Body Shapes Explained – V shape (Inverted Triangle)


To be a V shape, your shoulders need to be wider than your hips, by a good couple of inches. You may or may not have a waist, many V shapes have a shorter waist, if so, then use the tips from the H shape through your waist area – that is – no tucking, detail, pockets, belts, gathering, pleats etc. at the waist, so as not to draw attention to your lack of waist.

If you are one of the lucky ones to have a waist, follow the tips from the X shape to highlight it.
What we need to do is create balance and make your hips a little curvier, so you basically are the opposite of the A shape, so pretty much don’t do everything they do.
V Shape Body


V shape what to wear
  1. Tops look great with narrower openings such as narrow V necks, crew necks (especially if you have smaller breasts), keyhole necklines, gathered necklines etc.
  2. Look for raglan sleeves, halter necks, dolman sleeves, kimono sleeves, which will visually narrow your shoulders. Flared or wider cuffs will also balance your figure, as will hems that end around your hips.
  3. Narrow lapels or no lapels are best on jackets.
  4. Coats can have patch pockets on the hips to add some curves.
  5. Jeans and trousers can also have pocket detail, so cargo pants will work for you too. Jeans can be straight, skinny or a flare will balance your shoulders.
  6. Skirts need to be flared or pleated from a dropped waist if you want to create a more feminine shape, bias cut also work really well for you if you don’t have saddlebags, and a tapered pencil skirt is another option if teamed with a shoulder diminishing top. Patterned skirts will also draw attention and balance your figure. Wear the darker colour from the skirt in your top.
  7. Halterneck dresses are fabulous on you. Avoid waist definition unless you have a defined waist. Go for empire lines (just below the bust) as this will be your narrowest point. Detail and pattern on the bottom of the dress will also help to create more curve.






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  • IMogen, is my waist defined enough to accent it, or should I ignore it? I try to wear things that skim my body and make a horizontal line across my hips to make them look bigger.

  • Karen you could define with a thin belt if you wanted, but avoid wide belts.

    Wrap dresses would also be an option for you. You might like to try a belt over a top that ends at the hips. Or alternatively, wear a flared skirt then a shorter, fitted top or jacket that ends at the waist.

  • IMogen,
    I have been trying to figure out my shape for some time now. My measurements are 38.5-28-38.5 but my shoulders are slightly wider than the rest of my body, I would guess by maybe an inch or two. Most people tell me that I am an elongated hourglass or vase, but I sometimes think I am a combination of an inverted triangle and an hourglass. Is that possible? Or can an hourglass have slightly wider shoulders than hips? Please help!

    • Yes, I have this body shape too. Front on, my shoulders are the widest part of my body by about 2 inches, but I have an X shape from the waist down. Look in the mirror and measuring straight across, my shoulders are 41 cm wide, my hips are 35 cm wide, and my waist is 23 cm wide. The widest part of my hip is my lower hip, and I have a tapered waist/hip area. When I gain weight it comes on proportionally in my breasts, waist, and hips, so the numbers change a little but the difference between them doesn’t. According to all other websites, I am an hourglass or vase shape, and my bust/waist/hip measurement is classic hourglass, with 10.5 inches between bust and waist, and 11 between waist and hips. I try to combine V and X shape advice, except it’s often diametrically opposing. My legs are proportionate to my body, and I am a bit long through the bust area. When I wear turtlenecks, pencil skirts, halternecks, and a nipped in waist I get compliments, and I look terrible in empire waists, drop waists, or anything that exaggerates the shoulders.

  • Am also having trouble identifyng my body shape. Its eith am a rectangle or inverted triangle. My measurements are 37(hip)-34(waist)-37(bust) and have broad shoulders. [email protected] shape am i? Plz assist me.

    • Hi Faith,

      I’d need to see a photo – measurements don’t really ell you enough – but you sound quite H shape, but really, it’s all about the silhouette. You can post a photo on the forum (under body shapes) and I’ll have a look at it for you.

  • hmmmm glad to see this V post….I am between an H and an inverted V. if an H is supposed to have the same measurements shoulders to hipsm then i am an inverted V. because my rib cage and my shoulders are both wider than my hips. ( size 12 or 14 on top, 10 or 12 on bottom) but i have a very short waist, and ehn i am thin i look like a boy with wide shoulders. I am not thin right now, but i still have narrower hips and flat butt. I put on a bias cut dress the other day with a padded bra, looked about to fall over in an photo. 😉 but the halter tops and dresses, and the nipped waists jackets, ruffled shirts, and the slight flared skirts, pencil skirts, skinny jeans, all work best, so im going to now try a combo purge of my closet leaving more attention to inverted V. And more attention to proportion and my face. Thank you! what makes it crazy is I am also an actress and then on camera depending on proximity, wow! well A costumer once gave me grief for being busty, and ALSO for bringing something too loose. Cant win for losing I say!

  • Imogen your blog is wonderful, I was shopping with a friend this weekend and we looked you up and found these great tips on how to shop for her shape, thank you! I would have been so off, I’m an 8/A and she’s more a V, total opposites. Thanks again!

  • Hi, I’m confused about my shape,I have broad shoulders,my hands are fat but I have lean legs.d’nt knw if u can help so I can choose clothes to fit my body better

  • I’m a V I hate it, I have such wide shoulders and such narrow hips and a flat arse I find it hard to look feminine, even when I am slim my shoulders are ridiculously wide, I have a big frame and when slim have an athletic shape with very little in the way of curves, when over weight I have a big belly and keep my slim legs which is not flattering at all. I’ve never had a waist and never will which is depressing and my thighs don’t curve outwards like most women’s , I often come up as apple on some websites but I am soft or curvy enough to be an apple, a goblet is more fitting for me due to the square shoulders and very narrow hips and flat butt. I gave up on trying to make a waist and am trying drop waist styles. I also don’t suit skinny jeans and leggins as they make my legs spindly.

  • I really appreciate your articles in the V shape. Like the commenter above me, it is hard to love being a V. I feel bigger than I am especially if wear something unflattering or too tight on top. I want luscious hips and a waist!! Add to that, I have a bit of a belly, so waists of bottoms often cut me, and are usually too baggy in the bum. I’ve found elastic waist pants and leggings are my friend. Having more volume in my skirt or pants helps too! What you said about dolman or raglan sleeves is spot on–not only do they flatter, they are just plain more comfortable. My shoulders are broad and rounded and the set in sleeves of most tops often irritate me or feel tight. A dolman sleeve flows right over the curve of my shoulder and hangs very nicely! I also like the way I look in bell sleeves. I actually am starting to feel sexy in my body shape thanks to your articles. I’m going to look for more comfortable, flattering sleeves, and follow your guidelines as they are spot on. Thanks! 🙂

  • Great information on your website! Like many other women, I am a combination of H and V. I have a short waist and large bust with athletic swimmer looking shoulders, your advice has helped me look more balanced and hour glass shaped. It is amazing how a few professional tips and tricks have helped me look at my body as my friend and not my enemy. Thank you Imogen!

  • Hello, I’m a teen and have been told by a doctor that my bone growth is done.
    I could use a bit of advice figuring out my body shape, I’m told by my family that I’m a banana/straight and my measurements fit that but as you said measurements aren’t always accurate. I feel like I fit the v better, due to my rib cage and shoulders and measurements. My waist is bigger than the general banana, and my bust and hips are the same. I’m also short 5″1.

    • If your shoulders and rib cage are broader than your hips you definitely sound like a V shape – I tend to advise just to go with the shape that the suggestions are best for your body, rather than over categorizing yourself.

  • Hi Imogen

    I’m having a lot of trouble working out what my body shape is. I would have said that I’m an inverted triangle, except that I have narrow shoulders (35cm across). I am Petite (5’1) and fairly much in proportion lengthwise (torso:leg length). But, I’m a size AU14 top (bust and waist) and AU8 pants (hips, buttocks and thighs), if they are low-rise or have an elastic waist band.

    Do I fit into a particular shape? I’m finding it difficult as my shape has changed dramatically with significant weight loss (I used to carry most of my weight on my buttocks, thighs and bust). I am doing waist training and hope to get my waist to 70% of my hip circumference. If I can do that, how would that change which shape I fit into?

    • Is it your bust that makes you wear the larger top size rather than your shoulders? You could be an H shape with a large bust, so it will make you appear top heavy and you’ll want to dress like and H for your waist and shoulders, but a V on your bottom half to balance your upper body. Then take in your larger bust body variation and get some tips on wearing that.

      • Thanks so much for your reply. My bust and waist are both AU size 14, based on my size in centimeters (bra is 14C, so not that big). Bust:waist:hips is 92:75:88 (at the widest part). Pretty odd measurements, I gather. Every body shape I’ve read about assumes one’s hips will be the largest measurement!

      • Hi again, Imogen

        This has been bugging me a lot, and I’ve been going between an H and an V as far as my shape is concerned. The problem with the Holy advice is that my waist is a little smaller than my u/b measurement, so wearing higher waisted dresses mean that they emphasise a slightly larger point on my abdomen.
        Anyway, to try to pin down my actual shape, I asked my son to help me with doing measurements against a wall. The most significant ones are as follows:
        Shoulders: 39cm
        Waist: 27.5cm
        Hips: 31.5cm

        The hip measurement was taken at the widest point, which is actually more on my upper thigh.

        Does this help you to give determine my shape more accurately? If you need any other measurements I can let you know. I’m finding it quite difficult to make choices about clothing style without knowing for sure, so I would really appreciate your opinion.

  • My shoulders are at least 4″ wider than my hips and 3″ wider than my waist. I have been agonizing over this for weeks because in most posts about Inverted V’s everyone claims to have no butt or very little whereas I have a very prominent rear-end although my hips and thighs are narrow. As you can see my waist and hips are only 1″ difference so at first I thought I was an H shape but when I factored in my shoulders it definitely went to more of a V. Please help.

    • Rather than using measurments, which only tell circumference, it’s best to take a photo of yourself and see with a ruler if your shoulders are wider than hips/bottom from the front (silhouette). Yes curved bottoms can come on any shape, depends if they are wide out the side or more backwards which will influence your body shape.

  • Hi lmogen,
    I really appreciate your advice. Based on the shapes described, I think am H shape, but another thing I discovered about my shape is that, my back really curved in and it’s very obvious. Please I’ll very much appreciate your advice on what to wear in order not to look like a curved banana(lol) at my back area. You’re doing a wonderful job, Thanks a lot.

    • Tonia – a sway back can be a little tricky to dress. tops that are looser will help to disguise as long as they end at a point on your bum but don’t pool.

  • Hi I’m really confused about my body shape on every body calculator that I’ve done I’m a pear breast 32d , hips 36 and waist 25 I tend to gain weight in my lower area or all over not just my stomach . My shoulders are 15-16 inches Idk whether I’m a inverted v or a pear though , my shoulders aren’t football player broad but they are broader and I’ve asked around what’s my most notable feature and people say my hips ? Confused??‍♀️

  • This is so interesting. I am a waisted V – My shoulders are 1.5″ wider than my hips so only just but it makes a difference compared to say an hourglass. My waist is 9″ smaller than my hips too so just on the side of a V. I also have a curved bottom and a slight curve to my thighs but I think this is due to weights and running. Ive tried to balance out my body as much as I can by exercise and surgery.

    I agree with eceryone saying its hard to be a female V. I long to wear bardot tops and spaghetti straps!

  • My measurements are 39-27-38. It looks like a little difference and almost hourglass but it is a big difference in the mirror. I do have a difined waist but not a lot. In good posture (aways) i look almost hourglass but in relaxed posture i look like a girl in a boy body. Im consused.

  • I must say…your website is the best for figuring out your body shape. I can’t believe so many of them don’t figure in your shoulders…which makes a huge difference, imo!! I kept getting that I’m a ‘rectangle’…but I know my shoulders make me an inverted triangle. Many websites base it on your bust. I don’t have huge shoulders, but they are about 3 inches wider than my hips. They can look too big at times, and I needed advice that figured that in. I also don’t have a big bust. Some women have slightly wider shoulders and an average bust. Thanks so much for your proper analysis.

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