How to Dress a Banana Body Shape

Four Simple Strategies

Knowing how to dress a banana body shape vs other different body shapes, in work or 'play' clothes for women can be a breeze, if you leverage the following four how-to- dress-a-banana-body-shape strategies and it will help your body look its visually-appealing, balanced, symmetrical fashion style best.

Since women with a banana shaped body vary little in their shoulder, waist and hip measurements, according to the former hosts of BBC What Not To Wear, Trinny and Susannah's, Susannah Constantine, "a column is one of the easiest bodies to dress."

Strategy One:
Balance body proportions…horizontally and vertically

Let's start with horizontal balance related dressing a banana body shape. Horizontal balance refers to the lines around vs. up and down your body.

If you want a more hourglass-like silhouette, women with banana body shapes who already have balanced shoulders and hips…can simply make their waists, which are usually are the same size as their shoulders and hips, appear to be narrower and more defined like they are on hourglass figures.

How to Make the Waist Appear More Slender

So, learning how to dress a banana body shape includes some strategies for achieving the appearance of a more slender waist. The most obvious, though not always the most comfortable solution for minimizing the waist, is wearing a body shaper or corset to mold your body accordingly.

Undergarments are one of my favorite ways to make my womens business clothes fit better, especially with clothes that I don't want to invest the funds into having altered…from breast-enhancing bras to waist cinchers…they all can come in handy.

Further, if you make the hips appear wider, the waist will appear smaller in comparison...this is also a key "dress a banana body shape tip."

Wearing horizontal lines can make a body part appear to be wider, which is why I like the bottom of my jacket and my tops to end at the widest part of my hips or close to the high hip area…to make my hips appear wider…something that most women with banana and apple body shapes opt for when they're specifically dressing their body types, so that the waist might appear narrower. (Click image to shop the look)

The opposite of that is…if one doesn't want the waist to appear wider, avoid bolero jackets, and other jackets or sweaters where the bottom hem stops at the waist, if you want to minimize the appearance of the waist.

For your convenience, click the images to shop the looks below...

Waist Cincher

Color Block Dress

Empire Waist Dress

Another "dress a banana body shape" tip to make the waistline appear smaller is wearing an open jacket or sweater to create the illusion of a narrower waist line, simply by "covering up" part of the waist.

This is one of my favorite solutions for minimizing the appearance of my waistline...a darker color jacket or sweater over a lighter colored blouse draws the eye to the lighter color and the darker color recedes.

Or you may work the same garment color block strategy…again, since darker colors recede and lighter colors stand-out…try finding a dress with side panels that are a darker color with a center panel that's a lighter color.

Dresses and blouses with an empire waist, where the waist-line of the garment is just under the bust-line, instead of at the natural waist, show off the narrowest part of your waist while camouflaging the wider part of your waist.

If you have a shorter torso and most of your height is in your legs…look in a full length mirror to make sure that by trying to achieve horizontal balance you're not throwing off your vertical balance…making your body look like the lower part of it is three quarters of your height versus about half of it.

Having a great bra and blouse that fit properly can also go along way to ensure that the waist doesn't look squished on women with lollipop body shapes, aka: banana shaped bodies with large breasts...which can throw off your vertical balance.

Also beware, if you're petite, of wearing blouse and jacket hemlines at the widest part of your hip, because it may throw off your horizontal balance if the hemline is so low that it makes your legs look extra short.

Most women with banana body shapes have smaller busts and their hips tend not to be overly curvaceous. However, lollipop body shapes are full-bust banana shaped bodies…hips, waist, and shoulders are about the same widths, but they have generously sized breasts.

What to wear if you have large breasts is a little different, when it comes to making the bust-line appear curvier, ladies with lollipop body shapes can ignore those strategies...but might find the following video, from Carissa Rose, on strategies and clothing ideas for dressing women with large breasts to be helpful.

Strategy Two: Create and enhance your curves


For the rest of us ruler, rectangular, boyish shaped women, adding detail (pockets, pleats, large patterns, texture, etc.) to the bust area can make the bust look fuller, so can a bust-enhancement bra...another key for how to dress a banana body shape.

This great red dress is pleated at the bust and has a beautiful full skirt that can make any straight shape look more voluptuous (click the image to shop the look).

Also beware of the shape of your garment neckline. Necklines that are too open can make a small chest appear even smaller, as opposed to a jewel neckline or one that comes up closer to the neck.

One trick I've learned is to wear a multi-strand necklace to fill in some of the area on the chest if I'm wearing a blouse or dress with a wider neckline, just to add additional detail and interest.

The same is true for making the hips look fuller…add details, from pockets, seams, patterns (large patterns add more volume than smaller patterns will...fabrics with texture have more visual weight than smooth fabrics), wide hip belts, pleats, draped or textured fabric, etc. Lighter and bolder colors also add to a sense of volume.

Strategy Three: Highlight your favorite features

Have a beautiful face or lovely neck? Wear garments with necklines that draw attention to your face and/or neck…a black blouse with a white or light colored collar that compliments your complexion will do the trick…so will eye-catching details or jewelry placed near your neckline. Likewise, a white band at the bottom of a little black dress will draw the eyes of on-lookers and business associates right to a fantastic set of legs.

Or maybe you have a swan-like neck…show it off with thick, neck-hugging chokers and necklaces that over power shorter necks.

Have beautiful hands and long, graceful fingers? Make sure you wear rings, watches, bracelets, etc. that draw attention to those lovely hands.

Strategy Four: De-emphasize your least favorite features

We've already mentioned how to minimize your mid-section, when you dress a banana body shape. If you have other features that you don't want to emphasize, wearing darker colors on those body parts or simply covering them may do the trick.

If you're not a fan of your arms, instead of wearing cap sleeves, consider trying tops that have kimono-like sleeves, dolman or three-quarter length sleeves…or if the body of your jacket is black, a color-blocked jacket that features white sleeves may not be your best option…since lighter colors can make things look larger and they tend to draw attention to that part of the body.

Dressing fashionably at any size is part artistry and part strategy…hope these tips for how to dress a rectangle body shape help you look your best.

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

Have some great pics of you in what works for you and your body type that you'd like to share with everyone, regarding how to dress dress a banana body shape? Then you're welcome to share your photos and words of advice with True Style Studio readers.

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