Hourglass. Pear. Apple.
You’ve heard these terms before, right? They’re the slightly awkward, and not always flattering, ways we try to describe a woman’s body shape.
Perhaps more accurately, they are an attempt to describe a set of body proportions: the relationship of widths across various points in the body.
Fruit metaphors aside, what’s the point of knowing this information?
It’s to properly dress your body.
And by “properly,” I mean in a way that fits and flatters you.
This is not about looking thinner. Not really. It’s about looking balanced. (Skinny girls can have hips wider than their shoulders, too.)
But before you can read any article or book or blog post about dressing for the “x” body shape, you first need to know what yours is. It starts with a measuring tape.
How to figure out your body shape
Get out that measuring tape, and take and fill in these measurements: bust, waist, hips and shoulders.
(If you need help with this, just Google “how to measure ____” and look for any one of a number of videos demonstrating how to.)
Then translate your measurements into body shape. Here are the most commonly used shapes and their formulas:
Triangle: You’re wider on top than you are below; that is, your shoulder measurement is more than 5 percent larger than your hip measurement. Also called the apple shape.
Pear: Or dewdrop, or inverted triangle—this is the opposite of the triangle, so the proportions are flipped: your hips are more than 5 percent larger than your shoulders.
Rectangle: Aka, the flute. Your shoulder and hips are the same or nearly so, but your waist isn’t much smaller; it’s 25% less at the most.
Hourglass: This one’s easy—your shoulders and hips are the same or very close, and your waist is more than 25% narrower, usually about 10 inches smaller.
Not as tricky as you thought, I hope?
Now when I talk about how to buy and dress the x shape (such as this guide on buying blazers for the pear shape), you’ll know which advice is best for you.
- Did you have the body shape you thought you did?
- Which body shape metaphors do you prefer (triangle or apple, inverted triangle or pear, etc.)?
- Or should we come up with less silly names entirely?
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