3 Essentials to Consider When Your Body Doesn’t Fit One of the Standard Body Shapes


So you’ve read the body shape guidelines and thought to yourself “but my body doesn’t really fit into just one shape … I’m more of a mix of a couple of shapes”.

Fortunately, you are not unusual and you don’t have to worry that nothing works for you.  All you have to do is understand how body shape guidelines work, and then take the information from each of the shapes to create your own figure flattery guidelines.

Body shape guidelines tell you: 

  1. Where to put vertical lines to elongate or slim
  2. Where to put horizontal lines to balance, broaden or highlight
  3. Where to add details to pull focus
  4. Where to keep plain and free of detail

How to create your own body shape guidelines

For example, just the other day I had a client with the broad shoulders of the V (inverted triangle) shape and the waist shape and lower body of the 8 (high hip hourglass) shape… so what did I do?  I merged both these shapes, upper and lower body to create her own unique shape and we created her own set of guidelines!

How to Create Your Personalised Body Shape Guidelines When You’re Not a Standard Body Shape

1. What Bothers You Most?

Think about your body shape and make a list of what bothers you most, what you find hardest to dress in a flattering way.  This will give you a starting point. 

2. Which Assets Do You Want to Highlight?

Just as you may want to camouflage areas and make them less obvious, so too you will need to highlight other areas of your body and face and draw attention to them – decide which assets you want to highlight with focal points.

Discover from your body proportions where to end your tops and jackets (this is not something that body shape will tell you).

how to flatter your figure when you don't fit a standard body shape - understand how horizontal and vertical lines work in an outfit

3. Learn the Art of Camouflage and Focal Points

Once you know what you want to camouflage learn how to do this using the magician’s style toolbox that I teach here.  From elongating and slimming with vertical lines, balancing with horizontal lines, and pulling attention with focal points.  

There are so many ways to do this:  such as scale, line, design, and pattern to create harmony with their unique shape.  You can use colour as well to make areas of your body advance or recede.  You can use prints (these are the slimming ones) to camouflage as well.

How to flatter your non-standard figureRemember that body shape guidelines are just that, a set of generic guidelines that can easily be modified and adapted to suit you.  Take the information from the set of guidelines that suit your upper body, and then an alternate set of guidelines from another body shape from your lower body.  Adapt these for your unique figure, just because guidelines say belting may be great for your shape, doesn’t mean you have to do it!

Here are some brilliant tricks of the clothing magician to give you some more inspiration and things to try!

In the end, it’s about trial and error, trying the recommendations out and seeing what really works for you and your unique shape.  This is why taking photographs of your outfits can be so incredibly useful at determining your figure flattery guidelines.

Don’t be put off when your body doesn’t “fit” the body shape “rules”. This is common, there are only a few body standard body shapes and billions of individuals who are all unique! Finding the 3-5 most important guidelines for you will make your journey to style so much easier.

Remember that body shape is only part of your figure flattery equation – discover what you need to know to put your own formula together here.

Not sure of your shape? Do my free body shape calculator quiz here or get my professional opinion as part of my 7 Steps to Style program.

Remember, your body is the only one you’ll ever have, so embrace the one you have and learn to dress it and flatter it!  And don’t forget, that personality is more impactful on  your clothing choices than your body shape will ever be!

More Tips on Flattering Your Figure

Why you should imagine your body is a room

How to decide if a fashion trend is for you

How to spot a badly designed garment for your body

How to dress with conflicting body shape advice

Why style guidelines give you wings

How to flatter your non-standard figure


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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1 Comment

  • Thanks to the author for useful tips! Ever since I began to realize that it became very difficult for me to control my weight, namely, with the onset of perimenopause, I had to think about changing the wardrobe and choosing the right clothes for myself. I very complex because of the excess weight and try to hide in every possible way all my imperfections with the help of clothes, because my body is no longer as slim and attractive as before, despite the fact that sport is present almost every day in my life! But you won’t go against hormones, so you have to hide some of the shortcomings with the help of clothes. You really helped to shape my understanding of how to do it right! Thanks a lot, and good luck!

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