Know Your Body Shape

body proportions body shape dressing for your shape style

Dress for Your Body Shape

Have you ever gone shopping and been totally frustrated by everything you tried on?  Ever try on anything that looks so cute on others, and out of place on you?  For years I have struggled with this very thing!  Some days (not often though) I rocked everything I tried on.  But most of the time, I hated everything - and worse than that I hated my body.    The thing is - it wasn't my body (and it isn't your body), it was likely because I were trying on things that didn't fit my body shape or my personal style. 

Understanding and dressing for your shape will help you be more comfortable and confident in how you look.  It's not about your size, body shape describes the outline of your  structure and how your weight is distributed.  Body shape isn't determined by whether you are short, tall, slender, or curvy.  It's determined by the body parts - shoulders, bust, waist, hips.  

By understanding your body shape and proportions,  you can select clothes that fit well, show off your awesome features, and rock your personal style.

Having trouble visualizing your body shape?  The below tips, from Bradley Bayou, will help you determine what your shape is.

Measure your shoulders, bust, waist and hips using a cloth tape, snug but not too tight and not too loose, in front of a mirror. Keep the measuring tape parallel to the floor.  Write your measurements down as you go.


Measure yourself.


  1. Measure your shoulders.  You may need assistance, this one is difficult to do by yourself.  With your back straight and your shoulders down, wrap the measuring tape around your  shoulders like a shawl.  Measure at the widest part of the shoulder.
  2. Measure the bust at the fullest part, usually the middle. Pull the measuring tape taunt, but don't squish your breasts.
  3. Measure waist, don't pull your stomach in, stand as straight as you can.  Start at the slimmest part of your waistline above your belly button and below your rib cage. 
  4. Measure hips at the fullest part of buttocks.





Now that you have your measurements, you will use those numbers to help determine your body shape. 

You have probably heard the basic body shape descriptions:  inverted triangle (or carrot); rectangle, apple, hourglass and triangle (or pear). Some people may have a mix of characteristics of 2 categories.  Your body shape may also change during/after menopause.  Your shape isn't a judgement - it's information you can use to look your best!

Inverted Triangle (or Carrot)
Your shoulders or bust are larger than your hips.

Your shoulder or bust measurements are more than 5 percent bigger than your hip measurement. For example, if your shoulders measure 36 inches, your hips will be 34 1/4 inches or smaller.


Inverted triangle


Your shoulders, bust and hips are around the same size, with no defined waistline.  

Your shoulder, bust and hip measurements are within 5 percent of each other. Your waist is less than 25 percent smaller than your shoulder or bust measurements. For example, if your shoulders measure 36 inches, your waist will be 27 inches or more.





Similar to the inverted triangle (carrot) and the rectangle, your shoulders and bust measurements are similar.  What makes this shape different than the inverted triangle or the rectangle?  The hips may be slightly smaller than the shoulders/bust, or the waist may be slightly wider than the shoulders/bust. Usually broad shoulders and a bigger bust line makes it feel like weight gathers around midriff and you typically put weight on first in the midriff area.


Your shoulders and hips are around the same size with a defined waist.  Your shoulder and hip measurements are within 5 percent of each other.

Your waist is at least 25 percent smaller than your shoulder, hip and bust measurements. For example, if your shoulders and hips measure 36 inches, your waist is 27 inches or smaller.





Triangle (or Pear)
Your hips are wider than your shoulders.

Your hip measurement is more than 5 percent bigger than your shoulder or bust measurements. For example, if your shoulders measure 36 inches, your hips are 37 3/4 inches or larger.




Being aware of your body shape puts things in perspective. If your clothing isn't fitting, don't beat yourself up telling yourself you are out of shape or out of proportion.  Instead - know your shape and what works well for you.  Girl - embrace that shape!

In the next blog I will discuss what works well for your shape to make the most of your beautiful body.  

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