The statuesque inverted triangle is last on the list as I refresh the body type guidelines for 2010. If you’re still unsure of your body type or the concept of body types in general, read this post for background information.

Two important points before I begin:

  1. These are only guidelines: Don’t get too hung up on following the information here in the strictest sense. But we all have to start somewhere in order to dress in flattering ensemble combinations and getting your head around the guidelines is a great starting point. Once you have a firm grasp of the guidelines, you can bend them in clever ways and still look fab. That’s the challenging and fun part.
  2. There are 5 simple archetypes: My philosophy is to define a few simple body types and then be flexible when working with them. No, you are probably not exactly an inverted triangle, but you might be an hourglass, rectangle or apple with a broad shoulders or  very strong shoulder line. Either way, it’s all about choosing and applying the relevant sections across the various body type guidelines to help dress your unique body.

You’re an inverted triangle when you have broad shoulders, narrow hips and relatively slender limbs. Some inverted triangle body types have a straight waist and a flat-ish bottom, whereas others have a defined waist line and curvier bottom. Bust size can vary.

Despite the fact that you are easy to dress, you’ll still want to think about how clothing affects your shape. Even though broad shoulders come in many forms (some shoulders are broader and more square than others), softening the shoulder line is what you’ll need to think about most.

Defining your waist and creating curvature both on top and on the bottom is the flop proof way to go. The fact that volume is fashionable makes surrendering the waistline a third interesting twist because you wear volume around the mid-section really well, especially if you’re small busted and straight-waisted. The contours of waist-less styles glide over the straight lines of your body and effortlessly drape off your strong shoulder line.

Softening your shoulders

  • Wear the best possible bra to create curves in all the right places. There’s nothing like the right bra to lift an outfit.
  • Soft, drapey, weighty fabrications are your best friend for both tops and dresses because they de-emphasize the shoulder line and skim over your frame. Stay away from overly rigid fabrications unless they are immaculately tailored and have a bit of stretch.
  • You look amazing in a perfectly tailored button down shirt with waist definition. Keep the shirt collar open and layer under a soft cami to draw the eye towards the waist line.
  • Keeping your cardigans V-neck and unbuttoned will soften the shoulder line. Tops with soft sleeve treatment like raglans, dropped shoulder points and shoulder slits will also do the trick.
  • Avoid shoulder details like epaulettes, tight armholes and overly puffy sleeves as they create extra shoulder width.
  • Extended shoulder pad detailing, which is hip and trendy right now, is not your best look so stay away.
  • Don’t give up on ruched sleeves all together though. Make sure that the shoulder seam is  cut deep past the shoulder closer towards the neck. This shortens the shoulder line to compensate for the shoulder extension that is achieved with the effect of the ruching.
  • Some boat necks and halter necks are tricky because they can visually extend the shoulder line. Proceed with caution.
  • Bold horizontal lines have a widening effect so if you’re going to wear horizontal stripes, keep them subtle and monochromatic.
  • For sleeveless dressing keep the shoulder strap wide rather than spaghetti style. Wider straps effectively shorten the length of the shoulder.
  • Keep the lapels on jackets and coats small or mid size and relatively refined as oversized collars and lapels tend to make shoulders look broader.
  • You were made for soft collarless dressing! Go to town with this silhouette.
  • Keep knitwear fine gauge and avoid chunky stitch fabrications.
  • Shirts, jackets, tops, blouses, jackets, coats and dresses with vertical seaming are ideal. Think princess seaming, pin tucks, front ruching detailing, side paneling and top stitching. Also, the vertical line that is created in front of the body by keeping a tailored jacket open, is slimming and flattering.
  • I love a broad shouldered lass in strapless tops and dresses. You were made for the look so give it a go if you haven’t done so already.

Defining your waist

  • If you have a small chest and long neck, choose higher necklines. Crew, turtle, polo, shirt and mandarin are perfect for you. Choose tops with bust ruffles, ruching, breast pocket detail, front panel detail and pleating. Wrap tops are also good and button down shirts are your friend. You can wear lower necklines too, just make sure that you layer with a cami to balance out the depth of the plunge.
  • The following necklines are flop proof with a fuller bust and/or shorter neck: V-necks, scoop necks, open shirt collars and cowls. Rule of thumb is to keep the top relatively simple, smooth and low scooped. You can wear tops with ruffles, pleating and funky detailing, but you need to be careful with their placement. Wrap tops and mock wraps are your friend because they create a V on the neckline and tailor the midriff.
  • The length of your tops should either catch you just below your hipbone or a few inches above crotch point when you wear jeans or pants.
  • You can sport the leggings look with the right dress or tunic because this vibe is about the dress and not the leggings.
  • Layering knitwear or jackets with something soft and feminine underneath will also offer extra definition.
  • You can wear most lengths and styles of structured jackets if they are adequately nipped in at the waist for shape.
  • Keep the stance low to create balance between the waist and shoulder line.
  • Belted jackets, trenches and coats are especially good as they offer even more structure.
  • Form fitting sheath dresses and bias cut dresses worn at (or just above) the knee are fabulous options. Soft dresses with V-neck ruffle detail, A-lines, wrap dresses, fit-and- flares and shirt dresses will also work. Make sure that your dresses don’t taper in too much at the side seams as this can make your bottom half look disproportionately small.
  • If you can get your head around wearing belts, go for it. They add a flattering curve to your straight waist, or further define a curved waist. Blousoning a blouse with a belt can add a bit of shape too.

Surrendering the waistline

  • If you are an inverted triangle with a straight-waist and regular sized or small bust, you naturally wear voluminous clothing well because angular bodies flatter straight styles. It’s a question of whether you’d prefer to add curves to your straight body by defining the waistline, or to allow clothing to hang even straighter by wearing the right boxy styles. You can do both and in my opinion both silhouettes look equally great.
  • If you’re an inverted triangle with a defined waist and fuller bust, you can still wear waist-less dresses and tops. If the styles are gently A-line in silhouette, structured in the shoulders with a scooped neckline, fairly short in length, and in soft drapy fabrics, chances are high that they will work. A word of warning though: voluminous silhouettes  look wide from the side even when they are cut well. So you have to be at peace with that. Obviously, you’ll look narrower in a waist defining silhouette, but it’s fun, carefree and liberating to surrender the waistline from time to time. And when you do, you’ll simply draw attention to other parts of lovely you.
  • You can wear boyfriend jackets, boyfriend shirts and sack dresses if you keep the neckline and stances low and the shoulders structured. Pair the look with sleeker bottoms. If you have a short leg line, add heels and you’re good to go.

Creating curvature at the bottom

  • Your narrow hips and slim legs give you tremendous choice when it comes to pants, shorts and cropped styles – you can virtually wear it all if you keep items at a flattering length. Have a ball!
  • Straight legs or cigarette styles tend to look better than skinny styles because, again, they balance out your top half.
  • Choose skirts that add extra shape and curve to your body. Knee length skirts with contoured waistbands, patch pockets on the front or back are good. Full circle, tiered, softly pleated or paneled skits, bias cut, sarong and skirts with stitched down pleats are also excellent.
  • Pencil skirts are best if the side seams drop straight from the waist down instead of tapering in towards the knee. That way you’ll create a bit of volume to match the top part of your body.
  • You look particularly good in boot cut jeans and wider hem dress slacks because they add volume and curvature to your bottom half. I LOVE an inverted triangular frame in boot cuts! Perfection.

If you have further tips on how to flatter the inverted triangular shaped body type, let me know in the comments. If there are further questions on how to wear items when you’re a statuesque inverted triangle, let’s hear those too.