As with most things in life, one size rarely fits all and fashion is no exception. As tempting as it can be to try a new trend, the most successful way to always look stylish is to dress for your body shape. But what is your body shape?
It’s quite bizarre that we compare our figures to pieces of fruit such as apples and pears. Thankfully, there is a way to once and for all find out what your actual body shape is so you can start dressing for it rather than throwing on clothes and hoping for the best.
Bradley Bayou is the brains behind the body shape calculator, which comes with no less than Oprah’s seal of approval. Based on maths (who knew it could come in so handy after school) the method uses simple measurements to help identify which shape and size you are. His book, The Science of Sexy, elaborates on the 48 different body types and how best to dress for each so you flatter your figure.
Armed with a measuring tape and assistant (read friend or family member) here’s how to do the maths.
1. Shoulders: Place the measuring tape at the tip of one shoulder and wrap it all the way around you like a shawl until it meets back at the same shoulder. This will measure the widest circumference of your shoulders.
2. Bust: Stand up straight and wrap the measuring tape around your back and the widest part of your breast – usually the middle.
3. Waist: Find the smallest part of your natural waist and wrap the measuring tape around – it should meet just above your belly button.
4. Hips: Wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of your hips and bum, below your hip bone.
Based on these measurements and how weight is distributed, the most common four silhouettes are:
* Triangle (or pear): if your hips are more than five per cent bigger than your shoulders or bust.
Dress best by accentuating your tiny top with fitted or figure hugging pieces while opting for flare or A-line when it comes to the bottom half.
* Inverted triangle: your shoulder or bust measurements are more than five per cent larger than your hip measurement.
Dress best by adding volume and attention to your hips. A fitted top or jacket that hugs the waist and flares out over the hips will help to balance out broad shoulders.
* Hourglass: your waist is at least 25 per cent smaller than your shoulders or bust and your waist is also at least 25 per cent smaller than your hips. Your shoulder and hip measurements should also be within five per cent of each other.
Dress best by highlighting your small waist to enhance your hourglass figure. Think wrap tops or dresses, crop tops or fitted outfits that show off your shape.
* Rectangle: if your waist is less than 25 per cent smaller than your shoulders or bust and your shoulders, and bust and hip measurements are all within five per cent of each other.
Dress best by creating volume around the bottom half – think full skirts or pants. This will help to enhance your hips and balance out your upper body.
Once you know your shape according to the numbers there’s really no excuse not to shop and dress for it – you’ll only enhance your best assets and find pieces that flatter rather than make you look frumpy.
Grab your tape measure and tell us which body shape you are? Do you have any foolproof tricks for dressing to suit your shape?
You can find out more about the 48 different body types and how to best dress for them in Bradley Bayou’s book The Science of Sexy.