Women's Style Inspiration  / Dressing for Your Shape  / How to Dress an Apple-Shaped Body

How to Dress an Apple-Shaped Body

Finding outfit balance is the first step. We’ll show you how.

Apple-Shaped Body
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Finding outfits that flatter our unique frames is one of the most important things we can do to look and feel confident. This guide will show you the best ways to highlight an apple or circle-shaped body simply by choosing the right clothing. Once you have all the information, dressing your body shape becomes easy. Stay with us for clothing suggestions, style tips, and general guidelines to feel great about your apple shaped body.

Apple-Shaped Body Measurements

What is an apple shape?

The apple shape—also referred to as a circular or round shape—is determined by your measurements. Here are some characteristics that often apply:

• Your shoulders, bust, waist, and hips are fairly uniform—but your shoulders and hips may be slightly narrower.

• Your waistline is rather undefined.

• You have a large bust.

Not sure if this description fits you? Watch our body measurements video and grab a measuring tape to find out which body shape you fall under. We also have style tips for tall body typesplus sizes, and petite figures.

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3 tips to dress for your body type

Before we jump into the specifics of how to dress an apple-shaped body, there are a few universal tips we’d like to share. These are important to remember regardless of what shape or size you are, because they’re designed to help anyone create a proportioned frame.

1. Balance it out

Body shape is almost entirely based on your bone structure—not your weight. Use your outfit to balance your shoulders, bust, waist, and hips.

2. Draw the eye

Use lines to focus the eye where you want it to go. They can help you create curves, lengthen, or emphasize your favorite parts of your body.

3. Think about color

Your eye is also drawn to patterns and light, bright colors more so than solid black or navy. Keep this in mind when choosing separates.

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What to wear if you have an apple-shaped body

Now that we’ve established a baseline, let’s get specific. Here are the best tops, jackets, pants, dresses, and accessories to complement an apple-shaped frame.

Best tops for apple shapes

As a general note, we recommend looking for pieces that accentuate your shoulders, neckline, or bust. Tastefully, of course.

Wrap tops

1. Wrap
Specifically constructed to create a more defined waistline.

Dolman-sleeve tops

2. Dolman-sleeve
Arms and shoulders get a boost of volume with airy sleeves.

V-neck tops

3. V-neck
Reveals your collarbone, which helps break up a uniformly shaped top half.

Peplum tops

4. Peplum
Has a built-in waist that flows out, adding some curve to a less defined area.

Best jackets for apple-shaped women

Jackets and blazers are your new best friends, because they add structure and shape. Not to mention, we’re always fans of the stylish third piece.

Open-front jackets

1. Open-front
Jackets without closures flatter your frame by adding long vertical lines.

Long vest jackets

2. Long vest
An excellent layering piece that also creates vertical lines to lengthen your midsection.

Duster jackets

3. Duster
Pair long outerwear with an above-the-knee dress for an unexpected combo.

Long-lapel jackets

4. Long-lapel
Single-breasted styles elongate your chest and neckline even while buttoned.

Best jeans for an apple-shaped figure

Whether you’re aiming for comfort or to flatter your apple-shaped figure, here’s what to look for.

Straight or slim demin

1. Straight or slim
A great option if you don’t love super form-fitting pieces.

Bootcut denim

2. Bootcut
The slightly flared hem balances out a curvy silhouette.

Skinny denim

3. Skinny
Very on-trend and highlights your legs. A high-rise pair also creates a waistline.

Flared denim

4. Flared
Mirror any volume created around your shoulders with flared-leg denim.

Best pants for apple shapes

We love anything that makes our legs look longer. We have a few options for you to try depending on your fit preference.

High-waisted pants

1. High-waisted
Define your waist and draw the eye to your lower half all in one go.

Skinny pants

2. Belted
Like high-waisted styles, these also accentuate your middle for a well-proportioned shape.

Bootcut pants

3. Straight-leg
They float a bit off your body if you’re not comfortable with a tighter fit.

Straight-leg pants

4. Bootcut
This more relaxed style creates a consistent shape through the leg.

Flattering dresses for an apple shape

Look for styles that draw attention to your shoulders and legs, as well as those that will create a more defined waistline.

Empire waist dresses

1. Empire waist
Brings your waist higher than its natural placement for a dramatic look.

Off-the-shoulder dresses

2. Off-the-shoulder
Bare skin tends to draw the eye, so show off those shoulders when you have a chance.

Wrap dresses

3. Wrap
A more fitted cover-up that creates a waistline.

Bias-cut dress

4. Bias-cut
Drapes softly so the fabric emphasizes the body without clinging.

Stylish accessories for apple shapes

Statement pieces are meant to be seen. Therefore, wear one where you want people to look.

Pointy-toe shoes

1. Pointy-toe shoes
The number one way to create a long legline, whether flat or heeled.

Statement earrings

2. Statement earrings
Be bold and draw attention to your neckline. Bonus points if you wear your hair up.


3. Belts
Wear one to cinch your waist in a dress, skirt, long jacket, or high-rise pant.

Nude shoes

4. Nude shoes
Our go-to for special events. They elongate, and look great with most dresses.

Best swimwear for an apple-shaped figure

Define your shape and accentuate your favorite features.

One-piece swimsuit

1. One-piece
A classic silhouette with a ruched torso defines your waist.

Halter tops swimsuit

2. Halter tops
Deep necklines create a vertical line, elongating your body.

Tie-waist sarong

3. Tie-waist sarong
A more fitted cover-up that creates a waistline.

Sweetheart neckline swimsuit

4. Sweetheart neckline
Underwire offers built-in support for a full chest.

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Outfit ideas for apple shapes

General tips are great to have in your back pocket when shopping, but seeing them in action makes it easier to visualize. Check out three outfits we’ve built from the items suggested above that look great on an apple-shaped body.

Everyday outfit

Everyone needs a go-to jeans-and-top outfit. And yes, cropped tops are absolutely fair game—as long as you play with proportions. For example: Puffy sleeves fill out your shoulders, and a square neck opens up your top half. If you’re concerned about your midriff peeking out, high-waisted jeans take care of that, and elongate your legs. We recommend finding jeans that hit just underneath the hem of your top. Find all the jeans made for your frame in our denim guide.

Sophisticated workwear

Take a look at this outfit—can you see the fabulous high waistline it’s creating? You can achieve this by playing with lengths. Tucking a V-neck top into a pair of high-waisted pants makes your frame look much longer, while creating a more defined waist. An open-front, hip-length blazer with vertical stripes elongates, too.

Out on the town

Wrap dresses are flattering but not restricting, and the perfect shape to carry a bold print. Add a statement earring and try wearing your hair back to really highlight your neckline. As far as your shoe, nude pumps, wedges, or heeled sandals disappear into your legs and make them look longer.

Want to know more?

We’ve compiled answers to some FAQs about dressing an apple-shaped body. Click the questions below for more style advice.

How do I make white pants work for an apple shape?
Will large patterns make me look bigger?
What clothes should I avoid if I’m an apple shape?
Are darker colors slimming?
How can I avoid dresses clinging to my middle?
Can I wear a crop top if I’m an apple shape?

Apple, circle, oval, round—whatever you like to call this shape, you can play up your favorite features with flattering, on-trend outfits. The most important thing to remember is balance. Emphasizing your shoulders and legs ensures that your entire frame receives an equal amount of attention. Visit the Nordstrom Blog for additional tips for styling, beauty and activewear.

Find your new favorite must-haves with personal styling.