The 5 Basic Body Types
Yesterday, we found out how to evaluate your body shape by relating the widths of your shoulders, waist, and hips. Now that you have an objective look at which parts of your body are widest and narrowest, let's talk about how you fit into the 5 basic body shapes and some common struggles you may have when fitting clothes.
The Inverted Triangle body type is widest at the SHOULDERS, with the waist and hips tapering inward.
This body type is associated with like swimmers, climbers, gymnasts, and bodybuilders; it's also associated with the masculine side of the spectrum, since males typically have a more developed upper body than females.
This body type exudes strength, authority, and power.
You might be an Inverted Triangle if...
- Blazers and jackets often pinch or pull in the shoulders/arms/chest
- Tailored tops never fit in the waist
- Pull-on shirts or dresses get stuck on your shoulders
- You often feel "top-heavy" or ungrounded
The Rectangle body type features a NARROW FRAME throughout the body and shows LITTLE DIFFERENCE between the width of the shoulders/bust, waist, and hips/thighs.
This body type is commonly associated with basketball players, rhythmic gymnasts, and current runway models - although you do NOT have to be tall to be a Rectangle . The Rectangle is also associated with youth, since rectangles typically do not have the exaggerated curves that typically come after puberty.
This body type is often viewed as boyish, energetic, and sprightly.
You might be a Rectangle if...
- Sheath dresses and pencil skirts are always baggy in the bust and hips
- Draped styles seem to hang off of you
- Blazers and jackets are often too big for your shoulders
- You feel like you have a wide waist even though you're a slim person overall
The Pear body type is widest at the HIPS or THIGHS, with a relatively narrower waist and bust.
The Pear shape is currently associated with Latin and Black culture as well as music and dance. Famous Pears like Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian have brought the Pear shape into the forefront of popular culture. This shape is also associated with femininity and motherhood, since women tend to have more developed leg muscles than men.
This body type naturally seems down-to-earth, nurturing, and reliable.
You might be a Pear if...
- Jeans/pants that fit your legs often gap at the waist
- You wear a smaller size on top than on bottom
- Pull-on dresses fit easily over your top but get stuck at your hips
- Tee shirts and tailored shirts pull or pop open at the hips
Circle & Square
The Circle body type is widest at the WAIST, with a narrower shoulder and hip. The Square is wide THROUGHOUT the body from shoulder to waist to hip. This shape is also sometimes call the Apple shape.
NOTE: I have also included the Square body type as a subset of the Circle. Yes, I totally realize that a geometric square is actually a type of rectangle - however, when it comes to clothing and style, the Square actually has much more in common with the Circle.
The Circle is more celebrated in today's culture than it has been in recent years, with many more stores providing flattering options for these body types. While it may be a stereotype, this shape is often associated with adulthood, leisure, and abundance.
Circles may be viewed as realistic, jolly, easygoing, and approachable.
You might be a Circle if...
- Belts and tucked-in looks never seem to work for you
- Low-rise skirts and jeans seem to slide off throughout the day
- You gravitate toward items that highlight your chest and legs
- You often feel top-heavy or like your feet are too small
Hourglass & Figure 8
The Hourglass body type is narrowest at the WAIST, with little difference between the width of the shoulders and hips.
The Figure 8, a subset of the Hourglass, also has a narrow waist, but the waist may not stand out quite as much because of a SHORT TORSO, which sits the hip area much closer to the bust (we'll talk a lot more about this later, when we discuss the vertical pivotal points of the body).
The Hourglass is associated with classic Hollywood starlets, bombshell or pinup looks, and femme fatales. Because a defined waist is a typically female trait, this body shape also comes across as very feminine - even though plenty of hourglass women turn out to be total tomboys on the inside!
People often view the Hourglass as seductive, sensual, glamorous, and high-maintenance.
You might be an Hourglass if...
- You get stuck in both ends of a pull-on dress!
- You wear the same size on top and bottom, but you always have to alter clothes to fit your waist
- Loose, relaxed tops make you feel bulky and heavy
- Girlfriends assume that you can "wear anything" and have little sympathy in the fitting room
I hope this helps you get an even better idea of how your body shape can affect your clothing choices, image, and lifestyle - and also how everyone's body shape comes with it's unique quirks when it comes to fashion and the fitting room.
Next, I'm going to discuss each of these body types individually to help you learn how to adjust your body shape to better reflect how you feel on the inside - adding curves to feel more feminine, strengthening a weaker shoulder line to feel powerful, and much more!
See you next week to delve deeper into the mysteries of the Inverted Triangle...