As I’ve discussed before when deciding upon your body shape, the waist is one of the three key defining points (along with shoulders and hips being the other two defining points – not bust!).
If you are looking at your body shape and deciding whether or not you have a defined waist, measurements can give you an idea, but they are not necessarily accurate, which is why so many body shape calculators just don’t work as a diameter doesn’t necessarily tell you where the width of the shape is, and body shape is about silhouette.
How to Know if You Have a Defined Waist
Once you’ve determined if you have a balanced body (shoulders and hips of equal width – H, X, O, I, 8 shapes) or unbalanced body shape (shoulders or hips are wider A, V or 8), you will then want to determine how much of a waist you have.
Take a piece of ribbon or string (or a tape measure if you must though you don’t need numbers). Wrap it around your body just under your bust on your rib cage. Then move the ribbon down to your natural waist (if you’re not sure where it is bend to the side, then put your fingers in to the spot that creases as you bend). Notice if you need to tighten or loosen the ribbon as compared to your under bust diameter.
If your natural waist is the same you can be either a straighter shape or a waisted shape depending on the difference between hips, waist and shoulders which are the three defining points for determining body shape.
If you have wider shoulders than hips – then you may or may not have a defined waist, and will dress your waist more as an X if it’s defined or as an H if it’s undefined.
Here is an example of the same dress on two different shapes – a straighter body shape and a more waisted shape.
Take my body shape calculator quiz to help you determine your shape.