Learn Your Body Type and How To Dress It Well

Your body type determines what clothing styles look best on you.  Every type is beautiful and every type can change with age and weight loss or gain.  Learning to dress the body you live in right now will help you look and feel your most confident.  Camouflaging, accentuating, highlighting, and balancing….oh my! Let’s learn more!

Diamond Body Shape

Diamond body shape

You have a Diamond Figure if:

  • You have balanced hips and shoulders
  • Your waist is the widest part of your frame
  • You carry weight around the tummy & upper body
  • You have a generous bust & rounded shoulders
  • You have shapely legs

Your Goal: Achieve more of an hourglass shape by elongating your figure, drawing attention to the center of your body and drawing attention to your arms and legs.

  • Wear tops with wide ‘V’ necklines and hemlines that finish above or below the widest point on your body.
  • Try straight, long tunics that taper at the waist and flare out slightly with darts, side vents or slits.
  • Wear necklines that accentuate your shoulders and bust.
  • Wear vertical stripes and colorblocking that shifts the focus inward and elongate your frame.
  • Your ideal skirt is ‘A’ line. It should skim over the bottom, and create smooth, clean lines.
  • Wrap dresses give the illusion of a waist, flatter the bust, and skim over the hips and thighs.
  • Wear soft, flowing fabrics to avoid adding unnecessary bulk.
  • Bottoms look best when straight and narrow.

Hourglass Body Shape

Hourglass body shape

You have an Hourglass Figure if:

  • Your shoulders and hips are proportional.
  • You wear roughly the same size on top and bottom
  • You have a clearly defined waist and are naturally curvy.
  • You have an average to full bust

Your Goal: Embrace your curves, love your feminine shape.

  • Pencil, tulip and bias cut skirts are ideal for your body shape as they enhance your curves.
  • Wear peplum jackets and belted trench coats. Don’t wear boxy coat styles.
  • Avoid masculine, boxy, shapeless or baggy clothing.
  • Slim-fit and boot-cut jeans in dark denim slim and elongate your legs.
  • Avoid loose blouses that billow or flare at the bustline as this adds volume.
  • Wrap tops and dresses emphasize your proportionate figure.
  • Experiment with waist-defining belts to enhance your naturally defined torso.
  • Avoid shorter hemlines. Your curvy figure is sexy enough without adding miles of leg!

Inverted Triangle Body Shape

Inverted Triangle body shape

You have an Inverted Triangle figure if:

  • You have broader shoulders than hips
  • You have little definition between your waist and your hips
  • You have a smaller bottom half than top half

Your goal: draw attention to your lower body and minimize your upper body.

  • Wear darker colors on top and lighter colors on the bottom (white jeans are made for you!)
  • Skip striped tops! Horizontal lines will widen an area, so avoid them on your upper body.
  • Wear single-breasted jackets & coats with slim lapels to avoid extra bulk on top.
  • Keep your tops simple and smooth.
  • To add width to the lower body, wear A-line, full, or pleated skirts
  • Define your waistline and hips with belts.
  • To visually minimize your upper body, wear slim V necklines and fitted tops. Your necklaces should by low-hanging necklaces that create a focal point down the center line rather than a short necklace that draws the eye up.
  • Avoid necklines that widen the shoulders (like boat necks), ruffles, oversized collars, breast pockets, and cap sleeves that add width at the shoulder line.
  • Wear slightly flared or boot-cut trousers and jeans, adding a belt to emphasize the hip
  • Dolman or Bat Wing sleeves add more volume toward the middle of your body and away from your shoulders.

Rectangle Body Shape

Rectangle body shape-4

You have a Rectangle Figure if:

  • Your bust, waist and hips are similar measurements

. Your waist measurement is less than 9 inches smaller than the hip or bust measurement.

  • You have a straighter shoulder line
  • You have very little waist definition

Your goal: create the illusion of curves, define the waist, and add femininity to your figure.

  • Choose boot-cut or flare trousers that give shape and style. Back pocket detailing can add shape to the bottom.
  • Tailored jackets that define the waist
  • Wrap tops and dresses can help to add curves, emphasizing the bust and waist.
  • Skirts that are ‘A’ line or full will give shape, but maintain the naturally balanced figure by adding interest to the top half, too.
  • Bias-cut skirts help to create the illusion of curvaceous hips and thighs.
  • Asymmetrical or off-the-shoulder tops call attention to your beautiful shoulders.
  • Cowl neck and draped tops add softness and femininity to your figure.
  • Corset-type designs and ruched detail create the illusion of curves.
  • Use accessories to create flattering focal interest and womanly shapes.
  • Abstract, bold and bright prints can all be used to add interest, shape & definition to the figure.

Triangle Body Shape

Triangle body shape

You have a Triangle Figure if:

  • Your shoulders are narrower than your hips
  • You are a larger size on your bottom half
  • You have fuller hips, bottom and thighs
  • You have a more slender upper body

Your Goal: draw attention to your upper body and minimize your lower body.

  • Choose lighter or brighter colors on the top and darker colors on the bottom.
  • Horizontal lines can visually widen your body so avoid them on your lower body, but wear them on your top.
  • Choose tops with hemlines that end above or below the widest point, especially when wearing contrasting colors on your top and bottom. Hemlines that stop on the widest part will accentuate the width.
  • Add volume on top with jackets & coats that have wide lapels and structured shoulders.
  • Choose tops with butterfly sleeves or off-the-shoulder necklines. You can also wear tops with details like ruffles, patterns or prints.
  • Choose simple A-line skirts that fall just below the knee and skim the bottom half. Avoid styles that cling to the hips & thighs.
  • Boot-cut or slightly flared dark wash jeans and darker trousers will help to visually slim the hips.
  • Wear beautiful accessories, like statement necklaces or scarves, to draw the eye up.
  • Avoid shoulder bags or cross-body bags that hit your body at the widest part.
  • Avoid cargo pant pockets, flap pockets and any other pocket that will add bulk to your lower body.
  • Avoid fabrics that add bulk to the lower body. Do wear them on top though! Bulky, cozy sweaters are made for you!

How to Find Your Body Shape? (No Measurements Required)

  • Grab one of your makeup pencils (eyeliner, lip liner, lipstick…)
  • Stand in front of the mirror naked (or in bra/panties). Stand close to the mirror.
  • Use your makeup to create a dot on the mirror at the widest point of your shoulders and hips.  Do the same for the narrowest point of both sides of your waist.
  • Step back and connect the dots (see example below of an hourglass shape).
  • The outline of your body shape will give you a great visual for determining your body type.

This method is called the “X-factor” and is shared in the book,  The Power of Style: Everything You Need to Know Before You Get Dressed Tomorrow by Bobbie Thomas. I love this method for a couple of reasons:

  • No measuring is required. Numbers tend to freak women out a bit so let’s just avoid the whole issue and skip the measuring tape. Who cares if your waist is a 24 or a 38? It’s just a number. What we want to consider is your outline, or your shape. When you understand your shape, you are easily able to determine what you want to
    and what you want to minimize.
  • The second reason I really like this method is because your body does not end at your boobs, right? So why would we determine your shape based on your chest size. Shoulders are sexy and they are the upper portion of our frame so I like that the X-factor method takes this into consideration. Women with wide shoulders or narrow shoulders need to consider this when determining the best way to dress their body. Yes, your chest size will need to be considered as well but not for the “outline” of your body shape, as discussed here.

Begin dressing your body type with clothes that compliment your shape. You’ll enjoy shopping more, feel better in your clothes and love how you look!

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