How to Dress a Round Body Type

We’re continuing our Body Type Series with How to Dress a Round Body Type. This series is designed to help break down the basic guidelines for dressing all body types. To get started, use this mathematical equation to figure what you are, you may be surprised!

The round body type is also referred to as circle or apple.

NOTE: Bone structure dictates body type rather than weight and height. Of course, all factors are considered when we get dressed, so these guidelines are just that, guidelines.

Think of it like this: 

Body Type is your bone structure. 

Fit/Size is your proportion; you may be “regular,” petite, tall, or plus. 

Weight is a factor to consider which tends to fluctuate for many of us. So, if you gain weight in your mid section, you may find yourself leaning towards round at some point in life. 

 

There are a few things to remember about the round body type.

First, your shoulders are broad, and your hips are narrow, OR your hips are even to your shoulders. You likely have a larger bust, but that is not a requirement. The most important factor is your lack of a defined waistline. This becomes your biggest challenge when getting dressed.

Women with a round body type tend to cover their shape with oversized shirts or long flowy pieces. And, in theory, that’s fine, but often you end up looking larger than you are.

Instead, we’re going to focus on tips that will create the illusion of a waist, highlight your favorite features, and show off your legs.

Below, I rounded-up four images of famous women with round body types to give you a visual.

I included different heights and sizes to show the diversity in the category. 

Famous Round Body Types

Eva Longoria, Oprah, and Kate Winslet have a Circle Body shape

Let’s start with Eva Longoria because I bet you’d never consider her a round body type because she is petite and teeny tiny (she’s 5’2″). There is a misconception that round immediately equals plus size, which is simply false. She does a great job creating a shape with her clothes. Here, her blazer gives her a strong shoulder, and the buttons pull in her waistline. Dressing in one color helps create a long line to her body, and she’s wearing a perfect pair of shorts to show off your narrow hips and toned legs. 

Next, the Queen herself, Oprah. Oprah is a fantastic example of how to dress a round body type. She almost always has some waist-defining element in her clothes. In the dress above, she’s using ruching to create that pulled-in look, making her appear more hourglass and than round. 

Isn’t Kate Winslet so stunning?  She’s refreshingly candid about her body and the crazy expectations Hollywood puts on women and just a great representation of style over 40.

In the look above, it’s her halter neckline that adds all the value to her dress. It shows off her toned shoulders while pulling the eye in with the blue detail. You easily see how this makes her shoulders look more narrow, balancing them to her hips and pulling the eye in for a more defined waist. 

Finally, Melissa McCarthy is perhaps the best representation of a traditional round body type, and she does an incredible job styling her outfits. She is fearless in her choices. The look above shows the importance of fit and balance. Her trousers are perfection, tailored to the ideal length with a wide leg that balances her shoulders and mid section. 

See how she draws attention to her waist but clearly defining it with a detail? You may have the instinct to do the opposite by having your top fall off your shoulders and drape over you belly. But that’s when you run into looking pregnant. Instead, don’t be afraid to create an illusion of a waist line with a fitted detail. 

Best Tips for Dressing Round Body Types

As you can see, there is a lot of variety in the round body type. Of all of them, this is the one you may find yourself stepping in and out of if you gain weight in your middle. For example, at my most fit, I am a true rectangle. No amount of sit-ups or carb-cutting will give me a tiny waist, but when I gain weight, it’s always in my midsection, so I use many of these tips when my weight is fluctuating.

Generally speaking, dressing in one color (or monochromatically) will help create a long line. As will dressing off a “column of color.” That simple means you keep the under pieces of your look one color, like black, and then cut it with top layer, like a white jacket. 

What should you avoid? 

Exaggerated details on your shoulders or bust line, ruffle front tops, or jackets won’t do anything for you. Skip pleated front pants and skirts; also avoid tie waist pants, narrow legged bottoms, and pencil skirts

Best Tops for Round Body Types 

A scoop or v-neck top is universally flattering and especially great for a round shape. You can also wear a wrap, faux-wrap, or ruched side top to create a more defined waist. A peplum that lays flat rather than flares out will also look lovely. 

Asymmetrical and halter necklines are excellent options that will minimize your shoulders.  

Skip crew and turtlenecks. 

For jackets, look for single breast options that sit at your natural waist; this will help give you a long lean look. 

Best Bottoms for Round Body Types

Straight or wide-leg pants or jeans work best since they balance your hips and shoulders. The wide-leg will also draw your eye into your waist. 

Look for pants with back or side zips to keep your front smooth; the less detail there, the better. 

Best Dresses for Round Body Types 

The same guidelines for your tops apply to the top of your dresses. For the bottom half, go with an aline or a straight skirt instead of a pencil. Avoid pleats or any fabric or gathering that will create extra volume. 

Remember, these are guidelines.  I can’t reinforce this enough. Everyones body type is unique. Use these recommendations as starting point in dressing well, knowing that you’ll have to make adjustments for your unique needs. 

Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

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If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

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Our Unsponsored Review of Warby Parker

Warby Parker Glasses and Sunglasses

I recently used Warby Parker to purchase new prescription glasses and sunglasses and I had such a wonderful experience that I wanted to share it with all of you! (note: this is not a sponsored post.)

Our Unsponsored Review of Warby Parker

Warby Parker Glasses and Sunglasses

Price Point

The price point is what initially drew me to Warby Parker. I have spent HUNDREDS on glasses that were just ho-hum at other retailers, but since you wear your glasses so often, you really should go for a pair that knocks it out of the park.

At Warby Parker, most pairs will set you back just $95, which includes the frames AND lenses. But what really sold me on this company is their Buy A Pair, Give A Pair program. When you buy a pair of glasses for yourself, a pair is distributed to someone in need.

What’s not to love about that? Brands who embed transparent social responsibility policies into their business model are becoming increasingly popular.

Toms, who makes popular casual shoes, is another brand that has a similar One for One program. Cuddle + Kind, who sells ethically-produced hand-knit dolls for children, donates 10 meals to children in need for every doll sold. I love supporting businesses who also do some good for this world.

How it Works

I used their iPhone app to browse through their frame options. It’s a well-designed app which shows each pair on a model, complete with virtual head turn, and lists the measurements. This is helpful so you can compare the measurements with your current pair.

I ordered five frames to try on at home. At no cost to you, they send the frames to your house so you can try them on and ask your friends and family for their opinion. The app even lets you make a little video of you modeling the glasses that you can send out for even more opinions, if you’d like.

When you’re finished, you stick them back in the box, let them know your selection, and pop them back in the mail.

I was stuck between two options and I decided that I should get sunglasses too. So rather than do the home try on again, I went to their brick-and-mortar store in Center City Philadelphia. With Megan in tow, I made my final selections in less than five minutes. I picked the Wilkie and the Nancy.

A friendly associate took my pupillary distance with a device she had in her pocket. Then, she took a picture of the prescription I had from my eye doctor with her iPad and swiped my HSA card for payment.

We were in and out in 10 minutes, and both pairs of glasses arrived on my doorstep less than a week later.

Doesn’t that read like a retail fairy tale? It kind of was!

Hydrate, Protect, Prime, and Cover Your Skin with A Single Product

Just last week, I ran out of my full-coverage foundation and Suntegrity’s Moisturizing Face Sunscreen on the same day. I knew I wanted to reorder the sunscreen, but I wasn’t thrilled about the foundation I was using, so I was open to new ideas. 

(You can read my full, gushing review on the Moisturizing Sunscreen here.)

During my last pregnancy, I experienced some hyperpigmentation, so I clung to that full-coverage makeup. Pregnancy hormones are cruel! I’ve worn full-coverage foundation for as long as I can remember; I started in my teens, when my gorgeous youthful skin definitely did not need to be covered up.

But I’ve been working hard on evening out my skin tone, with help from SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF, and have seen a big improvement in the last couple of months. So when I saw that Suntegrity has a tinted version of my Sunscreen I thought I would give it a shot. This felt super risky for me and I was skeptical that my mid-30s skin would look better with less makeup. 

Suntegrity 5 in 1 Tinted Natural Moisturizing Face SunscreenBut wow, what a difference it made! My skin looks so much better with less makeup, which is absolutely not what I expected. The tint is generous, so combined with my concealer, my skin has a nice, even tone.

However, it’s sheer enough that my skin looks real. It doesn’t have that cakey or airbrushed look and some of my freckles peek out. I chose the “light” tint, which they said is for “skin tones similar to Angelina Jolie, Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, Katie Holmes, and Carrie Underwood.”  Twinsies!

Also, don’t forget the broad-spectrum mineral filters that protect you from harmful UVA and UVB rays with SPF 30. 

It does look quite dewy, which is not my preferred look, especially in the office. I add a few light swipes of Laura Geller’s Balance-N-Brighten on top. You could use any finishing powder of your choice, like the magnificent Laura Mercier Translucent Powder.

I suppose I’m cheating a bit because the Balance-N-Brighten also has some color to it, but I use a very light hand with it.

What’s so great is that with Suntegrity’s 5 in 1 tinted Moisturizing Sunscreen, I am eliminating several steps in my makeup routine. The tinted 5-in-1 renews, hydrates, protects, primes, and covers the skin all in one product. Also, it has an excellent rating in Skin Deep’s Cosmetic Safety Database, which is something to be celebrated.

I have not yet found natural or organic replacements for all of my beauty products, but I am happy to shout from the rooftops when I do.

Our readers loved Suntegrity’s non-tinted sunscreen option that I shared last summer. So much so that it was one of the Readers’ Favorites for that month. I have a hunch that you will all love this tinted version just as much – if not more! 

 

My Best Tips for Consigning, Donating, or Recycling Clothing

My Best Tips for Consigning, Donating, or Recycling Clothes - The Well Dressed Life

Updated 2019: This article was originally posted last year. If you have recently completed or are working through our Wardrobe Challenge in our Private Facebook group you likely have things you need to get rid of.  Lauren wrote a comprehensive roundup of all of your options, including various ways to resell, how to ethically donate and your best options to recycle.  Links have been updated.  

Are you working through the 4 Weeks to a Better Wardrobe Series? If so, no doubt you will end up with a pile of clothes that you need to get out of your closet. I’m guilty of hanging onto clothes because they were expensive or still are in great condition and it breaks my heart to part with them.

Should you consign, donate, or recycle these pieces that you have determined no longer fit into your new and improved wardrobe?

Consign

Poshmark

I am a huge fan of Poshmark, which is an online consignment app.

To create a listing, you snap pictures of your clothes, fill in appropriate details like brand, size, original purchase price, and a short description, and then name your price. Typically, items are listed at least a 50% discount from the original purchase price.

To date, I have sold just over $1,000 worth of clothes, shoes, and accessories from my closet, which has put a bit of money in my pocket and helped to fund newer pieces for my wardrobe.

My Best Tips for Consigning, Donating, or Recycling Clothes

However, using Poshmark to sell your clothes does require a bit of work and finesse. Here are my best tips to get your items sold quickly:

Be Social.

Ultimately, Poshmark is a social network and you need to be an active participant in order to get your closet seen. As soon as you join Poshmark, other Poshers will start to follow you. Follow them back.

It doesn’t matter if they don’t have the same taste as you or wear the same size as you.

The point is that you want as many eyeballs on your closet as possible. I shouldn’t admit this, but I have gone on “follow sprees” after I put my daughter to sleep. Just go throught the app and follow as many people as possible.

What a way to spend my “me” time!

Picture quality matters.

You should upload many different pictures of the same item. Take a picture of the item folded or hung neatly.

If you’re lucky enough to have a dress form, use it! Take a close up picture so the texture and color is apparent. Can you find the original photo of the item online from the brand’s website? Great! Add that too. If you have a nice picture of you wearing the item, you can add it as well.

Share. Share. Share.

Some Poshers have hundreds of thousands of followers, which means that your items will have high visibility if they are shared. If you share from their closet, they will return the favor.

Also, you will receive notifications of themed “parties.” If you have items that follow the theme, share them to that party! Brand aficionados might be hunting for that exact J. Crew sweater from your closet from two seasons ago.

Ship quickly and package your items nicely.

Stock up on free boxes from USPS so you’re not searching for a box when the time comes. Print out the prepaid shipping label, wrap the item in tissue paper, and jot down a quick thank you on an inexpensive note card.

You’ll get high ratings for good customer service, which can help to attract more buyers.

Bags, Shoes, and Accessories sell the best.

Brands like Lululemon, J. Crew, Kate Spade, and Lilly Pulitzer also sell particularly well.

Bonus! I have to admit that while I’m selling, I do a bit of shopping too. Have you ever regretted that you didn’t get something or it sold out before you could grab your size?

Yes, me too. Hunt for it on Poshmark! I am obsessed with these Franco Sarto sandals that I picked up at DSW a few years ago. By the time I realized how amazing they were, they were completely sold out. Poshmark to the rescue!

Not only do I have a backup of the color I love for when they wear out, but I also grabbed other colors. And I got them for about $12 each.

Like I said, Poshmark requires a bit of work, but you can make a darn good amount of money for your beloved items.

ThredUp

My Best Tips for Consigning, Donating, or Recycling Clothes

Another option is ThredUp. If you are short on time and you want these clothes out of your house now but still want to make a little bit of money, ThredUp is for you.

From their website, you order a bag, which includes a pre-paid shipping label. You can either choose to pay a $10 processing fee to have your bag processed quickly, or you can opt for a free bag, which can take several weeks to process.

But the process could not be easier. You fill the bag and drop it off at the post office and then…wait. ThredUp inspects your items, takes the pictures, lists it, sells it, and ships it. They notify you when your item is sold. Voila!

So why do I go through the trouble of Poshmark instead this super easy service? Because with ThredUp you earn a fraction of what you earn with Poshmark. For example, you might earn about $4 on ThredUp for a J.Crew Sweater, but about $20 on Poshmark. So it’s up to you whether a bigger payout or ease of use is more important to you.

Donate

If I’ve completely scared you from consigning, you may want to opt for donating, with or without a tax deduction credit. I have gone this route as well; sometimes things just need to go.

My go-to charitable organization for clothing donations is Goodwill. The charity has an A rating on Charitywatch, and I personally like their mission. Be careful of the donation boxes in shopping center and gas station parking lots! Some (but not all) are for-profit and some of the organizations that own the boxes have questionable backgrounds, so make sure you are choosing one you feel good about.

Some retail stores will give you discounts or rewards for donating clothes. H&M will give you 15% off a future purchase, J.Crew will give you $20 towards a pair of jeans in exchange for your old pair, and Levi’s will handle your Goodwill donation for you and will give you 20% off a future item purchase.

Recycle

If an item is too worn for consignment or donation, it can be recycled. Check to see if your town has a nearby textile recycling center. You can also recycle items using Planet Aid’s donation boxes; they repurpose and sell the textiles, while using the profits for good causes like Teacher Training, Child Aid, and Farmers’ Clubs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Hopefully, there’s a solution here for you that will ease the pain of letting go of your beloved pieces of clothing, help fund your new wardrobe purchases, or gain you some good karma points.

Need to catch up on our style challenge?  Follow the links below and go at your own pace.

Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4

Weekend Outfit Inspiration: Patterned Chiffon Dress

Like Megan, I’ve been poking around H&M this Spring and I’m loving what I’m seeing. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of luck at H&M with blazers, dresses, and trendier sweaters. This patterned chiffon dress caught my eye because despite its bold pattern, it can be worn a couple different ways. 

Casual: Dress, $70  |  Jacket, $70  |  Crossbody, $55  |  Necklace, $42  |  Sandal, $90  |  Date Night:  Dress, $70  |  Hoops, $25  Stacking Rings, $32  |  Heels, $118  |  Clutch, $98 

I’m in love with this dress, which should not be a big surprise to those who know me. My wardrobe has a lot of zush. I love a bold pattern and gravitate towards silks and chiffons. Even though I am working hard on building up my basics, I would argue that this particular patterned dress is more practical than you would think.

When I was putting together these two looks, I realized that you have so many color options. I chose a rich brown bag and shoe to go with the casual look and white for the date night look, but you could easily choose nude-to-you shoes or a dark navy. It’s likely you already have something in your closet that goes with this dress. So even though it’s a bold print, you can change the look of it easily so that it’s not a one-hit-wonder. 

I would like to note that this dress might need some hemming, depending on your height. Check out Megan’s tips for the best skirt lengths. I am 5’6″, so I know I will need to take this up a bit so that it doesn’t hit me in an unflattering spot. 

For a casual look, I added a denim jacket, the same one I mentioned in my last post. I still have the denim jacket that my sisters’ bought me for my sixteenth birthday. Thanks to them for buying me a good quality one. It still looks perfect, only now it’s more broken in and has my name written in the inside from dorm life. Buy a classic shape and a good quality denim jacket like this one, because it will never go out of style and will only get better with age. 

To accessorize, I added a gold layered necklace which will look lovely with the V neckline of the dress. Add a cool circle crossbody bag and some comfy, yet cute flat sandals and you’re ready for your fun weekend plans. 

For date night, I paired it with the same white heels Megan featured in this post. I am a huge fan of Banana Republic’s Madison 12 Hour Pumps. Even though the heel is relatively high, I find them to be one of the most comfortable heels I have ever worn. I add a color to my collection each season. 

While we’re on the topic of Banana Republic, I would also like to express my love for their jewelry. They always have cute options and it holds up pretty well, considering its price point. I thought this floral statement ring was perfect for this dress; it picks up a bit of the floral motif in the chiffon.

To finish off the look, I added a sparkly inside-out hoop earring for under $25 and a simple white envelope clutch to round out the look. Believe it or not, but it was hard to find an attractive white clutch that had gold metal accents. Rebecca Minkoff to the rescue! It’s important to make sure you match your metals throughout your entire look so that you look cohesive and polished. 

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Wear Now and Later: Black Marled Sweater

I always find March to be a difficult month for dressing. The weather is crazy; One day it’s snowing, the next day it’s sixty degrees. I’m sick of my winter clothes and everything in stores is geared towards warm weather that just isn’t here yet. With me? 

I found myself in Old Navy last week, and I picked up this adorable black and white marled sweater.  I normally shy away from buying sweaters from Old Navy, because in the past I felt that the quality wasn’t even worth the low price. They lost their shape quickly and the knits felt overly artificial.

This sweater, however, is different. The fit is perfect and the knit is super soft, but not so soft that it is shapeless. The picture on the site is deceiving; It’s not as form fitting as it is shown on the model. It’s not a baggy sweater by any means, but it’s more forgiving than what is shown there, which is perfect for my post-baby body.

The marled pattern is great because it gives us options to wear it now in the last days of winter here on the East coast, and later when Spring actually arrives. 

Wear Now and Later: Black Marled SweaterNow: Sweater, $30  |  Jeans, $98  |  Sneakers, $60 |  Crossbody, $22  |  Jacket, $199   |  Later: Sweater, $30  |  Jeans, $40  |  Flat, $54  |  Crossbody, $22

I am showing you a near exact match to how I wore this sweater to brunch on Sunday. I paired the sweater with the black jeans Megan featured in last Friday’s weekend inspiration post and a pair of quilted white sneakers.

I love the look of black jeans with a white sneaker, but if that’s feeling a bit too bold, a black sneaker works just as well.

I threw on a black thin nylon jacket, which isn’t bulky but keeps out the wind and dampness. The North Face is on the pricier side, but the quality is excellent and you’ll have it for many, many years. I grab this jacket so often in the Fall and Spring.

Another jacket option is a classic denim jacket. On the weekends, I’m always grabbing a crossbody since I need my hands free to wrangle in the kids, and this Old Navy one is a classic shape that you can wear to death this season. 

Later, when it’s warmer, swap out the black jeans for a pair of white ones. Since the sweater isn’t particularly form fitting, I chose a white skinny jean to balance it out.

Side note: did you know that if you bring an old pair of jeans into a J. Crew Factory store, they will knock $20 off the price of a new pair?

I love these fun flats. I could see these getting a ton of use this summer because you can pair them with a cute dress or pair of shorts. Megan has taught me well; Now I’m always thinking about the price-per-wear when I buy clothes and accessories.

I was famous for buying one-hit-wonders, but now I’m more thoughtful about my purchases, no matter if I’m shopping at Old Navy or Nordstrom.

This sweater is a gem because it’s both inexpensive and you can wear it multiple ways. Win/Win! 

The Secret Process to Glowing, Healthy Skin

When Megan and I took a much-needed 72 hour trip to Vegas last fall, I insisted that we spend time at the spa so that I could enjoy a facial. It had been years since I was able to invest in monthly facials as one half of a DINK (double-income-no-kids). I am starting to show some fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes and my face had been feeling very tight and was obviously dehydrated.

During my very pricy facial, my lovely skin therapist pointed out all of the trouble spots I had been seeing and recommended an additional service. She thought that my skin needed a precut mask used by…wait for it…burn victims to restore the moisture to my skin. I was shocked and offended but immediately agreed to the addition.

Baby Soft Skin

The mask adhered to my skin as a second skin, trapping a layer of moisture on top of my skin, which my face drank up in nanoseconds. Ladies, when I emerged from that facial, it’s as if (just my face) was completely reborn, Benjamin Button-style. My approaching-mid-thirties skin looked like my toddler’s.

That facial was a wake-up call to me. I needed to start paying attention to my skin again; the message finally got through. I have been involved in this blog for years, so there’s really no excuse for the lazy, haphazard way I was going about my skincare.

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I could no longer get away with simply washing my face twice a day, moisturizing, and slapping on sunscreen.

Related: The Best Order to Apply Skincare Products at Night

I needed to craft a new skincare routine for myself that didn’t include a monthly trip to the Spa at Mandalay Bay, as amazing as that would be. The first thing I wanted to tackle was cleansing properly. Enter the double cleanse.

The Secret Process to Glowing, Healthy Skin

The Secret Process to Glowing, Healthy Skin

How to Double Cleanse Your Skin

Double cleansing is low effort, high-impact. I adapted this routine from Caroline Hirons, the matter-of-fact British skincare guru. Her website is a wealth of information which borders on information-overload. I spent many hours pouring over her site so I am happy to share the fruits of my labor with you all. Here’s how I do the double cleanse:

Pre-cleanse

If you are wearing waterproof makeup, you’re going to need to use an eye makeup remover. I like Lavera Gentle Eye Makeup Remover.

Wet a washcloth and wet your face with it.

Cleanse #1

Wipe a creamy or milky cleanser into your face. You’re breaking down your makeup in this step. I am using Dr. Hauschka Soothing Cleansing Milk. As an alternative, Megan’s favorite Eve Lom cleanser would be great for this step.

Wipe the cleanser off of your face with the washcloth. This is how skin therapists wipe products off your face during a facial, so why not mimic that at home? The washcloth provides some gentle exfoliation and your counters aren’t soaking wet from splashing water all over the place. (Please tell me that’s not just me!) Rinse out the washcloth.

Sidenote: you might want to stock up on washcloths! You don’t have to go fancy. I use utilitarian IKEA washcloths.

Cleanse #2

Massage an oily cleanser into your face. In this step, you are cleansing and moisturizing. Two good options are Tatcha Oil Cleanser  and the beloved Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser.

Wipe the cleanser off of your face with your washcloth.

The process takes maybe a minute and a half longer, but your face is CLEAN. Since I started double cleansing, I have noticed that I have fewer breakouts and my skin does not look as dull because I am actually getting all of the gunk off my face. I do not double-cleanse in the morning because I do not have make-up to scrub off. I just do Cleanse #1 (creamy or milky) and skip Cleanse #2.

Give it a shot and tell me what you think!

Of course, after your cleanse, you should follow with eye cream, serum(s), moisturizer, and sunscreen. But we’ll save all of that for another day! In the meantime, if you’d like to take a peek at some of Megan’s nighttime routine, check out that out here.

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