For me, there are 4 basic body types.
Some resources agree with me, other resources say there are as many as 12. Generally, there are 4 basic body structures, and the extras come when we talk about different sizes. For example, one site has an “Inverted
Triangle” body shape and an “Apple” body shape. Both of these shapes feature shoulders broader than hips and an undefined waist. The difference comes when an inverted
triangle puts on a little weight, and it goes to her middle (as this type is known for)—turning her into an apple. Yes, there are slight differences in how an inverted triangle and an apple would dress, but the principles remain the same—minimize the shoulders, create a waist (or camouflage a tummy) and emphasize small lower body. My body shape philosophy relies on 4 basic body structures that make it easy for my clients to identify their body types and dress/shop accordingly.
Here they are (we’ll name them later):
Shoulders and hips equal, waist well-defined (this mean significantly smaller)
Shoulders and hips equal, waist not-well defined
Shoulders smaller than hips, waist well-defined
Shoulders bigger than hips, waist not well-defined
If you don’t know what your body type is, take a
break now, find a full-length mirror, strip down to the bare essentials, and check your shoulder, waist and hip proportions. Use the descriptions above as a reference guide!
Once you’re back and dressed, read on:
If your shoulders and hips are equal, and your waist is well-defined, you’re an Hourglass. Your body is what we think of as thefeminine ideal. You have symmetry and balance, and carry weight well. When you gain weight, it goes evenly to your hips and your bust. Your figure has been immortalized on screen and on canvas…even the Commodores sing your praises (“36-24-36”,anyone?)! Your challenge, and every body has one, is to maintain balance. Too many ruffles or pockets on top, and you’ll become top-heavy. Heavy fabric or embellishments on the bottom, and you can look bottom-heavy. Hourglasses usually don’t have trouble finding clothes that fit—occasionally you’ll find pants that gap in the waist if they fit in the hip.
If your shoulders and hips are equal and your
waist is not well-defined, you’re a Rectangle. When you gain weight, it is distributed all over. Because you were not genetically blessed with curves, your job is to create them with clothes and accessories. This is one body type where size does matter when dressing. Skinny rectangles are what we see on the runway—they literally can wear anything. When a rectangle is bigger than a supermodel, she might feel boxy and unfeminine. Rectangles should be on the lookout for a secondary body type. If you feel top heavy, follow the rectangle and apple rules. If you
feel like your lower half dictates how you dress, follow the rectangle and pear rules. Rectangles struggle to find
pants that fit well—if they fit in the waist, they’re usually too big in the hip. Luckily, most stores carry a straighter fit pant that works for your figure.
If your shoulders are smaller than your hips and your waist is well defined, you’re a Pear. When you gain weight, it goes below the waist.Your lower-half dictates how you dress, but your upper body and arms are gorgeous and should be shown off! Women whose hips are just slightly bigger than the shoulders will have different needs than women who are definitely pear-shaped, but the rules remain
the same: focus on the upper body, while deemphasizing the rear-view. Curvy cut pants are made for you, since
your challenge is usually pants gapping in the waist when they fit in the hip.
If your shoulders are bigger than your hips and your waist is not well-defined, you’re an Apple. When you gain weight, it goes above the waist. Your upper half dictates how you dress, but your lower half is lovely and should be the focal point. This is the hardest body type to dress, but with the right clothes, looking fabulous is easy. You know you’re an apple if pants that fit in the waist are huge in the hips.
Next time-- But I Don't Wanna Be an Apple! Is it possible to change your shape?