Are you an apple shape and wondering how to dress your apple body shape?

In this updated article adapted for spring and summer, we are going to look at the apple shaped body and how to dress it.

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 experience symptoms of (peri)menopause and may gain weight around your waist.

What is flattering for the apple shaped body?

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 loose garments, which in most cases is not the right thing to do as this can simply make you look larger.

But, you will find that fall and winter can be the best seasons to dress the apple shape because you can play with layers to create long, lean lines and skim over your belly.

Having said that, you can still add lovely layers in spring and summer too.

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. I also like the looks of a straight silhouette, but with the use of lots of vertical lines for a long and lean silhouette.

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

apple shaped women

You probably assume that most celebrities aren’t an apple shape, as this can be a tricky shape to style.

But, the fact is there are lots of female celebrities with the same body shape as you. They have just learned tricks – or their stylist has taught them – how to dress to flatter their shape.

These women tend to carry their weight around their middle, but have great legs, so you will often see them choosing an outfit which shows off their legs for red carpet events.

For inspiration, you can look at celebrities including Drew Barrymore, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kate Winslet and Amy Schumer.

Which garments are good for an apple body shape?

Tops for the apple shape

  • First of all, since a lot of attention is going to be drawn to the top part of your body, get yourself a well-fitting bra. You don’t want your bust and your tummy meeting each other.
  • 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 vertical 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 below your hipbone (when worn with pants)

Tops for the apple shape body |

Wrap front topPaisley tunic shirtFront pleat blousePleat front tank top

As you are likely to have a larger bust size, look at this article on the best bras for large breasts: bras which are supportive AND stylish.

  • Patterns tend to look very good on an apple shape body as they flatter and camouflage.
  • Tops should cover the whole belly area and end just below the hip bone.
  • Tops that draw attention to your arms with e.g. flares, a flit or embroidery will draw attention from your belly
  • Asymmetry in your tops helps to create vertical and slimming lines.

Dresses for apple shaped body

  • Dresses should have their waistline just below the bust or at your thinnest point.
  • You can also choose shift style dresses which skim over your waist rather than emphasizing your thicket point
  • Another idea is to look for dresses which have ruching, draping or layers
  • You can try wearing a shorter tunic style, like the navy dress below, over a pair of skinny pants or leggings.

Dresses for the apple shape body |

Sleeveless trench coatWrap jersey dressTexture faux wrap dress

V-neck dress

For more shoppable ideas, check out this article on the best tops to hide a belly, which features plenty of inspiration.

Clothes for apple shape – to create a long and lean silhouette

You can use the clothes you wear to create the illusion of a leaner waistline. You will see below that while Julia has chosen a jacket which ends around her midriff, she has also created a column of black with the rest of her outfit, which has a slimming effect.

Your eye is actually drawn to the width of the black inside the jacket rather than the width of the whole outfit.

Her use of a v-shaped necklace also has an elongating effect. Plus, the pop of color with her yellow handbag draws the eye away from the tummy area.

How to dress the apple shape body |

  • You can layer with a long cardigan or a long sleeveless vest
  • Make sure the top underneath is not too short
  • Try to have v-necklines with your long long jumper or tops underneath the layering piece
  • Longer tops and jackets that skim the body can be worn with leggings or skinny jeans
  • As an apple shape, you will find a number of jackets can work for you as you can layer to draw attention away from your belly. Just make sure that your jacket does not end at your widest point.
  • 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.
  • Choose tailored jackets that have a nice v shape at the top.
  • Opt for a single-breasted rather than a double-breasted style.

Outerwears for the apple shape body |

Long open front cardiganLinen blend blazerFaux leather jacketSleeveless trench vest

Bottoms for the apple body type

  • 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 unless you are opting to create the long and lean silhouette using vertical lines (see above). 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 to add the focus to the top with the tips above.
  • Make sure that any pleats of skirts start below the belly to avoid adding extra volume.

Bottoms for the apple shape body |

Denim leggingsAnkle skinny jeansPencil skirtFlare leg pants

Accessories to go with your apple body shape clothes

Of course, you can choose whatever accessories you love as you don’t have to worry about how your accessories fit your waist (apart from your belt!).

But, thinking strategically about your accessories can help you to draw attention from the area of your body you aren’t so keen on (your belly or waist) and either upwards or downwards.

Choosing a statement necklace or scarf can draw the attention up to your face, while opting for colorful or patterned shoes can draw the eye to your legs.

Because you are likely to have great legs, you can wear strappy sandals to show off your ankles.

Accessories for the apple shape body |

Faux leather toteCrossbody toteStatement collar necklaceLong tassel necklaceWedge slingback sandalPoppy sandalPrinted scarf

What not to wear if you have an apple body shape

  • Big puffa jackets – these will only make your midriff look wider.
  • Big shapeless garments that don’t show any waist or don’t use vertical layers. You can, however, use tunic dresses as a base to create long, lean lines with layers.
  • Bulky trousers with lots of pockets and zippers at the front.
  • High necklines. A v-neck will be more flattering.
  • Tight clingy T-shirts
  • Avoid wearing everything in one solid color. Better to mix color with a texture or to use several layers in different colors to create vertical lines

How to dress the apple body shape

A capsule of 9 outfits using the pieces above

If you aren’t sure how to put together the individual pieces for the apple shape, here is some inspiration for you.

These outfits feature lots of tricks which can provide a more flattering silhouette for the apple.

You can see layering, asymmetry, the use of cardigans to create long columns, and the use of accessories to draw your eye upwards.

A capsule wardrobe for the apple body shape |

Want more tips?

You will also enjoy this video with lots of tips from stylist Ruth Essex.

More (older) ideas for apple shaped women

Jackets and sweaters for the apple body shape |
 How to dress the apple body shape |

Stylish outfit tips on dressing the apple body type |

 Classic and chic looks for the apple body shape |

Fall and winter outfits for the apple shape

If you are currently in fall or winter in your part of the world, this can be a great season for you if you are an apple shape as you can use lots of lovely layers to draw the attention away from your tummy.

Look out for tops with detailing around your neckline and those which drape or have ruching.

Here are some ideas for the colder months, although many of these outfits can be adapted for spring too.

Fall and winter outfits for the apple body shape |

Stylish outfit ideas for the apple body shape |

For many more tips and images, also see this article on how to hide your belly.

If you like to go shopping you may also want to check out our article on the best shops for the apple body shape.

Do you have an apple body shape? What styles do you find fit and flatter your apple shaped body?

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How to dress the apple body shape |

Feature image by Julia of When the Girls Rule blog