A Hijabi's Guide to Dressing for Your Body Type
Posted on July 28, 2012
Dressing as a hijabi can be hard as it is. Learning how to dress for your body shape makes all the difference. Great style is less about trends and more about knowing what looks good on you. Of course as a hijabi, there are some styles to avoid in order to maintain modesty. To know what works and what doesn't, you must first know your body and how to dress it!
Step 1: Determine your Body Type
1) Rectangle - You are a rectangle shape if your bust and hips are about the same width with little waist definition. Your legs and arms are typically slender.
2) Apple - This body type is characterized as having a heavy middle section. You are this shape if your waist is relatively undefined and you are heavy throughout your hips while slender in your arms and legs.
3) Pear - You are a pear shape if your bust is proportionally narrower than your hip-line and you have a well defined waist. You typically have narrow shoulders and full thighs.
4) Hourglass - This body type is characterized as curvy with the hips and bust line at the same width. Your waist is well defined.
*Keep in mind each of these body types include short, tall, thin and thick shapes. You may also fall in between two shapes, for example, you may be an hourglass shape with pear tendencies.
Step 2: What to Wear
1) Rectangle - Rectangle shapes can get away with more things than most, so as a rectangle shaped hijabi, you are truly blessed! There's no main area you want to minimize and really any silhouette will work for this shape. Rectangle shapes can seamlessly pull of maxi dresses since you are fairly straight up and down. You can also get away with tucking your shirt into skirts and wide-leg pants without looking immodest. Shift dresses are also great options for you as virtually no other body type can pull them off!
From left to right - Blazer: Armani; Maxi: Mango; Blouse: YSL; Pants: Dorothy Perkins; Dress: Vince; Jeans: 7 for all Mankind
2) Apple - Apple shapes are all about minimizing the waist. The key is balance. Tight or tapered bottoms fail to create a clean, straight line from the waist down (not to mention they often lack modesty!) so stick to wide-leg or flared options to give you a long and lean look. Long, flowy tops like tunics and empire waist tops do a great job of concealing your problem areas. Jackets and blazers in longer lengths are also great options, just make sure you stick to single-breasted as double breasted jackets will add unnecessary bulk. When wearing skirts, you can opt for shorter tops so long as they're roomy and not tight. Tucking tops into skirts and pants will not work for apple shapes as it accentuates the waist.
From left to right - Blazer: Stella McCartney; Skirt: Derek Lam; Sweater: Sea NY Tunic: Tory Burch; Jeans: J Brand
3) Pear - Pear shapes can be tricky while dressing as a hijabi, since you want to minimize your hips and thighs without revealing the curve in your waist. Most pear shapes are smaller in the bust, however, giving them more options for tops and necklines. Feel free to explore the options you have in tops, including empire waists and tucking shirts into a-line, free flowing skirts (no mermaids!). You can work high-waisted ball skirts to perfection! Flared dresses and jackets are great options as they seamlessly hide your bottom half.
Avoid dropped waist tops and dresses (think shift dresses) as they will add volume to your hips. Tucking anything into pants will only accentuate your bottom half. Also avoid tops that end at the waist as they draw the eye to the wrong place. A great trick for pear shapes is to wear a darker color on bottom and lighter color on top as this naturally draws attention up and away from your problem areas. Scarves, necklaces and other accessories help with this as well.
From left to right - Dress: Topshop; Skirt: Coast; Trench: Ted Baker
4) Hourglass - While the hourglass is known as the most coveted body shape, it's also the most challenging in terms of concealing your curves. The key is to avoid showing your waist/hip curve, which means avoiding anything that nips in at the waist such as belted trenches and jackets, as they will accentuate your waist and show off your figure. Try long flowy tops, a-line dresses, boyfriend blazers and only wear short tops and jackets with skirts. Avoid maxi dresses as they will reveal your figure.
From left to right - Top: Oscar de la Renta; Pants: Milly; Blazer: Gucci; Skirt: inlovewithfashion.com; Shirt: TopShop; Sweater: Alice + Olivia