What Does Knowing Your Body Shape Really Tell You?

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What Does Knowing Your Body Shape Really Tell You?

It gives you an indication of how to use lines to balance and flatter.  And it tells you where to put detail or draw focus with design elements or accessories, plus where to keep plain and boring (no details) so you don’t draw attention to that area if you don’t want people to notice it (camouflage).

So when you think about flattering your body shape.  Think about:

  • Where to put the horizontal lines to broaden or balance or highlight (if it’s a narrow horizontal)
  • Where to put the vertical lines to lengthen and/or slim
  • Where you can use diagonals to move the eye
  • Where you can use curved lines to follow the body or add volume (a straight line over a curved body part often looks pulled/bent and doesn’t flatter)

You can take my Body Shape Calculator quiz here to get an idea of your body shape.

How to Read a Garment’s Lines

how to read a dress

how to read a dress by imogenl featuring a blue dress

So you can see, analysing the lines on a garment will give you and understanding of how that garment will make you look.  Before you try anything on, look at the lines and how it’s constructed even seams and darts can add lines into a garment and will influence how it appears on the body.  This dress above would look fabulous on an A shape as it shows off the slim waist, hides the hips/thighs and balances the wider hips with a shoulder broadening horizontal at the neckline.

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  • good post, often the pear shape apple etc recommendations dont look at the individuals positives and a lot of the advice doesnt run true for all, so in so far as there is no such thing as a one size fits all – no style rule is absolute………………

    • Every body is unique and many generic recommendations are only that, you still, within that need to figure out which parts work for you and which to ignore.

  • I love all the knowledge you share here Imogen. The description of lines is amazing. Really helpful for women looking to accentuate the positives! I do agree that personality trumps body shape though.
    Bron x

    • Yes Understanding the principles of line is so important and we teach this and so much more in our personal stylist training as it tells you what suits each shape and how to create illusions. It amazes me that it is not taught more widely in fashion which is why there is so much bad design in the clothing marketplace.

  • Hi Imogen, I loved the article, it really is true that body shape is more than just waistline, tall or short height.
    I for example, am something of a slim 8 to H shape, so finding summer tops should be easy. It’s not. I love shopping, but I dread shopping for summer tops, since my upper arms are very full, which makes me look more like a V shape in most tops. The combination of crew necks or V-necks on most tops with short sleeves (which always end at the wrong point) or no sleeves at all makes me look like a linebacker. Neckholders and tube tops are even worse. I am quite flat-busted, so deep necklines look disappointing on me. It’s so complicated! I can’t be the only one with this problem?
    Maybe you could do a special just on T-shirts or tank tops? These are the most basic items of clothing but, I feel, they are also the most ifficult to choose.

    • Yes it’s tricky when we have body variations that take us out of the manufacturing standard – you may find that woven tops rather than knits work better for you.

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