Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Tag: I

I Body Shape

I Body Shape

Previously, I have talked about the different women’s body shapes, and how body shape has to do with your skeleton, and with the way your “meat” is attached to those bones. So far, we have tackled the A, X, and 8. 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. All three we have looked at so far are curvy waisted shapes. Today we will talk about the I, less curvy, and without a defined waist.

Put Away the Measuring Tape!

(This first part is the same for all body shapes!) To determine your body shape, take a full length photo of yourself in leggings and a form-fitting cami. Print out the picture if you can, and 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 at the hip bones. For some, the widest part may be across the leg crease. If the line you draw is perpendicular to the ground and there is little to no difference between your vertical line and your waist, you are an I. I’s are straight up and down, and are often thought of as a model’s figure. I’s tend to be very thin; many curvy women wish they were I’s, but the I often wishes she were curvier! (A classic grass is always greener situation!) Celebrity I’s include Keira Knightly, Nicole Ritchie, and Nicole Kidman.

I’s What to Wear

I’s are fortunate in that clothes generally hang well on them. If the I wants to create curves, she should look for details that draw attention to the bust and hips. The ruffles and pleats that other body shapes avoid look fabulous on I’s. I’s look great in horizontal patterns like stripes, even wide ones. No worries about looking too padded in a Breton! Double breasted jackets create width, and can create curves. Flared short sleeves are great on I’s, as are tops with gathers and breast pockets. Gathered or pleated skirts can create the illusion of hips. Belts are an I’s friend, and can create a waist, especially with a softly bloused top. I’s can use color strategically to create curves as well.

I’s What to Avoid

I’s can be bony, and this often appears most prominently in the decolletage. You can avoid drawing attention to this by wearing higher necklines, or softening the neckline with ruffles or gathers. Skip big statement necklaces that lie here as well. I’s can easily be overwhelmed by large scale patterns and oversized pieces. Too much volume can make you look lost inside your clothes. Unless you want to always tuck your jeans, carefully check knee high boots before buying to ensure that they do not gape at the calf.

When You Love It Anyway

Finding small enough clothes can be a real challenge for a petite I. Alterations and tailoring are one of the I’s best friends. Tops with too much volume can be taken in at the bust, and frequently trousers will need the same, especially through the hips and thighs. Pieces that are very tailored and shaped can be softened with feminine details. If you really want to wear that statement necklace, pair it with a turtleneck, or crew neck top for impact without overwhelming your decolletage. The same necklace can also look fabulous worn over a collared shirt. Large cuff or bangle bracelets can work with the same treatment.

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!