Which Prints, Patterns, and Stripes Work Best for Your Body?

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Prints and patterns not only give an outfit a shot of personality, but they also have the ability to complement your body shape and provide proportion. With this simple , you’ll have an easier time shopping for what prints and patterns work best for your body. Malaysia-based Shameena, our Fashion Editor, gives useful tips about what kind of prints, patterns and stripes suit you the best, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.

Recap: The fit of your clothing has the ability to be a total make-or-break, no matter what its other characteristics are. A good fit doesn’t just slide onto the body without discomfort, it’s one that’s tailored to flatter your frame specifically, emphasising the features you want to draw attention to and minimising the ones you want to conceal.

There are many elements that define a piece of clothing, for good or ill effect.

Prints and Patterns

Prints and patterns not only give an outfit a shot of personality, but they also have the ability to complement your beautiful body shape and provide proportion. With this simple knowledge, you’ll have an easier time shopping for what prints and patterns work best for your body.

Always keep in mind your main aim while selecting , no matter if it’s focused on print or strips or texture or anything – what’s most important here is to take a note of the proportions of your body – lower compared to the upper half. And then figure out what needs to be trimmed or added to create a proportional body shape or to create more of an hourglass effect.

I would always advise to these tricks and tips and redesign or improves your existing style. Fashion is complex and chockful, but a style is sustainable when it’s derived from your own selfhood. The whole idea is to develop the inside scoop on how to choose a pattern that works for you.

Not every pattern works on every body type. But when you know what looks good, putting together a flattering outfit is a snap. Today I will be discussing in details in proportion with each and every body shape.

Pear Body Shape

Proportionally, if your hips are wider than your bust, you generally have a pear shape. If you are going to wear a pattern on the bottom, it’s best to keep the motif small, like polka dots. To help balance your wider hips, you can wear:

o   A brighter, larger-patterned top

o   A classic horizontal-striped shirt

o   A patterned top paired with a solid dark-wash jean or skirt

I belong to Pear Body Shape family. My shoulders and bust are proportionally narrower than my hip line. I prefer to wear a sloping shirt to balance my top half with my lower half making my shoulders look broader. A brighter bottom with printers not larger than my fist helped to balance my body shape.

Apple Body Shape

If your bust is proportionally larger than your hips, and you consider yourself “top-heavy,” then you’re an apple shape. The major goal is to balance to make your upper body look longer and make your shoulders and waist appear slimmer. This means you want to balance your top by highlighting your hips. Draw attention away from your tummy up to that beautiful face and all those other gorgeous assets you have.

You can achieve this with:

o   Brighter, larger-patterned bottoms (whether skirt or pants) with a solid-coloured top

o   Horizontal-striped skirts that give the illusion of balance

o   A small or tiny print, if you are going to wear a patterned top

o   Wear body control underwear, they will work wonders to define your middle area too, pulling in your waist and drawing attention to your favourite parts of your body; that cleavage, those legs, and anything else you really like.

She owns an Apple Body Shape. Here, she is wearing an open up neckline. V-necks are good for apple-shaped ladies, as you often have a great bust. Don’t be afraid to show it off! She is wearing a small print, wrap dress, which is always an amazing choice for an apple body shape as they fit nicely over a fuller bust.  A side tie on the dress is a little trick to draw attention away from the stomach. Her shorter dress draws the eyes towards her wonderful hips and thighs. Dressing in a single colour with different shades makes her look longer. Chiffons and silks are a great material choice. It gives you flowy and slimmer look.

Inverted Triangle Body Shape

In dressing your Inverted Triangle Shape, the goal is to create the illusion of an hourglass shape by adding volume around your hips to balance your broader top half, while flattering your shoulders. Strong shoulders are an asset, as long as you keep everything else in proportion.

Her shoulders are noticeably wider than your hip-line. Wearing a round neckline slims down the upper body.  Vertical stripes draw the focus away from a broader upper body. The soft texture softens the shoulder line. Her A- line skirt creates more width and overall balance below and dark texture creates more bulk on the lower body.

o   Create vertical lines with vertical stripes

o   Halter necks, V-necks and scoop necks

o   Look for tops that will accentuate the waist, like tops with               banding or nip at the waist or wrap style tops

o   Accessories should be big and bulky. Long necklaces will create a focus in the center of the body and            don’t forget some show-stopping shoes.

o   Use a belt to create a centerpiece to your outfit. Look for embellishments such as studs or a        big buckle.

o   Horizontal stripes will make the lower body wider.

o   Fuller leg width in trousers, full or bootleg pants. Culottes will work for you too.

o   Have pockets or embellishments on your trousers or skirts.

o   Wear bold and eye-catching shoes.

Rectangle Body Shape

If you have a Rectangle Body Shape, then it means that your silhouette is fairly straight up and down with a slight masculine look. You’re similar to an Hourglass but without the killer waist. It’s also a common body figure type for women who age, given birth ( around the waist stretches) or gained weight.

While dressing the Rectangle Body Shape, breaking up your silhouette to create curves from the waist up and waist down. A good thing about being a rectangle is that you’re free to experiment with various textures and details.

Wear short, fitted dresses which show off your slender shape and long legs. Dresses with simple spaghetti straps instantly added dimension and femininity. Pay attention to the fabrics of the clothes you buy – look for feminine prints and soft materials. Her Deep V-neck draws the eye line away from the shoulders.

o   Animal print is great for rectangle body shape as it gives a 3D effect, creating lots of lovely curves.

o   Go for thick horizontal stripes in the areas you want to look curvy and add a thick belt around the waist to bring out the waist area.

o   You can also go for dresses having different combinations of stripes to emphasise curves at the right places.

o   You can also experiment with different patterns and add with stripes like florals, animal prints or polka dots.

Hourglass Body Shape

In dressing your Hourglass Body, there is not much to be done but to accentuate your figure. It is common knowledge that the hourglass is considered the perfect feminine shape. If you are one of these lucky few, all you really need is to dress smartly and look for clothes that show off your lovely figure and guess what, you can pull off just about any dress you choose!


Unfortunately, only a few of us can wear this trend since they are very unforgiving. Stripe fashion is adding visually volume and attention to our body shape, which is good if we can take it and it creates visual balance in our look and body shape. Stripe dresses need to be seen and worn straight, which means they can’t be stretched or look bumpy otherwise the striped dress looks terribly wrong.  You just have to know which kind of stripe will go on your body type and dress accordingly. Have a look at the 7 body shapes with similar strips and you can see straight away what works and what doesn’t.

It looks perfect on the neat hourglass, the stripes start to stretch out around the hips on the full hourglass and makes it look fuller,  it looks bumpy and squashed on the apple body shape due to the fullness around the tummy and little space between bust and tummy, on the pear it loses its stripe pattern around the hips and creates the wrong attention at the fuller place. It kind of works here on the inverted triangle because the strapless dress creates volume and attention on the lower half of the body, so it balances out the broader shoulders.  On the lean column, it creates the illusion of a waist as well roundness around the bust and hip area.  On the rectangle, this striped dress looks too boxy and though it has a bit of an asymmetric style in the waist area it is not enough to create the illusion of a waist.

Tips on Stripes on some Body Shapes are given below:

Stripes for Apple Body Shape: Add vertical stripes to your wardrobe to shift the attention towards other parts of the body, and help in covering the areas. Go for vertical prints that are not too wide in dark and contrasting stripes to make the midsection look less bulky. You can also go for striped wrap dresses for a more toned looking figure.

Stripes for Hourglass Body Shape: You have the perfect curves with a slender waist. You need stripes that will complement your curves and not take attention away from them. You can wear all kinds of different stripe patterns; just make sure that the stripes are not clashing with each other and going in the same direction to accentuate your curves.

Stripes for Pear Body Shape: They have heavier and wider hip area and smaller bust area. You need something on your chest area that will draw attention from the heavy bottom. You can wear horizontal stripes on the upper side of the body to make the bust look bigger and add a high waist skirt or jeans to go with it. Thick stripes on the upper area will do wonders to add curves.

You can also wear vertical stripes on the bottom with a solid coloured top or jacket for a proportionate look.

Stripes for Rectangle Body Shape

  • You have no distinctive curves and have practically a straight body.
  • You need to create the illusion if curves on your body.
  • Go for thick horizontal stripes in the areas you want to look curvy and add a thick belt around the waist to bring out the waist area.
  • You can also go for dresses having different combinations of stripes to emphasise curves at the right places.
  • You can also experiment with different patterns and add with stripes like florals, animal prints or polka dots.

Stripes for Short or Petite: You have a slender body, but not too much of height. You need to create illusion of height with stripe patterns. Best way to go is to go all out on vertical stripes. Vertical stripes are a great way to add an illusion of height. Go for thinner stripes as too thicker stripes will not complement your small frame.

Now, that you have known some basic tricks and tips on patterns and strips, hope this will help you in selecting the right fabric and suitable patterns and stripes for your wardrobe.

Shameena Abduraheeman

Photos sourced by author.

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Shameena is a Self-made independent entrepreneur, Fashion Designer and Stylist, Artist, Photographer, Fitness freak, Poet, Blogger, Graphic Designer, Life strategist and many other things. Her collections cater to a broad range of women, from classic to modern, fusion and embrace all attitudes from romantic to dramatic. She is currently situated in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.