The relationship we have with our bodies is one of the most important relationships in our lives however it can be the one we spend the least amount of time on.
It is usually well fed and watered, maybe taken for a little exercise every now and again (depending on your mood) but have you spent time really getting to know it and its likes and dislikes?
Does it like a structured shoulder or maybe a balloon sleeve is its favourite? Are wide legged trousers it’s biggest bugbear?
The simple truth of the matter is once you have understood what your body-shape is and most importantly what really suits and enhances it, then what to wear will just fall into place.
The ‘fear of the frump ’ does not rear its head and getting dressed in the morning becomes so much easier because the decisions are essentially already made for you.
So how do you determine what your body shape is?
There are two things you need to understand to start to determine your body shape.
One is nice and one not-so-nice. (Depending how self-confident you are feeling).
- Body proportions
- Weight distribution
You will need the best view of your body to get a good sense of either of these. So, position yourself either in front of a full length mirror with good light or get a friend or you partner to take a full length picture of you in fitted clothing. (Try to smile!)
So, body proportions..
When you are trying to understand your body proportions you are essentially looking at how balanced your torso and legs are in relation to one another.
Are you longer in the body or legs? Does your top half take up a higher proportion to your lower half.
Use a tape measure if necessary.
Next think about where does your waist sit? Is it right under your bust or further down toward your hips?
Finally look at your weight distribution.
It’s not very pretty terminology, I could use a nicer phrase I suppose. However, the fact is where we hold weight on our bodies generally will be the places that determine its shape and therefore how clothes will fit.
So, it might not pretty but it’s necessary!
Once you have got an understanding on the above, ask yourself these questions.
- Are my shoulders in line with my hips?
- Does my waist curve in a lot or a little?
- Do I have a curvy or a flatter bottom?
If you are feeling really brave you can measure your body to really map it out. Measure your bust, hips, and waist to basically plot your figure!
This is a bit random and not very technical at all but if you really squint at your shape in the mirror, it can sometimes present the shape to you!
I know, you were expecting something more informative than squinting!
Now to pull it all together.
There are essentially 5 main body shapes. The terminology varies depending on the Personal Stylist but basically these are the ones you are looking at.
To be a Rectangle generally you will be naturally slim all over your body. Another term for this body shape is Slim Athletic, mainly because most women who have been young athletes or who are sporty in their everyday lives will find themselves in this category. Your shoulders and hips are pretty much in line, and your waist will have a slight curve but you will feel like you pretty much go straight up and down, like a rectangle, who knew! Your fabulous athletic, shapely legs curve into a neat bottom!
Again, like a Rectangle you can visualise your shape from the description! A pear in actual shape has a slim top and a wider bottom which will be the similar shape to what you see in the mirror. Your shoulder measurement will be smaller than your hips and it is most likely you will have a small waist that curves in beautifully. I will take a wild guess that you are the least in love with your hips as this where you tend to carry any weight, but it does give you a fabulous shapely bottom!
You have the legs I would kill for! Apple’s always have absolutely fabulous-shaped legs and this is something you should highlight wherever possible. You tend to feel more self-conscious around your tummy and breast area, as your tummy is your Achilles heel in terms of weight, particularly if you are big busted and have a shorter torso.
Another shape which can be associated with sportswomen particularly if you were a swimmer! You will have strong broad shoulders and narrower hips so again like the name describes (it’s not rocket science all this really, you may have cottoned on to this!) and have quite slim athletic legs.
So, the hourglass is the kind of Mecca of body shapes. For centuries society and fashions portrayed the ultimate body shape as an hourglass. Shoulders and hips that are perfectly in line and a waist that curves in under the bust, the ‘ideal’ silhouette. You can be a full hourglass where you a gorgeous and curvy within this shape or a slim hourglass where there proportions are the same but neater, more compact maybe…for wants of a better word!
Our bodies change so much throughout our lives, especially as women. Right from when those early hormones kick in and your boobs start to appear as a young teenager (mine kicked in properly in year 8….training bras are a wardrobe memory I would rather not have) to menopause and beyond.
Yet how many of us expect it to fit into the same shapes and styles of clothes throughout that time?!
You may have stayed the same size but your body will have changed, whether from having a baby, an operation or just embracing your natural curves. Thinking back to the body proportions and weight distributions earlier in this blog…..your teenage self is very different to who you are now I imagine!
So, take yourself upstairs and have a go at figuring out your body shape. Then keep your eyes out for my next blog or video where I will be sharing tips on how to style!
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