I've wanted to do this post for some time now. I recently became acquainted with the Eloquii line of clothing by The Limited. I really love some of the pieces and their concept behind wearing clothes for your body type.
It is generally accepted that there are around 5 different body types that most women fall under: Teardrop (often called a Pear), Diamond, Hourglass (or Infiniti), Heart (often called an Apple) and Emerald.
Below are each of the 5 body types and some spring/summer dress selections that are recommended for that type.
Teardrops are shaped, well, like a teardrop. Smaller up top with fuller hips and thighs. Or, a badonk, to put it frankly. ;) The key here is to minimize the lower half with straight or a-line cuts and darker colors. You want to emphasize the upper part of your body with patterns, detail and color. Emphasizing the waistline also helps to balance out the overall look.
Diamonds are shaped like a whole diamond...with a larger mid-section and smaller upper and lower halves. Generally, diamonds carry the most weight around the middle. The key for dress shopping for diamonds is emphasizing the upper and lower portions of your body with cowl necklines and straighter hems. If the dress looks straight up-and-down on the hanger, it will probably work. Anything that slims over the mid section while emphasizing the chest/neck and legs will look great on diamonds.
Hourglass girls are shaped like an hourglass. The waist/mid section is small and your chest and hips are about the same size. These ladies can wear most clothing well, but the best styles are any dresses that have some sort of emphasize on the middle portion. A gathered waist, a belt, an elastic waistband, anything that draws attention to the smallest part of your body will be the best fit for hourglasses.
If your top half is generally larger than your bottom half, you're known as a Heart. Hearts should stick with flared or a-line dress styles that will balance out a heavier upper half. Darker colors on top and light colors, prints or detail on the lower half will also help to balance you out. Deep v-necks and assymetrical necklines are especially striking on Hearts.
Emeralds are pretty much the same size on top, middle and bottom. Some refer to this as an athletic or boyish figure. Personally, I think you're pretty lucky with this because you can wear all the dresses that I swoon over! :) The key for Emeralds is to wear something that is flared, fitted or has a empire waist with lots of detail (ruching, ruffles, etc) to fake a curvy figure. Straight or shift dresses really won't do much for your figure if you're an Emerald. You can wear empire waisted dresses without looking like you're with child. And I pretty much hate you for it.
Okay, not really, but I am slightly jealous that you can wear that lime green floral dress. It would look like absolute poo on me. So, I'll live vicariously through y'all. HA!
If you're unsure of which category you fall into, you can measure your waist, bust and hips and then use the guide on Eloquii to see where you fall. Note: this is a plus sized clothing website that is part of the Limited brand, so the Style My Shape tool works for any sized gal. It will tell you which you'd fall under based on the difference of your measurements. For example, a Teardrop's hips are at least 10 inches larger than her waist. An Hourglass' waist is less than 10 inches smaller than her hips and bust. You get the idea. Now, the only problem is for those of us that fall into 2 categories. Ugh. Oh well.