Dresses for Those Big on Top and Small on Bottom

Collage of dresses for women with inverted triangle shape
Collage of dresses for women with inverted triangle shape

Dear Budget Fashionista,

I need advice! I love dresses, and my look is feminine classic (I’m an attorney, so I have to be a tad conservative) with — I like to think — a touch of fashionista.

My shoulders are broader than my narrow hips, and I have a pretty large bust and not much of a waist. I usually wear a 10-12 on top to accommodate the bust and a 6 on the bottom. Call it the old inverted triangle shape.
What dresses can I wear without highlighting my flaws?

Inverted Triangle Shape — What to Wear

Hi there! The key to dressing your inverted triangle figure is to select pieces that streamline your upper half and draw attention to your lower half.
You can do this by opting for pieces that have no embellishments up top. Stay away from ruffles, large collars, shoulder pads, and bold patterns, all of which will draw the eye upward. If you do want to wear a print, consider vertical stripes to elongate your frame.

Dresses with belts or banded waists are good choices, because they define the midsection. And those with fuller bottoms balance broad shoulders and lend the appearance of a curvier shape.

Here are a few to try.

Dresses to Flatter the Inverted Triangle Shape

Blue wrap dress for inverted triangle shape body

Try this Bobeau Belted Faux Wrap Dress ($32.97) for a casual outing. Its deep V-neckline and self-tie belt create a flattering silhouette for the inverted triangle.

NINE WEST Three-quarter Sleeve Jacquard Dress

Spense’s Fit and Flare Stripe Sweater Dress ($32.97) clings in all the right places, but allows for movement with a forgiving, pleated skirt. Add in some vertical stripes and you’re instantly leggy.

Pink ruffle dress

Don’t let the ruffle mention scare you away! The detail is built into the bottom of this pretty midi wrap dress ($34.99), while sleek lines help convey a refined silhouette.

Sweater dress

A simple rounded neckline is ideal because it’s not distracting, while sleek lines and a slightly flared skirt help create a dramatic hourglass shape. This Nine West Jacquard Dress ($39.99) does it right.

Modcloth dress with floral skirt

Easy does it in the playful In the Very Near Twofer A-Line Dress ($26.97) from Modcloth that’s a fun choice for weekends or dates. The neutral hue minimizes your top half, allowing the colorful bottom to do all the work.

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Catherine Brock

As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine, DrLaura.com, Refinery29, Wellness.com and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.

Blog Comments

If you were a size large at Banana Republic then you are in luck.  I went to check out the dress in the picture and it’s on sale for $69.99 but only in size large.

$68.00 is a lot better than $128.00 thanks heather for the tip.. BR always has a great sales

I’m built similarly. but my shoulders are narrow. streachy knits with a sash in the larger size is the only way to go. also investingin camisols and safety pins is a good idea

I have the exact same body type except I’m 8-10 on top and 4 on the bottom!  It’s refreshing to know I’m not the only one.  Today at work I happened to be in one of your recommendations—sized up in a wrap dress, tied more tightly.  I find it easier to wear separates to the office because then you can size properly.  Although suits tend to look awkward with a size 10 jacket and 4 skirt or pants, that’s for sure…

B.Republic has great dresses for the top heavy and Plus sized!

I ALWAYS STEERED CLEAR OF THE WRAP DRESSES IN THE STORES BECAUSE I DID’T WANT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO MY WIDE WAIST. BUT YOUR ADVISE MAKES ALOT OF SENSE BECAUSE MY SHOULDERS ARE BROADER THAN MY WAIST AND WITH MY HIGHER POWER SPANX I BELIEVE I WILL LOOK SEXY!!!

THANKS JUDY B. 7-7-07

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