What's My Body Shape
Having worked in fashion retailing for almost 20 years I have seen all shapes and sizes and its clear that a lot of women often feel daunted by the prospect of shopping for a new outfit. The main reason is often the lack of confidence women face as they are unsure of their body shape and what styles will suit them. Knowing your body shape is the key to successful dressing, no matter what trends or fashion fads are happening!
Here at Match we are on hand to help point you in the right direction, allowing our customers to understand the basics in how to build a wardrobe that is perfect for your shape. Keeping an open mind to new styles, shapes and most importantly size is essential as this will allow you to open up the choices and help you find the most inspiring and flattering styles of clothes for your specific body shape.
Sizing is a major factor in determining how successful finding an outfit can be. Depending on the store you buy from the size that fits you can really vary from store to store. It is so important not to feel disheartened if you have to try on a bigger size as this is often due to the stores sizing and not a reflection on your size. Never wear something that is too small just because its “your size”, this is a major mistake as wearing something too small with often make you look bigger!
So in an effort to help our customers, I have provided a guide to enhance your confidence and shopping experience. In order to do this it is essential to keep an open mind, its not simply a question of dressing for your age or size, it’s about using fashion to maximize your assets and balance out your proportions. Achieve this and the world is your fashion oyster!
The key to dressing successfully is to create the illusion of having a balanced body. Once you have realized your shape, then you can dress accordingly. Here are the main body shapes in which to help you decide what shape you are. Remember that everyone is slightly different and you may not fit exactly into each shape description but if you are more one shape than the other this will help you decide.
The main characteristics for an Apple Shape are:
- Carry weight around the middle/tummy area
- No defined waist line
- Slim legs
- Small flattish bottom
- Rounded shoulders
Apple shapes can have either small or large busts, but nearly always have slim legs and arms. It is these slender limbs that need to be highlighted as these are your assets! The best way of dressing for an apple shape is to create a waist and show off your legs.
Creating a waist
The hourglass figure is notorious as being the most yearned after figure, so creating a waist is often what all women want. Here are a few suggestions that are easy to follow that will help in achieving a waist and getting closer to the hourglass figure.
- Invest in a good bra that fits! Wearing the right bra can have immediate effects, get yourself measured properly. An uplifting bra can adjust your posture and instantly give you a waist.
- Define your waist by adding a wide elasticated belt to your outfit. This breaks up the line of the dress or top and gives the illusion of a waist. Always opt for a wide belt as this will make your waist look more noticeable.
- Certain style tops will help achieve a waist. Wrap overs, tops with side ruching and knot front tops are all flattering and help in sliming down tummies and adding a waist.
- Look for tops and dresses in patterns and with texture as they are better as disguising tummies than plain colours especially if the material is stretchy. Fabrics to look out for are lace, ribs or tweeds.
- Your waist needs defining so do not be afraid of tucking your top into a high waisted pencil skirt. Only do this on tops that are floaty or shirt like and not stretchy as stretchy tops on a stretchy skirt equals not a good look. The aim of this look is for the pencil skirt to provide support to your tummy and the top with blouse over thus creating a waist line.
- If you do not wear skirts- invest in a pair of flat fronted trousers, these are a must have for all apple shapes.
If you do not want to draw attention to your waist and would rather hide your middle here are some tips.
- A-line or trapeze neck tops are a good option as they are voluminous in shape and draw attention away due to the cut.
- Sack like tunics and drapey knits can work in your favour. Opt for ones that can be belted in if need be. Asymmetric lines or ruched at the side can let your tummy mysteriously vanish as it stays hidden under the drapes or ruching. Keep your dress knee length in order of showing off your best asset - your legs. * Northland knits*
- A peplum top or dress is a great shape that hides the tummy, the frill falls below the waist and will hid any protrusion under the frill. Make sure the skirt of the peplum is fitted to achieve the best shape. *Little Mistress Red Peplum top*.
So to summarize, an apple shape should show off their best assets – being your slender limbs (arms and legs) which in turn will draw attention away from your problem areas around your tummy. At the same time add some small touches mentioned above to your outfit and a waist will be appear and balance out your shape perfectly.
Recommendations for Apple shape are
The main characteristic of Pear shape are:
- A defined waist
- Larger hips and thighs
- Narrower shoulders than hips
- Wear larger size on bottom than top
More often than not if you are pear shaped you have got a small bust and narrow shoulders, with bigger hips, thighs or bum. In order of maximizing your shape, you need to balance your top half with your lower half by wearing clothes that make your shoulders look broader. The key is diverting attention away from large hips and thighs instead draw attention to your defined waist and upper body.
Hiding hips and thighs
- Always wear fitted styles around your waist that will accentuate it, a great shape for this is a tulip shaped dress that will be nipped in at the waist but skim over your hips.
- Often if you wear a detailed top on your top half that is either puff sleeved, pattered or just coloured – this can visually make your thighs seem narrower. Volume on top can slim down hips, just remember to cinch in your waist.
- Wear jackets and tops that finish either above or below the widest point of your hips and bottom, never that sit on your widest part as this will accentuate it.
- Layering is a good tip as this can create interest and draw the eye upwards. Wear a long stretch vest that falls below your bum and layer over the top a looser draped top, possibly asymmetric that will not only draw attention to your shoulders but hide the hips well.
- A great way of disguising your bottom half is to opt for a flared skater dress. The dress is fully aline that kicks out. It is clear to see that the dress is full at the bottom but that you are not, as your shape will be well hidden and so hips disguised under the flared skirt.
- Avoid wearing skinny jeans with pumps as this can often draw attention to large thighs. If you are to wear skinny jeans tuck them into boots as this will shape the leg better and balance out the thigh. A must for all larger thighs when wearing skinny jeans is to opt for a slightly longer top to cover the bum, this is a flattering way to wear skinny jeans.
- Opt for bootcut jeans or straight legs if you want to wear shorter tops. A bootcut leg is perfect for balancing out your hips but wear with a slight heel to achieve the most flattering look. Straight leg jeans are great to wear with flats and can be worn with shorter tops or jumpers they do not cling so much as skinnies and can be worn with just pumps if preferred.
- When wearing heels, avoid ankle straps as this will significantly make your legs look shorter and wider. Opt for peep toe or even nude colour shoes as this will length the look of your leg.
So to summarize a pear shaped body should show off the waist either by choosing fitted styles or cinching in by a belt. The top half should be used as a way of distracting attention away from the thighs using volume, colour or patterns. Alternatively hide up your hips using shapes that are fuller such as the skater dress.
Recommendations for Pear shape are
The main characteristics of inverted triangle shape are:
- No definition between waist and hips
- Broad, square shoulders
- Hips narrower than shoulders
The main emphasis on this shape is to make your hips and thighs look wider to balance out the broad shoulders. The key is to wear voluminous styles on your bottom half to achieve this, opt for layered gypsy skirts, ra ra skirts and aline 50s skater style skirts. Harem trouser or palazzo pants are great trousers for this shape as these are looser and draw attention to the lower body area. Tuck in tops to create a waist at the same time keeping your top half minimal to create the perfect balance.
Hiding broad shoulders
- Avoid all necklines that can make you look broader such as boat or Bardot off the shoulder tops. Anything with big straps especially halter neck tops or big shawl collars can draw attention to your shoulders.
- Steer clear of fussy sleeves such as ruffles, puff sleeves or shoulder pads as these will add inches onto your shoulders.
- Double breasted jackets can add to your shoulders as they tend to be more masculine in cut. Opt for single breasted or roll edged jackets that are more tailored as this will balance out your shoulders better.
- If wearing jewellery or scarves, keep them thin and simple so as to add a soft feminine touch. Avoid large chunky necklaces or scarves as this again will draw attention to your worry area.
Your boyish hips need to be balanced by your top half but in a way that is not going to draw attention to your broad shoulders. Therefore opt for fuller bottom halves which are great to wear with flats or heels and wear fitted tops that have clean lines to keep your shape balanced. Top off your outfit with a frill edged cardigan or casual blazer for a look that will complement your shape.
Our recommendations for Inverted Triangles are
Lucky you if you have this figure, as it’s the easiest to dress! Being busty, having a slim waist you will have a womanly figure with killer curves.
Typical characteristics of hourglass are
- A defined bust
- Same size on top and bottom
- Neat hips
- Curved bottom
The key to this shape is to wear fitted styles that show off your body’s shape. It may sound obvious but you want to look for styles that are slightly stretchy that will show the contour of your figure as it can be easy to cover up in the wrong places.
- Make sure you define your waist , flatter your bust and highlight your hips and bum.
- Never wear a loose top with loose bottoms as this will do nothing for your shape. Instead balance your gorgeous shape by wearing either a fitted top and looser bottoms or a tunic top with skinny jeans.
- Bodycon styles are another great shape, if you have lumps and bumps opt for a woven fabric as this is more forgiving.
- Belted jackets or trench coats are a great style as this will cinch in your waist at the same time as showing off your hips
- Tulip shape dresses can work to your advantage too as long as the dress is fitted at the waist, this style can really suit hourglass figures
Our recommendations for hourglass are