Find Out Your Real Body Type and Make it Work For You
When you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you’re able to focus on your message for the day. You will be surprised how much you will accomplish by engaging an image consultant.
You’re going to exude more confidence, presence, and power from within when you’re dressed to accentuate your best assets. – Excerpt, The Power Is In The Pearl
People have six basic body types: Triangle, Inverted Triangle, Hourglass, Oval, Rectangle, and Contour. No matter what your shape, you should know how to dress for it. Doing so emphasizes your strengths, and minimizes your perceived flaws.
Each body shape has its positives, but each also has its own unique drawbacks, especially as we age and go through menopause. Remember that we’re all different—two women with the same shape or body type will not look the same.
To determine your body shape, look in a full-length mirror. Wear a tight-fitting outfit, like a leotard, or you can even stand naked. Try to gauge how your hips and shoulders line up as you’re looking straight into the mirror.
• Are my shoulders wider than my hips or smaller than my hips, and do my shoulders droop forward or slope down?
• How about my waist—is it wider than my hips and legs, thinner than my shoulders and hips, does it curve in, or is it pretty much aligned with my shoulders and hips?
• What about my hips—are they smaller than my shoulders, wider than my shoulders, or do I carry more of my weight in my hips and thighs?
Using those guidelines, read through the following descriptions to determine which body shape you best match.
Your hips are larger than your shoulders. Your bust is smaller, and your waist is more defined.
If you lose weight, you may lose it in the hips, which could then give you more of a Rectangle shape. You may also gain in your tummy, which would give you more of an Oval or Apple shape. As much as you can, you want to balance your shoulders with your hips.
Avoid: Large handbags that sit at the hips, dropped shoulder lines, details, pockets and pleats on pants that accentuate the hips, full skirts make you look wider.
Positives: This shape can be easy to balance out rather quickly, by adding width to the top. Shoulder pads are a great way to bring your shoulders up and make them look broader. Larger collars or lapels, boat-neck tops, or off-the-shoulder tops will give you more balance. You want to wear brighter colors and interesting tops to draw the eyes up to the face.
Challenges: It can be challenging to find pants that fit you perfectly. You may find a pair that fit your legs well, but the waist might be too big. In this case, opt for alterations, and doing so will save you the stress of shopping endlessly for the perfect pair of pants.
Your shoulders are wider than your hips. You wear larger sized tops than bottoms.
Many women with this shape are athletes. The trick here is to wear clothes on the bottom that make your hips look more balanced with your top.
Avoid: Small handbags that sit at the hip, shoulder pads that accentuate wider shoulders, patterns on your top half, scarves around the neck, big shawl collars, and certain necklines (boat neck or bardot).
Positives: This shape is fun to dress. This is opposite of the Triangle, so what you can’t do with a Triangle, you can with the Inverted Triangle. You can add details to your bottom half, and you can carry a bigger bag at your hip area.
Challenges to Create Your Ideal Wardrobe:
Finding tops to fit. You might opt for alterations. A top that fits your shoulders may not fit you right in the waist.
Your bust and hips are the same size, and your waist is smaller. This is the ideal of all body shapes, because it is the most flexible to dress.
As you gain weight, your body shape might change. Extra weight in your bottom half will appear to be more of a Triangle (Pear shape). Extra weight through your middle will be more of a contour or rectangle shape.
A general rule for your body shape to create balance is to wear clothes that are fitted and will shape your assets. Stick with shapes of clothing that follow the lines of your bust, waist or hips.
Things to avoid: Boxy jackets, straight shapes that hide your waist, drooping sleeve lines, high-waisted pants, turtlenecks, and high necklines.
Positives: Everyone thinks this is the ultimate body shape. It’s most flattering for you to wear more fitted clothing. This shape is easier to dress, depending on your size, because your proportions are more equal.
Challenges: Women with an Hourglass figure tend to wear looser and baggier clothes, which makes them look sloppy.
Your waist is larger than your bust and hips.
This shape is usually created by weight gain, where more of your weight may be carried in the middle. Don’t be afraid to flaunt your curves, however! When you learn to dress for this shape, you can look amazing.
For this body type, you want the visual silhouette to look longer and leaner. A general rule would be to wear dark colors on the top, along with vertical lines, which elongate your body. Another tip would be to wear monochromatic colors to give the illusion that your body is longer and slimmer. Draw attention upward with bolder jewelry.
Things to avoid: Tucking in your tops; horizontal patterns; fitted styles; wide-legged pants; pleating, ruffles or any embellishments around the waistline; and small patterns.
Positives: Your legs are usually your best asset. Wearing dresses will help show off those legs.
Challenges: People with this shape tend to wear more boxy-style clothing, which is looser and baggier.
You have little defined waistline, your hips and shoulders are similar in size, and your bust tends to be small or average.
You want to wear clothes that give you curves. Stay away from boxy clothing.
Most models are this shape. However, as you age, most Rectangles will gain weight in the waist, which can make dressing more of a challenge. Depending on where you gain your weight, your body can shift in shape to either a Triangle (if you gain weight in your bottom half) or Oval (if you gain in the midsection).
Things to avoid: Shapeless clothing, square-toed shoes, boxy jackets, or double-breasted coats or jackets. If you want to add curves, avoid straight dresses.
Positives: This is one of the easiest body shapes to dress. You usually can find many ways to dress your shape.
Challenges: It is harder to find clothes that fit your body shape as you gain weight.
This shape is very similar to the Rectangle, but with a little more definition at the waist; however, it is not as defined as an hourglass.
Wearing defined jackets at the waist, belts, flared or boot-cut pants, and tops that have a flare at the waist, all add curves in places that accentuate your assets.
Things to avoid: Shapeless clothing, square-toed shoes, boxy jackets, and double-breasted coats or jackets.
Positives: This shape is very similar to the Rectangle shape, one of the easiest body shapes to dress.
Challenges: As you gain weight, you will have to adjust your clothing to your new shape.
A personal stylist can help you understand your unique shape, and how to dress in a way that accentuates your positive features while bringing out your true personality. Try new things and different shapes to see what you like, keeping in mind these guidelines for your shape.