What to wear if you're APPLE Shaped • Leslie Friedman Consulting: Fashion, Personal Branding, and Communication Resources
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What to wear if you’re APPLE Shaped


An apple shaped body (also sometimes called an ‘oval’ shape) is the most common shape along with pear. So, if you think you’re the only one who struggles with extra weight around your waistline, you’re not alone. 
I’m one of the only women I know (besides my mom…hmmm) whose extra weight doesn’t go straight to their thighs and butt. Nope. It goes directly to my mid-section. And then it hangs out there as long as I’ll let it. I think the record time was two years (I gained my freshmen 15 when I was a senior in college…you, know…because I’m an overachiever).
When I look back at pictures from my senior year in high school and freshmen year in college, I can’t help but laugh. I had no idea what to wear. I wasn’t used to having an extra fifteen pounds around my middle and my outfits confirmed that.
*Note: I just spent 30 minutes looking through high school/college pictures for a hilarious example of said outfits. I decided the results were too terrifying to post in a public spot. I’m sure you’ll understand*
The thing was, my body didn’t look bad (albeit not being healthy). My shape wasn’t bad, but the outfits I put on it were terrible.
Long story short, learn from my mistakes and dress your beautiful apple body in a way that it will love.
Keep reading to find out:

  • What an apple shape actually is (pssst, if you’re not sure, check out this post and take our quiz!)
  • Celebrity apple examples
  • What to wear 
  • What NOT to wear
  • Sample Capsule Wardrobe


Please note that this post contains affiliate links. I use affiliate links in the form of clothing suggestions in order to help you best discover (and locate!) clothing that will work best for your body shape. If you click on the affiliate links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. Thank you for supporting us, so we can continue to give you quality content. ~LF

You’re an Apple If…

You know you’re an apple shape because you have these two attributes:

  1. Your bust and hips are pretty much equal widths
  2. Your waist is slightly wider than your bust and hips


If you’re still confused about your shape, check out my original blog post on shapes (and how to dress any shape no matter if you fall neatly into a category or not)


Celebrity Apples:

Celebrity apples are all over the place, although you might not be able to tell it because they dress so well (how sneaky!)
My absolute favorite celebrity example of an Apple is Oprah. Why? Because her size is more in line with the ‘average’ woman’s (aka: all of us who aren’t celebrities) and she wears a lot of normal outfits that you can easily copy.
Image result for oprah outfits

See what I mean about normal outfits!!?? This is by far my favorite Oprah look because it makes her look like she has a waist and it’s slenderizing, but it’s not a big muumuu. 


Image result for catherine zeta jones outfits

Catherine Zeta Jones wears a ruched dress that accents her waist area (thus making us think she has a really defined waist…or a waist at all). If you were to locate her actual waist in this picture it would be much lower than where the ‘fake waist’ optical illusion is happening. More on the fake waist phenomena below. 


Image result for drew barrymore outfits

Drew Barrymore uses a wide belt and contrasting colors (white, blue, and brown) to make her seem narrower in the middle


The Main Idea:

In the original blog post about DRESSING YOUR SHAPE, I talked about my easy secret to always knowing what will look good on you regardless of shape. The secret is to always wear clothing that make you look like an hourglass. If you missed the post, you can read it here.
Essentially, dressing for your shape is all about using clothing, jewelry, and other accessories as an optical illusion to make us appear a certain way.
The optical illusion is formed when we distract the viewer away from one part of our body and attract their eyes to a different part.
In the image below, you can see that her hips and chest fill out the hourglass, but the waist area does not come in. This means that we have to use an optical illusion to give her a defined waist. I call this: creating a fake waist.

Apples, you can get away with pretty much anything, sartorially speaking, as long as you make it look like you have a waist (without adding too much volume to the top or bottom).
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!! Your new ‘fake waist’ is probably not going to be where your real waist is (around your belly button). It is going to be the smallest part of your torso and that is, most likely, going to be closer to your boobs. Really don’t have a real waist? You can literally make your fake waist under your boobs. This is especially handy if you are petite.
Go back up to the picture of Catherine Zeta Jones for a minute. Where does your eye first go when you look at her? My bet is her waist. Only, it’s not her real waist…it’s her fake waist. You can literally create a waist wherever it benefits you most. Remember that.
Keep reading to discover how to create a fake waist.


What to Wear:

Remember the main idea here: we need to distract away from her top and bottom while making her new fake waist the main attraction.
IMPORTANT!! You don’t necessarily need to combine a million ways to fake a waist as shown below in the garment examples. Just choose one per outfit (example: you don’t need the first striped shirt shown AND a belt unless you want to)
Here are several cheats (aka: sneaky ways) to defining a waist:

  • Use color. Just make sure the color change happens at your fake waist
  • Use gathering or ruching. This can make it look like you have a waist. See image above.
  • Use seaming. Seaming is where two pieces of fabric come together. Creative seaming (like in the last jacket shown) can make you look more curvy than you are.
  • Use the column of color method. This is literally when you have a boring (neutral color and no details) open cardigan or blazer over a more interesting blouse. The eye automatically goes to the column of color of the blouse that you’ve just created and it visually cuts off the sides of you where the cardigan is, resulting in a more long and lean look. If you scroll down to the ‘wear this not that’ image, you can see this being played out (Except I used a long necklace to attract the viewer’s eye instead of a bright colored shirt).
  • Use a belt. Sometimes it helps to visually draw a line across your fake waist (the smallest part of your torso, remember??) using a belt. In the celebrity pics above, this is what Drew Barrymore and Oprah have done.

Here is what to wear (and how to fake a waist), when it comes to different types of clothing:

    • Tops/Blouses: If your shirt is untucked, you’ll either need to make sure it has detailing around the waist (ruching, gathering, faux belt, peplum, color change, etc.) or you’ll need to add a belt. Alternatively, you could tuck in your blouse to high waisted bottoms. Here are a few examples of tops that give the illusion of a waist.

    • Blazers/Jackets: Take it from Oprah, an unbuttoned jacket or cardigan is your best friend. It’s a casual way of drawing the eye into the space that is open (where your shirt is underneath) and it makes you look thinner and taller. Closed blazers and jackets work as well, but much like shirts, you should make sure that the garment nips in at the waist or has ruching, etc. Uneven hemlines (short in back, long in the front or vice versa) are going to look best.

    • Skirts: Once again, you can get away with a lot, as long as you define that fake waist. A high waisted skirt in a different color as your shirt counts as defining the waist, as does a color blocked skirt. (Remember, we’re defining your new fake waist, not where your waist actually should be) Just above the knee and maxi are going to be your best lengths.

    • Pants: You want wide leg or boot cut pants. A larger amount of volume by your calves will even out your body and keep you from looking top heavy. Just look at Oprah, she never wears skinny pants. High waisted pants are your friends and keep the hemlines as long as possible to lengthen your frame.

    • Dresses: When looking for dresses, it’s all about the middle detail around your ‘fake waist’ (surprise, surprise, right???) Color blocked dresses, ruched (gathered) waist dresses, and wrap dresses are all perfect for your shape.

  • Accessories: Belts are your friends. A good rule of thumb, is to choose belts that are compatible with your size. If you are a bigger build, choose wider belts. If you’re a smaller build, choose skinnier belts. This keeps the belt from overwhelming or underwhelming you. If you don’t like wearing belts, you can just choose to work with the column of color optical illusion (long open cardigan/blazer + under shirt the same color as pants + pants). This makes you look long and lean without the need for a belt.
  • Purses: Take your pick of purses, but please, no fanny packs.


What NOT to Wear:

  • Tops/Blouses: Anything excessively tight on the waist. If you’re going to wear something tight, make sure it is a nice, thick material. Also avoid anything too loose unless you accenting your fake waist in some way (like adding a belt).
  • Blazers/Jackets: Avoid jackets and blazers, like traditional pea coats, that are straight up and down with no seams or detailing around the waist. They will make you look like boxes.
  • Skirts: Avoid wearing any skirt whose waistband sits directly across your hips. This will make you look unnecessarily wide.
  • Pants: I know you love leggings, but they aren’t your friends. Leggings will make you look like a popsicle. Now, I like popsicles just as much as the next person, but I want to eat them…not look like them. Also avoid pants that are low rise, as they make your hips look wider.
  • Dresses: If you’re a small apple, you might be able to get away with a sack dress. So, if that’s your style, go for it. If you are wearing a sack dress or muumuu to hide your stomach, STOP. You don’t have to hide your stomach so much as just move your waist up higher. Avoid anything tight that clings around the stomach.
  • Accessories: Avoid belts that don’t fit your body size!
  • Purses: Fanny packs and other cross body bags that cut your body in half and take away from your fake waist are bad.

Sample Apple Capsule Wardrobe:

A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing where each piece can be worn with every other piece to make a maximum number of outfits. Below, we have put together a capsule collection for an Apple with classic style.
You’ll notice that I tried not to pull anything over $200 to keep this wardrobe budget friendly!
Ps. Don’t forget to look under the collection to see how to put these pieces together for a week’s worth of activities!

Here are just a few combinations you can make for an entire week’s worth of activities.
Monday: (work) White long sleeved blouse (tucked in) + red pants + heels + earrings.

Tuesday: (work, then school meeting) White blazer + white lace top + denim skirt + loafers.

Wednesday: (work) White blazer + dress + belt (under or over blazer) + loafers.

Thursday: (work, volunteering) White tank (don’t tuck in) + creme cardigan + jeans +  belt (over or under cardigan) + Tory Burch flats.

Friday: (work, after work dinner date) Polka dot halter (tucked in) + red pants + white blazer + heels + earrings. Take blazer off and add earrings for the date.

Saturday: (playground with kids) White tank (don’t tuck in) + jeans + Tory Burch flats

Sunday: (baseball game, book club) Velvet tank top (tucked into skirt) + creme cardigan + denim skirt + loafers.


The Big Take-Away:

Just because you don’t have a defined waist, doesn’t mean it should stop you from being a complete bad a$$ (I mean, did you see my celebrity apples above!?!?!) Focus on creating that fake waist and then accent the heck out of it! 
And most, importantly, you’re gorgeous. Never forget that. 
xoxo, Leslie 


PS. Now that you know the rules, you can break them. 😉



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