Fashion & Style

How to find your body shape

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salma hayek
Salma Hayek is the quintessential example of an hourglass shape
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Know how to find your body shape so you can dress in the most flattering way

No one -- or at least the very rare woman -- has the ideal body shape. In fact, there are various body shapes. In order to dress yourself in the most flattering manner you need to determine what your exact body shape is.

Your body shape is the overall silhouette of your body, which means the contours of your particular body figure in relation to your waist. Another way of putting it is: how in proportion your upper, middle and lower halves are in relation to each other.


There is, of course, the coveted hourglass body shape that is considered by many to be holy grail of female bodies because the upper and lower proportions are in line with one another. The waistline is small in comparison to the breasts and hips or eight to 12 inches smaller than the bust or hip measurement. Actress Salma Hayek is a perfect example of a woman with an hourglass shape.

The hourglass shape looks very much like a literal hourglass. One advantage of this type of body is that if an hourglass shaped woman gains weight she generally gains it evenly all over and not, for example, in her hips or belly. Women who have an hourglass shape can wear fashionable belts to accentuate their slim waistline and look wonderfully sexy in knit dresses and other form fitting clothing.


If your body is apple shaped you might not be too happy about it but you can dress to conceal what you don't want to emphasize and emphasize that which you like about your body.

An apple shape body is rather wide at the waist, which means there isn't much waist definition. The overall silhouette is one of roundness. The waist, hips and bust are very close to the same size. Rosie O'Donnell is a good example of an apple shape body that has some excess weight on it.

However, it is possible to be thin and be an apple shape, which may surprise you. When a woman is basically an apple shape but isn't carrying extra weight her body looks like an inverted triangle or a rectangle because the upper part of their body is wide. However, if they were to gain weight, the fat tends to store in the upper half or chest area which makes the woman look top-heavy.


The rectangle body shape is, essentially, straight up and down with very few curves and a small bust. Avoid wearing pants that are low rise because this can elongate the upper part of your body, the torso. Actress Cameron Diaz is a good example of a rectangle shape.


The pear shape body means that you are bottom-heavy. You are bigger in your bottom, thighs and hips than you are on top. The pear-shaped woman may have narrow shoulders and ample hips, thighs and buttock. However, you probably have a flat stomach. You can achieve balance by drawing attention to the upper half. Dress in bold, bright colorful tops or sweaters and wear darker colors on the bottom because they're slimming.

Jennifer Lopez is a pear shape and she's certainly doing okay.

Strawberry and beyond

The strawberry body shape means that you are significantly bigger on the top than you are on the bottom. You have large breasts and wide shoulders in relationship to your hips and waist.

Another expression that you may hear in relation to body type is ruler or cone. Those who are ruler shaped don't have much difference in their waist-, hips- and chest measurements while those that are cone-shaped have waist and chest measurements that are very similar but their hips are smaller, as much as six inches, than their chest.

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