Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 4- Love Your Life Challenge, Body Shapes

Guest Post- Australia's Leading Image Consultant Imogen Lamport creator of Bespoke Image

How to Dress Your Body Shape

Body shapes are the outline, or silhouette of the body. One easy way of working out your body shape is to take a photo of yourself in tight fitting clothing (say t-shirt and leggings or fitted jeans), and then put it into a photo program and fill in your features with a colour so that all you can see is the silhouette.

Once you can see this you can see the width of various parts of your body. The most important considerations are – the visual width of shoulders, waist and hips. If your shoulders and hips are a similar width, your body shape is what we call in the trade ‘balanced’ and will be an I, X, H or 8 shape. If your shoulders are noticeably wider than your hips then you are a V shape. If your shoulders are noticeably smaller than your hips you are an A shape. If your waist is wider than your hips and/or shoulders then you are an O shape.

What does this tell you? Body shapes tell you where to put the detail or interest on a garment. What to highlight and what to camouflage. Let’s assume that we want to create the appearance of an X shape (as most women in western cultures tend to want this – the shape of balanced hips and shoulders with a defined waistline). So when looking at each of the shapes, we decide where to draw attention, and where to distract the eye from resting, and use the concepts of line and design to do this.

For example, if you are an X shape (one measurement that can help you figure this out if your hips and shoulders are even) is that your waist is 10”+ smaller than your hip or shoulder measurement. If your waist is 9” or less different from hips/shoulders you will be either and I or H shape.

X shapes have a defined waist and can draw attention to this with belting. They look best in garments that are shaped through the waist – anything baggy or boxy won’t flatter their ultra feminine figure.

I shapes are super slim, they often describe their figure as ‘boyish’ and often feel less feminine. Most models are an I shape, and your body makes a great coathanger for lots of different clothing styles and you can play with all sorts of silhouettes.

8 shapes have a ‘shelf’ like hip and look best in straight skirts rather than A-line. As you have a small waist show this great feature off. Avoid pocket flaps on jeans and trousers if you don’t want to add more booty.

H shapes have a less than defined waist, so need clothes that skim past the waist (not belted at the waist, or tucked) so as not to draw attention to the lack of waist, instead create shaping by using detail above the bust or below the knee.

A shapes (often known as pear shape) need detail and interest from the waist up, and to keep the lower half of the body free of detail and in a darker colour than the top half, so the hips appear smaller and more balanced with the shoulders. A shapes can benefit from putting horizontal details up near their shoulders , things like boat necklines, cap sleeves, epaulettes, pockets on the bust (unless you’re busty).

V shapes have wider shoulders and often appear quite athletic. Look for halter necks, narrow V necks or scoop necks. Jeans with pocket details on the hips or distressing details will add some curve. Patterned skirts that have some flare also balance your wide shoulders.

O shapes need clothes that skim past their waist. Look for detail above the bust to draw attention to your face. Avoid belts or tucking which are not flattering for your waist.

As you can see from this, body shapes are one element in what goes into what suits you best. There are lots of other elements, such as body variations (large or small bust, long or short neck , booty butt or flat butt etc.), that you may want to think about, along with body proportions, which tell you the most flattering lengths of garments.

The more you know about each of your glorious and unique features, the easier it is to choose clothes that flatter your shape.

#For more specific information about body shapes or to follow Imogen's fabulous, informative blog your can do so at

What body shape are you?


Anonymous said...

to be honest...i'm a little freaked out that people would put this much effort into what they wear. it stresses me out to think of taking a picture and creating a sillouette and figuring out my shape and on and on...i'd rather put a gun to my head...why does it matter enough to devote this much time to it?

Bra Queen said...

Thank you for your honesty, good point at what stage does it become excessive or over the top? I'm a hairdresser by trade I was taught 1000 years ago about face shapes etc and to find out your shape it was recommended that you stand in front of the mirror and draw on the mirror with lipstick the outline of your face.
I think by using the images in this post you can pretty much know what shape you are.
At first I was a little confused about the difference between an 8 shape and a X shape but now I get it. The others are pretty self explanatory.
It does play importance on how you feel everyday it makes you feel better about yourself, even if your wearing trackpants there are shapes that will suit you better. Once you know what to look for then it's just 2nd nature, it's not so overwhelming and won't freak you out. Please don't put a gun to your head! Just have a quick look in the mirror and see if you can see your shape that way.
Good Luck! xx

Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP said...

The reason it matters for many people is that it saves them lots of MONEY by not buying unflattering clothes.

Why do they care if their clothes flatter them? There is a direct link for many people from their appearance to self-esteem, as well as income - countless studies have proved this link.

So in short - money and self-esteem.

Chantal Fleming said...

Again, perfect timing for me (I think the universe is trying to tell me something). I'm about to have a girl's weekend of shopping and I've literally been saving for 9 months. It would be such a tool and relief to shop for the right sort of clothes, and not something that will sit in my wardrobe unworn (like they have in the past). Otherwise I just stick with shoes because I know they're less likely to be judged than clothes.

MadCow said...

Yet more awesome info from Imogen.

I totally get what first person (sorry, can't see name) said ... really, really get it! I'm not a makeupy, do my hair every morning worry too much about what I wear person.

HOWEVER, I have had the privelege of sucking Imogen of her info, and since i've applied it (and I'm talking t-shirts and jeans here. Even my jarmies :) ) I have felt better about myself, more comfortable in social situations, and more confident.

It's a little thing, but has had a serious impact on my self esteem. Something I didn't anticipate at all!

Bra Queen said...

Your spot on Imogen! It does save heaps of time and money.
I am a makeupy, do my hair everyday person however since children not so much. My hair is always done once a hairdresser always a hairdresser but if my hair is done then I feel better about wearing no make up.
A friend once said to me when I meet her at a park "I was going to wear my tracky's but I thought I better make an effort" I said "I am" she said "But they are sexy, nice tracky's" HA!
My point is no matter what you're wearing you can feel better about yourself and that shows to others they pick up on that.
More self esteem

Chantal I would listen to the universe! xx

Jodi Gibson said...

I am an 8 with 0 tendancies.

I'm not a girly girl, don't bother with much make up or hair products, but I do like my clothes to sit nicely.
These tips will help, thanks :-0

brigid said...

this is interesting, I particularly like the way you used photos to demonstrate what you mean. I understand a bit better now.
I am somewhere between Nicole and Demi (I wish) and an A shape hip. Now I am in my 50s my body shape is shifting as well. so I am now looking for something to cover the spare tire I am developing - or maybe summer and some excercise will help as well.

I am having trouble finding a decent hairdresser down here and I never where makeup so I know what you mean when you talk about needing a good haircut to feel goo dabout yourself.
It makes a big difference.
Nice and helpful articleCheers

Bra Queen said...

Thanks Jodi, it is nice when your clothes sit right and it's way more comfy too.

Brigid, whereabouts do you live? I have oodles of contacts in the hair industry.

graciebell said...

Great info, thank you Imogen. I had not put that much thought into my body type before, but i can see it will make a big difference to my future purchases & stop me from buying clothes that don't suit me & I just don't wear as a result (& wasting valuable money too).

I am going to go through my wardrobe again to re-assess what I am hanging onto & if it is really suitable for my shape.

Bra Queen said...

Isn't she wonderful Graciebell! She is sooooo knowledgeable it's amazing!

brigid said...

I live in Torquay
Any hairdresser contacts down here who can cut really thick and wavy hair?

flutterbye_77 said...

I def am a mix of V and I i am not shapely at all so i am quite boyish and I also give the illusion of being quite athletic (i would have to be one the most unfit plp i know) but i look fit lol..
I do try to dress for my shape and sometimes I like to put an outfit on take a photo of it then look back at it tht way then make a decision if it looks as good as i think it does...

Bra Queen said...

Hi Brigid, I may have a hairdresser for you down that way I'll get back to you.

Flutterbye if ONLY I looked fit, HA! That's a nice problem to have. You're right about taking the photo because sometimes I go out feeling like I look great and I look back on the photo and not so much!

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