What Body Shape Are You?: An Easy Guide to Silhouettes That Flatter Your Beautiful Body


All right ladies, let’s talk form and figure. I am not talking about weight or height—forget about dwelling on that—I’m talking shape. Fashion is all about proportions, so what shape are you—and what silhouettes flatter your form? Once you know, you can make the best choices to play up your individual strengths. 

Everyone’s beautiful body is uniquely different and one-of-a-kind (what a wonderful thing!). Generally speaking, we can boil it down to four distinct body types. Knowing our body shape and dressing to your form can accentuate individual attributes by wearing silhouettes that fit us best. Celebrities and starlets pay big bucks to personal stylists to get the tips on what to wear, but all you really need is a measuring tape, pen, and paper to start taking notes!

Measure in the following four places: Hips, waist, bust and shoulders (across). Double your shoulder measurement. Now, with your set of four numbers, determine what shape you are—if shoulders and hips are within an inch or less of each other, but your waist is at least four inches (or likely more) smaller, you are an hourglass. If all four measurements are roughly the same, you are a rectangle. If your hips are the largest number, you are  a triangle or pear, and if your bust, hips, and waist measurements are close, but your shoulders are biggest, you are an apple.

For All Body Types

A great tip for all forms, no matter what category you fall into is: skin-tone shoes (black is no longer your classic shoe color—trust me). Go shoe shopping with bare legs and find a simple, comfortable heeled shoe that’s as close to your skin tone as possible. This will give the appearance of longer legs and whether you find cream, beige, or dark brown shoes, they will work with most outfits. And who wouldn’t want to add a little length to their legs?

Another great tip for all body types is color. Don’t be afraid of it! Wearing a brightly colored garment that flatters your skin tone will immediately draw attention to that area. So whatever your best feature (cleavage, legs, great shoulders, or waist), bring color there, and don’t forget to smile if you feel great.

Here is a general explanation of the four different body types, and what fits best on each.



If your hips and shoulders are about equal size and your waist is defined, then you are considered an hourglass. For the hourglass shape it is always about drawing attention to your curves. Silhouettes that flatter your form are: wrap dresses, and especially any thin or lightweight fabrics. A pair of stretchy skinny or straight-leg jeans are great to pair with slim-cut cardigans and tunics. Don’t wear baggy clothes or layer too much, just hug what you’ve got and love your body!



For rectangles, it’s about the trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye) to create the illusion of curves. Long jackets and strapless dresses with cinched waists are extremely flattering for this body type. Another great silhouette for rectangles are tops with collars to highlight your chest and bring the eye upwards. Avoid boxy tops and skinny jeans.


Triangle or Pear

If your hips are wider than shoulders you are a triangle or pear body shape and you’ll want to show off your shoulders by leaving them bare or adding a bit of volume to your chest (ruffles or decorative fabric above your bust can be lovely). Strapless dresses or defined shoulders in blouses will bring volume to your upper half. A jacket that hits just above the waist also really flatters your form without adding bulk down below. Stay away from cargo pants or printed skirts (unless it’s a small print) as they can draw attention the to hips and thighs.

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Inverted Triangle or Apple

If your shoulders or bust are wider than your hips then your body is defined as an inverted triangle or apple shape. High-waisted pants are great for this body type (plus, they are trendy right now)! Also, wearing belts at the smallest part of your waist will highlight your form. Another good tip for this body type is wearing bell bottoms because they balance out the wider shoulders. V-neck tops are great, but stay away from spaghetti straps.

Have fun! Know your shape and embrace it, because it is uniquely yours!

Now what? Take some time for a deep closet clean and donate those pieces that might not flatter your figure (you know which ones they are—or ask an honest friend for help).

Related on Ecosalon:

25 Inspirational Quotes on the Power of Women

The 9 Most Empowering Sex Positions for Women: Female Sexuality Remixed

Keep in touch with Juliette on Twitter @spadesandsiLK

Image of Hourglass: GiuliagasImage of Rectangle: Mathias Liebing; Image of Pear: www.fotoARION.ch Image of Yield Sign: jacco de boer

Juliette Donatelli

Working in the field of sustainability for over seven years, Juliette is passionate about its intersection within the fashion industry. Juliette began studying ecological conservation, and led consumer awareness campaigns around the world from water usage in southern California, riparian restoration in South Africa, food distribution in Paris and bison habitat in the Great Plains. She has launched her passion--consumerism and sustainability--into a place where it hits home--fashion. Juliette is the founder and editor-in-chief of spadesandsilk.com, Director of Sustainability at Manufacture NY, and loves to read, dance, swim and enjoy the occasional glass of champagne.