Dressing up your body type – Ectomorph (pita), Mesomorph (vata) or Endomorph (kapha)

On the path to recreating yourself, we’re often drawn to external representation. As in, what the hell do we wear? Fashion is fickle and yes, we can all easily read the magazines, watch the fashion shows and drool over the newest looks of Sass and Bide or Karen Walker have to offer. However, they don’t have what we have – our body. Having spent the majority of my career as a stylist, today I’m going to offer you some advice on how to play up your unique best bits.


As individuals, we all have different body shapes, jobs, budgets, lifestyles, comfort zones and levels of confidence. We also have very different personalities which we need to ensure are boosted through the confidence in which we are clothed.

Therefore, this week I’m going to give you a few basic tips in dressing for your body type, to hone in on your “unique best bits” and forget about those wobbly bits that can be worked on in the gym.

For a start, I’ve found a great tool over at bodybuilding.com that allows you to answer a few quick questions and find your true body type: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/becker3.htm. Once you’ve got that part down, come back and visit me for what YOU should be wearing to empower your beautiful being.

Photo and Body type info courtesy of http://www.superskinnyme.com/body-types.html
Ectomorph Mesomorph Endomorph
Skinny, linear/ ruler appearance
Naturally lean
Smooth, round body
Lightly muscled
Naturally muscular
Gains muscle easily, but tends to be underdeveloped
Small joints/ boned
Medium size joints/ bones
Medium/ large joints/ bones
Low body fat (without exercising or following low calorie diets)
Naturally strong
High levels of body fat (may be overweight)
Small shoulders, chest and buttocks
Broad/ square shoulders
Small shoulders, high waist and large hips creating a pear-shaped physique
Long arms and legs
Body fat evenly distributed
Difficult to keep lost body fat off
Difficulty gaining weight
Losing fat is easy
Slow metabolic rate
Fast & efficient metabolism
Efficient metabolism
Attacks of tiredness/ fatigue
Gaining muscle easy
Lose weight slowly
Difficulty gaining muscle
Responds quickly to exercise

Ectomorph (Pita Dosha)

As mentioned above, the ectomorph is usually a slim build, a little flat chested, perhaps lacking a little in the glutes, don’t tend to build a lot of muscle and have long loving limbs. If you are this body type, I’m sure a few of us would be envious of the way you can eat limitless carbs, sugar and WHATEVER without seemingly gaining a kilo.

For best results to play up your svelte little frame, try these out for size.

Tops: Steer clear of v-necks or anything that plunges low enough to see you’re not overly endowed in this department (unless you’re rocking a push-up). Gathers and cowl neck style’s will give the idea of having more in the bust that plain t-shirt style tops, or otherwise you can rock a printed top to give a similar effect. If you’ve got strong shoulders, then show them off in a boat neck/high neck top. Lean looking back? Make the rest of us envious and show it off in a low scoop back top – when you’ve got a big rack, there’s no way you can go without a bra so Ectomorph types should play this lucky card! Another tip when shopping for tops as that you can go for looser longer tops; they beautifully cling to your figure to highlight your small frame, but can also add the look of curves as you swerve to your own beat. T-shirt sleeve lengths can vary, but with slim arms you can go for short, 3/4 or long sleeve. Cap sleeves are nice if they are lose, and singlets will work if you are hitting those yoga sessions for tone.

Bottoms: You’re likely to have long slim legs, and this is definitely an enviable feature among females. Play them up! Wear fitted pants, leggings, jeans that cling to your stems and finish them off with flats to ground yourself. Because of your slender frame, you can also get away with light colours on the lower half – think white fitted chinos (make sure you can’t see the pocket bags when they’re on), light coloured denims or even tan capri’s. You can afford to wear 7/8 pants if you’re tall; but if you’re short – rock the 3/4 pant to make you look taller. Seeing a little bit of flesh at the end of a pant deceives the viewer into thinking you’re taller.  Same rules apply with skirts, the shorter you are, the shorter you can wear your skirt (please, no belts – that’s never o.k. unless you live on in island. Otherwise in a bikini.). If your legs are from here to Africa, then perhaps something over the knee will keep the PG audience happier. Keep skirts straight if you want to draw attention to your long toned pipes, but beware if you have a boyish figure – it will only accentuate the fact that you don’t have hips or much of a booty. Go for a more a-lined style, or if you dare, a mermaid flick at the bottom.

Dresses: Dresses are your pick this season! Stick with the above guidelines for the basic shape, and then imagine it in dress form. Lose styles will suit you because of the way they move when you do, and flow across your svelte little form. If you want to try more of a bodycon style, I would suggest something that has shaping around the mid section to give you the look of an hourglass. Most Ectomorphs tend to be quite athletic looking, so a lack of curves can be recreated in the clothing you wear. If you’ve got a small waist, wear something that draws attention here – a coloured insert, shaped panels that draw the attention inward, a belt with a central buckle or even a trending two-piece ensemble that meets at a high waist.

Mesomorph (Vata Dosha)

“Tough but tiny” should be the Mesomorphs’s catch phrase. This athletic gal is solid in form, and probably temperament too. A You’ve got curves in the right places, and tend to build muscle relatively quickly. Losing and gaining weight is generally pretty easy – so make sure you watch your dietary intake and energy output.

For the Mesomorph body type, you want to play up your (literal) strength and concentrate on showing off the assets that you work hard to carve out at the gym – glutes, thighs, arms; these are likely to be your best bits, though you will probably naturally be a bit bustier than your ectomorph counterpart also.

Tops: If you’re confident your breasts can do the talking, then by all means, play them up. Scoop necks are great if you have narrow shoulders; but if you’re broader, opt for a striking v-neck to really hone in the attention to your chest. Picking the right bra here is very important too, so make sure you’re up to date on your fittings and the girls are really looking their best. If you’re on the other end and want to disguise your larger assets, you’ve got a few options 1) wear black boat neck styles to draw attention to your back or arms, and detract from boobs 2) wear tops that are softly printed allover to think the viewer is looking at a magic eye (keep print size in relation to the size of your frame) 3) wear midi style tops that show off your rock-hard abs 4) pick your bras wisely and get rid of any extra padding. Berlei does some great t-shirt bras that can flatten them out a touch. If you’re not really a “boobs girl”, then you’re likely to want to show off your defined arms, or your rippled back on top. Sleeveless tanks that sit high are great to detract attention from the bust and bring it towards your bulging biceps. You’re also the only type that could pull off a fitted cap sleeve top, as they most often cut in at a very unflattering place when arms aren’t defined. For back envy, go for something low cut, preferably in a v style if you want to draw the eye down to your glorious glutes. If you don’t need a bra, then wear something open and low to show off the fact that swim, surf, kite or know what you’re doing at the gym. If you need to wear a bra, then make sure it’s not showing. It completely ruins the look of an elegantly backless anything. Another point is that you are likely to have a smaller waist being an hour glass figure – show this off!! Anything that draws attention to it whether its bold coloured tops, horizontal stripes (be wary on a big bust), style lines, belts, or high waisted bottoms. If this is your best bit; OWN IT.

Bottoms: As a Meso (do you mind if I call you that?), you’re likely to have strong legs, but can sometimes suffer from cellulite. But hey, don’t we all? You’ve got the gift of being able to tone up fast and turn fat into muscle, so as long as you keep on top of your squats, then you’re thighs (and butt) will reward you. To show off your stems, you’re likely to go for pants that are fitted at the top, and a little looser at the ankle. Not bell bottoms, but a boot-cut or slight flare will balance the rest of your hourglass figure. If you’re a little more “top heavy”, then opt for light colours or patterns on the lower half to add solidity to you and keep your proportions looking balanced. Shorts are a great option for you too as you’re likely to have a toned butt and legs, and look – if you’ve got it, the “you” in 20 years time would have WISHED she had shown it off more. Depending on your age and comfort zones; go for something short and tight to show off your defined dimes. If you’re not so sure, then stick to your comfrt zones and go for a tapered above or below knee style, but at least show some cheeky calf action.

Dresses: Dresses can be a great way to show off your naturally hourglass figure and muscle to boot. You’ve got the option of wrap around styles to accentuate your waist; backless to show your carved back; slinky to hang heavily on your sturdy braun or bodycon to smoothe over those beautifully defined muscles that you’ve been working so hard on. Keep the length to above or just below the knee to lengthen the legs, and if you want to balance the hip-to-shoulder ration try something off the shoulder. Great way to show defined deltoids, and offer a sultry kind of sexiness to a longer style. Remember one of the key rules to styling an outfit is balance though – so if you’re ALL leg, make sure your bust is conservatively covered.

Endomorph (Kapha Dosha)

Endomorph. Thought I had forgotten you? Never! Endomorph is perhaps the most significantly womanly body types of us all; so if this is you, wear your body with pride! You may be a little more rounded than the other body types, but this doesn’t mean you’re not as hot as hell. You’re likely to hold most of your weight in your lower half, meaning that you might want to balance out your upper area to get that desired hour glass silhouette.

Although it might take you a little longer to reach your body and fitness goals due to your ease of fatigue, you certainly have the willpower to achieve long term goals. Until then, a little clever dressing and self love of what ‘ya got will do wonders for your confidence.

Tops: As your upper half is generally smaller than your bottom, you should play this to your gain. Go for lighter colors so the viewer perceives your upper half as a reflection of your lower. Rock a repetitive print; but make sure it’s relative to your size or it will make you look bigger than you are. Also something to note here is to stay away from oversized graphic prints that sit bang, smack on the middle of a t-shirt. Ectomorphs can pull that off, but otherwise its best to be avoided. If you have a bust you love, show it off!! Wear a low scoop neck to show off some skin, and help balance out your narrow set shoulders. If you’ve got a larger bust, that you prefer to hide, then opt for a higher cut of the same style.

Bottoms: High waisted. I feel like this is almost all I need to mention here, but i will go on of course. High waisted anything will pay favours to your overall figure as it smoothes over the underwear lines, holds in the stomach, and draws the eye to this area as a mid point to your body – thus detracting from either upper or lower. To really play this up, go for mismatched colours i.e. light coloured top, dark coloured bottoms; printed top, plain bottoms.. capeche? This will fool the onlooker and consistently draw the eye to a mid line, and not the heavier areas you may be self-conscious of. Leg and skirt lengths are best at upper to mid calf, ensuring that the ankles and thighs are not put in the lime-light. Your calves are likely to be strong and sturdy – girls the world over will wish they had a pair just like YOU. While you will want to go for a semi wide-leg pant, make sure they are well fitted and not looking lose. They ideally will have a front press, with no pocket detailing to streamline you as much as possible. If you wear jeans, go for pockets that balance out your caboose; larger, and higher set is your BFF, nut also ensure they aren’t too widely set apart from each other. Own your butt; make sure you get your make-up mirror and check it out when you’re in the fitting rooms! For skirts, a fun a-line skirt is fabulous! If it has details, go for it. If it’s as loud and bubbly as you are, all the better. This style of skirt will work with what you’ve got and really accentuate that you are ALL woman, with a side of girl. If you feel confident enough to rock a body con, style then opt for a thicker fabric that will move with you and invest in a good quality slip that will help smooth over any underwear lines. Anything with detailing is best to avoid, unless it’s flattering curved style lines that work in your favour.

Dresses: Dresses can be amazing on your body, and definitely show that you’re a woman with some black-panther grrrr… Girl, it is time to put your best bits forward and shimmy the night away! Shifts are a great style to balance out your shape to start; opt for a sleeved style to conceal the arms, and let it lengthen to your knees. Go for something in a eighty fabric – metallics, embroideries, ponti… something that will give a heavy drape to flatter the figure and not “stick” to underlayers. Again, a slip here is a worthy investment as it doubles to wear under blouses and skirts combo’s too. If you want something more body-con, then go for a long sleeved, heavy set ponti fabric that offers delectable shaping around your mid sections, offers vertical lines running to the hem. If you want to go sleeveless, then try opting for a new season cape to offer light coverage of your arms without the weight of winter on your back.

Although I’ve only TOUCHED on your options, I hope this has given you femme fetales a bout of body confidence to know that no matter what you look like on the outside, you can find strength in who are on the inside to bring it to the surface. All of us are unique and beautifully different, so for once, lets stop picking out our image-focused flaws, and embrace our unique beset bits.

Love and light,

Monique Elouise (ME)