Our readers with an inverted triangle body shape often ask how they need to dress to compliment their body type with their wardrobe. As an inverted triangle, you have broad shoulders but narrow hips and a straight waist. Your bottom is flat and your bust is a variable part of the equation. You are a rare breed because the inverted triangle is the least common body type found amongst women: something cosmic. Many of the catwalk models today have an inverted triangle body shape.
In case you are unsure if you really are an inverted triangle body shape just check with our body shape calculator or the body shape quiz! Naomi Campbell, Teri Hatcher, Giselle Bundchen and Demi Moore are amongst the most famous carven inverted triangles body shapes.
The following article will cover the best outfit for inverted triangles from head to toe. For each section we will give you a short advice what to wear and what should be avoided. For a more complete coverage outside the scope of this article you can check out the following two options:
- The book: Inverted Triangle Body Shape: Guide to Perfect Styling (Volume 1) has a nice summary and greatly expands on the ideas below.
- In addition to the paperback there is also a kindle ebook available (How to Dress an Inverted Triangle Shaped Body) with a more attractive price – it can also be previewed.
But enough on the overview, let’s get started with our style guide!
How to dress for an inverted triangle body shape
Benefits: you are easy to dress.
Problem: defining your waist and softening your shoulders.
Neckline styles for inverted triangles
Crew necks, scoop necks, narrow or deep V necks, gathered and keyhole necklines look great on you.
Collarless styles, waterfall collars or very small collars are best for an inverted triangle.
Go for sleeves that make your shoulders appear smaller, like kimono, batwings, dolman or raglan sleeves. Shoulder slits, cut-outs and flared or wider cuffs look great on inverted triangles.
Avoid heavy detailing like buttons or epaulets around your shoulders as well as puffy sleeves. As these draw the eye outward, they would make you appear top-heavy.
Top & Shirt styles
Tops and shirts to emphasize your waist are great, like peplums, trapeze, bolero, camisoles or corsets. Large straps are better than smaller ones – unless you wear a top with thin multi straps.
You should wear soft and drapey fabrics as well as fine knits. Linen or thick knit would add volume to your shoulders.
To make your upper part of your body appear smaller, wear shirts and tops in colors that are darker or more muted than the skirts or pants you wear.
Tip 1: If you are busty, get a good bra that separates your breasts from your tummy.
Tip 2: Wrap a sweater around your waist for more waist definition.
Go for a vest in a darker or muted color. It should have a peplum, wide straps or be in a very soft and drapey fabric.
Avoid structured and tailored jackets (exception: they have a peplum) and cropped jackets with slim fitting bottoms, instead look for single breasted jackets with deconstructed, fluid lines.
Your jackets should be either straight or have some waist definition and flare out at your waist. Wrap cardigans and fitted cut-away styles are great for you.
Avoid double breasted buttoning, big collars, shoulder pads and embellishments like epaulets as they make your broad shoulders appear even broader. Pockets are great and should sit below your waist to add some curves to your hips.
Tip: Choose a jacket in a muted or darker color and wear it with something bright or light on your bottom half. This will help balance your broad shoulders.
Coats that add volume around your hips and/or create a waist are best. This will give you a more balanced figures and counteracts the wider top volume of an inverted triangle figure. Flared sleeves also work well for an inverted triangle. Great styles for you include trench coats, cocoon, A-line capes or trapeze coats.
Stay away from embellishments on and around your shoulders; only buy trench coats without epaulets. Shoulder pads, big lapels and double breasted jackets are a no-go.
Dress styles for an inverted triangle body shape
Your best dresses add some volume at your hips to balance your shoulders. Peplums, mermaid and A-line are great styles for an inverted triangle. T-shirt, tunic, bias cut and one strap dresses are also great.
Go for a strapless dress if you want to show off your beautiful shoulders.
Your skirts should add volume to your hips to balance your shoulders: A-line, bias cut, full circular styles, voluminous maxi skirts, kick pleats, tulip, diagonal draped, mermaid, tapered,….
Wear your skirts in bright colors, horizontal stripes and patterns. They should be lighter or brighter than your top.
You have a wide range to choose from: stretch pants, capri, cargo, gauchos, … and you can actually wear exotic ones like jodhpur and harem pants.
Front pleats are great to add some volume to your hips as well as pocket detailing.
You can also add some weight to your lower half with the right color or fabric. Wear trousers in bright colors and patterns. For business trousers, you could use a light grey or beige (and a dark top in black or brown). With fabrics you can create volume with rigid or thick fabrics like cord, tweed, mohair, monk’s cloth, melton, homespun, canvas, boucle, brocade, gabardine, lace, velvet and thick knits.
Your shorts should have pleats and fuller legs to add width your hips. Short jeans also look great on you, especially if you roll up the pant legs a bit.
If you are a petite inverted triangle and have nice legs, you can go for pleats in very short shorts. This will make you appear taller and your legs leaner. If you have a long waist or are very tall, pick a longer short that is more flowing to balance out your length.
Jeans styles for an inverted triangle body shape
Your jeans can be straight, cigarette or flared. You can also go for side pockets or baggy jeans.
Get your jeans in lighter colors or even bright and shiny colors like red or yellow. This will balance your shoulders.
Tip: If you long for wearing skinny jeans, keep your top half simple.
There is no other body type that wears jumpsuits as good as an inverted triangle. You have a wide array of choices here: sleeveless, one strap, with harem pants,….
Accessories for an inverted triangle body shape
Go for long pendant necklaces and big rings to draw the attention away from your shoulders. Avoid chunky necklaces and big earrings.
Wear scarves down to your waist or hips to visually elongate your torso.
Wear belts to define your waist, but avoid very small belts.
Shoes for an inverted triangle body shape
You can go for bright and colorful shoes, embellishments and patterns to create visual balance with your wide shoulders.
Rather go for a medium to chunky heal over a stiletto, but skip platform heels and wedges. Slouch knee boots, ankle boots, cowboy boots and Uggs also look great on inverted triangles.
For sandals, look for some with ankle straps.
Avoid nude shoes.
As an inverted triangle, to play down your body shape, choose a bag with the opposite shape to your body shape: a bag with round styles, like a Hobo or Pouch. To celebrate your body type, choose a bag with the same features as your body type: a structured bag with angles like a structured Satchel or a classic Kelly bag.
The size of your body matters as well in choosing your best bag. For a petite woman, petite bags are better. For a big woman, a big bag matches her way better.
The bag should have long straps and sit on your hips. Avoid big bags which sit under your shoulders.
Swimwear & Beachwear
You can wear classic styles and more daring styles like thongs and deep V necklines. Tops with thick straps and underwire or halter shape look good on inverted triangles.
Bottoms with light or bright colors, ruffles, prints and embellishments are great to add volume to your hips. To play down your bust, you can wear tops in darker or muted colors. Avoid extra padding, ruffles or embellishments.
Tip 1: Make sure your top gives you enough support and coverage if you are busty inverted triangle.
Tip 2: You might need to look for a shop that sells tops and bottoms separately as your top needs a size more than your bottom.