By Cindy Lovas
Have you ever felt unhappy with your body shape or compared your shape to another woman's shape? We look at the fashion magazines and Paris runways and say, ”I don’t look like these models.” The reality is most women DON’T look like those svelte models. The average American woman is a size 14, weighs 164 lbs. and is 5’4” tall. Despite these typical measurements, retailers use “vanity” sizing to create an ideal customer for their brand by “slim-sizing” their apparel. So let go! Embrace your shape and learn how to make it look amazing!
This week, as a follow up to the previous article Knowing Your Fashion Style, we will take a journey into Part 2 of BE YOU of our Fashion Tips for the Road. Bradley Bayou, stylist to the celebrities, is a “go-to” expert on dressing one’s body, whatever shape. As Bayou states in his book, “The Science of Sexy”, there are 3 factors that determine your body type: Your silhouette, your measurements and your weight. All 3 are important elements in creating a balanced look. Humans are attracted to the balance or symmetry that we see in nature, architecture and also in our appearance.
Grab a tape measure….
Are your shoulders or bust significantly larger than your waist and hips? Most likely your shape is an Inverted Triangle.
Are your shoulders, bust and hips around the same size with no defined waistline? If so, Rectangle describes your silhouette.
Are your hips significantly wider than your shoulders? Welcome to the Triangle body shape.
What if your shoulders and hips are around the same size with a significantly smaller waistline? An Hourglass figure would best describe you.
Once you have identified your shape, you then can achieve that balanced look. Every shape has advantages and challenges:
Inverted Triangle Shape: Your shape is “out of balance” because the shoulders are “visually heavier” than the hips. Be cautious when wearing tops that add additional “visual” weight or make the shoulders look broader which you see with a boat-neck top or puffed sleeves. A better option for you are more tailored pieces up top and then adding “visual” weight on the bottom with boot-cut jeans or jeans with pockets. An A-line skirt or palazzo pants would also be great options for you.
Rectangle Body Shape: With your body type, shoulders and hips are similar but you don’t have the curve at the waistline. The good news is, we can create balance by visually suggesting a waistline with belts, wrap dresses, surplice tops and sweetheart necklines. It is about accentuating your broad shoulders and hips while cinching in your waist. Experts say over 40% of women are Rectangles. If this is your shape, word of caution: Don’t fall into the trap of throwing on comfortable baggy clothes to cover this “boyish” shape. It will add pounds to your appearance.
Triangle Body Shape: The Triangle shape is the opposite of the Inverted Triangle shape. Your hips are larger than the narrow waist and smaller bust which makes the hips “visually heavier” than the shoulders. If this is your body type, you want to avoid cargo pants, busy patterns or sleeveless tops. A better option for you is to balance your triangle shape and this is achieved by adding “visual weight” to your shoulders while reducing your hips. Think about wide scoop-neck tops with dark denim straight-legged jeans. Another great option is an empire-waist dress with a shorter hem to show off your legs.
Hourglass Body Shape: This shape is naturally balanced. The shoulders and hips are similar with a very defined waistline. Only 8% of women fall into this category. The challenge is to choose clothing that continues to show off that balance. Peasant tops, prairie skirts and horizontal prints cover the small waistline and drastic distressed jeans make your hips appear wider than they are. A wrap-dress, sheath dress, scoop neck top that hugs the torso are all perfect “go-to’s” for the Hourglass shape.
Whether you are an Inverted Triangle, Rectangle, Triangle or an Hourglass shape, YOU can be stylish and chic! Dress the beautiful body you have NOT the one you wished you had. BE YOU….Amazing YOU!
By Cindy Lovas
Fashion Stylist and Hello50 contributor
Cindy offers virtual style consultations