Illustrations of body type and shape on colourful background

Dress to Flatter: The Waist

illustrative images of different body shape types
Guinea Gold lettering on purple background

Judith Cutting

Founder & Creative Director

Guinea's guide on how to dress to flatter your waist


We love meeting our customers face to face but one thing comes over time and time again – you’ve all got bits you’re not happy about, “my bust’s too big”, “I’ve no waist”, the list is endless.  Well, at Guinea we’ve decided that it is time to make a stand and ditch all the negativity.  So, in this blog, part of our series, ‘Making the Cut’, we are going to focus on how to dress YOUR shape, and how to make yourself look slimmer. We will explain how clever little details on a garment can create optical illusions that will, for example create a waist.

So, if you don’t know your body shape there are handy calculator tools online to help you decide. Click here to try a body shape calculator for yourself. Then...once you’ve got your type, read on to see what to wear, and what shapes and details will work for you.

Body shape varies but there are 4 key types we will focus on: Hourglass, Apple, Rectangle and Pear.

Hourglass Shape

An example of an hourglass body shape would be Scarlett Johannson. Key features are a curvy bust and hips, yet a narrow waist. Hourglass figures look wonderful in dresses and tops that drape, soft silks that can be tucked in and dress details that nip in around the waist but layer softly over curves.

For hourglass shapes, the focus is to draw any attention to the narrowest bit, the waist.

Go for: belted dresses, wrap dresses, v-neck tops, silky flowing fabric tops and coats or jackets that nip you in at the waist. V-necks tops and wrap tops work really well because the V elongates the top and takes the eye down to the’re smallest asset! At Guinea we have some really great shapes to enhance the hourglass shape, such as our fitted puffer jacket or a fitted short blazer like our Kensington style.

Avoid: boxy shapes, square shaped jackets and stiff thick fabrics – you’ll just look square!

drawing of an hourglass body shape

Apple Shape

A prime example of an apple body shape would be Catherine Zeta-Jones. Key features for this shape are a less defined waist but lean bottom and legs with a wider back and rib cage. Apple’s have a waist, you really do – it is just under the bust, and this is where you need to focus. So choose clothes which flow from under the bust, and tops and dresses which narrow at this point.  Tailoring is key, it will define and give you shape.  The perfect coat for an apple shape is our Piccadilly coat, which softly tapers in under the bust.  The single front fastening creates a vertical line at the front which visually cuts the body in half, whilst at the back it is particularly flattering, having a velvet tab detail which draws the eye and creates an illusion of a beautiful narrow waist! 

Go for:  A-line dresses, shorter length dresses or skirts (apples have usually got fab legs).  Tops which ruche in the middle are a great option.  Look out for tailored or wide legged trousers in dark denim or indigo cotton.

Avoid: thick belts, printed tops and peplum, or anything frilled or featured on the traditional waist area – remember your waist is under the bust.

drawing of an apple body shape

Rectangle Shape

Cameron Diaz is your classic rectangle body shape. Characteristics are narrow shoulders, often with long legs and arms, but with minimal curves on the hips and bottom area. Rectangle shapes need to use clothes to create curves, so a scooped neckline with a full skirt or dress with frills and ruffles would work beautifully to balance the shape.

Go for: frilled or patterned tops like our Emily silk ruffle blouse, detail around the bust area can give the illusion of a bigger bust balancing out features.  Belts and a nipped waist style can help create more shape around the waist and hip area, the perfect shape for the rectangle body would be our puffer gilet, as the cut creates a defined waist.  Many of the designs we create have slanted pockets which angle up and in, towards the waist – the detail is there for a reason, we know that this cut will narrow the waist, giving the illusion of one where it's missing!

Avoid: high and, or square necks and boxy styles.

drawing of a rectangle body shape

Pear Shape

Kim Kardashian is probably the most famous pear shape in the world! The pear has curvy hips and bottom with a narrow waist. So, with this in mind, pear shapes should focus on the top half. Think strapless dresses to elongate the neck and draw focus with bright patterned or coloured tops that end at the waist (never the hips), and 3/4 length sleeves. Creating focus above the waist with dresses and jackets is a must for pear shapes. Our perfect coat shape for pears would be our Richmond due to the seams at the bust and waist, with a well below the hip, hem line. Guinea is currently developing a stunning wrap blouse that is designed to flatter pear shaped women and we are incredibly excited for its launch. Watch this space!

Go for: deep necklines, frills, nipped in waist details.  Dark colours are perfect on your bottom half, while tops need to finish at the waist or below the hips.

Avoid: anything that ends at the hips whether it’s a blouse, top or jacket – this is your widest point so draw attention away.

drawing of a pear body shape

Absolutely everyone has got a waist and the key is to use the cut and style of your clothes to enhance the shape you’ve got.  So many details can be fabulous on one woman’s body shape, but disastrous on others. Here at Guinea, design is our passion and we are always happy to advise if you are unsure or if you require guidance. Remember – for every pear out there wishing they were a rectangle, we’ve got a rectangle telling us they wish they were more pear – so we just want to say be happy and absolutely #guineaglam