How to dress the apple body shape

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how to dress apple body shape
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Since some articles are now 2 years old, I’m refreshing them with new insights and images. Today the apple shaped body.

This is continuation to our articles on how to dress for your body type. In this article we are going to look at the apple body shape.

As a quick reminder you have an apple body shape when:

  • You have no defined waist
  • Weight tends to form on the stomach
  • Average to large bust size

This is a body shape that often develops after 40 when you start to experiences symptoms of (peri)menopause where many women experience the gain of weight around their waist.

To be honest this is not the easiest body shape to dress as many women with this shape will be well aware of. Some women tend to cover it all up with lose garments, which in most cases is not the right thing to do. But the fact is that you can look extremely good if you are wearing the right clothes! What you DO want to do is to create the nicest silhouette possible. For many apples you can do that by creating the illusion of a waist, highlight your cleavage and create nice vertical lines.

Below are some rough guidelines what will and will not work for many apple shaped women over 40.

What not to wear?

  • Big puffa jackets
  • Big shapeless garments that don’t show any waist
  • Bulky trousers with lots of pockets and zippers at the front
  • High necklines
  • Tight clingy T-shirts
  • Avoid wearing everything in one solid coloour. Better to mix colour with a texture

Which garments are good for an apple body shape?

Tops

  • First of all, since a lot of attention is going to be drawn to the top part of your body, get yourself a good fitting bra.
  • Tops that highlight your body at the slimmest point which is often just underneath your bust. They should have enough space for your belly but not be too wide.
  • Buy t-shirts that are ruched in the middle. This will confuse the eye and you can’t tell that there’s a big tummy underneath.
  • Get Tops with a V-neck to break up the size of your chest and create a lean line.
  • Look for tops with a thicker texture that don’t cling so much. Woven tops can be great.
  • The best height for tops is just belong your hipbone (when worn with pants)
  • Patterns tend to look very good on a apple shape body as they flatter and camouflage.
  • Tops should cover the whole belly area and end just below the hip bone.
  • Shirts look nicest when they are tight just onderneath the boobs and then go out. Also try to get the v shape with your shirts.
  • Choose tailored jackets that have a nice v shape at the top.
  • Tops that draw attention to your arms with e.g. flares, a flit or embroidery will draw attention from your belly
  • Having a tie at the waist is great as it highlights the waist and hides the belly.
  • A straight duster coat that ends just above the knee will create a nice long silhouette.
  • Structured jackets help to create a nice silhouette. Wear them over tops and make sure that they define your waistline.
  • Make sure that the jacket fits the shoulder perfectly, so choose the size for your shoulders, not your belly. If you can’t close the jacket, you can always use a scarf to fill the gap if you like.
  • Dresses should have their waistline just below the bust.
  • It’s always good to have some detailing on the tummy area for camouflage.

Bottoms

  • Get trousers that have zippers at the side to avoid adding extra bumps on the front.
  • Trousers should be flared or straight and not cling to tummy or thighs. Avoid pleats.
  • Also choose jeans that are tailored and ¬†either straight or flared. Trouser jeans are ideal.
  • Pants with a high rise will create a nice silhouette.
  • It’s best to get trousers with some stretch for extra comfort and a good fit.
  • Choose skirts that have their zippers at the side.
  • Structured pencil skirts work well, but keep them at knee length.
  • Make sure that any pleats of skirts start below the belly to avoid adding extra volume.

If you would like to add to these guidelines, then please let me know. Also, if you are an apple shaped body type and are rocking an outfit, I would love to see it. Upload it into the style forum or send it to me at sylvia [at] 40plusstyle.com!

Below are some clothing suggestions for the apple shaped body. Use as inspiration or happy shopping!


P.S. Would you like to find out a lot more about your body type and get a whole range of recommendations for your outfits? Then sign up for My Private Stylist and get started instantly!

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Lily Li

My first time here. I love this site.

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Sylvia

Great to have you here Lily. Hope to connect with you more on the site or style forum!

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Debbie

Love this site, just over 50 and still looking for tips on clothes…

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Sylvia

Welcome Debbie and enjoy!

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Teresa Fujtia

Cud you please use a model that actually has an apple shaped body?

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Sylvia

Yes, of course I would like that too. But we are dependent on the images that clothing manufacturers sent out and they all tend to be young and thin. We don’t have the budget to create our own photo shoots with hired models.

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Jennifer

I have always been an apple and these are THE most specific and helpful tips for dressing my body type. Thanks so much for the info.

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Sylvia

Great Jennifer. Very happy to read that they were useful to you!

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Babita

Dear Team
Greetings from India
Thx a zillionnnnnn for your useful tips.
A big bear hug.
Babita.

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Sylvia

Thank you!

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Jules

I’m an apple shape with big boobs, can you advise please?

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Sylvia

Hi Jules, You will want to go for a lot of v-neck clothing in both your tops, blazers and cots. Go for empire style tops and dresses (with v-necks of course). Go for straight pants. If you have good legs, try to put the emphasis on those. For further questions or to look at your specifically you can also go to the style forum.

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Sherri W

I wonder if I am a true apple shape. I have a belly and I am blessed up top. When I where comfortable empire waisted tops, I get asked when I’m due! Help, please!!!

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Sylvia

Hi Sherri, There are few women who fit exactly in this category. It’s just too broad. In the body shape bible (found on my list of style books as a goblet (a guess as I don’t have details about the rest of your body). It’s important for you to choose empire waist tops and dresses but they need to be fitted (can’t be lose). Go for deep v necks, a fitted aline coat and fitted short jacket. Tops cannot be too long. Very slight a-line skirts or tight skirts with fluted hemline are good for you too. Hope that helps.

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Kim

Thank you so much for your tips on dressing. I not only have the curse of gaining weight in the waist, (a lot of weight) but I have the most horrible hot flashes to boot. Trying to dress to hide my increased weight gain, and big belly has lead me to lots of layers, but with the hot flashes it’s unbearable. You’ve given me some ideas to play with.

Thanks, keep up the good work as there aren’t many out their addressing the issue of an aging body and how to dress fashionably.

Kim

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Sylvia

thanks for the nice feedback Kim. Good luck in finding out what works for your new shape and coping with your hot flushes….

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Tee A

Hi Sylvia,
Thanks a lot for these tips. I presume I am apple shaped because I have very large bust,I wear 34E/F,bust is 40,waist is 34,hips is 42 and my bum is not raised so much. I tend to wear a lot of dresses that are gathered in at the waist and fall all the way down over the hips and below the knee a little and people always tell me I’m fatter when I wear such. I rarely wear straight dresses because it doesn’t fit me. I have knocking knees so I don’t like wearing above the knee dresses. I want to make a mermaid dress with prints/floral material,will this fit me?

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Sylvia

Hi Tee, You actually have more the shape of an hourglass. It’s hard to give precise advice because I don’t have all your measurements but a mermaid dress is usually very good for this body shape. Have a look at some of my suggestions for the hourglass shape http://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-the-hourglass-shape/ and for further questions and feedback I actually recommend my style forum: http://40plusstyle.com/forum/

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rachel

Thanks so much, I’m 39 and have always dressed like a teenage tom boy and am finally trying to break out of this. I am a size 10/12 apple shape and have no clue how to dress. so I’m impressed with the tips. Thanks again

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Sylvia

Great to know that these tips helped you Rachel. Welcome!

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Bianca

Thank you for your tips and advice on clothing for us apple shape women. Well I am 21 years old, with two children. Well growing up I was always on the bigger size. Well I try so hard to find jeans that will fit me right. Of course I am an apple shape and mostly all my weight is at my top half. I have no hips, so when I try on jeans they don’t fit well on my waist, and or they fit well but on my legs the jeans are way too loose and makes me look ugly. I work in an office and I need stylish office looks for me and of course everyday. I do own many pairs of dresses that have the waist band under my breast and I love the way it gives me curves when in reality I don’t have.

Can I please have tips on what to look for in jeans to fit me correctly and office work clothing. Thank you in advance!

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Sylvia

Hi Bianca. Yes fitting jeans and pants can be tricky. Look for pants that are flat at the front (no pleats) and have a wide waist band. Look for a mid to high rise. You can try to go for stretchy material which may help with fit issues. But otherwise you should look at a tailor for help. Find jeans that fit your waist and have them adjusted at the hips. Good luck!

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Petra

Hi Sylvia, thanks for the update on my shape – the apple! I find good shape-wear undies are marvellous :-) I have just decided to stop wearing baggy hip-length tops (with leggings) and instead dresses that are V or scoop-necked with an empire line – such a brilliant style for apples! If I can work out how to send a photo I will do so! Thanks again.

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Greetje Kamminga

I think I am between an apple and a ruler: bust and tummy of an apple, normal waist thanks to the sucking device of the plastic surgeon, no hips, no bum. You tell me.
I do recognize a lot of things in your advice which helped me before.
One thing though. You say: “Trousers should be wide or straight and not cling to tummy or thighs.” But I don’t mind that because I am usually wearing tops covering my hips and bum. Like the bottom, middle photo in your selection (of Robbi & Nikki), usually a little bit flared. And then it is better to have trousers which cling to my tummy. As I am not showing my tummy anyway. You are darned right about a zipper at the side. Not easy to come by though.

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Sylvia

Yes good point Greetje. But you are not really an apple. More an inverted triangle with a bit of a tummy.

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Greetje

Thanks Sylvia, it is getting better all the time hahaha.

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33

I have a suggestion for apples when it comes to overcoats: cape

Not the long one but the version that falls to the hip bones. It covers a multitude of sins and is very easy on and off regardless how thick your sweater or how many layers you have on. It is surprisingly warm, too (sort of creating a heat cocoon).

The trick is to wear boot cut pants or skinny with knee boots. The swingy cape will direct attention to your trim (relatively speaking) bottom half.

It is essentiall an A line for the upper body when you wear a cape coat.

A waterfall lapeled jacket (with fabric that has some weight) will create similar illusion.

Good tops for apples should be A line, too. The kind of silk/chiffon/polyester/jersey shell that falls above the hip bones that’s like a mumu for the upper body. As long as it is not too blousy (not oversize) and clingy (not undersize), paired with pencil skirk to the knee (short shirt doesn’t work too well unless the legs are slim and shapely) and a waterfall lapeled jacket, the silhouete would be as professional and put-together as can be.

Just my two cents :-)

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Sylvia

Some great tips. Thanks!

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Carol G.

I’m a petite who used to have a boyish figure (small hips and bust and not much of a waist) The apple bump is now placed on top of this. Sometimes, advice that works for a straight apple type figure conflicts with those that suit a petite or those with smaller bust.

There may be people who exactly fit one body type or other, but for those of us with kind of mixed body types, the challenges are different.

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Sylvia

That is very true Carol. In the end, each body is different. That is why these are rough general guidelines. What you can do is just to see what applies to your body and see what clothes create the nicest silhouette for you.

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Lesley King

Dear Sylvia,
First time visiting your site, and I am not sure if I am apple or pear. Some dresses I wear I’m definatley a pear but tend to have the dreaded roll above jeans/ pants if shapewear is not always worn. the shapewear rolls, I’ve tried many brands. I lived in scrubs for 23 years and now seems that I tend to wear alot of leggings with short dresses or long sleveless tops. Help !!!! I really like vintage styles / chic and I am 46 y/o. I have no idea how to put a wardrobe together, I feel like I always look frumpy, where do I start?

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Sylvia

Welcome Lesley. Great you found us! The best place to start is my style course and e-book as it takes you through a 10 step process to find your style and find out what works for you. http://40plusstyle.com/10stepstoamorestylishyoucourse.html It requires some self-work, but it can really help ‘finding’ yourself and your style again. There are also hundreds of articles on the site that can help. If you want to ask more specific questions, then you can upload your photos / questions to the style forum. http://40plusstyle.com/forum/ Be sure to be as specific as possible there. Good luck in finding your style again!

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Silvia

Hi, I have an apple shaped body with medium busts, broad waist and very skinny legs. Can u pl suggest what kind 0f clothes should I wear?

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Sylvia

I think the tips in this article give lots of great advice for your Silvia. If you want more advice, you need to be a bit more specific about your style and personality and perhaps include pictures and ask your question in the style forum. http://40plusstyle.com/forum/

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Michelle

Was wondering how to dress so I don’t look fat and frumpy as this puts me on a downer everything I wear just makes me look fatter I am an apple with really big boobs mid roll and fat stomach my legs are thin can’t find anything that even flatters my shape I would really like to wear a dress for summer I just don’t know what to wear please help me I am 52 years old and my kids are embarrassed when going out with me

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Sylvia

A lot of the tips above apply to you Michelle. Define your bust, wear a longer top with subtle draping or ruching and highlight your legs.

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Therese

What is the best brand of pants to suit apple shape, thanks therese

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Sylvia

Many women like Not Your Daughters Jeans but it would be great to get some feedback on this from other apple shaped women!

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marion clark

Hi how do I find out what style suits me im 12 to 14 on top and 8 on bottom with very slim legs
Thanks
Marion
Im in my fiftys

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Sylvia

Many of the tips mentioned in the article will apply to you Marion. Try a few of the suggestions in shops and see what works.

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Lisa

Hi there, I realise this advice is mainly for over 40′s but many of us younger ones have the same body shape…for our entire lives… and as a size 8 in my early 20′s to a size 12 in my late 30′s I have always struggled with these issues. If I were a designer, I would design one thing- beautiful jeans for the women with a wide waist and slim hips and legs.

Your advice to wear a slight bootleg may help, but the simple fact is that the jeans in that shape simply do not fit the slim hips, flt bottom and skinny legs. On occasion I have found a single pair in a flatteing style only to have them disappear from the rack in the next season. Many women with this body shape know what they are meant to do, and will spend lots of money to by a single perfect garment, but I’m firmly of the belief that items-mainly jeans- for this body shape DO NOT exist. The rest of the wardrobe is easier with lots of trial and error.

If I had a fashion advice website for women with that body shape, I would shop shop shop and advise on labels who do this shape well (hint, levis new shapes have done no favours for their range)
Please help.

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Sylvia

As you say, it is hard to find jeans that fit well for this body type, as every woman is different. Very often a tailor will either have to adjust the hip or the waist. I welcome anyone who visits this page, to comment with their recommendations if they find good brands.

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Jaunnette

I can’t say I found these helpful. Not because they aren’t good advice… For dressing “slim” or “faux-slim” anyway. But it makes me a bit irked when so many of the tips are “hide the tummy” “slim the waist” “confuse the eyes” or “creating the illusion” of anything.

I’m not slim. I’ve never BEEN slim and as I get older I move ever further from the mark. This doesn’t mean I find anything wrong with someone being slim, or wouldn’t mind dropping weight. But when all the advice is “Your shape is undesirable, you should try to hide it as much as possible with these optical illusions!”… Well at that point, any advice I might have found useful is shadowed by my irritation of the blaring inadequacy of my body shape.

I apologize if this seems snappy, but this article made me rather unhappy. Though I was annoyed before I read more than the headline simply because you couldn’t rummage up a single photo of a woman with anything but a thin figure, while trying to tout the clothing they wear for an “apple” shape.

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Sylvia

Although I understand the sentiment of your comment, I have never met a woman who wants to highlight her tummy or appear bigger than she is. Also please note that not all apple shapes are big. Some are slim but just have a big tummy. These articles concentrate on showing you how to give you the nicest silhouette, not to ‘make you as slim as possible’. I believe every woman can look fantastic, regardless of her body shape and size. As for the photo, it would probably be best that I don’t use any models at all, so you could just concentrate on the shapes of the clothes. I’m sorry that this article made you feel unhappy. That is of course never my attention. I have found though that these articles ultimately make women feel happier about themselves, as they realise it is not the body that is the problem but the way they dress it. Choosing the right clothes can make a world of difference in overall appearance.

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Becca

I am an apple, but my tops are 26W and my pants are Misses 16. I have no hips or gluteus. My issue is, not all apples can wear straight or flare legged jeans. If I try to wear straight or flare legged jeans, I look like I am wearing pants 4 sizes too big. How do I camouflage how much larger the top is, when Skinny jeans are the only style of jeans that fit?

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Sylvia

Try to get something as fitted as possible. Something that fits tighhly over your bust. A slim fitting empire waist could work.Also, straight or flared jeans can also be bought in fitted versions. If you buy something that snugly fits your legs than flares out a bit a the knees then that could work too.

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Lisa Rainford

Hi Becca, my advice would be a bit different to Sylvia’s, having a similar body shape to you, and knowing the frustrations that this particular body shape entails, but if your top is really that disproportionate to your bottom I’d have to say give up on trying to disguise your shape with illusion and I would say choose longish tops in either fitted or flowing styles that flatter your bust and your tummy and your colouring, and wear them over tights, or slim fitting jeans, forget trying to achieve balance with a flared leg, it can also look plain silly.

And you know what? Focus on the ‘flattering’ aspect of dressing your shape, choose colours that light you up, to draw the eye of others up to your smiling face and make your hair and eyes up in a pretty way, and wear lovely earrings to bring attention up to where you want people to look. Apples are frustrating to dress, but a lady of any shape, who loves herself is a happy thing to see :)

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Tina Boomerina

Marion, forget jeans. Wear leggings with tunic tops over the elastic waistband. If you’re like me, you’ll never be able to breathe when you wear jeans… or else the butt will sag and make you look like a retard. Jeggings, Baby, jeggings.
T

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