when I was younger. Are you a pear too? The good news is, we are in great company! Pear shapes are really common, so you can find lots of inspiration from stylish pear shaped celebrities.
I find skirts and dresses most flattering to my pear shape. Try something A-line that will emphasize your smaller waist and flare out over your fuller hips. Also, think about drawing attention upwards, to distract a bit from your attention grabbing derriere and draw the eye towards your smaller upper body and your face. Try shirts with interesting necklines, ruffles on the top, or add an interesting necklace.
Adding a skinny belt at the waist can help you look slimmer by drawing attention to your small waist. Or by wearing stripes or a pattern on your top half you can create the illusion of a bigger upper body, making everything look more proportionate.
Of course, our curvey hips are beautiful too, so if you prefer styles that fit closely to your bottom half those can be flattering too!
For my casual pear look, I chose the Jocole Peplum top with the Skater skirt add on. I sewed it up in the high knee length with the cap sleeves. The top of the dress accentuates my waist and the skater skirt flows over my hips, masking them a bit. The diagonal cut on the cap sleeves works to soften my slightly broader shoulders. Then I tried out some accessories to help flatter my figure even more. I used a chunky necklace to draw attention up and also tried out a skinny belt to emphasize my waist.
Every shape is beautiful! And when you find an outfit that really flatters your shape, you will feel even more beautiful! I hope you find a look to sew yourself that make you feel beautiful!
When I volunteered to be a part of this feature, I thought "easy!", and as the process started, I realized it wasn't that simple. "Dressing Your Shape". Step 1 would be figuring out your shape, which requires a bit of owning it. I'm a rectangle. Growing up? Stringbean. Beanpole. Olive Oyl (aka Popeye's skinny other half). Skinny. Scrawny. I was thin, but instead of equating that to a desired quality by those who wished they could eat anything they wanted, I saw my shape as boyish. Whoever invented padded bras is top of my list of geniuses.
Even as an adult, I longed for curves. I know that some things are meant as compliments, but when you see your flaws, you don’t necessarily hear them as that. Skinny Minnie, Twiggy… Or the comments intended to make someone else feel better that can cut deeper “Men like real women with meat on their bones. No one wants to snuggle with a skeleton” Take me back to my teen days with a brother teasing my lack of curves in one sentence.
With age & living comes a little wisdom. This body is a means to an end. It has given birth to 5 babies. I try to worry about health, not size or shape, because I want to be around for a long time for those babies (although most are far from babies now!). And more-so, to dislike my shape is to belittle that of some of my children - especially the ones who are all legs & have learned you can buy a little oomph in the undergarment section!
I learned as a rectangle that emphasizing neckline & waistline are ideal, as are fitted pants or a flared skirt...so I chose the Miss Mod by Seamingly Smitten, with it’s sash at the waistline & lots of possibilities. I paired it with Winter Wear Designs Aviator pants in a stretch denim, rolled to capri length, perfect for a casual summer evening. AND with the Jocole Skinnies (also rolled to crop length) in a chocolate brown denim, both outfits that I’d feel comfortable wearing any day!
or the longest time, I refused to sew anything for myself. It’s not that I wasn’t interested but there was a lot about it that I was afraid of. The amount of fabric I’d need , the time I’d need to put into properly fitting the garment, having a finished garment that looked homemade (as opposed to handmade)…the list goes on. I tried the “trace a t-shirt that fits you well” method and the results were awful, so I called it quits.
Over the past year I’ve noticed that more and more pattern designers are branching out into womenswear patterns, and that includes some of the designers for whom I’ve been a regular tester (for their children’s patterns). When they began to solicit testers for women’s patterns, I decided to give it a try again. Working with designers I was already comfortable with gave me an added boost of confidence that I needed to take the leap. I’d actually recommend that to anyone who is looking to begin sewing for themselves – look at the patterns written by designers you are already familiar and comfortable with. Their tutorials are likely to read in a similar way, and their pattern layout is probably the same as well. That familiarity bred quite a bit of comfort for me, as I’m sure it will for others.
Moving onto the challenge of fitting, it has been important for me to think a bit about what types of styles are flattering for my body and how I can adapt a given pattern if necessary to ensure a good fit. Of all the body types, I’m almost certainly an apple. A short apple, too – I’m a little over 5’2”. So some of the fashion recommendations end up clashing, for example apples are “supposed” to look nice in wide leg or flared leg jeans and trousers, but short folks tend to look better in slimmer styles. What’s a (short, apple-y) girl to do?!
In my storebought wardrobe, I have a few pairs of jeans that are in constant rotation (I love the “Stilt” fit from AG Jeans), and I tend to add a basic tee, flats/mocs/tennis shoes, and a little simple jewelry. I’m also the type of shopper who will buy multiples of an item (in different colors, usually) if I find something that I like and the price is right. I approached this similarly, letting myself make multiples of an item if it seemed like the fit was good and I could give myself a little room to experiment with fabric choices. I wanted some fun pieces that I could mix and match, and I’m happy with what I’ve ended up with.
My fall and winter staple patterns have been the Aurora tee from Hey June Patterns, the Sloane Sweater from Love Notions Patterns, and the Raglan with add-ons from Patterns for Pirates. (You’ll notice that there isn’t a pants pattern in the mix. That was one bridge I hadn’t gotten the courage to cross.) As I transitioned toward spring (and away from cozy sweatshirt-type garments), I thought a bit about how to best flatter my shape. Apples tend to carry their weight in their midsections, and I certainly do. It’s the first place I gain weight and the last place I lose it. I’m about 10-15 pounds heavier than my “ideal” weight at the moment, and most of that weight concentrates itself in my belly. (The rest of it is in my face, and I also feel like I look fuller around the shoulders/upper arms when I’m a little heavier.)
One of the things I love about the Aurora tee is the contrast side panels, which give the illusion of a waistline. I also tried out the Carolina tee pattern from Shwin Designs, and really like the fit and silhouette of this one. It’s important to always use the measurement charts when selecting a size, and to try not to get caught up in whether your pdf size matches your RTW size. I almost always wear a size 8 or 10 in RTW, and a medium in clothing that’s sized that way. For the Carolina tee, I sewed up a large and the fit was pretty good – almost a little too snug due to the cotton lycra fabric I used. I shortened the tee a bit, but other than that I didn’t make any modifications.
For a basic tee, I went with the Santa Fe tee from Peekaboo Patterns – this was Amy’s first women’s pattern and it’s been a staple for me since I tested it. The gathered neckline is universally flattering, and draws the eye up and away from my waist. This is the medium, and I used a fairly thin jersey knit. Since the jersey doesn’t contain any lycra, it’s not too snug around my middle. The shorts here are the Jocole Wideleg Pants cut to the 5” inseam for shorts. I made a muslin for myself out of flannel, which is my favorite way to test out a pattern and build my pajama wardrobe at the same time. ;) I found the legs still a bit too wide at the thigh (I needed a large based on the size chart for my hip and waist measurements), so I took them in a touch at the inseams. This pair is made from yarn-dyed Essex linen, and I love the finished look. (insert pics Rachel10 and Rachel12)
I made another basic Free Spirit tank with a slinky rayon spandex from Joanns, and paired it with a second pair of Jocole Widelegs. This pair is made from bottomweight cotton sateen, and although my husband said they look a teeny bit like fancy boxer shorts ;) I still like them for a casual summer look. The yoga waistband is comfortable and acts a little like Spanx to help keep my belly contained.
Lastly, since my summer wardrobe often includes a few yoga-style skirts to pair with tees and sandals, I wanted to make a couple of new ones in bold prints. I ended up using the free Everyday Skirt pattern from iCandy Handmade, which is available in a size medium only and fit beautifully. The only things I changed were to make the waistband a bit less tall and to take an extra inch off the bottom before hemming. I’ll be adding more of these to my wardrobe for sure! I paired the Carolina tee seen earlier with the Aztec-inspired print skirt, and made a Layer Me Up tank from Patterns for Pirates to go with the navy and green skirt. I made a large in that pattern due to the intended snug fit, and will probably go up to an xl next time. I added a contrast panel to the back with ivory lace, and I love the effect.
I’ve heard stylists recommend dressing the body you have rather than the one you WISH you had, and that made a lot of sense to me in this process. I may not be entirely thrilled with my body as it is right now, but I am quite happy with how my new clothes fit. I’m glad to have taken the time to sew for myself, too. The Beautiful campaign was a nice chance to show – and sew! - myself some appreciation for a change. :)
I started by using the Body Shape Calculator to determine my body shape. To my surprise, my measurements matched best with the Inverted Triangle shape. Why a surprise? I’ll tell you a little about myself. I was told all throughout my childhood that I was going to be tall and grow up to carry on the strong family trait of large hips, thighs and butt. I clearly remember making homemade bread in my Grandma’s kitchen and listening to my mom, aunt and Grandma bantering about the large bottom half they all had and loathed. In my teens, I developed a strong interest in exercise and had the constant thought in the back of my mind that my legs and butt would always be big. I worked out constantly, yet was still fixated on the size of my bottom half. During college, I began working at a gym and earned my group exercise certification. I still continue to teach group exercise classes several times a week. Thanks to the encouragement of some of my gym friends, I began to let go of the obsession with trying to make my bum smaller and just focus on being as fit and healthy as I could be. I started lifting more weights, running more and as a result, my body changed shape. I guess I really never noticed until I put my measurements into the body shape calculator and saw my surprising results.
Well, what does that all mean for my wardrobe? I have spent years shopping for plain, slim bottoms and flouncy tops thinking that my bottom half needed to be masked and my top half accentuated. Boy was I wrong (in fact so wrong, I was doing the exact opposite!). I set to pinterest to see how an “inverted triangle” shape should dress. Let’s take a closer look:
An “inverted triangle” has broad shoulders, so choosing styles that will help to draw the eye down and create a waistline are the best. Dark colors, wrap tops, deep scoop or v-neck, and a slight flair at the waist will help to minimize the top and draw in at the waist.
I chose to use the Love Notions Hip Hop Tank for my top. I used a black jersey knit for the bodice front and bindings. For the back, I used the same knit for the top of the bodice and added detail with a sheer back panel with a curved hem. I love the scoop of the front bodice, thin shoulder and comfortable fit of the tank.
My brief internet research pointed me to choosing bottom styles that have details or embellishments, flared hems, waistbands that hit straight across the hips, and patterned fabric or light colored.
A huge fashion trend this summer is the petal style short, which is why I chose the Coachella shorts by Striped Swallow . The shape of the Coachella eg really helps to bring some attention and fullness to the hips and thighs without adding bulk. The petal detail draws the eye down. I chose a beautiful black and ivory Rayon Challis in an aztec print from Fabric.com and used some black lace trim for the accent. I LOVE THESE SHORTS!! I usually dread buying shorts since I am still mind warped into disliking my bottom half, but these are like a dream come true! I love how comfortable they are, how on trend they are, and how easy they were to make!
I hope you enjoyed reading more about dressing for the “inverted triangle” shape. I am excited to continue to grow my wardrobe into figure flattering pieces that will carry me through the seasons.