Inverted triangle body shape – how to dress it best!

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Inverted triangle body shape – how to dress it best!

Inverted triangle dress your best shoulders

Your shoulders are broader than your hips? Congratulations, you are an inverted triangle body shape!

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 rather flat. Whereas your bust is a variable part of the equation.

You are a rare breed because the inverted triangle body shape is the least common type found among women: something cosmic. Many of the catwalk models today have an inverted triangle body shape.

inverted triangle body shape

The 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 quizNaomi Campbell, Teri Hatcher, Giselle Bundchen and Demi Moore are among 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 some advice on what to wear and what should be avoided.

How to dress for an inverted triangle body shape

A very brief summary can be found below. It basically boils down to this:

Benefits: you are pretty easy to dress and can wear a lot of modern styles.

Challenge:  defining your waist and softening your shoulders.

We will cover tips for each clothing type we can think of in the guide below. In general terms the goal is to either de-emphasize your shoulders or to achieve balance by adding more volume in the lower part of your body.

PS: The guidelines for inverted triangles in general are about de-emphasizing your shoulders. That is not a fixed rule though! You can also try the reverse and show off your beautiful strong shoulders in a strapless top or strapless dress.

 

What that means for each individual type of clothing can be seen in the chapters below:

Woman in black and white dress

Wear a dark top and lighter bottom part to balance your wider top half.

Neckline styles for inverted triangles

Crew necks, scoop necks, narrow or deep V necks, gathered and keyhole necklines look great on you.

 

Collar styles

Collarless styles, waterfall collars or very small collars are best for an inverted triangle.

 

Sleeves

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.

 

inverted triangle how to dress your best

Unstructured shirts are best for you. They are even better when they are darker than the trousers or skirt you wear them with!

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.

 

Vests

Go for a vest in a darker or muted color. The idea is to divert the main attention to the lower part of your body. If you combine the dark vest with trousers or skirts in light and / or bright colors you’re all set. Quick side note in case you are interested in getting to know your colors: try our seasonal color test to find out what your personal colors are!

The vest should also have a peplum, wide straps or be in a very soft and drapey fabric.

 

Jacket styles

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.

In case you are still unsure about which jacket to use we have a nice online test which jacket should be used for which body type.

Coats

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.

 

inverted triangle how to dress your best mermaid dress

To show your gorgeous shoulders, go strapless. For balance, add some volume at the bottom, e.g. with a peplum or a mermaid dress or skirt.

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.

 

Skirts

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.

 

Trousers

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 wear it with 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.

 

inverted triangle dress your best tshirt

Shorts look great on you! Wear them rolled up, with pleats, in bright colors,…

Shorts

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.

 

Jumpsuits

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,….

 

Inverted triangle how to dress your best shirt

A long thin scarf is great for an inverted triangle body shape.

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.

Inverted triangle how to dress shoes

Add interest to your lower half with embellishments on your shoes or bright colors.

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.

 

Bags

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.

Inverted triangle peplum

No matter what you wear, always remember:
1. Your clothes should make you feel great and enhance your inner and outer beauty. They should reflect who you are, not be a cage or uniform.
2. You have a beautiful body. Don’t beweep your flaws, instead concentrate on the parts you like.

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.

“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.”  Amy Bloom

You have reached the end of our guide for inverted triangle body shapes. We hope you found some inspiration on what to wear while showing off your incredible body!

Do you have any comments or suggestions?

Are there experiences or personal tips you can share with other inverted triangle body shapes?

We are happy to hear from you in the forum below!

25 Comments

  1. Laura 3. November 2013 at 07:54 - Reply

    My face is round so crew neck shirts don’t look good on me. Also I’m 5’5″ and was wondering if for a dress would it suit me if it was a short dress above the knees or keep it lower?

    • Styled247 19. January 2014 at 05:12 - Reply

      Hello Laura,
      Thanks for your comment! It is true that you have to consider more than just your body type to find the right style. Your height and proportions (long legs – short torso or short legs – long torso) are important as well. For the neckline, face shape and size of your chest play an important role. V-necklines are great for round faces.
      For the dress: if you have shapely legs, go for short dresses. If you do want to wear knee length or maxi dress, make sure you emphasize your waist.
      The perfect maxi skirt for you is not too bulky and ends between the end the ankle and about an inch above the floor. Wear heels!
      Hope that was helpful!
      Yours, Verena

    • Verena 2. August 2014 at 20:25 - Reply

      Hi Laura,
      did you try a wrap dress (V-neck), knee length? If you have great legs, you can also go for a shorter version!
      Best,
      Verena

  2. jessica 4. March 2014 at 22:01 - Reply

    On many body body calculators I range between rectangle or pear. My measurements are about 42,36,42.5 and my shoulders are a tad wider than my hips but from the front I have fairly wide thighs, my outer thighs are quite toned and create a circular shape down from my hips then I have smaller but very toned calves, and my butt isn’t flat but probably a medium ish size but firm. Would I be an inverted triangle? I think so from the front I don’t look super shapely but from the back I do. My friend says I have a rectangle upper body with like pear thighs.

    • jessica 5. March 2014 at 01:53 - Reply

      Also the calculator just told me I’m a pear. Apparently my shoulders are 37 inches.

    • Verena 18. April 2014 at 20:48 - Reply

      Hello Jessica,
      I am not sure what kind of measurements you are sending with the 42,36,42.5..
      Anyway, if the calculator says you are a pear, you definitely have some pear tendencies.
      Jessica, you might be a mixture of two shapes. Our 5 body shapes are a starting point to find out your best styles. Be open to find the best of more than one world if you fall into two categories.
      Best,
      Verena

  3. glenda 12. March 2014 at 00:27 - Reply

    My bust measures 40 as does my lower hip. My shoulders measure 18 inches across from arm joint. My upper hip is 39. My waist is 32 inches. My buttocks are not flat. I am 5 ft 3 inches tall. Bone structure is medium -wrist measures 6 1/2 inches. What shape am I? Could I be a mixture of two body shapes. HELP

  4. chiku 10. April 2014 at 16:13 - Reply

    great advise. i am an inverted triangle and i never wear what you’ve suggested. time for a huge wardrobe makeover

    • Verena 18. April 2014 at 19:44 - Reply

      Hello Chiku,
      before you do the makeover of your wardrobe, you should know that there are a lot of tall and slim inverted triangles that can wear almost everything. In fact, this is why a lot of women on the catwalk are inverted triangles. Some inverted triangles are that lucky, some are not – and for the latter, these tips are of great use.
      Do not just throw out something, check how it looks on you before you toss it out. Maybe it is not that bad at all. Get a feedback from an honest friend, take pictures of yourself, etc. You can find some tips for mispurchases here as well: http://www.styled247.com/mispurchases/
      Hope that helps!
      Verena

  5. francisca 3. May 2014 at 00:35 - Reply

    Am a size 22 inverted shaped woman.. am also 5.7” tall. pls suggest the kind of clothes to wear

  6. ELENA 20. May 2014 at 18:18 - Reply

    Hi,

    Thank you so much for this article !
    I would like to know why should we avoid the platforms & wedges ? I see that these shoes are not working on me but i don’t really undertestand why 🙂

    Thank you so much !

    Elena

    • Verena 3. August 2014 at 12:40 - Reply

      Platforms and wedges can look too chunky, too “bottom heavy” on an inverted triangle. Hope that helps!
      Ena

  7. Erixa 2. June 2014 at 12:01 - Reply

    I’m petite and short at 5’3″ and my bust line is at 30. For swimwear could I attempt to play up my bust and add embellishments to my top?

    • Verena 3. August 2014 at 12:33 - Reply

      To play up your bust, try: Tube tops, Bandeau-style, halter-neck, horizontal stripes or built-in bras. Light or bright colors on top are great as well.
      Best,
      Ena

  8. abby 9. June 2014 at 02:09 - Reply

    I love Shirts with patterns and collars because I’m only 16 I like to express myself but I’m starting to get the idea that I should stop wearing them becuase they emphasize my top half more ..
    Everyone always loves what I wear but that doesn’t necessarily mean it looks good does it?

    • Verena 2. August 2014 at 21:20 - Reply

      Hi Abby,
      the rules are general rules for each body type. The more pronounced your body type is, the more you should keep them in mind. But there are many ways to make things that are not perfect work for you: e.g. wear something colorful, brighter or lighter on the bottom together with your patterned shirts. Also, small patterns for your shirt are ok. If in doubt, have somebody take a pic of your looks over time and judge for yourself.
      And do not forget: These are rules that are there to help you choose the things that flatter you most. They are not there to make your life drab. If you love your shirts and everybody thinks you look great, why stop wearing them?
      Best,
      Verena

  9. Jane 11. June 2014 at 15:43 - Reply

    Hi
    My measurements are shoulders 40, waist 31, hips 34, bust 34 (all in inches) I have a longer body than legs. I’m 5ft 2in UK size 5 feet.
    All measured as suggested to do. I’m a inverted triangle or strawberry shaped 😉
    I never know what to wear to balance out my long body & short legs and even more so with wide shoulders as well. I have a flabby belly from child birth and I have lost all my hair which is permament. Really struggling to define my style and what to wear. I am 35 years old.
    Please help if you can?

    • Verena 3. August 2014 at 12:29 - Reply

      Hi,
      on top of the tips for the inverted triangle, try to elongate your legs with short hemlines, wearing shoes and tights in the same color/pants and shoes in the same color and High-waisted pants and skirts.
      Also try platform shoes.
      Best,
      Ena

  10. Chatton 28. August 2014 at 11:14 - Reply

    Hi Verena,
    I was wondering if you could be help me figure out what rules I should mainly follow when it comes to dressing my body. I’m underweight by 10lbs, my current measurements (shoulders,waist and hips) are 38-25-35. My waist is defined, my hips are high and thighs round out but my shoulders are the widest part of my body. I know that I am an inverted triangle, but I find it hard as to what I body shape I predominately would fall under because of my body from waist down. Is there such thing as curvy inverted triangles or hourglasses with broader shoulders?

    Wonderful website by the way

    • mar 4. September 2014 at 03:18 - Reply

      Hello Chatton,

      thanks for sharing this with us! in your case you are indeed a “curvy inverted triangles”. The defining characteristica for an hourglass is that the waist is only 3/4 or less compared to hips or shoulders. In your case this is true for both hips and shoulders. The reason we have you as an inverted triangle is that you also fullfill this criteria.

      From our side just follow all the tips for the hourglass, for example always wear something to show off your beautiful waist! On the inverted triangle side make sure not to wear something that adds more volume to your top. Any 80s style stuff with pads for example is a no go as it would make you appear inbalanced even though you are very curvy.

      • Anonymous 6. September 2014 at 13:36 - Reply

        Thank you very much Mar, that really helps

  11. char 18. March 2015 at 20:50 - Reply

    hi

    • root 9. June 2016 at 11:45 - Reply

      Hello Char,

      what can I do for you?
      yours Verena

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