The 5 Body Shapes

Apple Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide

Apple Body Shape

Typical characteristics of the apple body shape are a large bust, narrow hips and a full midsection.
This makes the body appear like an apple shape.


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Often, apples tend to have slender legs and flat bottoms.

Read if you are concerned about:

- A wider midriff

- Lack of waistline

Note: The body shape theory is somewhat outdated and best used to conceal or balance out particular body parts. If you are interested in a more comprehensive styling theory, check out style essences.

I. Characteristics of the Apple

  • Rounder, wider shoulder line and flattish bottom
  • Average to big bust
  • Ribcage and back appear somewhat wide
  • Fullness around the mid-section
  • Little to undefined waistline
  • Narrow hips
  • Slim limbs and nice legs
  • Weight gains are first visible in the central torso/tummy area.

Other body shape tendencies

It is difficult to categorise your body into just one of the basic body shapes. Be open to a possible secondary body shape:

  • You lean towards a pear shape if your hips are slightly broader than your shoulders.
  • You lean towards an inverted triangle shape if your shoulders are slightly broader than your hips.
  • You lean towards an hourglass shape if you lose weight around your tummy and gain a waist instead.
  • You lean towards a rectangle shape if your bust and hips are approximately the same width.
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II. Styling the Apple

Styling the Apple Body Shape

The apple body shape can appear top-heavy due to a full chest and upper body with little to no waist definition.

To balance out the upper body, choose clothes that add curves and fullness to the lower body.

To de-emphasise the midsection and to create a more defined waist, pull it in visually.

Flaunt your assets

Highlight your best parts - usually the bust and/or legs - to help take attention away from the midsection.

  • Keep the clothing line straight to slightly fitted but fabric soft so you avoid unnecessary bulk around the bust, waist and tummy
  • Keep details above the bustline and below the hipline - for everything in between keep it plain and simple
  • Details on the hemline bring attention to the legs
  • Keep your silhouette fitted under the bust, below your arms, and along your waist
  • Wear structured garments, as they hold in and camouflage extra weight
  • Wear bright colours on your lower body
  • Avoid excessive fabric around the midsection

Define the waist

Clothes that make the mid-section narrower help achieve a more proportional body shape.

  • Invest in a good push-up bra to lift your chest
  • Opt for splits at the waist
  • Wear darker colours around your waist area – such as a dark belt
  • Clothes that skim over the midsection but nip right below the bust lift the chest and make the waist look trimmer
  • Keep your waist free from details that widen and highlight - such as light colours and horizontal details
  • Steer clear of details around bust, midriff and hips. Keep detail in top and lower third of your body
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III. Tops


Necklines for the apple pear body should break up the chest vertically (to create a visual separation between bust and tummy) and take attention away from the fuller midsection.

To accomplish this, necklines should be both wide and low. A wide neckline will ensure your shoulders appear wide, while a low neckline will help elongate the body and break up the chest.

A fabulous neckline style for the apple-shaped body is the low V-neckline.

Embellishments and details on and around the neckline are also great to draw the eye upwards and away from the torso.

Avoid high and narrow necklines that hide your chest and visually narrow your shoulders.

A selection of flattering neckline styles:

Apple Body Shape Necklines - the concept wardrobe


To take attention away from the wider midriff, sleeves for an apple body shape should accentuate the upper body and arms. The best types of sleeves to take attention away from the midriff are detailed sleeves - such as slits, gathers, cuffs, and draped fabrics.

Opt for loose, flared sleeves to build volume on the upper body.

You can also play up the shoulders with cap sleeves or shoulder pads.

Avoid fitted sleeves that do nothing for your arms.

Apple Body Shape Sleeves Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering sleeve styles:

Apple Body Shape Sleeves - the concept wardrobe

Shirts, T-Shirts & Other Tops

To draw the eye away from the midsection and towards the bust and shoulders, shirts should highlight the latter area whilst nicely skimming over the tummy.

Opt for shirts with embellishments around the neck and shoulder areas to accentuate them. Another good option is tops that wrap at your natural waistline and flare at the hip. This will conceal a bigger tummy.

If you want to hide some extra weight around the midsection, you could also look for tops with diagonal lines, big prints, and texture. These are better for concealing than solid colours.

Don't tuck your top in your bottoms, and make sure it is long enough to cover the tummy. Preferably it should end below the hipline.

Avoid crop tops and tight-fitted shirts that would highlight the wider tummy area. Also, stay away from details and embellishments around the midriff area so as not to attract extra attention to this area. Finally, steer clear of tops that end above the hipline since this would make the torso look bigger.

Apple Shirts Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering shirt & top styles:

Apple Body Shape Shirts - the concept wardrobe


Knitwear naturally reveals every curve of the body with its thick fabric. Because apple shapes are curviest on top, a classic jumper may highlight areas you would rather conceal.

The best way to flatter the apple body shape is to choose open cardigans in draped fits, which are not so clingy. Make sure the garment ends below the hipline to elongate the figure and skim nicely over the torso and hips.

Avoid clingy knits that would show off the wider midriff. And steer clear of details and embellishments - especially horizontal stripes, which can make you look heavier than you are.


Jackets are a great way to conceal a wider midsection if they skim over it. The right jackets to achieve this have structured lines and fabrics. Wrap style and tailored jackets work well. Make sure the jacket is snug on the shoulders.

Jackets should finish at the hipbone to skim past the midsection and balance out the body frame. And make sure that jackets are single-breasted to avoid clutter-up. Buttons should sit below the bust line.

The best and simplest way to camouflage a wider midriff is to layer your top with a structured jacket.

This draws attention away from this area and creates curves in the right places - such as the shoulders and bust along with the hips. Opt for tailored blazers to achieve this effect.

Another option is to wear your jacket open. This essentially hides the silhouette and has a slimming effect. Cardigans, for example, look fantastic worn open.

Avoid belted and double-breasted jackets unless the belt is just under your bust (empire style). And steer clear of too many details and embellishments.

Apple Body Shape Jackets Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering jacket styles:

Apple Body Shape Jackets - the concept wardrobe


Like jackets, coats can be used to nicely cover up a wider midsection. Structured coats are the best option.

They should preferably be longer than hip-length to skim past your midsection and balance out your frame. Buttons should be below the bust to trim the waist.

Also, make sure that your jackets are single-breasted. Too many details, such as double breasts, accentuate the midsection.

Like with a jacket, you can use a structured coat to layer over your top.

This draws attention away from this area. And worn open, a coat can elongate your figure.

Avoid coats with belts around the waist, double breasts and too many details that would clutter up your figure.

Apple Body Shape Coats Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering coat styles:

Apple Body Shape Coats - the concept wardrobe
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IV. Bottoms


Trousers for the apple-shaped body should aim to minimise the lower body.

Wide-leg, flowing trousers are very flattering on an apple body shape since they balance out the wider midsection with the slimmer legs. Prominent back and/or side pockets will add curves to your hips, such as those on cargo trousers. Trousers should be flat-fronted and should not cling to the body.

Low- to mid-rise is good with a wide waistband. Side-fastening trousers are great to avoid extra bulk around the tummy.

Avoid very tapered trousers as these would accentuate your slim legs and make your upper body look larger. And steer clear of high-waisted trousers. These would highlight the wider tummy. Avoid pleats or ruching on the front of your trousers.

Apple Body Shape Trousers Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering trouser styles:

Apple Body Shape Trousers - the concept wardrobe


The right jeans styles for the apple body shape don't add extra weight to the midsection but gently camouflage it.

Simple denim styles in bootcut, wide-leg or flares are best. These will balance out the often slim legs with the wider torso area. Stick to clean lines without any details. Darker colours in jeans work best.

Jeans should have a flat front and be either low-rise or mid-rise with a wide waistband that sits flat on the tummy, which will keep the midriff in place and avoid bulking up.

Avoid very skinny jeans as these would accentuate your slim legs and make your upper body look larger. And steer clear of high-rise jeans, which would highlight the wider tummy. Bright, light colours and lots of details are attention-grabbing, so it's best to stay away from them.

Apple Body Shape Jeans Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering jeans styles:

Apple Body Shape Jeans - the concept wardrobe


Skirts for the apple shape body should disguise the wider mid-section. To achieve this, they should hit right above the knee, knee, or at the calf.

Full, tiered, flared or bubble skirts are great.

Straight skirts with a flirty flared bottom look good. Fuller flowing skirts, which gently skim away from your body, will help fill out your hips. Flip, A-line, panelled or box pleats, but they need to start at a point below the tummy, side fastening and flat-fronted. Knee-length bias cut, A-line and pencil skirts look amazing on you.

Avoid tiered or ruffled skirt styles that would bulk the tummy area. And steer clear of short skirts that would only highlight your midsection and make you look boxy.

Apple Body Shape Skirts Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering skirt styles:

Apple Body Shape Skirts - the concept wardrobe


The right dress for the apple body shape skims over the midsection without clinging to the body.

A-line dresses, empire-line and bias-cut styles are great examples of dresses that take attention away from the mid-riff.

Wrap dresses are also great, as they tailor the midriff by visually lifting the bust.

Shoulder, neckline and sleeve details on dresses will ensure the eye is drawn upwards and away from the torso. Patterns (especially diagonal lines and big prints) and textures will distract and disguise a bigger tummy.

You can use a belt to draw in the waist. Usually, the thinnest part of the waist on an apple-shaped body is above the natural waistline. Medium to wide belts tend to work best – they pull in the weight nicely without bulking.

To narrow the broad shoulders, the hemline should flare outwards.

Avoid fine jersey, and steer clear of dresses made of delicate fabrics as they might create unwanted volume around the legs.

Apple Body Shape Dresses Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering dress styles:


Shorts for the apple body shape should balance out the wider midsection with the slimmer legs.

The best shorts styles for the apple-shaped body are mid-rise or high-rise with a loose fit around the tummy area. This will make sure the shorts "hug everything in."

Opt for shorts whose hemline goes at least to the knee with a loose or wide leg. A longer style and a wider hemline will stretch the body visually and distract from the roundness in the midsection. Make sure the shorts are flat-fronted.

What is important is that it is neither tight fitted nor baggy since both styles are not flattering for your body shape.

Avoid hot pants and short shorts since these are too close visually to the tummy and will make you rounder. And steer clear of tight-fitted shorts around the legs as they will unbalance your figure. A pair of low-rise shorts can cause an overspill in the tummy area. Finally, stay away from too many details and ruches.

Apple Body Shape Shorts Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

Jumpsuits & Playsuits

Since jumpsuits are generally fitted, they highlight the body's silhouette and can so be unforgiving. For the apple body shape, that means finding a jumpsuit that does not emphasise the wider midriff.

A jumpsuit that is wider around the midriff and in a short length will shift the attention to your legs instead. A wrap playsuit will skim over your curves nicely whilst showing off the bust. A high waist definition is also a great option - empire style.

Opt for flowy fabrics that flow away from the body - such as linen and chambray.

Avoid tight-fitted jumpsuits and playsuits, as well as skinny, tapered leg styles.

Apple Body Shape - Jumpsuits Do's & Don'ts
Apple Body Shape - Playsuits Do's & Don'ts

A selection of flattering jump- and playsuits:


Not an Apple?

Check out the other body shapes:

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How do you build a flattering and functional wardrobe?

Buying a bunch of clothes because they look nice in the shop is not a good strategy for building a wardrobe. It implies that the look of your clothes is more important than your look. But clothes should have no other purpose than to bring out your natural beauty and to highlight it.

The wardrobe guide will help you discover those garments that truly suit you.

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