How to Dress to Flatter the Upper Body

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How to Dress to Flatter Your Upper Body

Wearing clothes that flatter the upper body has much to do with understanding the entire body shape, from top to bottom. Many fashion blunders are due to ill-fitting clothes that ignore a person’s body type. The outfit may be a winner on the rack, but an incorrect fit just accentuates flaws and draws attention to problem areas.
On the other hand, the right clothes can flatter any figure by downplaying, disguising, or minimising body features that are less than perfect. Knowing body type makes it easier to target the style and shape of clothes that work best. When selecting clothes that are figure-flattering, fit, not size, is what matters most. Start by evaluating upper body attributes, then make fashion decisions with regard to fit, fabric, and colour.


Identify Body Type

There are five common body types. The trick is to identify the type that best aligns with one’s own attributes in order to dress the upper body in the best light.


Body Type



A balanced, curvy body where bust and hips are proportional and the waist is slim and well-defined.

Round or Apple Shape

Upper body features include a larger bust, back and stomach area.

V-Shape/Inverted Triangle

The upper body is wider that the lower body – broad shoulders and narrow hips.


Smaller upper body. Slender neck, small bust, fuller hips and thighs.


Undefined waist, average bust size and equal width of upper and lower torso.


Not everyone will fit in a single body type perfectly. Throw in height and weight variances and some of the body type rules go out the window. In this case, trying on different looks is the best way to figure out what works.

Select Clothes that Complement Body Type

After discovering body type, clothing selection can begin. Choose styles that minimise flaws. For example, for a top-heavy upper body, pay particular attention to necklines. Flatter the upper body by choosing tops and blouses that elongate and slenderize and avoid those that are tight-fitting.

Hourglass Figure

Touted as the best body shape by many, there is still room for fashion sensibilities. Choose clothing that accentuates the natural curvy assets. With a defined waist, select slightly fitted tops that are not too tight. A wrap top that ties at the waist is a good bet.

Round or Apple

Round body types have larger upper bodies, including fuller busts and stomachs. When deciding on blouses and tops, select a v-shaped or scoop neckline. Empire style tops with boat necks are also recommended. With jackets or blazers, choose those with narrow lapels or no lapels at all. Stay away from tops that are snug and tight, and over-sized tops that makes the body look bigger.

V-Shaped/Inverted Triangle

Steer clear of tops and blouses with shoulder pads and extra volume that make broad shoulders look even wider. Slightly fitted tops are a good option. Balance the look by pairing tops with wide-leg pants or flare skirts.


With this body type, upper features are well-suited for fitted or tailored tops. Cowl necks and square necklines are also a safe bet because these designs can broaden very narrow shoulders and accentuate small busts.

Straight Figure

Create curves with belted jackets that give a boost to a non-existent waist. Tops with necklines that fall below the collar bone will help accentuate and elongate the neck line. Avoid baggy shirts and tops that create boyish looks.


Choose Fabrics and Colours that Flatter the Upper Body

Vibrant and colourful fabrics are good for any body type when worn strategically. However, colours with busy patterns and horizontal stripes are not the best options for a fuller torso or large busts.
Bulky fabrics are not right for top heavy body types, either. Choose fabrics with some weight that are not clingy, but drape nicely over the body. These types of fabrics can flatter any figure.
Many size-conscious people choose black and dark solid colours for a slimming effect and to hide flaws. Avoid a drab look by wearing colourful jewellery or a scarf to brighten up the look, but steer clear of busy pieces.


How to Buy Flattering Upper Body Clothing on eBay

Regardless of fit or fashion, eBay has all the goods from top to bottom. Starting at the eBay home page, select the Fashion link, then select Clothing, Shoes, or Accessories. Narrow the search by choosing desired options and styles.
Always consider neck, bust, torso, waist, and arm measurements when looking for clothing that flatters the upper body. Most eBay sellers include these measurements in their clothing descriptions, but don’t hesitate to contact them for specific details. Size charts are helpful, but rely on exact measurement for the best fit.



Dressing in a way that flatters the upper body starts with understanding and accepting one’s body type. Be realistic about personal attributes and dress in ways that play-up the best features. Choosing ill-fitting clothes detract from a polished look.
Trying on different looks is a good way to know what flatters and what flubs. Regardless of body type, jazz up a look with selective colour, pattern, and textures. Shopping on eBay is one way to make fashion purchases.

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