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How to Dress Your Body Type
14 March

How to Dress Your Body Type

Nursing is one of those professions where healthcare professionals remain constantly in contact with patients. In such a situation, it is important to dress appropriately to flatter, impress and nurture relationships. Often plus sized professionals feel that they don't look flattering enough in scrubs. However, by dressing according to your body type, you will not only look great but feel more confident at work.

Have you ever wondered how certain healthcare professionals look great at work even after the most rigorous shift? The answer is simple: they dress according to their body type. When it comes to scrubs, it is important to understand that the one style fits all may not work. Knowing how to dress according to your body shape does not mean knowing your size, but also knowing how to dress to flatter your figure. If done right, no matter what size, you will always look great in your scrubs.

Importance of Knowing Body Shape:

Most nursing brands use letters to define body sizes, but it needs to be understood that your body shape is not just a letter. For instance, if you are a size 2XL woman with heavy bust, you won't wear the same style clothing as a 2XL woman with small bust and bigger hips. While one size may fit both, it does not essentially mean that it would look good on both. Therefore knowing your shape will help you flatter your curves.

Types of Body Shapes:

  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Lean Column (Straight)
  • Hourglass
  • Inverted Triangle
  • Rectangle


Types of Body Shaped Explained:

Apple: An apple bodies tend to carry weight on their stomachs and have reasonably broad shoulders with a bigger bust, a wide tummy, and proportionate hips, but with slimmer legs and arms, and a flat bottom.

Pear: Pear shape body has slender shoulders and a bust that's visibly narrower than the hips and thighs. The hips and thighs are wider and often rounder.

Lean Column: Lean Column bodies tend to have a straight figure with a bust and hipline that isn't broken up by a narrow waist. Generally, 30% women fall in the rectangle body shape category, and have a relatively easy job to dress according to their body type.

Hourglass: People with hourglass bodies have a large bust, defined waist, and well-proportioned hips that are identical in width to the bust.

Inverted Triangle: Women with Inverted Triangle shapes are wider at shoulders and bust than hips.

Rectangle: Women with a rectangle body shape often have no defined waist. The hips tend to have a similar width as the shoulders. Such women do not have a curvaceous body and the bust is also small.

How to Dress Appropriately As Per Body Type?

General Strategies for Dressing an Apple Shape Body

If you have an apple shaped body, your bust and legs need to be the focal point of attention. You can achieve the look by wearing A-line nursing skirt, straight leg scrub pants, or V-neck scrub tops.

It is advised to avoid wearing printed tops, or tops created fabric that cling to the body such as cotton. The primary thing to remember is to draw attention away from your middle section. Moreover, avoid wearing fabric length that cuts off below or above your middle.

Neckline for Apple Body Shape

  • Lower and wider necklines
  • Scoop Neck
  • Square Neck
  • Large V-neck or sweetheart

Sleeves for Apple Body Shape

  • Three-fourth length
  • Above the wrist
  • Wrist length
  • Flared or draped

Jackets for Apple Body Shape

  • Single button - ideally placed under bust and above the tummy
  • Simple empire line or straight line that hangs from your shoulders
  • Deep neckline or worn open

Coats for Apple Body Shape

  • Worn open
  • Big lapels that sit on your décolleté and not bust line
  • Back Vents

General Strategies for Dressing an Pear Shape Body

Some women have a pear shaped body that is meant to enhance and flatter the hip area, while others may desire to keep the contrast down. For instance, by wearing darker color scrubs, you can disguise the wider hips. Similarly, large back pockets can give an illusion of a smaller bottom.
For people with a Pear shaped body, wearing boat necks can draw the attention to the bust. Moreover, you can pair the boat neck tops with flared leg scrub pants that will balance the hips giving a slimmer and longer appearance.

Things to Avoid:

  • Narrowing leg, pleats or creases in your leg line
  • Flared or ruffled sleeve lines
  • Dropped waistlines or dropped panels
  • Sloping or narrow shoulder lines

Neckline for Pear Body Shape:

Boat necks, wider collar and lapels are preferred for pear shaped bodies. You can experiment if you don't have a big bust or a short/wide neck.

Sleeves for Pear Body Shape:

  • Three-fourth length
  • Dropped
  • Puffed,
  • Wrist or slightly above the wrist
  • If you are small to medium busted, puffed and short sleeves look impressive

Jackets for Pear Body Shape:

  • Collars
  • Multiple Pockets
  • Single or double breasted
  • Breast pockets
  • Back yokes and back belts in the waist area

Coats for Pear Body Shape:

  • Watch out for shoulder enhancing details
  • Big lapels
  • Wide collars
  • Choose fitted shapes e.g. belted coats.

General Strategies for Dressing an Lean Column Shape Body

For plus sized women with lean column shape have little curvature at the waist. For such people, wearing nursing skirts, wrap scrubs, and trousers will give an illusion of a narrower waist. Another great way to look impressive at work is by wearing draped necks that finish at the bust.

Things to Avoid:

  • Tops with square necklines
  • Shapeless jackets; loose or droopy styles that hang from your shoulders
  • Dropped waistlines
  • Bulky, heavy textures
  • Double breasted jackets

Neckline for Lean Column Body Shape

  • Collars
  • Turtle neck
  • Scoop neck that give sufficient roundness and put the focus on the center of your body.

Sleeves for Lean Column Body Shape

  • Any sleeves that will add volume to your arms. Ideally, dropped sleeve line, flared, cuffed, three-fourth length, and loose short sleeves tend to look flattering.

Jackets for Lean Column Body Shape

  • Waisted jackets or belted jackets with details such as pockets
  • Shoulder details
  • Wide lapel
  • Vents

Coats for Lean Column Body Shape

  • Single or double breasted coats with wide lapels
  • Breast and waist pockets.
  • Belted versions are good for giving you a shaped waist and curves.

General Strategies for Dressing an Hourglass Shape Body

The hourglass shape is considered to be the most desirable figure shape, where styling such women is the easiest. The best way to style your nursing uniform for an hour glass body is skirt and loose scrub tops. The skirt will enhance the bust and hips.
By wearing waist length lab coats and jackets, you can also enhance and accentuate your narrow waist. Moreover, by wearing V-neck tops, you can make your bust and upper body look slimmer.

Things to Avoid
  • Straight shaped scrubs that hide your waist
  • Extra details that create additional volume around your bust, tummy, thighs. For instance, dropped sleeve lines, pleats, high-waist styles, and hip pockets need to be avoided.
  • High necklines that cover up your cleavage e.g. turtle neck
  • Boxy jackets, or double breasted styles
  • Narrowing leg lines
  • Wide/short sleeves which finish near your bust

Neckline for Hourglass Shape

  • Opt for lower and wider necklines
  • Scoop neck
  • Square or sweetheart.

Sleeves for Hourglass Body Shape

  • Three-fourth sleeves
  • Slightly above wrist
  • Wrist length

Jackets for Hourglass Body Shape

  • Concealed front opening
  • Single-breasted jackets
  • Wide lapels which sit above the bust.

Coats for Hourglass Body Shape

  • Single-breasted coats

General Strategies for Dressing an Inverted Triangle Shape Body

If you have an inverted triangle body, your goal is to create volume and width around the hip area. This will make your lower body look in proportion to your torso. You can do so by wearing darker colors on top and lighter colors on the bottom to give an illusion of a wider lower body. You can also achieve the look by wearing pleated or flared skirts. Similarly, flared leg scrub pants with gathering and pleats around the thigh and waist will give a fuller look.
Keep in mind to define your waistline as it will balance your silhouette and give an hourglass shape to your body. Moreover, you can also balance your upper body proportions by wearing simple V-neck tops without added detailing. The rule is to keep it dark, simple and tight.

Things to Avoid:
  • Necklines that make you broader on top
  • Styles that hide your silhouette
  • Printed tops
  • Avoid ruffles, prints, or bulky details at the neckline or bust
Neckline for Inverted Triangle Body Shape
  • Wider collar and lapels
  • V-neck
  • Mock wrap tops
Sleeves for Inverted Triangle Body Shape
  • Three-fourth sleeves
  • No details, ruffles or pleats.
Jackets for Inverted Triangle Body Shape
  • Constructed or shaped with angular lines
  • Long jackets that are straight or gently tapered towards the hemline
  • Hip pockets
  • Double vents
Coats for Inverted Triangle Body Shape
  • Straight lines or flared with fuller hemline
  • Lower pockets
  • Back vents

General Strategies for Dressing an Rectangle Shape Body

If you are a plus size Rectangle shaped women, you are one of those body types that are extremely easy to dress. Generally most styles suit people with a rectangle shaped bodies, where some tall ladies may have a tough time in getting the right fit.
For ladies with a rectangle figure, it is advised to create more curves for an attractive silhouette. This look can be achieved by defining the waist and giving a curvaceous look with details like pleats on the top.

Things to Avoid
  • Details at the waist such as noticeable waistband; high-waisted trousers; belted jackets and coats at the front
  • Straight lines from top to toe e.g. straight jacket or lab coat worn with straight trousers
Neckline for Rectangle Body Shape
  • Opt for lower, wider necklines
  • Jewel neckline
  • Scoop neckline
Sleeves for Rectangle Body Shape
  • Loose fit
  • Three-fourth sleeves
  • Flared sleeves
Jackets for Rectangle Body Shape
  • Structured and shaped with round lapels and/or neckline.
Coats for Rectangle Body Shape
  • Straight lines with some emphasis on the waist
  • Empire line
  • Uncluttered lines