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
In the following posts, I explain the sub-shapes and give tips to how you can dress your shape:
(UNDER CONSTRUCTION! BODY SHAPE POSTS COMING SOON!)
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?