Who hasn't asked someone that before?
It called to you from across the store. That beautiful, pleated, full length skirt. It seemed like a no-brainer. But then, you tried it on. Something was just....wrong. You looked short, frumpy, and squat. What happened? Or you slip into a pair of jeans, and look instantly 10 pounds lighter. You feel like a million bucks. Is it magic?
We talked on Monday about your style personality. Today, lets delve into another crucial aspect of dressing yourself well: your shape.
Exercise won't change this shape. It's more of your body's basic structure. There are four basic types, and they go by various names. I'm going to use the most common: Apple, Pear, Ruler, and Hourglass. Once you know your shape, you can find clothes that fit you better and spare your husband from having to answer that dreaded question again!
- Also known as banana or rectangle, ruler shaped people resemble their name. Their hips, shoulders, and waist are about the same width, and they might have a small bust.
- Also known as "V", Apple shaped people are wider in the shoulders and narrower in the waist and hips, with long legs.
- Pear shaped people have curvy hips, thighs, and backside and a small waist, medium to small chest, and sloping or narrow shoulders. This is a very common shape among women.
- Also known as an "8" shape, people with an hourglass shape have chest and hip measurements that are similar, with a smaller waist and a larger bust.
To determine your shape, you can look in a mirror and try to guess. If you can't tell, have someone help you take your measurements. You can measure yourself, but you'll get more accurate results if you get help. Measure across the fullest part of your chest, running the tape measure underneath your arms, with your arms relaxed at your sides for your chest measurement. Measure around the narrowest part of your torso: this is your natural waist. Measure the fullest part of your hips for your hip measurement.
There's a few variations on these types. You could be:
- Short Waisted- the distance between your shoulders and natural waist is shorter than average (right around where your elbow hits is average) and you have longer legs.
- Long Waisted- the distance between your shoulders and natural waist is longer than average, and you have shorter legs.
Flaws or Features?
I mentioned last Friday that history has perceived different body shapes as "ideal" at different times. Sometimes people automatically associate a particular shape with being overweight, or skinny. This is not the case! Some shapes will allow you to hide extra weight better than others, but that's not necessarily a good thing, considering that the health risks are still there.
I'm an hourglass, but I certainly haven't always embraced that. I got my figure pretty early, while all my peers were still relatively flat chested, and it frustrated me that I didn't look as good in the little tees and tops and other junior sized clothing. I felt fat, and I wanted to be a ruler. But no amount of push-ups or sleeping with my bra on was making my chest any smaller! It was hard to find bras that had big enough cups and small enough bands to fit my rib cage; most department stores didn't carry my size, and I had to settle for ill fitting bras or pay for the more expensive Victoria Secret ones. It probably wasn't until after meeting Brian that I began to really accept and appreciate my shape and see that having a big bust and butt could be a good thing.
Like we talked about Friday, a lot of fashion advice is geared towards fixing your "flaws." I don't think that having a small bust, or a big bust, or short legs, or thick ankles, really are "flaws," it's part of how God made us. We can try to disguise our features to create the illusion of being whatever the ideal shape is at the time, or we can embrace our uniqueness and find out what fits us best, what makes us feel the best, and what we enjoy wearing the most.
What to Wear
Feel free to try these suggestions and see what works for you; you definitely don't have to follow them all the time. Some of my favorite clothes technically aren't supposed to look good on me. Several of you shared in the comments that the best fashion advice you've received was to wear what you love and what fits. Pawsitive Life said that she dislikes fashion that tries to hide flaws, instead of "celebrating the person in the clothes." I completely agree, so hopefully these help you to celebrate your shape!
- Try V necklines. Avoid ruffles on your shoulders and puffed sleeves, which make your shoulders look larger.
- Wrap dresses and tops are a great look on you, as well as tops and dresses that tie at the waist.
- Wear skirts and dresses to show your long legs to their advantage. A-lines that flare at the bottom will balance your shoulders.
- High waisted tops and dresses fit you well.
- Go for jackets and sweaters that hit below your waist.
- Wide belts look great on you; they add definition to your waist.
- Wrap or tie tops with V necks are a good choice. Go for these over straight cut button up shirts.
- You've got great legs, so go for straight leg jeans and pencil skirts.
- Avoid bolero jackets, they tend to make you look boxy. Instead, try longer jackets that are fitted in the waist and flare out over the hips.
- Wear bottoms that are darker than your tops.
- Avoid bottoms with pleats and side pockets, and jackets that end at your hips. Go for long or short.
- Wear tops that accentuate your shoulders, such as puffed sleeves, flutter sleeves, or halter necklines.
- Skinny jeans might not be the best look for you, flared jeans are more balanced and universally flattering. You could also try a boot cut.
- A-line skirts, dresses, and tops are great on you.
- Avoid tops with too much detail around the chest if you are busty, as well as turtlenecks and cowlnecks; they'll make you look top heavy.
- Along with that, avoid spaghetti straps. Scoop, V, and sweetheart necklines are flattering.
- Good bras that fit well are extremely important.
- Accentuate your narrow waist with a belt or sash.
- Go for fitted dresses and tops.
- A-line skirts and dresses are always good choice, but you can also look amazing in dresses and skirts that hug the figure.
- Wear long tunic tops or dresses, and avoid dresses with waistbands
- Layer long tanks underneath tops
- Wear different colors on the top and bottom
- Go for shorter jackets
- Wrap dresses. They flatter every figure.
- Dark denim. Always makes you look slimmer.
- A-line skirts and dresses. That little flare in the skirt is flattering for everyone's shape.
Sources: Fashion For Dummies Cheat Sheet, Figure Flatter, The Ultimate Guide to Dressing Slimmer
It's important to note that sometimes suggestions might be contradictory. Some dresses suggested for hourglass figures might have spaghetti straps, and some A-line skirts might have pleats. So please don't take these too literally! Find what works for YOU!
For more info:
- How to Dress To Flatter Any Figure. This article mentions 12 different types, but many of them sound like slight variations on the basic types I've mentioned. This article gives examples for each and some suggestions for flattering clothing.
- Figure Flatterer on iVillage. This interactive tool is packed with suggestions for what to wear and what to avoid when it comes to jeans, pants, skirts, dresses, jackets, tops, and even accessories. However, it is from the perspective that some features are "bad," and if you have a certain shape, you can never ever wear certain things, which I don't buy. With that said, it does have a lot of helpful information.
- Stylebakery. This site has some really helpful articles and images, and they're very down to earth and affordable.
- Wendi Braswell. I stumbled across her videos on ehow, and I'll probably share some more from her. You can find great videos from her on youtube too. Here's a video about finding jeans to flatter your figure with some really great tips.
- Shabby Apple's Figure Flatterer. After doing the quiz, you can shop by your figure type.
What do you like about your shape? Have you always liked it?
Think about your favorite outfits. What is it about them that makes them look great on you?
P.S. Have you entered the giveaway yet?! Are you having fun with the homework for this week? Have you take your body shape into consideration with the collage you're making?
P.P.S. To post your collage on Scribble's facebook page, all you have to do is share the link. Or, you could post it to your page and tag @scribblesfromemily. Let me know if you need help :)
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Labels: apple shape, dressing well, Fashion 101, flatter your figure, Healthy body image, hourglass shape, pear shape, ruler shape