The strong shoulders often lend this body shape an athletic-looking physique.
Read if you are concerned about:
- Wide shoulders
- Big bust
- Undefined waist
Note: The body shape theory is somewhat outdated and best used to conceal or balance out particular body parts.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 Inverted Triangle
- Shoulders are noticeably wider than the hip-line
- Shoulders may be straight, squared, and strong-looking
- Bust can range from small to big
- Little to no waist definition
- Hips look straight and flat compared to broad shoulders
- Bottom is rather flat
- Great legs often come with this body shape
- Body shape projects a sporty and athletic physique
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 an apple shape if you have a big bust and weight around the midriff.
- You lean towards an hourglass shape if you have slight curves.
- You lean towards a rectangle shape if you have weight or strong bone structure around your hips.
- You lean towards a pear shape if your shoulders are wider than your hips.
II. Styling the Inverted Triangle
The inverted triangle body shape is heavier on the top due to the wide shoulder line.
The goal for dressing this shape is to balance the broader shoulders, chest and back with the narrower lower body to create a balanced silhouette.
This is achieved by choosing clothes that add curves to the hips and bottom while creating a more defined waist and de-emphasising the upper body.
Soften the shoulder line
Reduce the wide appearance of your shoulders by playing them down and balancing them out with the narrower hips.
- Soften the broad shoulder line with soft, draping, and weighty fabrics
- Avoid wide necklines that broaden the shoulders and other strong shoulder details (eg shoulder pads)
- Steer clear of patterns on your tops and scarves around your neck and shoulders
- Keep your upper body clean and uncluttered
Create curves around your hips
Add volume and interest to your hips and bottom to make them look curvier and your shoulders smaller.
- Create the illusion of a waist with waist details
- Select clothes that add volume to the lower body to widen the hips
- Draw attention to your legs by wearing lighter, brighter colours or adding details
- Keep away from skinny and tight trousers as well as narrowing hemlines that visually reduce the lower body
The right neckline for the inverted triangle body shape plays down the wide shoulders and/or bust.
Necklines should be slim and long to reduce the width of the upper body visually. Deep and narrow scoop, U-or V-necklines are great.
Asymmetric styles help break up the chest vertically. And if you have a small bust, halter necks can help elongate your silhouette.
Avoid wide and low necklines - such as off-shoulder, bateau, square, and Sabrina styles, that would add to the width of the shoulder line.
A selection of flattering necklines:
Like necklines, sleeves should make the upper body appear slimmer. If the sleeve is short, opt for tight-fitted, tapered sleeves to avoid adding weight to your shoulders. Dropped shoulder points, shoulder slits and cut-outs make the shoulders appear slimmer.
For long sleeves, the opposite is true: to add volume around your hips, opt for soft sleeves that flare- such as raglans, kimono, or dolman sleeves.
Choose wide straps over thin straps as the latter will make the shoulders look wider and bigger.
Avoid heavy detailing like buttons around the shoulders. Puff sleeves also draw the eye to the wide shoulders.
A selection of flattering sleeve styles:
Shirts, T-Shirts & Other Tops
Shirts for the inverted triangle body shape should emphasise the waist and play down the upper body and broad shoulders. Simple straight lines, wrap-style tops, splits on the waist or layering on the hips are great.
To add volume to the hip area, look for shirts that flare from the waist to the hips to give the illusion of shape. Tops should extend past the hip line to take away attention from the shoulders.
Opt for shirts in darker colours than your bottoms and keep shirts collar-less or with very small collars to play down the upper body.
Avoid cropped shirts that end at the waist and details or embellishments around the upper body and shoulder area.
A selection of great shirt & top styles:
Since knitwear tends to add volume to the upper body (especially chunkier, heavier styles), the best options for the inverted triangle body is straight-cut and slim-fitting jumpers with a fine gauge.
Avoid horizontal stripes and thick, chunky knitwear that adds bulk to the shoulders. And steer clear of details and embellishments around the décolletage, neckline and shoulders.
Jackets for the inverted triangle shape should de-emphasise the shoulders and upper body whilst highlighting the waist.
The best options are either straight cuts or styles with waist definition and that flare out at the waist. Nipped or belted jackets with deconstructed, fluid lines flatter the silhouette.
Pockets or other details below the waist are great to add interest and volume to the hips. Opt for single-breasted jackets as double-breasted jackets would add too much volume to the upper body.
Jackets should extend beyond the hip line to balance out the wide shoulders. They are best in a darker colour for a slimming effect on the upper body.
Avoid double-breasted buttoning, big collars, shoulder pads and embellishments like epaulettes as they make your broad shoulders appear even broader. And steer clear of structured and tailored jackets as well as cropped jackets with slim-fitting bottoms.
A selection of flattering jacket styles:
Coats for the inverted triangle body shape should add volume around the hips and create a waist at the same time. To create volume around the hips and lower body, coats should flare at the hip line.
Details around the hip area are also excellent to add interest and volume to the hips.
Belted and nipped coats will give the illusion of a defined waist. Opt for darker coloured coats for a slimming effect.
Avoid details and embellishments on and around the shoulders - such as shoulder pads, big lapels, and double-breasted coats. If you opt for a trench coat, make sure it comes without epaulettes, which would draw attention to your shoulders. And steer clear of big collars that would add volume to your upper body.
A selection of great coat styles: