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A guide for determining your body type

a guide to determining your body type

In the world of fashion, plus-size or not, most rules and guidelines center around understanding your body type and how to play up your best features. Dressing for your specific body type is the best way to ensure the clothes you’re wearing are correctly fitted, comfortable and flattering. If you aren’t sure what your body type is, though, it can be hard to start building a wardrobe you feel great in. Take a look at this guide to some common body shapes to help you determine yours:

Hourglass

Hourglass body shapes are perhaps the most well-known. Women with hourglass bodies have a small defined waist with a bust that’s proportionately sized with their hips. Women with hourglass bodies have great natural proportions but can also sometimes struggle with finding clothes that fit their hips and bust without being too large around their smaller waist. If you have this body type, play it up by wearing clothes that nip in at your natural waist and fit closely around your curves. High-waisted skirts and wrap dresses look great on hourglass figures.

Triangle

Also known as a pear shape, triangle body types are characterized by a thinner upper body and bust, a defined waist and wider hips. Women with this body type can use clothes to draw attention to their upper bodies by wearing shirts with patterns and detailing that highlight the shoulders and neckline. Also, wide-leg pants and jeans look particularly great on triangle figures.

Inverted triangle

The inverted-triangle body shape is a little less well-known but has a lot of beautiful traits. Women with an inverted-triangle body have broader shoulders, a less-defined waist and more narrow hips. Ladies with this body type can use belts above their hips to create more of an hourglass shape, and they look great in sheath dresses that fall in a straight, fitted line from their shoulders to their thighs.Women with an inverted-triangle body shape can also use interesting necklines, like scoops and V-necks, to give their upper torso a more proportionate appearance.

Oval 

If you have an oval body type, you may have heard it referred to as an apple shape. Oval body types have a wider midsection with a slim lower body. To play up the best parts of an oval shape, you’ll want to highlight your great legs and narrow hips. Downplay excess weight around the middle of your body by using structured garments, paneling and belts to create a more defined waist. Try pairing a long slim pant with a structured blazer that hits right at your hips and nips in at the waist. You’d also look great in a universally flattering bright A-line dress.

Diamond

Diamond body shapes are somewhat similar to an oval body type, but they have the added characteristic of dainty shoulders that are narrower than the hips. Women with a diamond body shape should also use structure and fit to create a defined waist and downplay a larger midsection. If you have this body type, try creating visual proportion between your shoulders and hips by wearing a jacket with structured shoulders or using ruffled or ruched fabrics near the shoulders and neckline.

Still interested in more details? Take a look at our valuable tips and ideas on what to consider when it comes to dressing for your body type. Our “How to Dress Your Body Type” 4-Step Infographic series covers taking your measurements, identifying your body shape, choosing the appropriate shapewear, and then dressing for your body type with prints & colors.

What shape are you? Tell us in the comments below!

a guide to determining your body type

12 thoughts on “A guide for determining your body type

  1. Im a an hourglass.

  2. Triangle

  3. I’m an hourglass.

  4. inverted triangle

    1. I am an inverted triangle also. I have such a hard time finding clothes that flatter my body. What is your go to style?

      Thanks
      Dawn

      1. Hi Dawn,
        Thanks for the comment. We recommend trying a sheath dress as your go-to style. We will have lots more on dressing for your shape in the next few months. Stay tuned!! 🙂

  5. My body type is small at the top, wide hips.

  6. I am an inverted triangle with my just being one or two sizes bigger than my hips.big am fairly thick around the middle which means my waist isn’t much smaller than my hips. If I want to buy a suit I must find separtes. With a sheath dress, I need an A-line silhouette and sometimes need to have the hips area taken iWith a larger bust I must wear a v-bneck, sweetheart or scoop neckline to avoid looking like I’m walking around with high beams on.

  7. Hello everyone!
    I am so frustrated with my figure . I a 49 year old married mother of 3 children. I have a terrible figure. I carry most of weight in my tummy. I so tried of people asking me am I pregnant ? I want to be sexy and look good in my clothes but I don’t know how to dress with this big belly?

    1. Hi Wendy, Thanks for the comment. Sorry about the frustration you are feeling about your figure-we have all probably been there, if not still there. As our bodies age, they don’t always change for the better or the way we’d like. We have lots of tools and ideas to help get through this. From this blogpost, you probably determined you were an oval-shape. We have another blogpost with an infographic about How to Dress Your Body Type here that might help make sure. Then you can put this identification to work with lots of other information such as wearing tunics or fit & flare or prints and colors, etc. You’ll be looking good and sexy in no time if you put some of these tricks to work! Thanks again for the comment. Send us a photo sometime and we’d be happy to discuss this further: socialmm@monroeandmain.com. Have a great day!

  8. I’ tried a lot of style’s but u guys r the best I used to weigh 210 when i graduated from high school now after having a chronic disease for most of my life I’m 51 and feel like I’m 40 my problem is that the first thing to go r your boobs I’m now a 36b I had cancer 8 years ago and after tx it came back and had to have a colostomy bag on left side of belly button my waist is like 24 inches I hate it I have to shop in Junior section every thing is low waist mid rise it’s hard to cover colostomy bag and then there r the brid legs I wear your smallest pant size and they r a little bit big but I want a great swimsuit what do suggest the ruffle tankini and skirt bottoms will take any recommend idea thanks

    1. Hi Tammy, thanks for the comment and question. Sorry about all your health issues, but you are definitely on the right track with dressing to cover problem areas. The ruffle tankini and the skirted bottom will be your best bet. Take care!

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