If you’re looking for Body Shape Guides and you’re not sure on how to dress your body shape, you’ve come to the right place. After reading some of my Style Tips on the Blog hopefully you are starting to understand more about the psychological factors of your style and shopping habits, and where you are going right and wrong. However this is only part of the puzzle when it comes to looking good, as the clothes and outfits you pick have to look good too!
Over the past few years there has been an amazing array of books, guides, TV programmes, magazines and body shape gudies dedicated to help you when it comes to what to wear. Although I thought all of these things were great tools for women to use to improve their image and learn to work with what they have, I realised that they all had a common flaw.
A lot of the guides out there talk about types of body shapes and I am sure you have all heard of the main body shapes being pear, apple, hourglass and column. Some stylists have further broken down these figures based on their experience with their clients to include lots more shapes, anything up to twelve basic shapes. In saying all this I still meet women who watch all the programmes, read all the books yet were still asking me….
“What Shape Am I?”
These books and guides are fantastic if you can categorise yourself in to a specific body type, but women find it extremely difficult to put themselves in to any of these pigeon holes. After all we are all different!
So although I have used my Body Shape Guides to provide general advice for people who know what body shape they are, I have also broken this guide down in terms of dressing certain physical characteristics that my clients have found challenging. So rather than just having ‘advice for pear shapes’ I have wrote the ‘pear shape’ guide for all women who want to dress to make their bottom half look slimmer. I hope that makes sense?
I strongly recommend you read each Body Shape Guide, even if it doesn’t seem to be applicable to you, as it will help you to understand the general skills of personal styling.
The key here is to become your own personal stylist, and as any good personal stylist and shopper understands, when you know how to work with all figures, shapes and sizes, not just your own, you become a much stronger stylist.
This will be the key to your success, as you will learn to understand the basic theory behind why things do and don’t look good, so that you can grow in confidence and then start to bend and break the rules to suit you.
Body Shape Guides
The varying theories about body shapes can be very confusing, but I have found the best way to teach people is by breaking it down in to six general shapes when it comes to my Body Shape Guides.
- Pear Shape (Main Challenge Area: Hips, Thighs and/or Legs)
- Apple Body Shape (Main Challenge Area: Bust and / or Upper Arms)
- Diamond Body Shape (Main Challenge Area: Tummy)
- Hourglass Body Shape (Main Challenge Area: Achieving balanced outfits)
- Column Body Shape (Main Challenge Area: Want to Look More Feminine)
But many women also have to deal with body shape challenges when it comes to proportion in terms of: –
- Plus Size Body (Main Challenge Area: Find it hard to Find Stylish Clothes and may want to Look Slimmer)
- Tall Women (Main Challenge: Find it difficult to get clothes to fit well in the arms and legs, and often avoid heels)
- Petite Women (Main Challenge: Find it hard to get clothes to fit well around the torso, shoulders and in terms in length. Can look drowned easily)
There will be variations within each of these six shapes in terms of personality, height, proportions etc, but they provide a good starting point when learning and growing in confidence, which I’m assuming is why you are here 🙂 I do hope this will help you!
Obviously no two women are the same, but there are lots of similarities in dressing women, so breaking it down in to these body shapes is an easier way to teach you how to understand your individual body shape and enhance it through the outfits you create.
Similarities but not The Same
I’ll use the pear shape of an example of how two women can be classed as ‘pear shape’ but have different characteristics, highlighting the importance of reading the advice for all body shapes, as you may find more than one applies to you.
There are two friends reading their Body Shape Guides together.
Woman no. 1 is 5ft8, a size 18 and has the majority of characteristics of a pear shape, but also has a very large bust.
Woman no. 2 is 5ft1, a size 8 and also has the majority of pear shape characteristic but is flat- chested. As they look at each other, they can’t possibly see how they can be the same shape, as they seem so different in so many ways.
On this website, I class the general body shape such as the pear shape as near to the silhouette that person creates when looking straight forward. This contributes to the reason I don’t use pictures of real women throughout this book, as it tends to be difficult for women look at other females and find lots of similarities.
Instead I use very basic shapes to demonstrate the effect of body proportions which I hope you will find easier to interpret. This also then means that in addition to overall body shape, it will encourage you to look at how to dress individual characteristics.
Things In Common
You will find that there are elements of repetition in personal styling in the Body Shape Guides, but these will usually refer to great investment styles or capsule pieces that I have found work well for most women’s wardrobes, no matter what shape!
The advice that is repeated for more than one body shape may also indicate that this is probably a fail-safe option for you to try, no matter what shape you are. For example accessorising with a necklace suits everyone and anyone and never fails to transform just ‘clothes’ in to an outfit; so these things are worth a try.
The repetition also shows that there are in fact lots of similarities in terms of wardrobe challenges, no matter what body shape you are! For example we could have six women in a room (one of each body shape above) and each woman may feel self conscious about their stomach. The advice on this site is written in a way that each one of those women can refer to an area about dressing the tummy to look slimmer if need be.
I have therefore not just put advice according to a category of body shape; but also defined each section for women who have certain characteristics that relate specifically to that body shape.
For example pear shapes and hourglass shapes have a lot in common when it comes to their lower bodies (curvy hips, thighs and bottom). Apple shapes and hourglasses have a lot in common when it comes to their upper body (upper arms and fuller bust). This should also help you to see how with personal styling, there is a lot of cross-over and we all have a lot more in common when it comes to clothing, than you think!
Finding the perfect garments for your shape, personality and lifestyle will be a definite case of trial and error, as each and every woman is an individual in terms of appearance, tastes and clothing requirements. These Body Shape Guides are just that – a guide; a safety net; training wheels if you will, which intend to encourage you to experiment within certain guidelines to enable you to explore new options in a controlled way and increase your confidence step by step.
You will make mistakes, it will take time, but if you start with the advice in these Body Shape Guides, you will make positive progress with your wardrobe.