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Every body type is beautiful in its own way, whether you fit into the hourglass mold or fall more into the broad shoulder, or “inverted triangle” category. While there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to get dressed in the morning, there are few tips and tricks that can really complement your form, especially if you have broader shoulders. It only takes a few minutes to pick out an outfit that really helps complement your body type.

Things You Should Know

  • Choose tops with large arm openings, scoop necklines, or cap sleeves to create balance and disguise your shoulders.
  • Counterbalance broad shoulders and even out proportions with wide-leg pants.
  • Create an eye-catching focal point by wearing tasteful pants patterns, like stripes or plaid. These draw attention to your lower half.
  • For dresses, emphasize your waist to balance out your figure. Empire line, A-line, and wrap dresses are great options.
Method 1
Method 1 of 3:

Tops and Jackets

  1. 1
    Opt for shirts and garments with large arm openings. When you have broad shoulders, your shoulders and arms tend to be more noticeable.[1] With this in mind, try to give your arms a little bit of breathing room with the right types of shirts. When picking out a short-sleeved shirt, look for a garment that gives you plenty of breathing room around the shoulders.[2]
    • For instance, you might like a blouse that cuts off at the shoulders, leaving plenty of space for your arms and shoulders.
    • You may also like a regular dress or polo shirt that gives you a lot of wiggle room around the shoulders.
  2. 2
    Look for tops with cap sleeves to subtly disguise your shoulder width. Cap sleeves are less prominent than other types of short-sleeved shirts, but they‘re a great fit for any person with broader shoulders. Cap-sleeved shirts protrude slightly out of the garment, and cover your shoulders in a subtle way.[3]
    • For example, you can get a nice dress shirt with cap sleeves.
    • Avoid off-the-shoulder garments, which can create an unbalanced look.[4]
  3. 3
    Go with scoop necklines to create a balanced look. Focus on drawing attention to your outfit vertically instead of horizontally. You can accomplish this with a subtle scoop neck, which curves along your chest. This pulls the eyes up and down instead of left to right, which follows the path of your shoulders. [5]
    • Avoid wide V-necks, which add a lot of focus to your shoulders.[6]
  4. 4
    Dress in garments with drop sleeves to balance your shape. Look for kimono-style garments, which offer loose, comfortable sleeves that cover and complement your shoulders nicely. You can find both shirts and dresses in this style. Typically, these garments have a subtle V-necklines, which helps balance out the rest of your outfit.[7]
    • For instance, you might like wearing a kimono-style dress, or a blouse with loose, ruffled sleeves.
    • Raglan sleeves are another great option to complement your body type.[8]
  5. 5
    Balance out your outfit with longer jackets and blazers. Look for garments that fall a bit lower than your waist, which helps balance things out. Ideally, pick out a blazer or sports jacket that falls in line with your hips, which will really help you look sharp.[9]
    • For example, you can create an office-ready look by pairing a long blazer or sports jacket with a pair of wide-leg pants or slacks.
  6. 6
    Skip tops and jackets that draw attention to your neck and shoulders. Shoulder pads and high-neck shirts are great, but they can make your outfits look a bit unbalanced. Instead, look for shirts and jackets with open or flowing sleeves that really complement your body type.[10]
    • There’s nothing wrong with drawing attention to your shoulders—however, drawing too much attention can make your outfit look unbalanced.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 3:

Bottoms and Pants

  1. 1
    Pick out wide-leg pants to balance out your shoulders.[11] Dressing with broad shoulders is all about balance—you want to celebrate your shoulders while still creating a well-rounded outfit that flatters your entire figure. Pick out a pair of pants or slacks with wide legs, which help balance out the distance of your shoulders.[12]
  2. 2
    Slip into a long, full skirt to complement your body shape. Grab a long skirt that tapers out towards your lower legs and ankles. This outfit will complement your broad shoulders, and look very balanced overall.[14]
  3. 3
    Wear printed pants as a subtle distraction. Look for a nice pair of slacks or pants with a tasteful pattern on them, whether it’s stripes, checkers, or something else altogether. These pants will make your lower half the focal point of your outfit, which can help balance out your outfit.[15]
    • For instance, you might wear solid-colored, a cap-sleeved top with a pair of patterned slacks for a night out.
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Method 3
Method 3 of 3:

Ideal Dress Shapes

  1. 1
    Slip into an empire line-style dress to draw attention to your waist. Empire line dresses are fitted snugly beneath your chest, which helps make your waist looker higher. Shop for dresses in this style to create a well-balanced look.[16]
    • Empire line tops are also a great option for your outfit.
    • Avoid empire waist dresses with puffy sleeves, which will look unbalanced.[17]
  2. 2
    Wear a fit-and-flare dress to take the focus off your shoulders. When you have broader shoulders, focus on drawing extra attention to your skirt. These dresses fit comfortably around your shoulders and waist before “flaring” around or above the knee. Try out this dress style if you’re looking for an easy, breezy outfit![18]
    • This dress can drop to mid-thigh level, or go all the way down to your knees.
  3. 3
    Try an A-line dress for a subtle, classy look.[19] Shop around for an A-line dress, or a garment with long sleeves that ties around the waist. This dress flows naturally to your knees, creating a very balanced, stylish look that complements your body type well.[20]
  4. 4
    Pick out a wrap dress for a night out. Wrap dresses take advantage of the V-neck style, incorporating it with a well-defined waistline within the garment. This dress fits comfortably over your shoulders, creating a relaxed, flattering look without needing to be skin tight.[21]
    • This garment also ties around your waist to create a defined look.
    • Wrap dresses are a great option for most body types.
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Community Q&A

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  • Question
    Can I have an hourglass shape with broad shoulders?
    Zoe Tom
    Zoe Tom
    Community Answer
    Yes, you can. To dress with this body type, use the suggestions above and wear a belt at your waist to complement your body.
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  • Don’t go for garments with really thin sleeves, like spaghetti straps. These aren’t as flattering to your body type.[24]

About This Article

Elle Monus
Co-authored by:
Image Consultant
This article was co-authored by Elle Monus and by wikiHow staff writer, Janice Tieperman. Elle Monus is an Image Consultant and the Co-Founder of True Image Group. With over 11 years of fashion industry experience, she specializes in holistic approaches to branding, size-inclusive image consulting, and personal styling. Additionally, Elle has had the opportunity to work on several New York Fashion Week shows and has been featured in multiple media outlets, such as Racked. This article has been viewed 226,880 times.
58 votes - 86%
Co-authors: 6
Updated: August 17, 2023
Views: 226,880
Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 226,880 times.

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