You’ve likely seen images like these many different times, which categorize women’s bodies based on their measurements and general proportions. These different body types have been researched time and time again in an effort to help women decide which cuts and styles suit their bodies best. When you’re looking to change up your style, or wondering how you can best make your clothes work on your body, this is a great place to start.

First, you need to figure out which category you most closely fall into. Rectangle, apple, pear, and hourglass are the four body types we’ll be discussing today.

A rectangular body type is known to have a waist similar in measurement to the hips and bust. About 46% of women fall into this category, making it a very common body type. You don’t need to take out the measuring tape for this, but if you do your waist will likely be somewhere from 1-8 inches smaller than your bust.

An apple body type is seen in around 14% of women. This is also known as a “top heavy” body type. If you can see that your bust is bigger than the hips. Weight generally will be concentrated around your midsection and bust, with slimmer arms and legs.

The pear body type is the opposite of the apple body type. Instead of weight being concentrated on your top half, most of your weight is in your bottom half. This means people with pear body types have wider hips and thighs, with narrower shoulders and a smaller bust. About 20% of women have this body type, which is easiest to recognize from the fact that one’s legs are noticeably wider and fuller than the rest of the body.

The final body type, the hourglass, is the least common, with only about 8% of women having this body type. This body type is defined by having a similar measurement in the bust and hips, with a smaller waist. Hourglass women are more likely to be “curvy” on the top and bottom, with a smaller waist in between.

Overall, these body types have nothing to do with your weight or size. Every body is different, and you may not fit any one category entirely. No matter what shape or size you are, all bodies are beautiful.

Now that you’ve determined which body shape you most closely align with, it’s time to look into how we can use different fits and styles of clothing to accentuate each one.

Rectangular body shapes are usually referred to as “boyish”, meaning you can wear boyfriend jeans and pull off a wider range of silhouettes. To accentuate your bust and hips, you may want ti cinch your waist. This could be done with a belted dress or a wrap-waist blouse. Tops with collars or detailing can also help emphasize your chest. A supportive bra is important for any body type, but if you have a smaller chest, well-fitting undergarments will help you to make the most of the curves you have. There are many different styles of pants you can wear as well. High-waisted pants can also pull in your waist. Loose pants or other bottoms can give the illusion of wider hips, or you can show off your lean legs with more tight-fitting pants.

As an apple body type, you have a larger bust and thinner arms and legs, with a wider midsection. Low cut tops, especially v-necks, can help you to show off your chest. Tunic tops or empire waists can also be helpful in concealing your midsection. A longer shirt that ends at the widest point of your hips can help draw attention to that area. Flared plants are also great to balance your top and bottom halves. A full skirt can also help to balance you out, drawing attention to your legs.

Pear body types have a heavier bottom half, with more weight focused on their hips and legs. This means you have a smaller chest and narrower shoulders. You can draw attention to this by wearing dresses with low v-neck, asymmetrical necklines, or other embellishments and details that draw focus to the top. A shirt with a wide boat neck is a great choice if you want to balance your shoulders with your wider hips. Some pear-shaped women may be more insecure about their thighs, which can be concealed in longer, looser pants and structured skirts. However many pear-shaped celebrities, like Kim Kardashian, wear tight-fitting clothing that flaunts their hips and legs, and look great doing it. Right now, bodycon styles are trendier than ever, so don’t be afraid to show off your curves whenever you feel comfortable!

Finally there is the hourglass body type, which is defined by even hips and bust with a smaller waist. One of the best things to do with this body type is to allow for form-fitting clothing to accentuate your breasts and elongate your waist. Pencil skirts, skinny jeans, and other tighter clothing can also help to highlight your hips. You can also highlight your figure with an article of clothing that is more plain and fitted, with an interesting fit or design on the sleeves to keep the look interesting. When it comes to outerwear, a longer, belted jacket like a trench coat is great to draw more attention to your waist. One of the most famous hourglass figures in history is Marilyn Monroe, so don’t be afraid to lean into some Old Hollywood glamour as well. Overall, any fit that allows you to keep your chest and hips balanced, and to show off your slim waist is a flattering choice for this body type.

You may have noticed that I did not mention many styles that certain body types may be told to avoid. Though you may want to stray away from these things, there is never any reason not to wear something you enjoy just because its “not for your body type”. Above all else, the most important part of dressing for your body is to wear whatever makes you comfortable, confident, and happy. Trends, in both clothing and the “ideal” body type, have come and gone many times over throughout history, and just because one body type or silhouette is popular now does not make it better than any of the others. There are tons of rules, tips, and tricks for flattering fits in clothing, but none of that matters if you don’t feel like yourself in the clothes you’re wearing. The information shown here is a great place to start, but every single body is different, regardless of what category it may fall into. Your style is yours, and yours alone. That means the “rules” are yours to follow (and break) as you see fit.

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