Are you an apple shape and wondering how to dress your apple body shape? It can be a tricky shape to style.
But, in this updated article, adapted for spring and summer, we are going to look at the apple shaped body and how to dress in the most flattering way for you.
AS A QUICK REMINDER YOU HAVE AN APPLE BODY SHAPE WHEN:
- You have no defined waist
- Weight tends to form on the stomach
- You have an 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 than you really are.
Winter and fall can be the easiest seasons to dress the apple shape because you can play with layers to create long, lean lines and skim over your belly.
However, thankfully, you can still add lovely layers in spring and summer too. In this article you will find out how to dress the apple body shape, no matter what the season.
YOUR AIM WHEN DRESSING THE APPLE BODY SHAPE
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, highlighting your cleavage and creating nice vertical lines.
I also like the look of a straight silhouette, but with the use of lots of vertical lines for a long and lean silhouette.
You may also like to check out the best shops for the apple body shape.
APPLE SHAPED CELEBRITIES
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 – about 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, Amy Schumer and Kate Winslet.
GUIDELINES FOR THE APPLE SHAPE
Below are some rough guidelines of what will and will not work for many apple shaped women over 40.
1. ARE YOU DEFINITELY AN APPLE SHAPE?
First of all, check that you really do have an apple shaped body.
Many women put on a little weight around the tummy area as we age, for all sorts of reasons including menopause.
But, you can have a little bit of weight around your tummy and still be a pear shape, or an hourglass, for example.
If you aren’t sure, you can check with out body shape calculator.
2. DRAW ATTENTION AWAY FROM YOUR TUMMY
As with dressing for any body shape, the idea is to create balance, so you will want to draw attention away from the widest part of your belly.
You can do this in two ways. Either you can skim over your tummy area completely.
Or you can redefine where your mid-section is. You don’t have to tie your belt at your widest point, for example. You can just belt a little further up where you are slimmer.
The Karen Kane top (below) flows across the tummy area in a flattering way.
Georgette @grownandcurvywoman above (read her style interview here) shows how you can create balance by using your clothing to create an hourglass shape. Note that her wide sleeves end below the tummy area, her earrings draw attention upwards, while her shoes draw attention to her ankles. Carrying a handle top bag down beside her legs creates a focal point and, again, draws the eye away from the tummy area.
3. EMPHASIZE YOUR CLEAVAGE
Okay, you don’t have to emphasize your cleavage if you don’t want to. But my general point is you should draw attention somewhere else other than your tummy.
If you are happy with your cleavage or decolletage, you could draw attention upwards. A v-neck top will be super-flattering on you. If you don’t want an open neckline, you could use a bright, statement necklace.
FASHIONOLIC 3/4 Gathered Sleeve Open Blazer – Loveappella Faux Wrap Top – Wit & Wisdom ‘Ab’Solution Itty Bitty Bootcut Jeans – Naturalizer Vera Ankle Strap Wedge Sandal – HOBO Darling Leather Crossbody Bag (another option here) – – ZENZII Multi Strand Statement Bib Necklace
4. EMPHASIZE YOUR LEGS
If you prefer your legs – and lots of apple shape women have great legs – you could draw the attention downwards instead.
That doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a mini skirt, but you could go above the knee with your hem length.
Or you can wear a longer plain top, but choose patterned jeans or pants.
FASHIONOLIC 3/4 Gathered Sleeve Open Blazer – Connected Apparel Faux Wrap Bell Sleeve Jersey Cocktail Dress – Sanctuary Ready Peep Toe Bootie – Kurt Geiger London Kensington Frame Clutch – Karine Sultan Cobblestone Bib Necklace
5. CHOOSE THE RIGHT MATERIAL
Don’t opt for clingy materials which will just draw attention to any lumps and bumps.
Instead, opt for textured materials or draping and ruching. The Karen Kane faux wrap dress (below) is a timeless classic that tends to be available in black, navy and red.
NOW LET’S GO INTO MORE DETAIL – WHICH GARMENTS ARE GOOD FOR AN APPLE BODY SHAPE?
I’ve already given you a few simple guidelines, but now let’s go into much more detail on what will look good on you if you are an apple shape.
Below, you will find a capsule wardrobe which will work for the spring and summer season for the apple body type.
I’ve been inspired by some of the spring and summer color trends for 2023 including the blues, pinks and greens.
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 are often very flattering. 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 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 hem-length for tops is just below your hipbone (when worn with pants)
- Patterns tend to look very good on an apple shape body as they flatter and camouflage.
- Tops that draw attention to your arms with e.g. flares, a slit or embroidery will draw attention from your belly
- Asymmetry in your tops helps to create vertical and slimming lines.
As you are likely to have a larger bust size, also take a look at this article on the best bras for large breasts: bras which are supportive AND stylish.
The tops below use a number of these techniques. There’s ruching, asymmetry of the neckline and hem, and modern prints.
Anne Klein Harmony Colorblock Knit Wrap Top (another option here) – Joe’s The Hi Honey High Waist Slit Raw Hem Curvy Bootcut Jeans – SARTO by Franco Sarto Flexa Amaya Ballet Flat – Longchamp Medium Mailbox Leather Top Handle Bag – Marchesa Filigree Drop Earrings
For more shoppable ideas, check out this article on the best tops to hide a belly, which features plenty of inspiration.
Sweaters and cardigans
Unless you live somewhere super hot you’re likely to need a cardigan or sweater for cooler days or evenings.
The sweaters below are good examples for the apple shape. The draped options will skim over any lumps or bumps, while the asymmetrical sweater and long cardigan create vertical lines that minimize the tummy area.
Turtleneck Batwing Sleeve Asymmetric Hem Pullover – Zella Live In High Waist Leggings – Lucky Brand Joal Pump – Longchamp Medium Mailbox Leather Top Handle Bag (another option here) – Brixton Wool Felt Fedora
COATS AND JACKETS FOR THE APPLE SHAPE
- 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.
You can use the clothes you wear to create the illusion of a leaner waistline.
Below, I’ve included coats with a flattering drape, or which you can create long lines with. A moto jacket is also a good option as you can wear longer tops underneath and then top with your leather jacket.
A blazer is a classic option for any body shape, while a poncho is perfect for layering.
Urban Coco Open Front Blazer – Mango Striped Midi Dress – Calvin Klein Jerody Ankle Strap Sandal (another option here) – HOBO Darling Leather Crossbody Bag (another option here) – Plum Feathers Pashmina Scarf
DRESSES FOR APPLE SHAPE
- 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 thickest point.
- Another idea is to look for dresses which have ruching, draping or layers.
- You can also try wearing a shorter tunic style over a pair of skinny pants or leggings. You’ll find tips in this article on how to wear leggings.
You can see some examples (below) of flattering dresses for the apple shape. If you choose a belt with a tie waist, you can alter exactly where you tie the belt for the most flattering effect. A graphic pattern works to confuse the eye, and draw attention away from the tummy area.
The navy dress (left) has dramatic asymmetry, comes in a good choice of colors, and would look great worn over leggings or slim jeans.
Susanne @textelle above (read her style interview here) wears a print dress that skims the tummy area. She creates focus on her colorful hat, bag and shoes, with her Mary Jane pumps and beret creating a modern, vintage feel.
DRESSES FOR APPLE SHAPED PLUS SIZE
You will find that the tips in this article can work for an apple size no matter whether you are petite, tall, or plus size.
Here are some dresses for the apple shaped plus size that you could wear either alone (in the case of the dresses with a waist) or to layer over leggings (the looser shift style dresses).
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. 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.
Although you probably have lovely slim legs, choosing a pair of skinny jeans is not always the way to go. This is because you might end up creating a top heavy silhouette.
Instead, you may find a better balance by opting for a bootcut or slim style. However, If you are using the technique of slimming layers on your top half, then you can wear skinny jeans on your bottom half.
Also take a look at this article on the best jeans for your body shape.
A bootcut shape will create balance in your figure, with the flared hem balancing the tummy area. Or you could opt for a pair of slimmer leggings or pants with your tunics and dresses. Pencil skirts tend to be flattering for the apple shape. The skirt (below) comes in a good choice of colors, has ruching to disguise lumps and bumps, and the tie at the side draws attention to the hip area rather than the belly.
Wit & Wisdom ‘Ab’Solution Itty Bitty Bootcut Jeans – Joe’s The Hi Honey High Waist Slit Raw Hem Curvy Bootcut Jeans – Zella Live In High Waist Leggings – Massimo Dutti Midi Skirt (another option here)
MEROKEETY Open Front Cardigan Coat – Anne Klein Harmony Colorblock Knit Wrap Top (another option here) – Wit & Wisdom ‘Ab’Solution Itty Bitty Bootcut Jeans – Circus by Sam Edelman Hartlie Ankle Strap Sandal (another option here) – HOBO Darling Leather Crossbody Bag (another option here) – MOLOCH Acrylic Earrings
SHOES FOR THE APPLE BODY
You don’t have to worry about your shoes fitting your belly, but you can use your shoes to detract attention away from your tummy area.
Many apple shapes have fantastic legs, so how about opting for colorful shoes to draw the attention to your legs and slim ankles?
Because you are likely to have great legs, you can wear strappy sandals to show off your ankles.
SARTO by Franco Sarto Flexa Amaya Ballet Flat – Circus by Sam Edelman Hartlie Ankle Strap Sandal (another option here) – Calvin Klein Jerody Ankle Strap Sandal (another option here) – Lucky Brand Joal Pump
Ming Wang Landscape Pattern Zip-Up Knit Jacket – H&M Asymmetric Top (another option here) – Massimo Dutti Midi Skirt (another option here) – SARTO by Franco Sarto Flexa Amaya Ballet Flat – Longchamp Medium Mailbox Leather Top Handle Bag (another option here) – Alexander McQueen Celestial Sky Silk Chiffon Shawl
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 accessory (scarf, necklace or a pair of earrings) can draw the attention up to your face, while opting for colorful or patterned shoes can draw the eye to your legs.
HOBO Darling Leather Crossbody Bag (another option here) – Longchamp Medium Mailbox Leather Top Handle Bag (another option here) – AllSaints Chunky Mixed Link Collar Necklace (another option here) – Ettika Timeless Imitation Pearl Necklace – Tory Burch Brutalist Pebble Statement Necklace – Marchesa Filigree Drop Earrings – MOLOCH Acrylic Earrings – Brixton Wool Felt Fedora – Alexander McQueen Celestial Sky Silk Chiffon Shawl – Plum Feathers Pashmina Scarf
WHAT NOT TO WEAR IF YOU HAVE AN APPLE BODY SHAPE
I’ve talked a lot about what to wear if you have an apple shape, but how about what you should avoid?
Here a a few items that you may like to avoid when you have apple body shape.
- Big puffa jackets – these will only make your midriff look wider.
- Big shapeless garments that don’t show any waist. 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 that show every lump and bump.
- 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.
A CAPSULE wardrobe for the apple shaped body type – 9 unique OUTFITS USING THE PIECES ABOVE
If you aren’t sure how to put together the individual pieces for the apple shape that I’ve featured, below you will find some inspiration on how to put the outfits together.
These outfits feature lots of tricks which can provide a more flattering silhouette for the apple.
Also read our ultimate guide to creating a capsule wardrobe that works best for you.
You can see layering, asymmetry, the use of cardigans to create long columns, and the use of accessories to draw your eye upwards or downwards.
Shop THE items above here:
MORE INSPIRATION FOR APPLE SHAPED WOMEN
Below are capsules we created earlier. These exact items are no longer available in stores but you can use these as inspiration to put your outfits together whilst you are shopping your own closet.
Apple body shapes usually find it a bit easier to dress in colder weather as you can make ready use of layers to conceal your belly or draw the attention away from your tummy.
Many of these outfits can be adapted for any climate.
- 14 Sure-Fire Ways To Hide Your Belly With The Right Clothes
- The Best Tops To Hide Your Tummy
- The Best Shops For Women With The Apple Body Shape
Do you have an apple body shape? What styles do you find fit and flatter your apple shaped body?
ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE ON HOW TO DRESS THE APPLE BODY SHAPE? SAVE IT ON PINTEREST!
Feature image by Georgette @grownandcurvywoman
Want to get more articles from 40+style in your inbox, subscribe here.
Support 40+style by using the links in our articles to shop. As an associate for Amazon and many other brands, we receive a small commission (at no cost to you) on qualifying purchases which enables us to keep creating amazing free content for you. Thanks!