Knowing and understanding your body shape is key to building a beautiful wardrobe that works for you, and to avoiding the frustration that comes with wanting what will never be "right" for you. Spending your clothing dollars wisely means selecting pieces that help you look and feel your best, as well as avoiding trends that will not enhance either your looks or personality. Here, we will discuss how to know what your body shape is, and provide a few simple tips for you to consider when you dress the body you have.
You will have heard of some figures described as "pear shaped," and in fact there are other fruit terms applied to other body types. Some fashion writers and body-positivity activists don't prefer this custom, saying it is reductive and objectifying. Personally, I think it is fabulous! Think about fruit—it's generally pretty, fragrant and healthful. There's no "bad" fruit, and I believe that is a great metric for body comparisons! A person might have a preference, but all fruits have a place in the bowl, just like all bodies have a place in fashion.
If you have a good eye and a reliable full-length mirror, you may be able to decide on your body shape simply by casting a critical eye over yourself. Wearing your underthings, look at your figure. Do you carry weight in your hips and thighs, or your mid-section? Do you have shoulders that are wider than your hips? Is your figure well balanced with a smaller waist, like that of Marilyn Monroe or Ashley Graham? Is your torso straight up-and-down, with little variation in your bust, waist and hip lines?
If you don't trust your eye, a measuring tape—the soft kind used for home sewing—can provide the specific information you need to determine your body shape. Measurements will tell you the bald truth about which are the widest or narrowest parts of your body.
Simply put, these are the basic body shapes, although there are further variations:
Once you have determined your body shape, you may want to consider various ways to enhance your figure to help you look and feel your best. We encourage you to shop for versatile, flattering clothing you will enjoy wearing over and over again - but always remember, choose items that make you feel like you. Classic pieces like jeans, t-shirts, and women's dresses can accentuate the best parts of you. Love bright colors? Wear them, but on the parts of your body that you want to draw attention to the most. There are many tricks of the trade that can help you make the most of your shape!
Do remember to have fun! No body shape precludes you from wearing any single piece, you just may have to have it tailored or style it carefully. You deserve to wear what makes your heart sing! It's okay to dress the body you have in the pieces you love. At the same time, when you know what your body shape is, you can make informed and considered choices about what to add to your wardrobe to make it as comfortable, attractive and flexible as possible. If you purchase too many aspirational or "just because" garments, you will end up feeling frustrated and not great about yourself or your shape. Think over our tips as you build your everyday wardrobe to achieve maximum versatility with clothing that helps you look and feel your best about the body you have.