Body Type

5 Tips for Dressing Your Apple Shaped Body

If you are an apple shape, you gain weight in your tummy.  You may have always been this shape, or you may have grown into it once peri-menopause hits. A woman with an apple shape body has:

  • A full, rounded stomach with no defined waist
  • An average to large bust
  • Broad upper arms (and/or shoulders)
  • Slim hips in comparison to shoulders
  • A behind that is rather flat
  • Nice legs

apple body shape

Your dressing goal is to hide your round tummy & show off your nice legs. Here’s how:


  • Get a good bra to lift your bust up and off your tummy. Apples need separation between their bust and tummy or you will just look like a big ball.
  • Your breasts should sit halfway between your shoulders and elbows, so make sure you have them hiked up. Nothing makes you look more frumpy and old than sagging breasts.
  • Tummy shapewear also helps a lot to minimize the apple tummy.



  • The best necklines: V-necks that show some skin or tops with cutouts or embellishment at the neckline. They will take the attention off the tummy and put the focus on your face.
  • Empire waist tops or tops that are knotted at the bust also work. They highlight your slimmest point, which is just under your bust.
  • Tops with Flared sleeves or that have details on the sleeves will also draw attention away from your belly.
  • Tops should cover your entire tummy and end below your hipbone.

Please stay away from baggy tops! As we age and gain weight in the tummy, there is a tendency to want to wear something big and lose to cover up. A baggy top will only make you look bigger!  Your top should be slightly fitted and flow gently over your tummy. It should not cling.

dressing an apple shape
Smooth pants, a flowing v-neck top, and a long jacket is slimming.


  • Choose pants with stretch for your tummy.
  • Boot cut or trouser leg is best to balance you out up top. Tapered jeans can make you look top-heavy.
  • Look for pants that with a smooth front – pull-on pants are best or pants with zippers at the sides, not the front.
  • Stay away from pants with too much detail at the waist, such as pleated pants.
  • Avoid pants with pockets. They will make your behind look larger and fuller.


  • A structured jacket over a loose, flowing dress or a long skirt is great. Be sure the jacket ends at your hips. If it ends at the tummy, all eyes will be there.
  • Avoid double-breasted jackets as they will make you look overly busty and wide.
  • A duster coat or vest that ends just above the knee is slimming.
dress for an apple shaped body
Make sure your skirt flows gently over the tummy. A keyhole neckline draws the eye up.



  • Skirts will show off your nice legs, but keep them no shorter than above the knee, or you’ll look too top-heavy.
  • A flirty or flared skirt will balance you out. A-lines are great for an apple shape.
blue dress for apple shape
The high waistband on this dress minimizes the tummy.


  • Dresses should have elevated waistlines that are just below the bust.
  • An empire waist dress can work well as long as there is not a lot of gathering at the banding. Too much bulk here will make you look pregnant.
  • A wrap dress is perfect because the V-neckline emphasizes the bust. Just be sure the tie wrap on the dress sits just under the bust and not around the tummy.
  • A shift or tunic dress that falls straight down, but is not baggy, is good.
  • Another good style is the drop waist that narrows at your hips leaving nothing tight around your tummy.


  • Patterns help to camouflage an apple tummy.
  • Dark colors such as navy, black, and brown shrink large areas like the tummy.

What Not to Wear

  • Baggy shapeless clothes
  • High necklines
  • Clingy, tight clothes
  • Detailed skirts and pants with pleats, zippers, buttons, or ties at the tummy
  • Bulky coats and heavy sweaters

Are you starting to get a better understanding of how to dress if you are an Apple shape? Want to find out more about the styles of clothing that will work best for your body type?

Then check out My Private Stylist. It’s a cool, new computerized fashion tool that pinpoints your unique body shape and reveals the styles you need to wear to flatter your figure and make you look fabulous! Find out more.

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17 thoughts on “5 Tips for Dressing Your Apple Shaped Body

  1. Concur abt the wrap dress. Magical waist make! Disagree with empire tops gathered under just. As you say, apple shapes are more oversized and busted. I cannot imagine highlighting the headlights like that.

  2. Thanks for these great style tips. My rectangular shape has given way to more of an apple now that I’m past 65. I have a pet peeve about the use of the word ” tummy” because it makes me cringe.. three-year-olds can use it, but I prefer “stomach, or ” the middle part of the body or torso,” or ” abdomen,” or even ” around the waistline.” But not ” tummy.”

    1. Thanks, Canada. I can understand how that might make you think of the child. It’s a sensitive area, and many women find “big stomach, a little harder to stomach. That’s why I used tummy. I’ll try to switch up my way of saying it from now on and see what happens. Ladies, feel free to chime in. What would you like me to call a large belly, tummy, stomach? I sometimes use the phrase midlife middle, which I quite like. That says it all! Cheers, Deborah

      1. Definitely tummy. The stomach sounds as though you have an ache.
        Really, who cares? We all know what you mean.

        1. I’m with Penelope! Not sure why one would take such offense to the word tummy. Thanks, Deborah, for all you do to help us all…no matter our shape!

      2. I like the tummy. It’s much more of a gentler word. Hate stomach! Love your tips; fantastic job!

        1. Should she opt to say ” belly”? Ha ha ha! It doesn’t matter how it’s worded. It’s all excellent advice! Kudos to the author, no offense here!

  3. I think I’m an apple! Broad shoulders, large bust, round tummy, and an apron from having four cesareans. Medium hips, large top of legs, and skinny from knee down!! But I do have a waist, not tiny, but it’s true, lol. Do kimonos help to hide a tummy or make it look bigger? Thanks

  4. I’m an apple shape and wear many tunics and vests like the model in the second photo. Very slimming. Though it’s hard to dress an apple shape, it’s not impossible. Everyone deserves to feel confident in their outfits!

  5. I was a rectangle when I was younger, but since going through menopause, I have put on weight in my stomach. A lot. To the point that I look more like an apple now but without the ample bustline. What shape have I morphed into? Is it closest to an apple or something else? I love your posts on body shape but would like to know where you would place me so I can use the appropriate information. Is that possible?

  6. I always say to my clients: embrace your curves. A feminine body shape is always sexy regardless of size; you have to learn how to present it, and these tips are great.

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