The A Body Shape
Happy day, dear reader!
I am doing a little bit of back to basics here on the blog about body shape. Sort of like those refresher weeks when school starts each fall! For a little context, in my intro post to this series, we talked about why body shape matters, AND why it doesn’t. In another, I talked a bit about how the “ideal” woman’s body shape has changed throughout history. To determine body shape, we look at the width of the shoulders and hips, and their relationship to each other. We also look at the waist and whether it is defined or undefined. Of the eight basic women’s body shapes, the most common female body shape is the A. The A is an unbalanced shape, meaning the hips and shoulders are not the same width. One appears wider than the other. Look at a capital letter A. If you imagine the head at the point of the A, you 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, and she has a defined waist. The A is a feminine, curvy, (and desirable) shape, which has been highly coveted throughout history! A’s often feel they were born into the wrong time for their bodies…
Finding Your Body Shape
Put Away That Measuring Tape! We have all heard the old 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 each of these shapes has different ways to best maximize her assets. To determine your body shape, take a photo of yourself in leggings and a form-fitting cami, or if you are feeling brave, a one piece swimsuit. (Note: If you share cloud storage, delete it as soon as you are done unless you want it showing up on someone else’s phone! How do I know? Don’t ask…) Printing out your picture is even better; it helps to be able to 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, your body shape is an A. Now that we’ve sorted that, what’s next? Your body’s scale and proportions play into your best choices, but in general…
A’s: What to Wear
If the goal is to create a more balanced figure, then A’s want to highlight the waist, broaden the shoulders, and minimize the hips. Often A’s are long-waisted, so a belt is a great way to draw attention to that little waist. To highlight the waist, belt tops, or tuck them in to see the waistband. If tucked feels too uptight, at least go for a half-tuck. To visually broaden the shoulders, think about boatneck tops, epaulets, or gathered sleeves. Wrap tops are fabulous for an A. 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 or jean 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, skinny jeans, I’m talking about you.) and added detail around your widest parts. Pocket bling, cargo pockets, and whiskering are common attention grabbers. Lately, 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
Remember the shape and style caveat: Personality Rules. Maybe you LOVE those pants; 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! Help balance the extra attention you are calling to your hips or thighs by redirecting the viewer back to your portrait area with jewelry, a colored scarf, or embroidery. Don’t pair those ultra-skinnies with a form fitting top. Choose one with a little volume to balance that bottom, and don’t let that hem end at your widest spot. Do that half-tuck! And know that there are better options out there for the times when you want extra flattery (class reunion, meeting your ex and his new wife, etc.). Keep something a little less bottom-con on hand for those occasions.
So, how about you? Are you an A Shape? 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!