Identifying your body shape can benefit you in many ways. Not only can it help you choose flattering clothing for your body, but it can also help you determine an exercise regimen that will maintain or enhance your proportions. Understanding your body type is quite simple, and all you need is an accurate tape measure.
Most body shape definitions are determined by the proportion of the shoulders or bust, waist and hips. It is best to measure yourself without bulky clothing, as that will add inches to your real measurements. To get accurate results, measure around the fullest part of your bust and hips, and the narrowest part of your waist. This is how most garments are fit, so knowing your own size will help you when shopping or ordering clothes without trying them on first.
If you have an hourglass figure, your waist will be considerably narrower than your hips and bust. Many hourglass-figured women have a difference of between 5-10 inches (12.7-25.4 cm) between their narrowest and widest points. Ideally, the measurement for your hips and bust will be similar to one another. Women with hourglass figures should wear clothes that accentuate their small waists, like wrap dresses, kimono tops, and flared or boot-cut jeans. These clothes will help preserve the lines of your body, and give greater emphasis to your fabulous curves.
Pear bodies, also called spoons or triangles, are larger at the hips than they are at the bust and shoulders. Experts recommend that people with a pear shaped body dress to accentuate their top half, drawing the eye upward to the chest, neck and shoulders. Flowing tops help balance out a pear figure, as do bold printed shirts, A-line skirts, and dark-washed jeans.
The opposite of a pear body is called an inverted triangle or cone. People with these characteristics will be wider through the shoulders and bust and narrower at the hip. Flowing, full skirts are a great choice for this body type, while dark or plain fabrics on top will help minimize a size difference. You can also emphasize your shape by wearing an off-the-shoulder top and fitted skirt, making your waist and hips look exceptionally narrow.
Knowing your body shape can help you customize work out routines, particularly if you lift weights. Hourglass-shaped people should take care to include a varied abdominal routine, to help maintain their small waists. Pear and inverted triangle shapes can do additional exercises to help increase muscle in their more narrow areas, and reduce bulk in wider places, giving them all-over shape balance.
Fashion magazines frequently post guides to shopping for your body shape. While these can be helpful in ensuring a clean silhouette, they are not universally perfect. Everyone’s body is different, and probably the most important component to dressing well is personal style. Allow your body shape to be a guideline, but no matter what, choose clothing that makes you feel beautiful.