How to dress the inverted triangle body shape

by Sylvia

How to dress the inverted triangle body type |

Today I want to provide some general dressing guidelines for the inverted triangle body shape. If you don’t know what your body shape is, please revert to my article: how to determine your body shape.

How to dress for your body type | 40PlusStyle.comCharateristics of the inverted triangle are:

  • Top part of your body is larger that your bottom part and you usually wear a bigger size on top
  • Shoulders are wider than the hip
  • Bust tends to be proportionally large
  • Hips are small

This is quite a desirable shape as many clothes will look good on you. In fact many models nowadays have this body shape. Celebrities with this body shape include Demi Moore, Rene Zellweger, Naomi Campbell and Teri Hatcher.

The aim of dressing for this body type

If you desire to have what is considered to be the most ideal body shape, hourglass, you will want to draw attention away from your broad shoulders or big upper chest and draw attention to your slim lower body and often lean legs. You can apply the following guidelines dressing for this body type.


How to dress for your inverted triangle shape

Upper body

  • Create vertical lines with vertical stripes
  • Open necklines and collars, like halter necks, v-necks and scoop necks
  • Wear soft feminine textures to soften the shoulder line
  • Avoid extra width and wear single breasted tailored jackets
  • Wear jackets open to create a vertical line
  • Wear jackets that are well structured at the shoulder
  • Look for tops that will accentuate the waist, like tops with banding or nipping at the waist or wrap style tops
  • Wear tops that accentuate a vertical line, so go for V-necks and keep your shirts unbuttoned
  • Also find tops that balance the bust with your hips (if you have a large bust)
  • Wear tops just below the hip bone
  • Wear a darker color on top
  • Wear strapless gowns and tops
  • Use belts to define your waist even more

Lower body

  • Create more width and overall balance below with A-line or full skirts.
  • Use bold textures to create more bulk.
  • Horizontal stripes will make the lower body wider.
  • Fuller leg width in trousers, full or bootleg pants. Colottes will work for you too.
  • If trousers don’t fit your waist or bum, get them altered at the tailor.
  • Have pockets or embelishments on your trousers or skirts.
  • Wear bold and eye catching shoes.

What not to wear

  • Avoid shoulder pads or anything that accentuates the shoulders
  • Boat necks
  • Horizontal lines on top
  • Oversized collars or lapels on jackets
  • Very chunky knits (if you want to wear these, choose a dark color)
  • Big bold pattern and graphics on top as it has a widening effect
  • Tapered skirts
Here are some items that you can shop right now.
If you would like to add to this list, let me know!

P.S. For more great tips, weekly fashion inspiration as well as a FREE guide and mini course on how to find your style fill in the form below.

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Just curious—I am almost 50 and am finally getting to a point where I am comfortable with my shape. I have been working out and have lost almost 20 lbs. I wish to make a lacy t shirt and want to know if I should wear just a lacy bra or a tank underneath. At what age do you stop wearing bright colors? I plan on doing the tshirts in neutral tones ie…earth tones, pinks, creams. I am very fair skinned so really have to watch this.


Hi Debbie. It’s really up to you to decide this. The ‘rules’ vary for each person. In general I would say though that I prefer tops underneath lace tops to bras. To me it’s a nicer, cleaner and classier look. When it comes to colour, there are no rules either. You can wear any colour you like. Important is to create a nice balance. If your whole outfit is very bright, it may not be such a classy look. I’m discussing the latest trends that will work for women over 40 in this article so you may want to have a look. Good luck!

Greetje Kamminga

Totally agree with your guidelines. Only hesitating on the boat neck. It is a much preferred neckline by me. Because it covers up my wrinkles on my chest and because I think it looks nice on me. I do admit that the open bit cannot be too wide. I saw a few photos of myself from the back and indeed my shoulders seemed huge in some of my boat neck stuff. Have to watch that.
Peplum is very good for me as an inverted triangle. Big belts around my hips can balance things nicely as well.


So don’t wear horizontal stripes on top, but then for example of what to wear you show a skirt with a top that has horizontal stripes? Very confusing.


Well, the shoulders were kept stripeless and in black but you are right I could have picked a better top.

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