Whether you’re a size 8 or a 28, everyone has a natural body shape that’s defined by their skeletal structure, muscle and fat distribution. As you gain and lose weight, it can be hard to identify which body shape you really are, so get your full length mirror out, grab a tape measure and get to grips with it using our quick and easy guide.
The best way to decide which one you are is to stand in front of a full length mirror and focus on your torso (from shoulders to hips). If you can’t face the thought of gazing at yourself in the mirror, then get the tape measure out and measure the widest point of your shoulders and hips and the thinnest part of your waist.
If your hips are wider than your shoulders and waistline then you’re a pear.
If your hips and shoulders are the same width, but your waistline is a lot smaller, then you’re an hourglass.
If your shoulders are wider than your waist and hipline then you’re an inverted triangle.
If your shoulders, hips and waist are all roughly the same size (and when you gain weight, you gain it evenly all over), you’re a rectangle.
And finally, if your shoulders and hips are about the same size and your waist is the same or wider, then you’re an apple.
Finding flattering clothes to suit your shape is all about creating visual balance.
If you’re an apple shape, draw attention away from your middle with fuss-free waistbands and add details to your shoulders or legs. Flattering cuts include:
- Wide-leg, boot-cut or straight-legged, flat-fronted tailored trousers/jeans
- Single-breasted structured jackets with v-shaped lapels that end above your hips
- Knee-length structured skirts
- Form-fitting tops
- Belted coats
Pear shapes benefit from wearing darker colours on their bottom halves and lighter colours on the top. Look out for:
- Knee-length, A-line skirts
- Long A-line coats that end below the widest part of your hips
- Empire-line dresses
- Boot-cut stretch jeans in dark colours
If you’re a rectangle, keep your silhouette uncluttered and create the illusion of a waist. Avoid anything that’s too boxy, but try:
- Button down shirts
- Dresses with a dropped waist
- Trousers/skirts with details at the hip
- Use strong blocks of colour to help define your body
- Tailored jackets that fit to the waist
If you’re an inverted triangle, wear clothes on your bottom half that create volume and make your hips look broader. Clothes that work well include:
- Drapey wrap cardigans
- Unbuttoned or v-neck tops
- Peplum, A-line or full skirts
- Trousers with pockets or embellishments
- Bold, eye-catching shoes
Hourglass shapes are all about the waist. Get yourself a good supportive bra to lift your bust and define your middle. Styles to look out for include:
- Wrap dresses
- Belted coats
- High-rise pencil skirts
- Straight leg, high-rise trousers
- Tops with wider and lower necklines that draw attention to shoulders.