Part 3: Designing For Common Body Types

Strawberries and apples? No, we’re not talking about fruit salad – it’s the last installment of our Designing For Common Female Body Types series. This week, you’ll be learning about proportions, cuts and fabrics that work for Strawberry, Hourglass, and Apple body types. If you need a refresher, take a look at Part 1 and Part 2.


The Inverted Triangle, also known as the Strawberry (13.83% of the female population), has shoulders that are wider than the waist and the hips.

Goal: To narrow the shoulders, add fullness to bottom half for balance, and draw the eye downwards.

Use: Sleeveless styles and diagonal shoulder seam lines that direct the eye towards the neck (such as halter tops), dark and flat colors on top with minimal or strategically placed texture, flared and full skirts, stiffer fabrics, horizontal lines at the bottom, flounces and ruffles from hip to hem, light or bright color, and textured details at the bottom.

Avoid: Shoulder and cap-sleeve detail. This would draw attention to the shoulder area, rather than minimizing it.

The Hourglass (8.40%) has shoulders and hips about the same width and a well-defined waist that is at least 8-10 inches smaller in circumference.

Goal: To emphasize the waist and maintain existing balance.

Use: Lines and details that draw the eye to the waist.

Avoid: Adding volume at shoulders and hips, and concealing or widening the waist with fabric that is too loose. All the style lines on the dress should draw the eye right in to the waist. The body-con silhouette accentuates the small waist in contrast to the full shoulder/breast and hip.

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apple body shape_Jia Collection convertible design

The Apple (not included in study) has shoulders and hips that are narrower than the waist. The waist is rounded and wider from both front and side views.

Goal: To drawn attention away from the waist, and/or use design elements that can make waist look slimmer.

Use: Dimension and interest at shoulders and hips, flared skirts, wrist length and short sleeves, as well as vertical and diagonal details at the body’s vertical center.

Avoid: Colors and detail that draw eye to waist and tops that extend far past the hips. Lighter colors above and below the center panel will create the illusion that the shoulder, chest and hip areas are wider than the waist.

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