Most of us know our main body shape as being either a rectangle, hourglass, triangle or inverted triangle. While this is the quick and easy analysis of you figure, there is much more to it than that and knowing all the information is the first step to fixing the problems that are in your wardrobe right now. I know many women who think of their bodies as one of the four types, and they use that common knowledge to determine what clothing works best for their shape. But can you imagine how much better you would look if you knew even more than that? Not only do you need to take into account your horizontal body type, but there are also other shapes besides the main four, that apply to a higher percentage of women today than the four we all know. The things you need to know for a full body assessment are:
– your vertical body type
– you horizontal body shape
– your weight
– your height
– your face shape
– your bone structure
– your neck length and circumference
I will be going into further detail for each of these topics, which will be featured in different parts. Part 1 focuses on your vertical body, and check out Part 2 for more information on your horizontal body shape.
Determining You Vertical Body Shape:
To find your vertical body shape, you need to compare the top half of your body to the bottom half. Your vertical proportions are just as important as your horizontal proportions, because this will determine what types of clothing you need to wear in order to create the leanest balance possible. You also need to know what lengths you should look for in your clothing. If you are short waisted for example, you will want to focus on making your waist look longer, so that it flows nicely with your long legs. The most accurate way of finding your vertical proportions is to measure your entire height, and then measure the height of your hipline. (Your hipline is not just where your hip bones are – it is the fullest part of your hip, and is usually found right around the bum area). With these two measurements, you can determine where your hipline comes in relation to your total height. An easier way of finding out your vertical shape is to bend your arms in half and place our hands at your shoulders – do not stretch your hands if you can’t reach your shoulders, just touch where you hands reach naturally). If your elbows sit above your waistline, you are long waisted. If they are lower than your waist, you have a short waist. If your elbows hit at your waist, you are proportioned! Do not mistake where your natural waist is! Many women believe their waist is lower than it is because of the low rise pants – but your natural waistline is located right above your belly button. It is important to keep your height in mind when reading these tips, because some of them do not work for short or tall women. Don’t know whether you’re short, tall or average? A petite woman is anyone 5’3 or shorter. Average height women fall between 5’4 – 5’6 and you’re considered tall if you measure anywhere over that.
Long Waisted – Women with long waists tend to put on weight in their hips and thighs the most, and tend to be short, although some tall women do have a longer waist than legs. Your main goal is to make your legs look longer, and your torso look shorter.
– Wear short to medium length tops
– Tuck in your shirts if you are slim and don’t have belly bulges
– Layer your tops
– Pair light coloured tops with dark pants
– Use medium or wide belts
– Try straight skirts (unless you are a rectangle shape)
– Use jewelry, scarves and other details that draw the eye upward – this gives the illusion of a longer legs
– Wear straight or boot cut pants
– Wear pants, shoes and socks all in the same colour (for added leg length)
– Wear medium to high heels (try to stay away from flats whenever possible)
– Try those trendy high waisted pants & skirts – they were made for you!
– Allow your pant hem to extend all the way down to the ground (but not dragging on the ground!)
– Wear long tops (especially if you are short!)
– Wear skirts or pants with a low rise
– wear tight and tapered skirts or pants – unless you are thin – then try to get them in high waisted versions!
– Cropped pants – they visually cut your leg length off – a double no no for you short gals!
Short Waisted – Your bottom is typically round and high and you tend to put on weight mostly in your waist, but also in the back of your hips (also known as your bum). Your most likely tall, but some short girls fall into this category as well. Your goal is to make your torso look leaner, and your legs look shorter.
– Look for design details on skirts and pants, that will draw the eye downward, which will give the illusion of a longer torso (this is not advised for short girls)
– Wear medium to long jewelry around your neck (avoid this if you are short as well)
– Pair light coloured skirts with darker tops
– Wear tops and dresses that flow through the waist
– Try skirts and pants with narrow waistbands, or no waistband at all
– Wear skirts that are straight or slightly flared
– Opt for low rise pants, that are straight or flared
– Wear details on top, that will draw the eye upward
– Wear pinstripes, which too will only draw the eye up your body
– Short tops – they will only cut your torso off even more
– Empire styles on shirts and dresses
– Wide belts are a big no
– Stay away from this season’s high waisted pants and skirts as well as the skinny jeans and pencil skirts
Balanced Body – In some cases certain women have all the luck, and this is one of them. Women with a balanced vertical shape are usually also hourglass figures. You tend to distribute weight gain evenly, but your waist will almost always stay smaller than your hips and shoulders. You probably have either a round, formed bum or a flat bum. You also most likely have slim arms and legs. Since your body is well proportioned, your concern isn’t to gain balance, but to maintain what you have. You may also want to elongate your mid torso if you are shorter because sometimes your curves can look stumpy.
– Use decorative accents like scarve and jewelry to bring attention up to your face
– Choose medium long tops
– Try wearing monochromatic schemes
– Always find tops are dresses that flow through the waist and hug your curves
– Choose pants and skirt with narrow waistbands
– Opt for straight or flared skirts
– Try not to go any higher than your natural waistline when wearing pants or skirts (unless you want to achieve the look of bigger hips!)
– Straight and bootcut pants look great
– Stay away from short tops
– Empire tops and dresses should be avoided
– Wide belts
– Pants or skirts with a high waist