Knowing (and understanding) the basic shape of your figure is an elemental part of building a pretty, functional wardrobe that really works for you. Getting the most from your clothing budget means purchasing only items that help you look and feel your confident best, in addition to avoiding pieces that don’t enhance your appearance or express who you are. This sounds like a tall order, but we can help make shopping to build your ideal wardrobe much easier by helping you understand your body’s shape. Today, let’s talk about how to determine your basic body type. Then, we’ll give you some tips and tricks to consider as you dress for the body you have, right now. Because the body you have right now is just fabulous!
I’m literally positive you have heard a woman described as “pear shaped,” and other fruits are used to describe other body types, too. There are fashion writers as well as body-acceptance activists who do not condone using fruit descriptors, and I get it; it could be viewed as reductive, and it certainly continues the less-than-ideal custom of comparing women to inanimate objects. But personally, for myself and for the people I hope to write for, I think fruit descriptors are lovely! Consider all the fruits in the produce department—generally speaking, they are all pretty, fragrant and healthful. There’s no such thing as a “bad” fruit, and I truly believe that alone makes fruit a great way to describe bodies! Every fruit has its aficionados, and every fruit shines in some recipe! Every fruit has a place in the fruit bowl just as every body has a place in fashion.
If you haven’t done so already, you can probably determine the basic shape of your figure just by looking at yourself ruthlessly. Wearing your regular underwear or foundation garments, really look at your body. Do you immediately feel like there is more weight around your middle, or carried in your hips and thighs? Do you see muscular “swimmer’s shoulders” that are wider than your waist? Is your body well-balanced at the bust and hip with a small waist, like a 1950s movie star? Or straight up-and-down like a 1920s movie star?
If you’re not sure of your eye, you can be certain of a measuring tape! The fabric kind used for personal sewing can give you real numbers that will definitively determine your body shape. Measurements, when taken honestly, provide plain facts about the widest and narrowest parts of your body. Numbers don’t lie, fudge, or soften information, as your own eye or your best friend might, so if you’re in doubt, measuring is best.
• Banana: Minimal difference between the bust, waist and hip measurements. This is a “straight” figure, and people with this shape tend to be slender.
• Apple: In general, anyone who carries their mass in the bust or midsection while maintaining relatively slim arms and legs could be called an apple shape.
• Pear: Contrasted with an apple shape, pears carry noticeable weight in their hips and thighs, so their hips are visibly wider than their shoulders. Even slim women can be pear shaped, as it is related to bone structure as well as weight distribution.
• Hourglass (not a fruit, but a basic body type!): The hourglass body type was for many years considered ideal. It simply means a figure is balanced evenly at the bust and hip, with a smaller waist.
• There are further variations, though the abovementioned will give you a working knowledge of body types.
Once you define your basic body shape, you will gain a greater understanding of your figure, and might want to consider shopping for the body you have—the body you have right now is just great, and you deserve to dress in a way that helps you look and feel your confident best right now! Today!
• Banana: There are two main takes on dressing this body type. You may choose to “lean in” to your slim figure, selecting elegant sheath dresses and cigarette pants that look especially good on trim, straight bodies, or you can create volume and definition to fudge a curvier look. A great bra and a peplum jacket can create an hourglass where there was none before! Color blocking can add definition to your figure, wearing wide belts creates a waist, and feel free to tuck in your blouses!
• Apple: Puffed or flutter (tulip) sleeves can balance a larger midsection, and you might want to shop women's tops and dresses with eye-catching details above the bust line. Empire waist garments generally work well on an apple shape, as do longer, shawl-collared jackets and cardigan sweaters. In your head, divide your body into thirds and then dress to pull attention to the top and bottom thirds—a statement necklace and beautiful boots, for example—to create visual balance.
• Pear: It just so happens that pear shapes often have the “booty” that is very on-trend in women’s looks right now. So, show off your assets if you like! However, to achieve balance, consider a fitted bottom—pencil skirts and skinny jeans are go-to pieces—worn with a third piece to your outfit, such as a cardigan or blazer. This visually evens out your shoulders and your derriere. Deep V-necks and fit-and-flare dresses work well on a pear shape.
• Hourglass: While sheath dresses and cigarette pants may be challenging on an hourglass figure, pretty much everything else was made for this body type. Lucky! The fashion world is your oyster.
Try to have fun! No body shape or styling advice on a blog means that you “can’t” wear any single piece in the world! You might need to have something tailored, or style a particular item carefully, but wearing what you love makes you happy, and being happy makes anyone beautiful and attractive! You deserve to wear whatever brings you joy! It’s okay to dress your body, whatever shape it is, in styles you love, whatever styles they are. At the same time, when you understand your body type, you can shop for items making informed, considered choices about how to build an attractive, functional wardrobe that can help you feel great, right off the rack! People can (as I used to) purchase too many aspirational or “just because” pieces that lead to frustration and those early morning sartorial crises that can ruin a whole day. Consider our tips as you shop, and we believe you will find building a wardrobe of attractive, functional pieces that offer true flexibility and confidence in your appearance a breeze!