Body Shape Bible: Understanding How to Dress H Shape Bodies


Understanding how to dress your H shape body


As I discussed here when I explained how lines work, body shape tells us:

  • Where to put the verticals
  • Where to put the horizontals to balance, broaden or highlight
  • Where to place detail
  • Where to keep boring/dull/plain/no detail

That’s it!  So let’s look at the H Shape (commonly called the rectangular or brick shape)


how to dress the H shape body
Let’s look at a dress and what features to look for

H shape guide


Detail above the bust but no detail at the waist except for vertical details and seams.


When you look at a jeans, top, jacket outfit you want to keep the waist free of horizontal detail, but look for tops that have some waist shaping built in.

H Shape jeans


Be careful of pocket detail on jackets. Look for jet pockets that are in the same colour as the jacket which don’t emphasise the horizontal effect that pockets can create.


Let’s look at a skirt and top combination

H Shape Guide skirt and top


You want to keep your waist free of detail or pattern, ending tops around your hip bone (but probably not down on your upper thigh). Skirts that are straighter in shape follow your bodies straighter lines.

Jackets that don’t have obvious waist horizontals are good, and look for ones with vertical seaming or plackets and remember that detail goes above the bust.

More posts on dressing your H shape body:

Body Shapes Explained – H Shape

Don’t waste your money – H Shape

How to wear a column of colour for your body shape

Download this Body Shape Bible – H Shape guide

Not sure of your body shape? Then take my Body Shape Calculator Quiz and discover what flatters your figure.


Evolve Your Style 31 day style challenge shop your wardrobe

More from Imogen

How to Look Taller – Sleeves

The fastest, easiest way to make yourself look taller and legs longer...
Read More


  • Thanks for the wonderful post! Have you ever done a post on the effect of pockets on blazers, jackets?

    All the best,


  • Hi Imogen,
    I was wondering if you could help me. In my life I think I fluctuated a lot between body shapes – X/A in puberty (I’m not sure if my butt was that big or if I just thought it was), V during the times I worked out more, then several years back in my 20’s when I started to discover my own style I was an X/V (I thought I was an X, but realized some V tips worked for me as well, like lighter bottoms or not much detail above the waist.)
    Pregnancy was a real challenge for me, as I just couldn’t belt any more and had no idea what to do with myself not to look like a walking box 🙂 After I gave birth to my lovely son 1,5 ago I started to lose weight quickly and purchased quite a lot of clothes. I was very slim, yet my waist was not what it used to be, so I kind of went for the I shape and bought some (baggier) tunics, pants gathered at the waist and such. Well, unfortunately, the weight loss was a symptom of a developing type 1 diabetes. Since I got diagnosed, I started to work out a lot and gained about 7 kg. I managed to build some muscle on my shoulders and thighs and lose my hips. And so far gained a few centimeters at the waist (that I am still hoping to get rid of), so I became an H.
    My question, after this elaborate story of my body, is is there any way I can transition from X or I to H without replacing everything in my wardrobe? Can I just use my clothes in a different way until I either lose the belly and love handles or come to terms with my new body shape? I can sew, so alterations are not a problem. Thank you so much!

    • To a certain extent you can just modify how you wear the clothes – read the information on both body shapes and then you will find adding waist detail through belts and then not using them is a way of working with your changing shape

  • Hi Imogen – can you do a post on peplums? I get conflicting information on this style, but I guess it’s like the empire waist – you have to be careful it’s flattering, not emphasizing, a stomach? I’m a petite H shape with a bit of a tummy.

  • This is great!! While reading through this, and seeing the clothes examples you show, I realize they are exactly what think look the best on me, and own pieces just like them.. So I guess I am an H!! Thanks for the info!

  • Would I be and I or H shape or can I be a little of both? I had a boyish shape(I-shape), but after 4 kids now have a boyish shape with a big tummy (H-shape?). Thin arms, legs and flat on top. Clothes that look good on an I-shape used to look good on me, but not so much anymore. Help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge