I often get asked about the best shape garments for each body shape. So I thought I’d create this infographic for you to give you a simple set of guidelines.
When thinking about shapes for each body shape, we are usually wanting to create the hourglass shape or the idea of two triangles stacked on top of each other point to point.
Essentially this, in its simplest form. So if you think of the top of the top triangle as your shoulders, the point as your waist, then the base of the second as your hips and you can add in another two smaller triangles for knees and feet if you wish, like this:
So when you’re deciding on what shape garment will flatter you best, depending on your unique body shape, in many ways, you are looking to create balance with the other elements of your body and an hourglass shape. Now as you are aware, waistbands are a horizontal line, and horizontal lines broaden, so if you don’t have a defined waist and are naturally broader through the stomach, then a defined waistband will not make your waist look smaller, all it will do is highlight your lack of waist. The idea with skirts is to follow the shape of your body.
Not sure of your body shape? Then do my Body Shape Calculator Quiz and download your free Body Shape Bible – your guide to understanding the why and how of dressing your shape.
Very helpful points, I hadn’t though about this much before. (PS. do we have the same name?!)
Imogen we do have the same name – which was very unusual when I was growing up (in fact I knew no Imogen’s my age), but there are lots of little girls running around with it these days it seems!
Imogen, can you expand on how you tell whether you are an X or 8? The 8 in your example seems to have a slimmer leg but I am not sure if this is the main difference. I think of myself as an X but sometimes I think I look better with pencil skirts. I am also petite so maybe it is an issue of too much volume as I often think I look shorter in A-line skirts. Any thoughts?
Rosemary – have you looked at this post? https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2010/11/body-shapes-explained-defining-points.html It shows the difference – one is high hip, the other low hip. Some Xs if they have no saddlebags can wear a pencil skirt.
Thank you so much Imogen. I just want to tell you how much I love your website. Sometimes it can seems a bit daunting because there is so much detail and so many things to consider when pulling together a flattering style. But I am making my way thought the content bit by bit.
Based on the link you provided I find that I am definitely an X shape! And you are right, since I don’t have saddlebags, I can pull off the pencil skirt if it is dark in color or if it has a camoflauging type pattern.
I am eager to try experimenting with some not-too-voluminous A-line skirts for this summer (I am in the Phoenix, Arizona area in the US so it is almost here already!)
Longtime reader of your blog and love it. However, I still can’t determine if I’m and X or and 8 shape (or I could be something entirely different), where can I find additional information on this?
Thanks in advance,
Have a look at these https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2010/05/real-life-body-shapes-8.html and https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2010/05/real-life-body-shapes-x.html but also this one https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2010/11/body-shapes-explained-defining-points.html which shows the difference.
Your other option is to join my 7 Steps to Style program https://insideoutstyleblog.com/7-steps-to-style-system and I’ll tell you after you send me some photos!
I love the images of the different figures and letters together for this post. I normally can’t remember which letter is which body type (you’d think I’d remember by now!), so this is very helpful to me. Thanks!
The trick with the letters is to think of the shape of the letter – so A is a pear – narrow shoulders, wider hips. V is an inverted triangle – wide shoulders narrow hips, X hourglass with a slow slope out, H is broader and straighter etc.
Why doesn’t the O shape get a pencil skirt? Is it because it emphasizes the tummy bulge instead of the beautiful hip line other shapes have? Also, where might I find where the proportion guide is for this for skirt length. I mean the 2:3, 3:5, etc., rules. I have nice legs can I wear a skirt that stops just at the top of the knee?
Ginger – a straight skirt is very similar to a pencil skirt – I look at them as basically being the same shape. Skirt length is about proportions – depends on the length of your legs – but just above the knee can be worn by anyone who likes their legs!
Thank you. My O shape is very recent and evolved from an hour glass. I am learning as fast as I can. I have used your website to learn many things and will continue to do so.
Excelente! la orientacion.
Sacarle el mejor provecho a nuestra figura, con la ropa o prendas que usamos, nos ayuda mucho a vernos mejor.