Don’t Waste your Money – O Shape


What to Avoid when dressing the O shape body
Most O shapes that I’ve met tend to feel self-conscious about their stomach area, so here are some tips of what not to take into the dressing room if you are an O Shape.

6 Styles of Clothes or Clothing Details to Avoid if You are an O or Apple body shape

  1. Dresses or tops with belting at the waist.  Adding a horizontal line with a belt will just make your waist look wider and highlight attention on it.
  2. Baby doll (empire) style tops with spaghetti straps (you need a wider strap) and with gathering under the bust (it will make people ask when your baby is due).  You can wear empire tops, but they need to be smooth and not gathered.  Fine straps are a too small scale for your body shape.  You need thicker and more robust straps on tops.
  3. Cardigans and jumpers (sweaters) with banding at the waist, and other horizontal details at the waist.  Be very wary of garments with any horizontal details through the torso.
  4. Clothes made from stiff fabrics, such as stiffer denim.  
  5. Avoid any sort of patch pockets anywhere on your body.  Look for pockets that are built into seams and not obvious.  Remember my 3 rules of horizontal lines!
  6. Paperbag waist skirts or pants, and gathered waists on skirts and pants, also pleated waist pants.  Curved lines add volume, so any sort of gathered waist is adding extra volume and bulk to your tummy.
What do you O shapes avoid when shopping?

What Does Knowing Your Body Shape Really Tell You?

E is for Elongation

Is that Stripe Slimming or Widening? Discover the Rules of Stripes


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  • So funny. I am clearly not an O shape, as all these clothes I recognize as ones that would look good on me:).

  • Ok – I'm not technically an O shape, I'm more of a pear, but I don't have a sleek middle so I do like to camouflage it and maybe you can help clear up some confusion. Stacey and Clinton on What Not To Wear sometimes say to belt a thicker middle, because it will break up the roundness. And their "After" outfits do make the person seem less thick in the middle. But other times I've seen the advice like you gave today – namely NOT to belt a thicker middle. Sometimes it works for me and sometimes it doesn't. Is it more a matter of just not belting a too-thick middle? I never belt a voluminous top or dress, because that seems to really accentuate the roundness and add unnecessary volume. This is sometimes a style sticking point for me.

  • Hi – I enjoy your blog! I have a skinny straight figure, but size charts put my waist at one or two sizes bigger than the rest of me. That is where I carry what weight I have. Does that make me an O? (I know you've also mentioned I shapes, but I can't find the definition.)

  • What strikes me is how often toshe Chanel-style boxy jackets end up in your "Don't buy" for various shapes.

  • Lady Cardigan – no – I'd probably say I or H shape (without seeing, hard to judge).

    I notice (as an H myself) that I have to buy for my waist measurement, so go up a size or two, whilst there is often extra fabric in the hips and thighs.

    Duchesse – yes – think about Chanel's shape – she was an I shape – slim, not much bust and so the boxy shape worked on her. So many designers design for their own body shape!

  • Jesslyn, it's such a fraught area! It's dependent on the shape of the garment, how many garments you're wearing where the belt is placed, the contrast of the belt, thickness of the belt, shape of the belt …

    I've noticed (not that I've seen a lot of S & C) that they tend to 'break up' a shape when it's a dress or a very long garment (so there isn't a break already there between garments). Sometimes when you have a dress in a plain fabric that goes from shoulders to knees (or longer) it feels like it needs something in the middle to break it up.

    So often you have to try and see – case by case. I tend to find on a thicker waist, if you are going to belt, do it a little lower or higher than your natural waist, and not as a cinch (if lower) more loosely slung. Occassionally though you may find an obi style belt – which is really wide, may work!

  • Imogen, thank you for answering my question. Having now found your I definition, I'd say that's me. Look forward to reading more of your series!

  • Hi Imogen,
    Are you going to write on Don't Wate your Money -"I" shapes as well?
    I am looking forward to it!


  • Thanks for this, Imogen! Hmm… You mentioned that stiff denim isn't recommended but I have about 3 denim jackets! It's actually become quite a signature item for me, it feels comfy and it makes me look rugged yet polish (due to the tailoring). Could it be just a particular (stiffer) texture of denim?

  • I’m an O and I find a dress with a tie belt (like a wrap dress) is very flattering; I have a large bust and the two I have downplay the bust and play up my slender legs and arms, since it’s an A-line. My stomach doesn’t seem to be an issue-perhaps it’s not dresses with a belt so much as where the belt hits that’s an issue?

  • Definitely an O. All the clothes you recommend we avoid is true in my case, just not the belted dress issue. If the belt hits right under the bustline, it WILL make look like I’m 5 months pregnant instantly. I avoid those dresses for sure.

  • In the 1800’s they all wore the same style of clothing, but just larger sizes. I noticed in a recent youtube clip on fashion from 1700 till now, that for a long time the fashion was nearly identical except for embellishments, frills and fervolores and then it changed dramatically after the 2nd world war onward.
    So…. question is, was it that ladies portions allowed all women to wear the same style, or they just never considered options till Coco Channel began to inspire?
    On watching the you tube clip I noticed that all women, 99.9% of them even to the 50’s and 60’s with numerous children could still wear a belt and had a shape …. ladies portions and smaller dinner ware faded with the waistline.
    So… what is your take on that, because our shapes have certainly been changed.
    In the series “The Kennedies” I noticed Rose Kennedy said to Jackie that she began dieting and exercising immediately to get her figure back and we are told now not to be too rushed, take it easy, wait till the 6-8 week check up etc., but then, they were always dressed impeccably with neat figures while at the same time being a stay at home mother (was the norm then) and the changes… these figure types… how were they different back then?
    I looked up womens diets around those era’s and they ate very sparingly. Like birds actually.
    1/4 piece dry toast and a boiled egg for breakfast
    Sandwich for lunch
    half a plate of veggies to tea and then up to do the dishes.
    My mother had 12 kids and my father began to complain that she didn’t get her figure back after the 12th…. good God and she doesn’t even know what you’re talking about when you ask her if she did pelvic floor exercises and she never heard of leaking after sneezing or coughing.
    What was the difference, then? as compared to now?

    • They wore serious corsetry with whale boning which made them look the same shape. It wasn’t a natural body shape. It wasn’t comfortable.

  • Personally Id rather the discomfort in order to have a waist.

    But then again, it ends up like this when its off. However, in the 1960’s the didn’t wear corsets and they were trim and took care of themselves. There is a distinct change in ladies bodies.

    • Sophia Loren was an 8 Shape – and there are plenty of those around still. I think women are larger than they used to be on the whole – better nutrition and all of that, plus more labour saving devices which mean less incidental exercise for us all.

  • I thought I was apple, then found I might be pear. Then I was O but the thing is I think im more light bulb shape! My stomach is the same size as my bust, but I have no bottom slim hips and thin legs. Help!!

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