Do you have apple shaped body?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of the apple body type? How should you dress? What are the styling tips in particular for petite women who have the apple body shape? You have come to the right place, because in this post I will cover all of these.

First, I want you to know I am in exactly the same boat as you, because I am 5’2″ and I have an apple shaped body just like you. Before I got into the body type theories years ago, I didn’t really know what name my body shapes is called- but I did know I want my waist to look smaller! I am in general a skinny person and my weight doesn’t fluctuate too much (except when I was pregnant). What I noticed, however, is that even though I look thin overall, I could never get a slender waist.

apple body shape
Chi, 5’2″

Later on by researching the body types, I understand this is a main characteristics of the apple shaped body. Do you feel the same way, i.e. are you always struggling to hide your stomach, even though the rest of your body is slender?

What is apple shaped body?

Now, if you are not sure whether or not your body type is apple shape, here is list of that characterizes a typical apple body type. See how many of these apply to you:

Apple shape
  • Your hips and shoulders are well balanced, i.e. they are roughly about the same width. If you want an exact number, your shoulder and hip measurements are within 5 % of each other.
  • You do not have a defined waistline. Your waistline has the same width as or is wider than your shoulders and hips.
  • You have a full bust, waist and upper back
  • Many petite women with apple shape have round and sloping shoulders that align nicely with the hips.
  • Your hips are round shaped and full
  • If you gain weight, you tend to gain weight mainly around the waist, at least in proportion to the other parts of your body
  • You probably have slender legs and arms.
  • You might be short waisted

How many of these are you? Most? Or a few?

A great way of understanding what body type you are is by looking at real life examples. I have found it a great way to learn how to look better is by observing how celebrities dress and notice what works on them and what doesn’t. For instance, Eva Longoria (5’2″) is a great example of petite apple body shape.

Apple shaped body
Getty Images

Since human bodies can have some many different variations, most likely not one body would fit into all features of one body type.  If you feel like you have some but not all of the traits above, it is possible you are a combination of apple shape and other body types. 

One thing I noticed is that when someone is skinny, it sometimes can be harder to identify her body type because she could fit into multiple types. However, when she gains weight, where exactly shows the weight as the first sign is often the best indicator of the body type. For apple shaped body, you would almost always notice your stomach is the first place to show the weight gain! This is Jessica Simpson, 5’3″, and it is obvious her first sign of weight gain is always on her stomach.

apple shaped celebrity
Jessica Simpson, Getty Images

Strengths and Weaknesses of Apple Body Type

Now that we talked  about how to define the apple shape,  it may have become clear to you these are your best assets!

  • Slender and (often times) firm/muscular arms
  • Slender legs
  • Curvy bust and round buttocks

I bet this won’t surprise you, because you probably have been receiving compliments on these all these years.

The weaknesses?

I don’t think you need me to tell you again, am I right? As an apple shape, you probably already are making an effort to make the mid section appear more slender, and that’s exactly what we will focus on next.

How to Dress Apple Shape

Through years of researching, I understand the apple shaped body much better now, through my own trial and error (lots of mistakes, trust me).

Here is the list of best tips I want to share with you:

  • The objective of an apple shaped body should be create the illusion of a waistline
  • Direct attention away from the heavier mid section
  • Apple shaped boy has soft curves and is round, we need to get more angular lines on your body to break this up and flatter. 
  • Add structure, especially to your top half

Now, we’ll take a look at how to actually apply these.

How to create a waistline and hide the belly

First, the biggest challenge of dressing an apple shape is to how to create the waist line that is not naturally obvious.

Let me start with the most straightforward ways. These are the tips that I have found working pretty well for me in the past.

1. Wear fit & flare dresses

If you are not familiar with this term, fit-and-flare is exactly what it sounds like. The top bodice is fitted, and the skirt bottom flares out. This is quite similar to the A-line dress. These two terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

This is the most versatile silhouette that flatters all body shape universally, because it creates an ideal shape with a narrowed waist, and proportionately shaped hips.

For apple shaped body in particular, it effortless hide your stomach because the skirt naturally flare out under your stomach.

petite Aline dress
Harper Rose Petite $148

 Embroidered Halter Neck Mesh Midi Dress petite
Vince Camuto Petite $188
 petite Aline
Vince Camuto Petite $128

The key is to make sure the area around your stomach should not be too tight!

2. Wear peplum style

Peplum style are heaven sent for apple shaped body! The ruffles not only effortlessly camouflage your belly, but the flare makes your waist looks a lot smaller because of the contrast with the well fitted top. This is one of the signature styles of Eva Longoria.

apple shaped celebrities
Eva Longoria, 5’2″ (Getty Images)

apple body type celebs
Photo: Getty Images

As you can see from the photos, even a white (which is the most unforgiving color) peplum dress looks flawless on her apple body type!

 dress for apple body type
ASOS $64

Peplum style can be a top or a dress, I have found both work quite well for hiding the stomach area and define the waistline.

Woven Peplum Top
Gibson Petite $56
peplum top for petite women
Petite Dressing $89
tops for apple shaped body
Monteau Petite $35

3. Use ruched design around the waist

These worked wonders on me, because the ruched waist have an amazing slimming effect. If you are a apple body type on the heavier side, it is important for you to choose a dress that is not skin tight!

dresses for apple body type
Lauren Ralph Lauren Petite

dresses for petite apple shape
Lauren Ralph Lauren Petite $73

Should you wear a belt?

I want to write about this topic, because I have often seen famous fashion websites and magazines advise apple shape to use a belt to create the waistline. That sounds logical, but does that work?

I have to say that is the biggest debate.

My honest view is using a belt on an apple shaped body could work, but it takes advanced styling skills. Based on my own experience, in most case it will not work, especially if you have an apple shaped body on the heavies side.

I think whoever is suggesting tying a belt as an easy fix for apple body type is probably not an apple herself. Here is why.

If you use a belt, it immediately draws all the attention to your mid section. That is exactly the OPPOSITE of what you want to do. Want to make things worse? Try a skinny belt, or a belt with contrasting color of what you are wearing.

How did I know? I made these mistakes before myself!

The caveat I want to put out there is if/when you are a skinny apple, you could be the exception to this rule. If you are a XS or S, and your belly is much less noticeable, then wearing a belt to highlight the waist area may not be such a bad idea. I have tried this and it worked ok if the belt is the SAME color as the garment (as you can see in the picture). However, as soon as I put on any weight, I had to stop wearing a belt because it just made my midriff look even worse.

petite feet
Chi, 5’2″

Now, if you are not a very skinny apple figure, it takes some more advanced styling skills. Here’s how to make the belt work for you.

Go monochromatic

What I mean by that is the belt should be from the same color scheme as the garment you are wearing. It doesn’t have to be the exact same color. Rather, a slightly different color from the same scheme. This may sound like an advanced concept to you, but it is pretty straightforward to understand once you see how Eva Longoria is applying it in this outfit.

celebs with apple body type
Eva Longoria, 5’2″ (Getty Images)

Wear a dark blazer with same color belt

This works very well in the all and winter. For apple shaped women who want to have a defined waistline while wrapped in layers, this is the best way. Once again, this photo of Eva Longoria explains this pretty well.

petite apple body shape
Eva Longoria, 5’2″ (Getty Images)

Now that we talked about how to create your waistline, I wanted to share with you how to accentuate your assets.

Show off your assets

Your arms and legs

Petite apple shape women are lucky enough to have strong arms and slender legs, so lets show them off! What shows off your legs better than shorter dresses and skirts?

cheap petite dresses
Charter Club Petite $33
 Petite Illusion-Trim Fit & Flare Dress
Calvin Klein Petite $89
casual dresses for short women
Michael Michael Kors Petite $98

A little heel can help to lengthen the leg and help you look like you lost a few pounds.

Your breasts

There are two reasons you should be highlighting your breasts!

Number one, you got great round shaped breasts, which is one of your best assets, and you should definitely not be hiding them.

Number two, the more attention you bring to your chest area, the less people will notice your mid riff!

apple shaped actresses
Eva Longoria, 5’2″ (Getty Images)

Best Jeans for Apple Shaped Body

A lot of us live in jeans, so finding the jeans that fit your body type is critical to every shape. With apple shaped body, the biggest frustration with jeans is the muffin top. Do you feel the same way?

High waisted jeans

That is why high waisted jeans stretch jeans is the top choice for apple shaped petite women for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, high waisted jeans typically have pants rise of 9 inches or higher, which means it is up to or even higher than your belly button. That alone will make your muffin top almost disappear!

Secondly, most petite women want their legs to look longer desperately. With the high waist design, your legs just instantly look extended.

 petite High Waist Wide Leg Jeans,
Paige Petite $219
High Waist Button Fly Jeans
Topshop Petite $80
 Joni High Waist Moto Jeans, Main, color, INDIGO
Topshop petite $65

Flare legs

Besides the high waist, flared leg is the most flattering to apple shaped body, or actually, any petites who wish to have longer legs.

 High Waist Flared Jeans for petite women
Topshop Petite $75
petite flare jeans
Topshop Petite $75

Avoid low rise by all means

You should ALWAYS avoid low rise jeans! What it does is it will have you spilling all over the place.  Plus, they are the worst pants for petites because they just make your legs look shorter. Even though low rise is making a come back on the runway this year, I urge all my fellow petites (especially if you are apple shape) to stay away from it.

Best Fabrics

Apple shape women overall look fleshy vs boney.  The best advice for apple shaped body when it comes to fabric or print is go bold and big, as a little print especially on your top is going to make you look bigger than you are. A good bold geometric shape is perfect winner for you! Try to stick to a heavier fabric and away from flimsy cheesecloth etc. as these fabrics tend to have a little more structure in the garment. 

On the other hand, prints too big are not flattering to petite women, because they may overwhelm your petite body frame.  Therefore, it is a fine balance to choose the print big enough but not too big to swamp you.

Now that I have shared with you the best tips I have gathered over the years, I hope you will find this helpful next time you are standing in front of the mirror trying to figure out how to style yourself! Do you have other hacks you want to share with the fellow apple shaped petites? Leave a comment below and we can’t wait to hear from you!