We've all seen the magazines while waiting in line at the grocery store- "Best Jeans For Every Shape!" or "Find the Right Swimsuit for Your Shape!". They lure you in, but when you get to the article, you find things like "Big Boobs", "Tall", "Athletic" and "Short Legs". Sometimes all of the descriptions apply to you, sometimes none of them do. One thing's for sure...the article doesn't come close to showing the best jeans/swimsuit/cocktail dress for every shape.
The reason is, those things are characteristics, not body types. I know more than two tall people, and they have very different bodies! And "Athletic"? What kind of athlete are we talking about? A marathon runner, or one of those tiny, yet freakishly muscular, Olympic gymnasts? They'd have different jean needs, for sure!
So here's what a body shape is not: It is not one characteristic. No waist, big boobs, thin legs...those are all characteristics that can belong to more than one body type. They don't give you the whole picture.
What a body type (or shape) IS is a set of proportional measurements. One measurement on its own means nothing. For example, if you think about a woman with a 30 inch waist, that doesn't tell you much....other than that she's about a size 10. Now, if you think of a woman with a 30 inch waist, and 32 inch hips, you get a better idea of what her body type is. What about a woman with a 30 inch waist and 42 inch hips? Those two women (while having exactly the same waist measurement) have very different body shapes.
So what measurements do we need to look at? For me, its shoulders, waist, hips. What?? No bust?? That's crazy-talk! Here's why: First, shoulders have a bigger visual impact. If you have broad shoulders and a small bust, you're still going to look larger on top. Second, boobs fluctuate. A lot. You can have them enhanced or reduced by bras, doctors, or childbearing! Shoulders (at least proportionally) stay the same. So yes, the bust should be taken into account somewhat, but for me, its the shoulders that matter.
Next time, what ARE the body types, and how do I know which one I am?