Knowing how to dress your body type is a game-changing skill when it comes to building a wardrobe. Mastering it will save you time, money and sanity.
I created this comprehensive guide with tips and strategies for the five primary body types.
For the sake of keeping this simple, I am focusing on Rectangle (sometimes called Straight), Round, Hourglass, Pear (also called Triangle), and Inverted Triangle.
The Well Dressed Life Guide on How to Dress Your Body Type
Rectangle, Round, Hourglass, Pear, Inverted Triangle
In this article, you’ll find:
- The mathematical formula you can use to determine your body type
- A breakdown of each body type
- Real Life examples to help you understand how to dress in a way that highlights your favorite features.
To start I want you to take some time to figure out your body type.
Take Your Measurements
For this you need a tape measure, and a calculator.
Shoulders: Start at the tip of one shoulder wrapping the tape all the way around you.
Bust: Pull the measuring tape taut across the fullest part of your bust and around your back.
Waist: Measure the smallest part of your natural waist, just above the belly button.
Hips: Start at one hip (below the hip bone) and wrap the tape measure around the largest part of your butt.
Dressing well is about creating balance. Below is each body type and the mathematical formula to use to determine where you fall. Knowing this will make getting dressed so much easier.
A rectangle shape is defined by your shoulders and hips measuring about the same and a waist line with just a little definition.
Rectangle Formula: Waist ÷ Shoulders or Bust ≥ .75
If the number is ≥ .75, than your your waist is less than 25% smaller than your shoulders or bust and you fall in the category of rectangle.
Famous Rectangle Body Types
A round shape, also known as an apple shape, is defined as broad shoulders, narrow hips and no defined waist. Your waist is wider than both your shoulders and hips.
Formula: Waist ÷ Shoulders and Bust ≥ 1.05
If the number is ≥ 1.05 this means your waist is more than 5% bigger than your shoulders or bust and you fall into the round or apple body type.
Famous Round Body Types
An hourglass is the easiest body type to determine because your shoulders and hips are close to/or equal in measurement and you have a very defined waist. Here you have two formulas:
Formula 1: waist ÷ shoulders and bust ≤ 0.75 .
In this equation, you want to use whichever measures more, either your shoulders or bust.
If the number is ≤ 0.75 then your waist is 25% smaller than your shoulder or bust
Formula 2: waist ÷ hips ≤ 0.75.
Your waist is 25% smaller than your hips
If the number is ≤ 0.75 then your waist is 25% smaller than your hips.
Famous Hourglass Body Types
Pear shape and Triangle are interchangeable. Simply put, your hips are wider than your shoulders, and your shoulder may be on the narrow side.
Formula: hips ÷ shoulders or bust ≥ 1.05
If the number is ≥ 1.05 then your hips are 5% bigger than your shoulders then you are considered a pear or triangle shape.
Famous Pear Shaped Body Types
You are an Inverted Triangle if your shoulders OR bust are larger than your hips. Typically this evident when you have extra broad shoulders, but you may also fall into this category if you have a large bust and narrow hips.
Formula: shoulders or bust ÷ hips ≥ 1.05
If the number is ≥ 1.05 then your shoulder or bust is more than 5% bigger than your hips making you an inverted triangle.
Famous Inverted Triangle Body Types
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I be more than one body type?
Absolutely, you can sit between two types.
Does our body type change over time?
Bone structure dictates body type rather than weight and height. Of course, all factors are considered when we get dressed, so these guidelines are just that, guidelines.
For example, I am a rectangle. When I was younger, and at my most fit and thin, I could wear anything. That’s not the case anymore in my 40s, BUT these guidelines help me find the most flattering pieces for my current shape.
Think of it like this:
Body Type is your bone structure.
Fit/Size is your proportion; you may be “regular,” petite, tall, or plus.
Weight is a factor to consider which tends to fluctuate for many of us.
I encourage you to read about all of the different body types because the more you understand balance and proportion, the easier it will be to get dressed. Also, if you fall in between two body types, you’ll want to learn about both so you can start to find your way between them.
Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers
Our readership inspires all of our posts and this post is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers.
Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail.
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