Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Tag: A

A Body Shape

A Body Shape

In a previous post, I talked a bit about the different women’s body shapes, and how body shape has to do with your skeleton, and with how your “meat” is attached to those bones.  To determine body shape, we look at the shoulders and hips, and their relationship to each other. We also look at whether the waist is defined or not. There are 8 basic women’s body shapes, but one very common female body shape is the A. If you imagine the head at the point of the A, you can get a feeling for the relationship of the shoulders to the hips. For an A shaped woman, the shoulders are narrower than the hips, or if you prefer, the hips are wider than the shoulders. This is a feminine, curvy, (and desirable) shape!

Put Away the Measuring Tape!

We have all heard the 36-24-36 ideal of curvaceous womanhood, but the numbers aren’t the important part! You could be a 36-24-36 A, X, or 8, and all these shapes have different ways to best maximize their assets. Take a photo of yourself in leggings and a form-fitting cami. (Delete it as soon as you are done if you don’t want it showing up on a family member’s phone if you share a cloud!) Printing out the picture is even better, because you can lay a ruler on it. Draw a straight line from your shoulder bone (not the outside of your arm) to the widest part of your hip. For some women this will be the hip bones. For some, the widest part may be across the leg crease; for others it will be the widest part of their thighs. If the line flares outward like the side of an A, and your waist is defined, you are an A body shape.  Body scale and proportions play into your choices as well, but in general…

A’s What to Wear

If the goal is to create a balanced figure, then A’s want to highlight the waist, broaden the shoulders, and minimize the hips. Often A’s are long-waisted, so there may be room for  belt. To visually broaden the shoulders, think boatneck tops, epaulets, or gathers on the sleeve. Wrap tops are fabulous for an A. To highlight the waist, belt tops, or tuck in to see the waistband. Even a half-tuck works here if a full tuck feels too “done”! To minimize the hips, an A-line skirt flaring out over the hips works wonders. If skirts or dresses are not your style, a plain simple straight legged jean or trouser in a darker color than the top works beautifully. Straight legged means many different things to different people; here, I mean a trouser that is the same width from the thigh all the way down the leg. If you are a long-legged A, boot-cuts can work well too, as long as the thighs aren’t too tight!

A’s What to Avoid

In general, A’s often want to avoid drawing attention to their hips and thighs, although there are exceptions. Look at Kim Kardashian; she’s perfectly happy to draw attention to her hips and thighs. If you love your more ample lower half, that’s fabulous, but not everyone has that body confidence. If you prefer to downplay your hips and thighs, avoid snug or tapered pants (Yes, skinnies, I’m talking about you.) and added detail around your widest parts. Pocket bling, cargo pockets, and whiskering are common attention grabbers. Recently, the stores are stocking jeans with worn/bleached areas on the thighs. These spotlight your thighs saying, “Hey, lookie here!”

When You Love It Anyway

Here’s the shape and style caveat: Maybe you LOVE those pants, and they are perfect for your personality, and you don’t give a rip (see what I did there?). Wear the pants if they make you happy! Just know that there are more flattering options out there for the times when you want to look your very best (class reunion, meeting your ex and his new wife, etc.), and keep some of those more flattering choices on hand. If your answer to why you choose pieces that don’t suit you well is “It’s just everyday wear,” my question to you is “Why don’t you want to look your best everyday?” You are precious. Please remember that, and treat yourself like you are.

What do you have in your closet that you love and wear even if it doesn’t make the best of your assets? Please share in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

What’s Shape Got to Do with It? (Apologies to Tina Turner…)

What’s Shape Got to Do with It? (Apologies to Tina Turner…)

Before I start work with my clients, I ask them to fill out a questionnaire, to help me better understand them and find out with what they want help. One of the most frequent responses about a client’s goals is to learn to dress his or her Body Shape.

A Little History

The “ideal” body shape has changed dramatically over time., and differs from culture to culture. In western culture, for much of history, extra weight was a status symbol signifying that you were well off. You had more than enough to eat! Think of all those amazing paintings by Rubens. Botticelli’s Venus, as trim as she is, still sports a little tummy pooch. No ripped abs or muscled legs for her! Her attendant is a well-built woman, with thighs that could certainly be called strong and generous. The nipped and corseted women of the past may have been striving for the ideal of a tiny waist, but were still expected to be full elsewhere. So when did society’s obsession with thin begin? We most commonly associate the 1920’s with the beginning of the thin craze, but the boyish figure obsession of that era passed and in the 1930’s and 40’s curves ruled again. In the 60’s, Twiggy and the Youthquake brought the “skinny kid” figure  back into style, and we still struggle with an obsession with thinness today. If you have ever felt trapped in the wrong time for your body style-wise, you are not alone!

What is Body Shape?

Put simply, your Body Shape is your skeleton, and your silhouette. Your body shape is determined by your skeleton, most notably your hips and shoulders, and how they are related. This is (for the most part) determined by your genes and your environment when you were growing up. There is really not much you can do to change the skeleton you have. (Although, you CAN control the kind of skeleton you WILL have when you are 80, so please eat well, don’t smoke, and do weight bearing exercise!)

If you Google “body shape” you will find oodles of images, and geometric and object shape names! Brick, bell, rectangle, triangle, apple, pear, hourglass, inverted triangle, oval, straw, column, straight, spoon, diamond, and the list goes on. I am not impressed by being called a fruit shape, and even less so a brick. My training was with the amazing Imogen Lamport from AOPI, and I love her letter and number based system that leaves those negative word connotations behind.

The Basic Body Shapes

The basic female body shapes are I, H, O, X, A, V, and 8. Five of the shapes are balanced, meaning that the shoulders and hips are equal in width. This is NOT the same as being the same measurement around! This is a visual measurement across the shoulders and hips. The balanced shapes are I, H, O, X, and 8. Now you can be a plump balanced shape or a slim balanced shape, your weight is not relevant, here. The unbalanced shapes are the A, and the V. You can imagine an A having wider hips than shoulders, and a V having wider shoulders than hips. (Often referred to as a “swimmer’s body…) Again, you can be a curvier A or V, or a more slender A, or V. Every body shape has its benefits and challenges, and almost everyone I have met wishes they had a different one! Every body shape is beautiful, and every body shape can look amazing when properly dressed!

Next week we will talk more about figuring out your body shape, but if you can’t wait that long, contact me and I would love to get you started with a consultation!