A Know-how Of Body Shapes & Fashion

An in-depth guide to all the different, unique, and beautiful body shapes and how you can upgrade your OOTD game through knowledge of fashion science.
all body shapes in one image
Image Source: Vogue

Have you ever ordered a dress online because you saw an influencer nailing the same look, but you ended up looking like a clown after trying it on? Or have you ever picked a cute top off the rack and excitedly rushed to the trial room, only to be left disappointed with its ill-fitting? Well, we have all been there!

This is because different people have different body types and we rarely pay attention to such minute details. What looks amazing on someone else may or may not be the right fit for us.  

But knowing your body type and dressing according to it can really be a game-changer in terms of how you look & how confident you feel. But not everyone can hire top fashion stylists like Maeve Reilley or Rachel Zoe. So if you are someone who wants to dress according to your body, instead of your body dressing you; this article might help you drag out your fashion A-game!

Every human has a body shape

Every human body is different consisting of different details and shapes. Every body shape has a different level of fat distribution, muscles, and born structure. A body shape refers to the relation, ratio, and proportion between an individual's hips, waist, and shoulders.

A person's actual body shape takes some time to develop and become prominent. It is usually after adolescence and puberty that you can clearly identify what kind of body shape do you have. 

Importance of knowing your body shape

Knowing your actual body shape has several benefits, such as knowing and understanding your body better, selecting the right exercises to build a great physique, planning the right diet, and much more. But even in the world of fashion, knowing your body shape is like opening the door to Narnia! Given below are some of the benefits of knowing your body shape:

1. Styling based on your body shape can help you look amazing

One of the obvious reasons to know your body shape is to look amazing. There are so many clothing items that flatter a particular body shape but look uncomfortable on someone else.

So before you hop on from one trend to the next one & feeling unsatisfied with the results, it is better to know your body shape beforehand so you can choose the right clothes with the right fit and material. Creating a silhouette that is visually balanced and pleasing is the first step toward dressing well. 

2. Feel more confident by wearing clothes that fit you better

'I am nicer when I like my outfit!' Well, we are all guilty of using this sentence as our Instagram caption. And while it is spurted out as a joke, but it is a fact that our confidence level is directly proportional to the perception we have of ourselves. If we know that our outfit is looking good and it is something that we feel really comfortable in, we will naturally exude confidence & radiate a happier vibe. 

3. Express your personality through various aesthetics

Aesthetics is like the new favorite word of us millennials. Guilty! Fashion is considered an important tool used by many to express their personality. Moreover, there are several instances in history where fashion has been used as a tool of revolt and expression in various socio-political scenarios.

However, on a lighter note, we also see so many feeds of fashion enthusiasts on Instagram having a dedicated aesthetic to reflect their personal style- minimalistic, soft pastels, grunge emo, quirky, and many more. Knowing your body shape can help you express your personality, vibe, or mood through it without looking like a misfit. 

4. Make a more lasting expression by flaunting extraordinary style that suits you

Even though our radiating personality is what makes people stay, but our appearance is the first thing that a person notices. If you want to stand out from the crowd and attract only the extraordinary, create your personal style statement, and don't be afraid of experimenting.

5. Save your time and bucks by ALWAYS knowing what to buy & wear

Why waste time trying on & rejecting different outfits in a rush when you can simply be aware of your body shape and choose suitable cuts & fits in the first go itself? Similarly, why waste money ordering clothes that end up looking ill-fitted and shabby? No one wants a closet full of bad purchases that end up lurking somewhere in the corner. 

Having knowledge about your body shape and styling for it can save you a lot of time in planning and coordinating different outfits as per different occasions. So keep your pen and paper in handy and jot down some key styling tips to enhance your style and save a few minutes and bucks.

Identifying your body shape

identifying your body shape
Image Source: Indian Express

Not every trend looks just as flattering on every body type, and that is completely alright! However, there are trends and clothes that would surely fit you like a glove, all you need to do is identify your own unique body shape and find fits that you feel the most comfortable in.

However, identifying your body shape can be quite a tricky task as very often, there is only a thin line of distinction that can be confusing. But you can follow these given steps to accurately determine your body shape.

1. Go fetch your measuring tape!

The first thing that you require is a measuring tape that can help you measure your bust, shoulders, waist, and hip area. Make sure that you are not wearing items that are too thick and can add up some extra inches. It goes without saying, but keep your pen-paper or notes section ready in your phone.

  • Shoulders: Bring your measuring tape to the highest part of your shoulders and place the tip in one corner. Take a circle with the measuring tape like a shawl and jot down the dimensions. You may need some help with this one. make it a point to remember that you are not measuring the arms, only the shoulders.
  • Bust: Do the same circular motion around the fullest part of your bust. You can wear a well-fitted bra underneath but make sure it's not padded. Stand straight while measuring the bust area. 
  • Waist: The waist is usually the narrowest part of the mid-section. Stand in a natural posture and make sure that you are not sucking in any breath or holding your stomach while measuring the waist. 
  • Hip: Look for the fullest and widest part of your hips underneath your hipbone. Make sure that you are measuring this wearing a pair of denim or other thick materials.

2. Determine your silhouette

Now that you have gathered all the measurements, you can use them to match the body shape description. There are various kinds of body shapes and you can use the biological terms (endomorphs, ectomorphs et cetera) or you can use the most common method i.e fruit metaphors.

Some of the most commonly used fruits to describe a body shape include apple body shape or inverted triangle body shape, pear or spoon-shaped body, hourglass body shape, and rectangle or athletic body shape.

Apple Body Shape

If you have narrow hips and a fuller top section with wide shoulders and a heavy torso, it is likely that you fall under the apple body type or inverted triangle. For instance, if a woman's bust area is 38 inches, the measurement of the buttocks area might be 36 inches or less than that.

In case of weight gain or weight loss, your upper body or your stomach, to be more specific, will be the first area to show a significant difference. Most women with an apple body shape have an undefined waist and are known to have great legs.

For women who have an apple shaped body, you can look up to the street style of celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Elizabeth Hurley, and Ashley Benson for some fashion inspiration. One of the key styling tips as per expert advice for an apple body shape includes wearing items that hide the torso and flaunt the legs and bust. The key is to draw away attention from the midsection to the lower or upper body. 

Pear Body Shape

People with a pear-shaped body can be recognized by their heavier lower body as compared to their shoulders, bust, and waistline. For instance, if a woman with a pear-shaped body has a bust measurement of 34 inches, then the hip area must measure 36 or more than that. Women having a pear-shaped body have a well-defined waist and narrow shoulders. Weight gain or weight loss is most prominent in the thighs and hips area. 

To take fashion inspiration for those lazy days, you can easily find the street style or party style of celebrities such as Khloe Kardashian, Jessica Alba, Rihanna, and Jessica Alba. There are so many styling tips shared by the experts but one of the key styling tips for pear shaped body is to flaunt that well-defined waist. Any item that adds some volume to your upper body like shoulders and bust can help in creating a more proportionate look if that is what you're going for. 

Hourglass Body Shape

Even though most women would like to have an hourglass figure, only 8% of women have this body shape. An hourglass is considered one of the curviest and most proportionate body shapes. A woman with an hourglass body shape has an equal measurement for the hips and bust, with a well-defined and narrow waist.

For instance, if a woman with an hourglass-shaped body has a bust measurement of 36 inches, then the buttocks would be of the roundabout the same measurement. The shoulders and buttocks area might be slightly rounded and fuller.

There are so many celebrities to take fashion inspiration from as some have naturally hourglass-shaped bodies and many others have attained so using cosmetic treatments.

You can simply lookup for the street style of Kim Kardashian, Scarlett Johannson, Beyonce, and Kate Winslet. One of the key styling tips that can be noticed in various celebs as suggested by their stylists, is to emphasize the assets and highlight the defined waist.

Athletic & Rectangle Body Shape

Even though athletic and rectangle body shapes are often categorized in the same box, however, there is a slight difference between the two. Both of the body shapes are considered relatives straight.

A person with a rectangle body shape has more or less, the same measurement of shoulder, hips, and waist. An athletic body has the same measurement of hips and waist, however, the shoulders are slightly broader.

You can look up to celebrities such as Cara Delevigne, Gigi Hadid, Cameron Diaz, and Natalie Portman for some fashion inspiration. The key styling tips that can be a game-changer for H-shaped or carrot body shape include wearing clothes that can add some volume on the top half or the bottom half or a combination of both, to break the monotony. 

3. Simply Google it

If you are still not so sure about what to make out of the measurements, there are various tools where you can insert your body dimensions and find an answer. You can simply search for a body type calculator and get a number of options. 

4. Self scrutinize your body shape

You can ask yourself questions and their answers would probably give you some clarity regarding your body shape. Even though you may or may not get a definite answer but this is an easy way without the use of measuring tape.

  • You can ask yourself that which areas are the widest and which areas are the slimmest.
  • During weight gain, which area of the body gains the maximum fat?
  • What areas of the body give you issues when it comes to fitting?
  • What does your overall silhouette look like? You can know so by standing in the front of a mirror and observing your shape.
  • Since body shape is a result of genetics, you can see if the women of your family normally have a certain body type. However, this may not be accurate and isn't a reliable option.

Busting some myths related to body shape

Myth #1: Your weight determines your body shape

This is absolutely a lie that can often end up clouding the judgment of young girls regarding their bodies. Your weight DOES NOT determine your body shape. A person could weigh 110 lbs and have an apple-shaped body, just as a person weighing 130 lbs can have an athletic body shape.

Myth #2: There is an ideal body shape

There are so many questions asked on forums such as Quora and Reddit that what is the best body shape or the ideal body shape. Some want to know if hourglass is the best body shape and much more related BS. However, there is no 'perfect' or 'ideal' body shape.

The ONLY ideal body shape is YOUR own body shape, no matter what it is. It is high time to start idealizing and treating your body like a temple, showering it with the love and respect it deserves!

Myth #3: You can change your body shape

While it is true that you can change the appearance of your body shape by hitting the gym consistently, however, you cannot alter your body shape altogether. This is because body shape is determined more by the body structure and bone framework than by your muscles and fat.

Most of it is dependent on your genetics but you can surely diminish or enhance your natural shape through diet, exercise, and of course, wearing the right kind of clothes.

Myth #4: You fall into one definite category of body shape

These body shapes and types are only broad classifications and it's not necessary for someone to fall into one box only. Most of the women have major attributes of one particular body shape but also lean towards some other shape as well so it's totally okay to think and experiment outside the box!

No matter where we are in our journey of fitness, we can always use fashion as a tool to bring out our best. But loving a piece of clothing and getting disappointed by it can drag down one's self-esteem. So we hope this article helps you bring a step closer to dressing up more confidently and flaunting your personal style. 

Related Articles:

Dressing up for an apple body shape

Dressing up for a pear body shape

Dressing up for an hourglass body shape

Dressing up for an athletic and rectangle body shape

Dressing up for a plus-size body

Soft dramatic David Kibbe body type

David Kibbe's dramatic body types

Finally a new body type system

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