Avoid a Fashion Emergency - Determine Your Body Type

Have you ever purchased an outfit that you really like, but when you put it on at home for the first time you begin to wonder if you made a mistake? Do you think the item makes you look "fat" or tends to highlight "problem areas"? Does the way you look make you feel so uncomfortable that you scramble to select something else to wear? If so, you are having a fashion emergency!

Once you learn how to determine your body type, you will be able to identify the clothing styles that are most flattering to your figure, and which ones to avoid. There is a lot of information readily available online on this topic to guide you in selecting the best styles once you have determined your shape.

Ideal Body Shape

An hourglass body type is considered the ideal body shape - it is perfectly proportioned, and the easiest to dress.  Here, the bust and hips are the same width, and the waist measures 9" - 13" smaller than the bust and hips. 

When dressing any of the other body types, the goal is to select the proper styles of clothing to camouflage specific areas (sometimes referred to as "figure flaws"), giving the overall impression of an hourglass shape – basically, visually balancing the figure.

How to Determine Body Type:

First, take and record measurements of the following:

  • around shoulders
  • around the largest area of the bust
  • around waist
  • around the largest area of hips

With these measurements, review the descriptions of the basic body shapes below to determine your body type.

There Are 5 Basic Body Shapes:

  • Hourglass: bust and hips are about the same width, with a defined waist
  • Round/Diamond/Apple: bust, waist and hips are close to the same width; usually smaller shoulders and no waist definition
  • Triangle/Pear: Hips are wider than shoulders and bust
  • Inverted Triangle/Athletic: Shoulders are wider than hips; may have full bust – the body area above the waist is larger than below
  • Rectangle/Square: bust, shoulders and hips are close to the same width with little waist definition

Now that you know your body type, it will be easier to select styles to flatter your particular shape. In general, the idea is to play up your assets and camouflage any "figure flaws".  

Over time, it will become "second nature" to select flattering styles when clothes shopping. Thanks to this new awareness of your basic body shape, you will begin to dress with confidence, avoiding the dreaded "Fashion Emergency" for good! 

Written by Miriam Lack of www.iladaboutique.com
Certified Fashion Consultant with over 20 years experience in image-enhancement, specifically wardrobe selection, fashion styling, personal grooming, cosmetics sales, boutique ownership, and salon ownership.