How to Style an Apple Body TypeOn August 20, 2020 by admin
For as long as I can remember I have looked down to see a round belly that I always compared to the girls I would see on television in movies, who all seemed to have flat stomachs that descended to gorgeously curved hips. Don’t get me wrong; I didn’t grow up with a weight problem, I just have what is called an apple body type. It was hard to accept and understand when all I saw around me were “Hourglasses” and “Pears”. I didn’t see anyone who looked like me in media and therefore did not see how women shaped like me should dress.
What is an Apple Body Type?
For those who don’t know or for those who need reminding, an apple body type is the type of body that carries the majority of fat in the upper body. Apples tend to have full breasts and carry more weight in their arms, back, and stomachs. We also tend to have very lean legs- I have no cellulite! It isn’t a well-represented body type in entertainment and the few apples that I do see in the media tend to keep so lean and dress in a way that you wouldn’t even be able to tell. This makes learning how to dress as you come of age very difficult, as most styles I wanted to copy were pretty much the opposite of flattering for someone like me.
I had the misfortune of going through adolescence at a time when low-rise jeans were very in fashion- side note can we all just agree to never let this trend reoccur? I’m seeing it start to pop up again and it’s making me nervous. The 2000s were a difficult time to be an apple, and many of the things I tried to cover up with ended up making the problem worse. I remember once wearing a peasant top (another trend that needs to be kept in the grave) and someone asked me if I was pregnant.
Among one of the things I did to hide my stomach was wearing loose, long tops. This did a lot to make me feel comfortable and like I was hiding under layers of fabric, but in actuality it created a tent-like effect where the fabric hit my breasts and made everything below them look like it must be even bigger than it was. The length also made my 5’2” frame look even more stout. I only recently learned that the only way to flatter a bigger upper body is not to hide it under billowing fabrics, but to wear things that are more fitted or at least cinch at a narrow part of the waist.
Sleeves have always been a bit difficult for me. Even as someone who presses 25 lbs in skull-crushers and can curl 45 lbs on a bar, my arms show little definition. Cap sleeves stop at the widest part of my arm, puff sleeves make me look like a linebacker, and many t-shirt sleeves also land in unflattering places. Before I started to lift so much it was very difficult to find woven button-down shirts that had sleeves that were big enough for me. I now know to be careful with any trendy sleeves and always try things on to check how they make my proportions look.
At this point this seems a depressing and self-deprecating diary entry, so I’m going to pivot to tell you the styles and tricks I learned make me look my best and that I love to wear.
My Top “Apple” Styling Tricks
- The Tuck
Growing up going to a school where uniforms were required and demerits were handed out to anyone with an untucked shirt, I was averse to tucking my shirt in for years. I have since mostly healed from my grade school traumas and have come around to not just appreciating the tuck, but committing to the tuck. I hardly ever let a shirt hang loose as it is so much more flattering tucked in, creating a waist and making my legs look longer.
- A-line Skirts
A line skirts fluff out from the waist band to camouflage my stomach and give the impression that I have hips. This shape is flattering on everyone, even if you have a beautiful waist. I try to get shorter skirts to show off my legs, the leanest part of my body.
- High waisted shorts
Whether they are paper bag, trouser, chino, or denim, I THRIVE in a high waisted short. They enable me to wear crop tops (I missed this trend in the early 2000s due to the low-rise jeans epidemic) and expose my favorite feature- have I mentioned how much I love my legs?!
- Shirts with V necklines or Button downs unbuttoned to the top of the breast
Wearing V necklines or opening the top of a button down shirt creates length in my upper body and divides my shoulder/collarbone area to prevent it from appearing wide to the eye. This shape also has the benefit of adding length to the face, which I appreciate having a round face.
- Halter tops or tank tops with thick straps
Tank tops with spaghetti straps can be very difficult for me to wear. My upper body has a lot going on and a skinny strap only emphasizes that. I tend to go for thicker straps or halter necklines that are more to scale with the width of my chest.
- Unlined Bras
This isn’t the most obvious style tip, but when you are an apple one good(?) feature of your body is a sizable pair of breasts. Given that I have a lot of volume in this area it stands to say that I don’t need any help here- not a push, not a layer of padding; I just need a bit of support. In addition, finding shirts that fit is hard enough with large breasts that the extra volume padding and push-ups can add make it not only harder to find a size that fits, but also makes my breasts look comically large. I tend to go for unlined styles that have underwire so I still have a lot of lift.
- High rise jeans in slim or straight leg fits
I don’t know if I mentioned this yet, but as an apple my legs are the leanest part of my body and my favorite feature. I never want to hide them, even to follow a trend. I’ve seen all the wide leg styles that are coming into fashion lately, but I can’t give any more than a straight leg in width here. Some trends I can only give a nod too, and jeans are one area that I have clear BOUNDARIES: no lower than a mid-rise, no looser than a straight leg. Any trend chasing to seem “relevant” would be a huge disservice to MY beauty. So whatever is happening on instagram or on celebrities will have to pass me by if they violate my boundaries. I will consider foraying into flares and boot-cut fits that are tight through the thigh if I can ever get over childhood trauma from trips to the Gap 1998-2002.
These are the main ideals I stick to when shopping, but I’m so annoyed by stylists and magazines who try to give rules for my body type or women that want to hide their belly that I’m not going to tell anyone what to do. This is just what makes me feel beautiful and confident. Life is too short and style should be fun, and sometimes looking skinny or like a certain shape is not the most important thing. Buying and wearing fashion should always be joyful- it’s too silly and mutable to be anything but!
This should be the part where I tell you that I’ve come to peace with my body-type and I appreciate it for what it is. That would be a lie. Everything I’ve laid out here is about me trying to trick other people into thinking I have a different shape than I do. Truthfully, my stomach still frustrates me. I lift a lot of weight and try to eat right and it never seems to go in the way I wish it would. But something that Ashley Graham said when we worked together has always stuck with me, “Just because you don’t like one part of your body doesn’t mean you can’t love the whole thing”. And I do love my body. I’m grateful for all it can do. I love how strong I am. I love how easily I build muscle. And when I look in the mirror, I really believe that I am beautiful.
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