Body Shape Bible: Understanding How to Dress O Shape Bodies


how to dress the O shape bodyAs 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 O Shape (commonly called the apple or oval shape)

body shape guide for apple shapes or O shapes

I have made this a printable guide – scroll to the end of the blog post to download it to your computer or tablet.
Let’s have a look at some outfits and analyse them based on the criteria of what will work for an O shape.  Here with this Verily dress we have a plain simple design that has a vertically/diagonal line through the body from it’s draping.  By adding a waterfall cardigan you can add extra vertical details through the body through it’s opening.

O shape dressing


O shape dressing by imogenl featuring Verily Dress

How about wearing jeans and a top?

O shape jeans and a top


Don’t forget to use the column of colour technique to elongate your body.  This is particularly useful if your top ends around your tummy area as it won’t interrupt the eye and create a horizontal.


What about a skirt and top outfit.

O shape Skirt and top


You can see that even though I haven’t used the column of colour in this outfit (which you could if you wanted to), I’ve made sure to choose a straight skirt to narrow your body and it includes vertical details to help elongate.

The jacket is a lighter colour over a darker blouse which helps to make your stomach recede and the jacket provides great vertical detail through your body. Drape front blouses are great at hiding tummies. Look for jackets that have minimal pocket details and are streamlined.

Some extra tips on dressing your O shape body

Body Shapes Explained

Don’t waste your money on these styles

Body shapes explained – O shape

Download this printable guide for your O Shape Bible here.

Not sure what your body shape is?  Take my Body Shape Calculator quiz and discover what will flatter your figure.

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  • Really pleased to see this article addressing the issues for O body shapes.
    You mention leaving things plain and simple with no details through the body – and a column of colour – as the pictures show.
    Does that mean darker plain colours are the best way to address O body issues?
    Also does that mean that prints and light colours on top are to be avoided ?
    Or can you use lighter colours with a waterfall vest over ?
    Infinity scarf or longer one when not wearing a statement necklace? Or any
    other suggestions please. Thanks again.

    • Darker colours through the body or a column of colour are great. Light tops with lighter bottoms – keep it in a column, or yes light top with a waterfall vest over the top is a good alternative.

  • Imogen, this has to be the clearest presentation of the figure flattery guidelines for body shapes that I have ever come across. Thank you so much for making it fabulously easy to follow – I’m now very excited about reading the rest of the series!

  • Thank you so much for making us Os “next”! I’ve been gathering patterns and fabric like a madwoman and gearing up for a sewathon for my new wardrobe, since I’m going to be this way for at least the next year!

    Almost 300 lbs from meds at 5’6″ and you’ve given me hope that I can still look well put together. I was getting so discouraged from all the frumpy housedresses and muumuus.

    • Os are a super important shape as they are the least catered for in the retail environment. Sewing is the best way to make the clothes to suit you!

  • Hi a question …. Not a reply. Am 154cm from tummy up much bigger than my very slim hips small butt and slim legs, breasts being larger than anything else. Was a slim inverted triangle until my 50’s does that male me an o shape or apple shape. Your articles are wonderful. Regards Rosemarie

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