How to Dress an Apple Body Shape Over 50
Understanding and knowing the most flattering way to dress your body shape is an important tool to help you look your best. Fashion is a personal choice and way of expressing herself that every woman should feel empowered to make. These suggestions are not meant to imply that one body type is preferable to another because there is no “perfect” shape. If this is your silhouette, and you want to dress in a way that adds balance to your silhouette, here’s how to dress an apple body shape over 50. I’m not a fan of using fruit names to describe silhouettes, but it’s commonly understood, so here we go.
Apple Body Shape Characteristics
- no defined waistline
- you tend to gain weight around the midsection
- your shoulders and hips are relatively balanced
- you can appear top heavy
- often have a shorter torso
- slim legs and flat backside
- average to large bust
- upper back and ribcage appear wide
Apple body shapes differ from the inverted triangle silhouette by the shoulder width. Both have a wide upper body, but inverted triangles have noticeably wider shoulders and narrow hips. It’s important to note that apple body shapes come in all sizes and are not all plus-sized. Menopause causes many women’s waistlines to get thicker (I know mine sure has), so you may benefit from some of these styling tips to balance the shape of the apple body type.
How to Dress an Apple Body Type
If your goal is to highlight your best assets and downplay your least favorite, read on for a few styling ideas to help visually balance your proportions. This means de-emphasizing your mid-section and avoiding any unnecessary bulk for the apple shape. Avoid extraneous details from your hips to your bust because they draw attention to your midsection. Adding fullness and curves to your bottom half helps balance your midsection.
Column of color dressing is especially flattering on an apple-shaped body. Avoid horizontal stripes in tops and jackets, which make you look wider. Your legs are often fabulous, so consider skirts.
Skirt Styles for Apple Figures
A-line and full skirts that don’t cling are very flattering. Asymmetrical, softly structured, and wrap skirts also work well. Avoid tiers, ruffles, and gathered skirts which add fullness around the waist. Knee length is universally flattering.
Best Tops for Apple Body Shapes
Baggy, shapeless clothing that covers everything tends to make you look larger. There’s no need to hide your beautiful body! Instead, opt for clothes in slightly structured, soft fabric that doesn’t add excess bulk around your tummy area. Avoid clingy tops which accentuate your midriff. Choose tops that skim in lightly textured or patterned fabrics that help downplay a larger tummy. Straight, trapeze, a-line, swing, wrap, and tunic tops are your friends. Fit and flare and peplum tops give the illusion of a waist and are also a great option. Tucking in your top draws attention to your waistline. Instead, aim for tops that end below your hip line.
Best Necklines For Apple Shape
Scoop and deep V-necks are great for you because they elongate the look of your torso and draw attention to your face. Be aware that high, narrow, and turtle necklines will make your bustline look larger. A low v-neckline can be your most flattering. Look for embellishments around the neckline that draw the eye to your pretty face.
Not an apple? Read The Best Neckline For Your Face and Body.
Jeans and Trousers for Apple-Shaped Bodies
Look for bootcut, wide-leg, or flare legs that add balance to your wider torso. Skinny jeans or pants do highlight your fabulous legs, but they also make your torso look larger by comparison. Look for pants with a side zip or flat front. Pleats and visible gathers add extra bulk around the midsection, which is the opposite of what you need to balance your proportions. Wide-leg flowy pants are fabulous on the apple body shape.
To create visual balance with the apple silhouette, aim to draw attention away from the widest part of your belly. Belts can be tricky because they visually draw the eye so opt for ones that match your pants or dark shades which visually recede.
Jackets and Coat Shapes for Apple Body
Single-breasted jackets and coats are best on apple shapes. Avoid double-breasted and wrap coats that have an extra layer of fabric and add unnecessary bulk to the tummy area. Belted coats are also not your friend.
Softly structured jackets that are worn open, conceal the sides of your torso, making it appear slimmer. Avoid puffer jackets and vests or the quilted look.
All women benefit from wearing a properly fitting bra, but even more so for apple body types who have a full bust. An uplifting bra will provide a space between the bottom of your bust and tummy, which looks slimmer than one solid midsection. Many of you had some great bra recommendations, so I’ll be sharing a round-up soon. Eye-catching accessories will draw the eye to your best features. Scarves, necklaces, and earrings are great for drawing attention to your face.
These proportion ideas can be helpful for many body shapes, so if you want to detract attention from your mid-section, these will work for you too.
Are you an apple body shape? Please share in the comments what you like to wear to flatter your shape.
I look forward to reading your posts every morning and appreciate the range of topics that you cover.
I found the article on dressing to compliment your body shape very helpful.
I also ordered the wooden yarn holder/spinner that you recommended awhile back and just love it!
Aren’t the holders nice?? I love mine.
I’m a 5’4” apple and really like Talbot’s Hampshire ankle pants. They aren’t too baggy in the leg.
This has been so informative to me. I never really considered my “shape” but since menopause (I’m 67), my weight has stayed the same but my bra cup size has changed immensely, so I have become an apple. I also shop at Talbot’s and JJill, now I know why.
This past winter Ann Taylor carried a few really long cardigan’s and I bought two. They really smooth out my look. I usually wear a turtleneck under or a crew neck. I do not wear blazers anymore. Thank you for your thought provoking information! I appreciate it!
I’m glad this was helpful!
Great post! As we age, we have to not only be mindful of trends – but what shape our bodies are now too…tricky to do when shopping I know! The current styles out seasonly and especially on the mannequins…always look tempting to try on till we go into the dressing room, haha! Then massive disappointment…Knowing what styles look best on our bodies ahead of time and then sticking to those guidelines…save us a lot of headaches as we shop the fashions out now for the changing seasons. Excited to read more about all the other body types too! Always helpful when we gals shop with our girlfriends. Thx…☺️
It can save a lot of time knowing what shapes to look for but when the brands aren’t making many of them it is a challenge.
Thank you Jennifer for this comprehensive article on dressing the apple body shape. Your insight, explanation and info on how to dress this body shape is excellent. I truly hope you will follow this article with future ones on all of the different body shapes. Understanding what your shape is , is only part of the equation. Learning how to dress in the most flattering clothing for you
Is important . Your explanation of why something works or does not work
Is excellent. Karen
I echo all the women who have posted. Thank you. I agree with most that finding pants is the hardest thing. I have the apple shape, 5´ tall, flat behind, but also the hanging apron from C-sections and huge weightloss. Finding pants that fit is exhausting. I like the wide selection of samples that you show as I sticks to the three or four places/brands that I know fit; so my wardrobe tends to be monotonous. Regarding bras – I have Wacoal for almost 15 years and it is well worth chasing sales, scouring racks at places like Nordstrom Rack. The bras offer incredible support, last a couple of years, but are expensive. There are a lot of styles, some are fabulous for me and others that don´t quite do it. Thank you.
I’m an apple and I really appreciate your suggestions. I’ve struggled to find pants that fit in the waist and don’t bag in the behind. I’ve bounced around with different pant styles, but now I plan on focusing on boot cut. I’ve been a fan of V-necks for years and now I know why.
I think I am an apple shape, as I don’t really have a defined waist, larger bust, very short waisted, long (nice) legs. I cannot wear skirts at all (due to my high waist) and dresses that have a “waist/belt” do not work since they fall in the wrong place for me. I also cannot wear button down shirts at all as they pull. I cannot wear blazers at all.
I do still wear skinny jeans, which I think look good on me if they are mid rise. I also wear flare and straight jeans. In the warmer months shorts and either t-shirts (not crew neck) or tank tops.
I went to Soma for a real bra fitting (first time in my life, and I am 68!) I bought a couple of new bras. They are more comfortable than before, but I don’t think any bras are really comfortable.
From the comments it seems that most of us are a bit of one shape and a bit of another. Certainly makes dressing more difficult haha!
I love this post, Jennifer! I’m an apple who didn’t use to be an apple, so it’s so helpful to read your analysis and recommendations. Some of them I’ve come to on my own, but the one about skinny pants is great. I love v-neck tops and now I know why! Thanks so much for your helpful advice. I always look forward to your informative and enlightening posts.
I’m using some of these too b ecause my extra weight has gone right around my mid section.
Great advice. I’m 5’3″ and the COVID 9 pounds I’ve gained have all gone to my mid section. Broad shoulders, large chest, short waisted, strong legs. I particularly love peplum tops, as long as they end mid-hip and aren’t tunic length. They are almost impossible to find. I live in Lands End starfish slim leg pants–stretchy, not leggings, extremely comfortable. Lots of navy, less black. Talbots also has great pants in their T collection. Also recommend T collection for casual tops. I like an interesting print on top with a finished bottom that doesn’t look sloppy untucked. It needs to fit perfectly to skim the waist and not be too long. No tucking in shirts for me any more. I love vests for outerwear, as they add a subtle waist definition.
I love the T Talbots line, The fabrics are fantastic!
Hi Jane, I love the Starfish slim leg pants as well, also the T by Talbots. Ditto about those Covid pounds. I’m working to shrink that apple, but know it won’t go away completely. Love Jennifer’s article today! 😊
Wacoal bras are pricey but give phenomenal support (and style) to
most body shapes .
Thanks for sharing them. I now they are very popular.
Thank You Jennifer. I’m a former pear that has morphed into a modified apple? Not used to a thicker waist and shorter torso, lost an inch…so your suggestions are spot on….I’m a big fan of a well fitted t-shirt and agree, the looser the look, the heavier you look. I’ll keep shopping and love your blog….thanks for taking the guess work out of shopping….
Excellent article. I follow all of your suggestions. My problem is baggy butt jeans/pants. To get a fit around the waist, I end up with bagging in the rear…even with high top or elastic waist pants…most unattractive!
That is always a challenge. Pants are always easier to have altered than jeans.
Thank you for todays tips and suggestions to dress my apple shaped body. I usually wear very loose tops that cover my backside because no one wants to see that..haha..
My legs are long and considerably thinner than the rest of my body so I wear a lot of leggings as well.
Thank you so much for all your positive suggestions.
Hi Jennifer! I appreciate your tackling body shape dressing on your blog. I’m a petite apple with a narrow shoulders, short arms, and a long waist, and I struggle with tops. I’m not a fan of tunics, and many of today’s fabrics cling to my muffin top! I’m a retired teacher, and my school “uniform” was dress pants, a button-up shirt, and a cardigan or blazer. I’m very comfortable in a similar outfit now with jeans and some kind of third piece. Summer dressing is another huge challenge when the third piece is too warm. And another thing (lol): finding jeans that fit my waist but don’t slide down over my flat butt and straight hips!
I’m trying really hard to buy only things that fit well, are flattering in shape and color, and are of good quality. The search goes on. I appreciate that you address these challenges on your blog!
I find invisible belts like this critical to keep my pants from sliding down over my flat backside.
I’m not an apple shape, but it was nice to see. I wear a top like that sometimes, and it doesn’t look really good on me, so now I know why. It probably just doesn’t work on my body type.
On a totally different note–I got the rollers you talked about and put in my fine hair this morning while showering and getting ready for work and OMG my hair is amazing. Thank you so much for that tip. Since my hair started coming back from chemo it’s been black, white, curly, thick, and now back to it’s normal fine and stick straight and red again (thanks to my wonderful stylist). Thank you again for that tip.
I’m so glad they worked for you and thrilled to hear your chemo has been successful!!
I’m a pear shape. I eagerly await your advice on dressing my shape.
I did read your above post anyway. It’s interesting to know how to dress different shapes.
Love your tips on apple shapes. I’ve only gained 10 pounds in the last 7 years, since turning 65, but they’re all around my middle and impossible to lose. I had a mastectomy without reconstruction 35 years ago so I don’t wear deep v or scoop necks. I really like the pintuck silhouette you showed but have found that style often looks like a maternity top on me because they’re too full. My daughter says I have a ‘uniform’, collared shirt and pull on pants. You and your readers have inspired me to try to vary that look!
I think “uniforms” can be a good thing if we switch them up with accessories. I certainly have one this time of year…v-neck sweater and slim pants. It works for me right now with my weight 10 pounds heavier than I want.
Great post! Very affirming to know that I’ve been instinctively making the right choices for my apple shape. I’ve found that sweaters/tops described as “relaxed” work well. JJill offers stylish relaxed fits.
They do, plus their clothes have lots of nice stretch!
Thank you for the advice on Apple bodies, I’m definately an apple and have short legs.
Could you post the bra recommendations soon? My bra inventory is old and worn out. It is the last thing on my list to buy. My biggest problem is keeping the straps up. My shoulders slope down. Nothing irritates me more than having to yank on my bra straps!
Thank you in advance. 😊
Working on it as we speak 🙂
Hi! Wacoal bras work well for me. My favorite is the Wacoal Awareness bra, the straps don’t sit at the edge of your shoulders and don’t fall down.
Thanks for the post. A true apple shape coupled with my short stature and age, makes shopping for stylish clothing very difficult!
With an undefined waist but slim hips and thighs, finding pants that fit at the waist, are flattering for hips, thighs and do not need altering, is a constant challenge. I have to do 98% of shopping online & fortunately have found brands that fit me.
Dresses are almost impossible. I have a broad back so getting a dress to fit the upper torso means one size but a smaller size for bottom torso.
Frustrating as the types of looks I like either do not flatter me at all or are not made in petite!
You bring up a whole bigger problem…finding what we want and need. I hope to help source them for my readers more often.
I am an apple shape and love your post thank you so much as I am working on a new look this couldn’t have come at a better time
Great post, Jennifer. I am an Apple. You covered all the basics I learned over the years. I think women are now realizing the weight gain at menopause. For me it meant my middle section. I especially like your mention of side zippers that really help in controlling your waist. They are usually available in designer slacks that are more expensive, but definitely worth it. A line or straight skirts are the best. I avoid a gathered or one with an elasticized waist. They make your waist look bigger!
Talbots carries lots of pants with side zippers.
Thank you so much for this post, Jennifer! I am definitely an apple shape with a large bust and a great pair of legs. I was always searching in the dark on what to wear on my lower half that would flatter and your tips are going to be so helpful on my next shopping excursion! I eagerly await your post on bra recommendations.
It’s so easy to gravitate to narrow bottoms when you’re larger on top, but that often looks unbalanced. I know I do that as an inverted triangle too.
I am apple shaped, 5 foot, and very short waisted. Reading the other 2 reviews made chuckle. Even though we are apple shaped we have different issues and likes. For me it is pants that don’t fit right. My fashion advise is to wear neutrals on the bottom and color etc. on top. This draws the eye to your face rather than the midsection. Then I just try to look nice and put together and put a smile on my face. I can’t change my body type so I do my best and just enjoy my clothes and life. Thanks for the good advise!
I love your attitude, Judy!!
I love these suggestions! So many of us might know our body shape but have no idea how to dress for it! I’m a pear and trying to learn the best ideas for me. I recently found your blog (and all the ideas!!) and am loving the information! Thank you for sharing your knowledge!!
Thank you for the wonderful tutorial on apple shapes! I think I am more of a pear shape with thin legs.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. I have thicker waist and broad hips (which go along with my broad shoulders) and thinner legs. Yuck! what a struggle it is to get pants that fit. I have been buying lululemon capris and wearing them as pants. (I live in Florida where it is hot). They solve the wide pant legs problem. I always wear navy, black, or white bottoms and wear color on the top with jewelry. I wear a lot of v necks which help to de-broaden my shoulders.
V-necks are perfect for that.
Great ideas for apple shapes.i think I am more of an inverted triangle. The clothes you showed would work for anyone in my opinion. Finding tops is the biggest problem for me because I’m short waisted and I really need a petite so as not to be too long. Thanks for helping us to be more aware of our body shapes.
Rosemary, try Talbots and JIll. Both of them carry petite and especially Talbots has great sales.
Thank you, I’ve been meaning to go to Jill and check it out. I do like Talbot’s.
I would agree; they’re great resources.
These are wonderful suggestions. You’ve pretty much covered the basics, Jennifer. I’ll add two more tricks I’ve learned to live my apple shape:
1. In general, dresses work better than separates because there is no break. This is especially true if the garment is one color or a subtle print. In winter, I try to make the dress work like a long top, with a hemline that ends at the knee and wear slim fitting pants underneath. Eileen Fisher is my friend here.. It’s easier to find longer dresses in summer styles without the need for pants underneath.
2. I avoid high contrast separates, especially anything tucked in around my waist. I prefer monochromes or low contrast to give the illusion of one solid line.
Other than those two ideas, you’ve got it. Thanks for this post.
Those are fabulous. I’ll add the suggestions to my post!
Thank you for this. Most of us go big and loose thinking it’s fooling people about our size. You’ve broken it down in a way that just makes sense!