Which Sort of Fabric Drape to Choose for My Body


Now the DRAPE of fabric is about body type, (or somatype – that’s Greek for body type) – ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph, and this is not necessarily obvious from apparance, but from ‘feel’.


Someone who is skeletal (ectomorph) needs a stiffer more structured fabric, because if you put them in a highly drapey/floppy fabric like chiffon, it makes the jutting bones appear more prominent. The stiffer fabric will stand away from the body and create more structure.

This very drapy fabric is not suited to this ectomorph body and would suit an endomorph. It looks floppy and without substance.

If you are more muscular (mesomorph) – you need some stiffness, and some drape in your fabrics – denim is often a favourite fabric for the muscular type (there is a firmness to the flesh when pressed with an open palm on the tops of thighs and tops of arms).

Someone who is cushioned (endomorph – and this model is not an endomorph, but the fabric has a nice drape that would suit an endomorph) has a kind of squidgy feel when pressed, and needs a fabric with more drape – now drape is not about the thick or thiness of the fabric, but of the way the fabric falls, so they need clothes that drape more closely to the body, skimming without clinging to create the best silhouette (the cushioned person often finds jeans very hard to buy and they don’t find them comfortable to wear for long periods).


This chiffon dress has great drape for an endomorph – it flows beautifully over the model’s figure.


The taffeta coat is too stiff a fabric for an endomorph and it doesn’t suit her cushioned figure – taffeta is suited more to a ectomorph or mesomorph body.

Many people are a combination of body types – so maybe ectomorph on top and mesomorph on the bottom etc. Therefore, need to look for different drape fabrics for top and bottom, or split the difference and go for a medium drape all over.
All pics from www.nordstrom.com


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  • Honey, that photo is not an endomorph; you’d have to find a plus model (and many of those are mesomorphs) to get the cushy built-for-comfort (not “fat”) that is our type.

  • I’m not sure about this “system”. An ectomorph can look fabulous in Rick Ownens’ draping,for example. Strict tailoring in a somewhat stiff fabric can flatter an endomorph, e.g., YSL “le smoking”. How the clothing looks depends on fit and quality of the garment, regardless of body type.

  • LOL! Yes, I have a kind of squidgy feel when pressed in certain places but I am also muscley in bits. So I am a meso/endo?

  • duchesse: I know the model is not an endomorph, though you don’t have to be big to be an endomorph, it’s how the flesh is arranged over the bones – but I’ll look out some plus size models for you.

    YSL le Smoking is not an overley stiff fabric – it still has drape which it works on an endomorph body. Endomorphs can still have structure, but it’s the drape of the fabric (along with the cut of course) that either falls smoothly over the body or stands away from the body (which is less flattering for an Endo body).

    La Belette – you probably are a combo body – it’s pretty normal.

  • I think the gal in grey taffetta looks stunning. Very feminine and can carry that really well.

    I was staying with my daughter recently who is soft and cuddly; same shape as this buxom beauty & maybe a tad bigger (16). Everyone was busy doing something trendy so I was cruising through pictures of woman and came across this luscious figure in boxy clothes then in sloppy trackies and then wow! in figure hugging, shapely feminine clothes. I said to her, honey, read this. She glanced at it and said nothing. The next day sloppy trackies were trashed and she came out wearing a beautiful, draped day dress. She’s IS an hour glass and never loses her waist no matter how big she gets on top and in the hips. I said to her wow, you look great in that dress. She kept it on all day till hubby came home and he grabbed her for a few luscious kisses…. it was a while before they surfaced for dinner. I’m thinking even hubbies know instinctively what materials look good on their women!

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