The Inverted Triangle Body Shape

How to recognise it and how to dress it

The inverted triangle body shape is characterised by broad shoulders and / or bust that narrow down to the hips. The strong shoulders often lend this body shape an athletic-looking physique.

Read if you are concerned about:

  • Wide shoulders
  • Big bust
  • Undefined waist

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.

How To Dress 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.T

his 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

Tops

Necklines

The right neckline for the inverted triangle body shape is one that plays down the wide shoulders and / or bust.

To achieve this, necklines should be slim and long to visually reduce the width of the upper body. 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.

Inverted Triangle Body Shape Neckline Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering necklines:


Sleeves

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 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 as well as puff sleeves that would draw the eye to the wide shoulders.

Inverted Triangle Body Shape Short Sleeves Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe
Inverted Triangle Body Shape Long Sleeves Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering sleeve styles:

Inverted Triangle Body Shape Sleeves - the concept wardrobe


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 take attention away from the upper body.

Avoid cropped shirts that end at the waist, and details or embellishments around the upper body and shoulder area.

Inverted Triangle Body Shape Shirts Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of great shirt & top styles:

Knitwear

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. Also steer clear of details and embellishments around the décolletage, neckline and shoulders.

Jackets

Just like shirts, jackets for the inverted triangle shape should de-emphasise the shoulders and upper body, whilst highlighting the waist.

The best options for jackets 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 to much volume to the upper body.Jackets should extend beyond the hip-line to balance out the wide shoulders, and should be in a darker colour for a slimming effect on the upper body.

Avoid double breasted buttoning, big collars, shoulder pads and embellishments like epaulets as they make your broad shoulders appear even broader. Also steer clear of structured and tailored jackets as well as cropped jackets with slim fitting bottoms.

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

A selection of flattering jacket styles:

Inverted Triangle Body Shape Jackets - the concept wardrobe

Coats

Coats for the inverted triangle body shape should add volume around the hips and create a waist at the same time.In order 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 epaulets which would draw attention the your shoulders. Also steer clear of big collars that would add volume to your upper body.

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

A selection of great coat styles:

Inverted Triangle Body Shape Coats - the concept wardrobe
     


Bottoms

Trousers

Any style that will accentuate and add volume to the the bottom and leg line is great for the inverted triangle.

Baggy trousers, turn ups, combat, palazzo, flares, culottes, wide legs, and harem pants are all great examples.Opt for trousers in bright or light colours to draw attention to your legs. And add lots of details - such as pockets, embellishments on the back or front pockets, patterns and prints, to add volume to the hips.

If you want to wear more slim-fitted trousers, opt for straight and cigarette style trousers - they balance out your silhouette better than skinny fits.

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

A selection of flattering trouser styles:

Inverted Triangle Body Shape Trousers - the concept wardrobe

Jeans

Just like with trousers, jeans should add dimension to the bottom and hips to make the shoulders look narrower.

Any style that flares from the knee is great - such as bootleg, wide, boyfriend style, and baggy jeans, to give the illusion of shape. Slim, and straight fits are also okay as long as they have some sort of detail.

Jeans with details around the hip, bottom, and thigh area - such as back pockets, front pockets, various washes, rips, distress, and embellishments are excellent to draw the eye downward. Opt for jeans in lighter colours than your tops to further draw the attention away from your shoulders.

Avoid skinny jeans, simple styles, and darker colours that take attention away from your lower body.

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

A selection of flattering jean styles:

Inverted Triangle Body Shape Jeans - the concept wardrobe

Skirts

Skirts should add volume to the hips and balance out the shoulders.Any type of skirt style that flares from the hips and/or adds visual width to the hips is best for an inverted triangle body shape. Straight, full, or A-line, ballerina, bias cut or tulip skirts are great. Tiered, volume or dropped waistlines also work well.

Details such as panels, box pleats or vertical lines at the top ending in a full skirt are good to add dimension and interest to the hip area.Another way to draw attention to your lower body is by choosing skirts in bright colours, horizontal stripes and patterns. They should be lighter or brighter than your top.

Skirt lengths can be extreme from very short and flared to long and flowing.Avoid tight-fitted skirts that hug the hips and visually pull them in.

A selection of flattering skirt styles:

Inverted Triangle Body Shape Skirts - the concept wardrobe

Dresses

Like skirts, the right dresses for the inverted triangle body add volume at the hips to balance your shoulders.To achieve this, look for dresses that flare from the waist or hips. Simple, straight lines, shift dresses, and A-line dresses are great.

Details on the lower part of the dress- such as patterns and pleats, as well as lighter colours will draw the eye downwards and away from the shoulders.

If you opt for nipped or belted dresses you can also add some definition to your waist.

Strapless dresses are a great way of showing off your shoulders. But make sure you balance them out by adding volume to the hips.

Avoid dresses that emphasise the shoulder area and upper body - either through the wrong neckline or details on the upper body. Also steer clear of dresses that are fitted at the bottom and don't add any volume to the hips.

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

A selection of flattering dress styles:

Inverted Triangle Body Shape Dresses - the concept wardrobe

Shorts

Shorts for the inverted triangle body shape should add volume to the lower body and hips.Great styles are wide, baggy and printed shorts. These will balance with the body's broader shoulders.

Shorts should have pleats and fuller legs to add with to the hips. Short jeans are great, especially if the legs are rolled up.

Avoid small and tight-fitted shorts in darker colours that would de-emphasise the hips and bottoms and make you look top-heavy.

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

A selection of great short styles:

Inverted Triangle Body Shape Shorts - the concept wardrobe

Jumpsuits & Playsuits

Jumpsuits and playsuits are your best friends if you are an inverted triangle because your broad shoulders let the garments fall nicely down your silhouette. The only thing you need to make sure is to balance out the wide shoulders with the lower body.

This can be achieved by drawing the eye downwards and away from the shoulders. A deep V-neck, for instance, flatters the décolletage and minimises the bust. A defined waist and wider leg, on the other hand, will balance your silhouette, and details around the waist- such as a belt, will draw it visually in.

A pattern, details or a lighter colour on the lower body will also help take attention away from the upper body.

Avoid ruffles, embellishments and details on the upper body as well as tight-fitted trousers to avoid drawing attention to the broader shoulders.      

A selection of flattering jump- and playsuits:

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Not a rectangle? Check out the other body shapes:

Rectangle
Pear
Inverted Triangle
Hourglass
Apple
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