Real Life Body Shapes – A



Real life body shapes A shape - how to dress and flatter

Today I have a couple of examples of A body shapes for you.  You will notice that they can be more or less obvious, but that the low hip is where the widest point is (rather than the high hip of the 8 shape).

Their shoulders are narrower than their hips (shoulders are taken from the shoulder bone (not upper arm).

So what suits the A body shape?

  • Draw attention to your upper body with pattern, brighter, lighter colours, jewellery, detail and other accessories like scarves and brooches work fabulously well.
  • Keep your bottom half in darker colours than your tops, and avoid detail like pockets on the hips and thighs whenever possible.
  • Go for waist definition – avoid anything that hangs straight off your shoulders right down to your hips, it will add lots of weight to your frame.   Boxy garments like boyfriend jackets, long cardigans and tunics need to be belted to flatter your shape.
  • As long as they are cropped, trapeze jackets can work for you.  Look for jackets with wide collars too as they will help to broaden your shoulders.
  • Look for tops that add width to your shoulders, like puffed sleeves, epaulettes, boat necks, ruched sleeves, square necklines.  Set-n sleeves are much better for you than raglan or halthernecks.  Shoulder pads are a must in jackets.
  • Bootleg and flared jeans are made for your shape,  if you want to wear skinny jeans you will need to wear them with a longer tunic top that finishes a little above your knees.  Knee high boots will also work well for you with this look.  In temperate climates you can replace the jeans with leggings.  Look for dark washes in denim, and avoid distressing and whiskering on the thighs and around the crotch.
  • You will often find it much easier to buy a skirt than a pair of pants as you’ll often get pulling across the crotch in trousers.  Skirt shapes that are flared – A line, gored, pleats or gathers on dropped waists are all flattering.  Bias cuts are your worst, some will find straight skirts work for them, other As won’t,  you’ll need to decide.  Make sure they’re in a dense fabric with some weight so it falls off your hips rather than clinging to them.
  • Wide waistbands may make trousers fit better, you will often find that you need to take in a waistband on trousers and jeans (and skirts).
  • Dresses like wrap and A-line styles are great on you.
  • If you like longer line jackets, make sure they go down to just above the knee (3/4 length) and are fitted and shaped.
  • Most importantly, keep your tops and jackets from ending around your low hip, horizontal lines at this area are most unflattering, instead, end tops and jackets at your high hip (hip bone) which will draw a much narrower horizontal line.  You may think you’re hiding your bottom and thighs, but in fact you’re drawing more attention to them if you end the tops too long.
  • Your bottom half will need firmer fabrics, not stiff, but with enough weight to fall without clinging and hold in your thighs.
  • Cropped pants are not great for your shape, if you want to wear them wear shoes with heels to help elongate your legs.
  • Avoid pleats and gathers at your waist as they will add too much volume.
  • Busy patterns that have low negative space can really distract and flatter.

For more on A shapes look here.

A shape celebrities include Kate Winslet, Kirstie Alley and Kristin Davis


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  • Now I feel that I'm between 8 shape and A shape 🙂 Is it possible to have both high hip with short waist AND large thighs? Or maybe I can't really see my shape because I'm overweight.

  • This series is excellent! I love when you use real people! If I can get it together….I will send you a pic.

  • Itari – Yes you can be between them – some have both the high and low hip – you may find one is more dominant.

    Tessa – send away!

    Jesslyn -happy to help!

  • I love this series, Imogen! I would love to help you out but I don't know whether I fit into the X or 8 body shape. Let me know if you want a picture!

  • Thanks Imogen! I can't decide because my body is exactly the same width (when viewed from front, of course) from hipbones to upper thighs. Maybe I should consider the guidelines for both 8 and A.

  • Itari – if you are similar high and low hip it sounds more like 8 than A (or X). Generally As have wider lower than upper hips.

  • I've wondered if I'm an A shape as I don't have narrow or sloping shoulders, then I saw the thighs on your real life ladies and laughed out loud becuase (whatever my weight) I am shaped just like that. Thanks for the clothing suggestions. I sew so I can make things to fit me.

  • Hi Imogen,

    It says that “Pears have shoulders that are narrower than her hips/ thighs. To check, measure both at their widest points and see if there is an inch or two difference”. The question I want to ask is in regards to the shoulder measurement. How do you measure your shoulders? All the way around the shoulder area or just the width, that is left shoulder to right shoulder?


    • Jo – do both – but the measurement across the front is the most important as it’s the appearance from the front that gives the body shape. Sometimes someone may appear balanced but if you measure the whole way round their bottom may be more rounded and that will throw the measurement off.

      • Sorry to be painful Imogen but I fear I’m still not getting it.

        Are you saying

        take a measurement from left shoulder to right shoulder and compare that with the circumference of the hips or thighs.


        take a measurement from left shoulder to right shoulder and compare that with the distance of the left and right hip bone or the side of the left thigh to the side of the right thigh?

        Best regards, Jo.

  • I think I might also be a hybrid!!! I’m somewhat confused, though? I need some assistance. I’m either an 8 or an A but I am overweight and might be an O?????

  • I somehow never understand my body type. It’s more heavy on the lower side with thick thighs. However whenever I relate to my body type and see its suggestions,they just don’t work for me like a bootcut especially.. Otherwise I’ve a lean structure with fat in my thighs , looks protruding out even below hips and shorter legs vs upper body. I really need suggestions. My upper body is more of hour glass perfect as per my friends but thighs a big problem

    • I would suggest that the proportions of your legs is the issue here – have a look at the recommendations for short legs. Also you may find straight leg better than boot cut because of your shorter legs. Remember – body shape guidelines are just generic guidelines- you are an individual!

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