Body Shapes Explained – I Shape (slim and boyish)

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If you’d describe your figure as boyish, with little in the way of curves you are most likely an I body shape. (Not sure of your body shape?  Take the Body Shape Calculator Quiz here).

I body shapes tend to have similar width shoulders and hips with a fairly undefined waist.  They are very lean and often feel that they lack feminine curves. There are similarities to the H shape, but they are slimmer than and not as broad as an H shape.

Clothes that suit add volume at hips and bust, so look for horizontal details such as pockets on the hips, whiskering and distressing on jeans.  Ruffles and frills on tops and skirts add feminine curves.

Patterns with negative space in a higher contrast are great for your shape.

Many clothes that look great on a coathanger will work for you and your model like body.

What won’t work for you is clothing that is very shaped and needs more curves to fill out.   If you have a more bony decolletage you may feel that high necklines work better for you than low ones.  Look for crew necks, mandarin collars, turtle necks, boat necks and halter necks can all work.

Chanel style jackets and double breasted jackets can work on your figure, the boyfriend jacket is made for you.  Belted jackets and coats work really well for you so get together a collection of trench coats!  Peplum jackets do not work as they are too shaped for your body.

Belt voluminous garments at the waist to create curves.

Trapeze and tunic style garments can also work really well on you.

Lighter colour bottoms and darker coloured tops work for you if you have height too.

Cargo pants are another option if they fit your personality style.

Jeans can come in all shapes and sizes for you, from the skinny leg through to the wide leg, the nature of denim and its natural stiffness work for your body type.

Fabrics that you may find hard to wear are those with lots of drape, you need a little stiffness in your fabrics, anything too floppy won’t work so well on you.

Cameron Diaz is an I body shape.

whats my body shape

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24 Comments

  • I could only dream to have a slim and boyish shape. This is the figure that can wear just about anything.

  • I'm glad you're doing body shapes again. In reading old posts on this I couldn't figure out what I was until I found in a comment where you mentioned the "curvy H" and I realized that's me for sure. When you post about H's, can you mention more about the curvy H? All of your info has been so very useful to me. Thanks!

  • Thank you for this. This is definitely me, but it's certainly evolved over the years. At 18, I was 5'9" and 120 lbs. Ew. Stick-girl. Now at 28, I am 5'9" and 157 lbs, 8 months post-baby. My body is confused and while many women have boobs to balance out their bum, my bum, which has gotten "curvier" (read: bigger) over the years, is not countered by anything up top (I'm still a 36A…MAYBE a B, depending on the bra brand). So you see, it's not the easiest body to work with, and no, Belle de Ville, I cannot "wear just about anything." The baby ponch doesn't help even things out, either. We all have our hangups, but it is nice to know which "general" category I sit in, so I can work from there.

  • My best pal is this shape – or as she might say, this *lack* of shape. She has a surprisingly difficult time finding clothing (pants in particular) that fits/flatters her AA-cup/size 0 body (and this after having two babies in the past 3 1/2 years!).

    It's handy having someone with such a different body type around – when she wears something that looks great, I know immediately it's something I am not likely to be able to pull off with my boobs and short waist. Good think I like her so much, or I'd have to hate her (kidding!).

  • So many runway styles seem to favour this shape! My I-shape friend wears drop waisted frock/tunic styles so well, and of course for her, hipster pants are never the problem that they can be for other shapes. I admire how she can wear the latest "unwaisted" fashions without sacrificing a drop of femininity.

  • Imogen, having met me do you think I'm an I or an H (I've lost a couple of kilos since I saw you last year)? This body shape stuff is so incredibly helpful for working out just WHY certain wonderful things don't look wonderful when you try them on!

  • I like that you gave an example of Cameron Diaz having an I shaped body. Can you give examples of other movie stars / famous people with other body shapes? Also, what actresses have a round face shape? Then I could look for pictures of them and get ideas for hairstyles… Great blog. Thanks!

  • Thank you. I am definitely an I shape, and this is helpful. I've been working to figure out what I can wear and you are confirming a lot of what I thought.

    For those who think it's so great to be a woman with a stick figure – no, really, it's not. My waist is bigger than my AA chest, which makes it hard to find clothes that fit, and even in my 40s I still worry about being mistaken for a boy. There are a LOT, LOT of things I can't wear and wish I could. All figure types have their challenges.

  • Thank you so much for the information and the pictures!
    I am I shape and so much confused about ny clothing.
    Thank you from Russia!

  • Amen and amen. For years I’ve noticed myself gravitating towards these clothing tips and not knowing why. Also, I’ve always described myself as a “jeans girl.” I could live in that stiff fabric but again, never knew why! My hubby is always trying to get me to try dress pants which I had an unexplained aversion to (again, now I know why… so often the fabric isn’t stiff enough for me but I always felt weird saying that thinking maybe it was in my head). Now I have an even clearer picture of what to look for. Thank you!

  • everyone wants this shape.. but it is sooo hard to find flattering clothing. I’m on the tiny side of the I shape (5’5″ and almost 100lbs so pretty skinny) and I tend to look lost in alot of the clothing I try on. Before I had my child I had way more shape to me and now I just look like a teenager even though I’m nearing 30. Any ideas on how to dress fun but not look like 16 when the only stores that have clothes my size are teen type stores?

  • Yeah, this shape is not all it’s chocked up to be, I think. I am barely 5’0″, about 110 lbs, and – at age 24 – frequently get mistaken for a 12-year-old. I’m not bone-skinny and have muscular legs, so it becomes even harder to get what I need. Department stores don’t carry my size in women’s clothing, and as I enter my mid-20s, I’m finding the juniors’ section to be lacking. Your series on what I shapes can wear is helpful (although that might change once I start trying things on). Hopefully I kind find something that flatters my shape, my height, AND my age at once. As it is, I tend to wear skinny jeans, camis, and cardigans. It’s a look I know works for me (most of the time at least) and it’s hard to break free from what you know works.

    • Liz – sorry – very hard to tell from pics that are not in form fitting clothing such as leggings and tight tank top – taken straight onto the camera.

  • Coming in late to this, but I’m so confused on my body type. I “do” fit certain descriptions of this shape, as I’m very small boned (5.4 inch wrist at 5’0 tall). BUT I have a defined waist, which is 10 inches smaller than my hips. I would say that even though my hips are narrower compared average-sized women, they are fairly “wide” on me. So I have no idea whether I’m more an I or an X. Is it possible to fit multiple types? Personally I do think that things like skinny jeans do work on me because of my smaller frame, and I try to stay away from very drapey material. It’s almost like if I’m an X who can easily be mistaken for an I if I don’t dress the right way.

  • Hi Imogen, I think I’m a short-legged version of this shape, or possibly a combo of this shape along with a slender X shape. It’s very frustrating. Empire-waisted dresses with no gathers work well for me. Flared skirts do too, although i have more of a tummy since having a baby and starting menopause. I also go for shorter somewhat A line tops or swingy short tops with wider pants (or bootlegs) and heels to make me look/feel leggier. Otherwise I feel stumpy.

  • Thanks for this series! I can’t quite figure out what shape I am. Based on my bone structure I think I am an “I” shape and as a teen I would have described my figure as boyish but there are other factors complicating it at this point in life (age 30). My shoulders and hips are similar width. From the front you can see my waistline about the level of my belly button but it’s not dramatic. From the side I look more like an A with a small bust, belly pouch (thanks to having 3 babies in the last 5 years!), average butt, full thighs. A decade of squatting has filled out my butt and thighs so I have biggish legs but the narrow hips so I don’t think I qualify as an A since the hips are a defining feature. Overall I am thin and toned but no longer have the flat belly or thin legs of the “I” shape. Things I know look bad on me: low/wide cut tops show my bony decolate but racer back tanks are ok, knit wrap dresses accentuate my belly and lack of hips, tight tops make me look even more flat chested and thick waisted, dresses with elastic waist seem to make me look thick-waisted. Things I think look good include pencil skirts with a blousey top, fit and flare dresses seem to be the only type that don’t look horrible, regular (not low) V neck tees or racerback tank with short shorts. Any advice is appreciated!

    • Hi Naomi, without seeing you it’s hard for me to really judge. You may be a bit of a combination of shapes (shapes are quite generic and humans are quite unique), or shape plus body variation/s (tummy can be a body variation as can the thighs) that add a layer of extra elements to be taken into consideration. On the whole, look at the recommendations for each shape and see which work best for you as that may help you define which is closest to your shape. If you’d like my professional opinion on your body shape I give this as part of my 7 Steps to Style program https://insideoutstyleblog.com/7-steps-to-style-system

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