01 December, 2010

Female body shapes

One thing which is so common for a lot of women, is judging what'll look good on them depending on what size they wear, or what the scale says. And thus, they believe that if they are a size 10, and the tag says "size 10", it'll fit them perfectly. Yet, when looking in the mirror, they might feel that something's off. Perhaps the dress doesn't fit at all over the hips, despite being labeled a 10. Or perhaps it's way too big around the midsection. Frustrated, the women leave the dress behind and may even start feel bad. Surely, if they are a size 10, and the dress says 10, then why won't it fit?

In their program, "Undress The Nation", fashion gurus Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine proved that even if the label matches your size, a piece of clothing might not fit well, if at all. They gathered a large group of women which all declared themselves to be the same size. Then, each women got one identical dress in the corresponding size. Finally, it was revealed that despite being the "correct" size, the dress looked different on about every woman in the room.

The point, which I'm slowly, yet steady, approaching, is that you shouldn't pick clothes after mere size. Instead, try to pick pieces of clothing that fits your body shape.

You might have stumbled upon terms such as "hourglass", "apple", "pear" or "banana". These aren't just fruits or a depiction of time. No, these are descriptive terms for our body shapes. Or, what I prefer to call them, umbrella terms for our body shapes.

Basically, each of these terms refer to the outline of our body (as decided by the way our skeleton is built). Also, they are indicators of where we store our fat. Let me break down each of these for you:
  • Banana: Also known as ruler, boy-ish or rectangle. May be long and lean, or shorter and broader. Hips and shoulders are in proportion. Little to no waist. Body fat is evenly distributed through the body
  • Apple: Also referred to as top heavy. The upper body is wider and heavier than the lower body. Slender hips. Breasts come in all sizes. Little to no midsection. The classic apple has a protruding belly, and the midsection is the widest part. Body fat is mainly concertrated on the upper body
  • Pear: Aslo referred to as bottom heavy. The lower body is bigger than the top. Hips are broader than the shoulders, and the upper body is usually slender with medium to small breasts. The classic pear has wide hips with saddlebags, a small decolleté, a slight waist and heavy and undefined calves. Body fat is stored on the lower half
  • Hourglass: Hips and shoulders are in proportion, and the waist is visibly smaller. No matter the weight, the hourglass retains a smaller waist. Even if the hourglass loses a lot of weight, she will still inhibit her curves. The classic hourglass has medium to big breasts, full hips and a waist that is 20-25 cm smaller than the hips. Body fat is evenly stored throughout the body, but it's also common for the sub-types of hourglasses to store the weight around the hips and lower belly
As our clothes lie on the outside of our body and follow our outlines, the most rational thing is to choose according to our outline rather than our size. For instance, a size 12 banana might look better in a sheath dress than a size 2 hourglass. A few common misconceptiona, are that the term hourglass refer to all ladies over a certain style, that all bananas are very skinny, that all apples have barrel-like upper bodies, and that all pears have no breasts and a saggy butt. Let me just get this straight right now: That's a whole lot of crap! All the shapes come in all sizes and a myriad of variations! You'll find apples with flat stomachs, and pears with the perkest butts in town. You'll find size 20 bananas, and size 0 hourglasses.

In the following posts, I explain the sub-shapes and give tips to how you can dress your shape:


In the body shape posts, it's worth noting that I use my "own" terms on the various sub-types. Despite referring to Trinny and Susannah's episode about body shapes, I'm not using their terminology. However, I can warmly reccomend they book, The Body Shape Bible. My shape isn't there, but it still cover many different body shapes, and they share a lot of great tips. Nor do I use the marvelous Gok Wan's body shape terms. He even has a nifty little calculator up at Channel 4's website. Trinny and Susannah did have a calculator up at Littlewood's websites for some time, but unfortunately, it's nowhere to be found for the moment. While I'm at talking about body shape calculators, be sure to check out Shop Your Shape, if calculators are down your alley.

A few ways to identify your shape
  • Wear either something very tight or nothing and look at yourself in a mirror. If you were to describe your body, what would you say? Big breasts? A wasp-like waist? Heavy legs? Big upper arms? A flat bum? Don't say anything like "fat" or "skinny". Look at each part, and compare them to the rest of the body. Compare what you just described to pictures or descriptions of the body shapes
  • Measure your shoulders, breasts, waist and hips, and compare the measurements to what each body shape description says
  • Pay attention to where you store your fat when gaining or losing weight
  • Ask a friend to look at you with his/her objective glasses on. What shape would he/she say you look the most like?
I would like to say that you shouldn't worry if you don't match 100% up with a body shape. Most people don't. Even if the beforementioned body shapes have sub-types, it doesn't mean that there still are variations on a theme! Dress according to YOUR body, and use the body types as guidelines, rather than rules carved in stone.


    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you're developing this subject again for your new blog (in English!)! I look forward to what you have to say about hourglass and the figure 8 shapes.

    2. Thank you! Now I know how wrong I was about my figure! Can't wait to read you posts!

    3. Så sant, så sant. Jeg har sett det programmet, og synes det er bra at Trinny og Susannah opplyser kvinner om dette med størrelser. Jeg greier ikke å bestemme meg for hva slags kroppsfasong jeg har. De siste månedene har jeg lagt på meg en del på magen og midjen, så jeg har banan-mage. Jeg har ekstremt små pupper, underkroppen er større enn overkroppen (pære) og jeg har lagt på meg ridebukselår :( så jeg ser ganske så timeglassfasong-ish ut hvis jeg har på meg en tettsittende overdel. HVA TROR DU? Hjelp :p

    4. Thanks so much for this post! Can't wait to read more about dressing for your shape, cause your tips are awesome... :)

    5. Har du gjort en post ang. hva slags sminke man kler mtp. på øyne, hud, osv.? Jeg føler jeg har funnet det ut sånn nogen lunde, men greit å være på den sikre siden.

      Jeg, selv, har "hazel"/grønn-brune øyne, som er ganske duse, og synes lilla-toner er ganske attraktivt. Og til hverdags jord-farger og varme farger.

    6. Thank you, guys!

      Fleurette: Høres mest ut som en pære, men at din vekt samles litt høyere oppe. Noen ganger kan man legge på seg på f.eks magen, uten at det betyr at man er f.eks eplefasong. Det kan være alt fra matvarer du ikke tåler, til kosthold til alder. Ridebukselår og større underkropp er dog typisk pære. Et bilde hadde vært supert!

      Caroline: Hvilke farger kan kler-postene brukes også til sminke, hår, osv. Kan dog godt lage en egen post for sminke ift. dette.

    7. Heisann :)

      Jeg leste på den tidligere bloggen din at du hadde utført en fargeanalyse på noen. Så jeg lurte på om du hadde tid/mulighet til å gjøre det på meg og dersom jeg sender deg en mail eller noe?:)

    8. Love the opinions of T & S keep it coming and please bring out DVD for home use xxx

    9. Love the style tips from T & S look forward to reading more in Australia reg r

    10. My bustlin is 36 waist 33 hips 36. What is my body typ. I have a little fleshy stomach. I m 5feet 4 inch.

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