Style and Styling

Viva the V Shape!

The V Body Shape

Wishing you a most happy day, dear reader!

Today finds us still plugging away on our back to style school refresher about body shapes. Since there are seven women’s body shapes, this is our halfway mark. If you’d like an overview of body shape and why it does and doesn’t matter, here’s the very first post. In the first three shape specific posts I covered the A Shape (the most common female body shape), the X Shape and the 8 Shape (both hourglasses, but with very different dressing guidelines!). I consider any day a success when I learn something new, so I hope there will be something new here for you!

What do we mean when we talk about body shape? Imagine your body shape as the silhouette, or shadow, you create.  The width of your shoulders and hips, and their relationship to each other, and the definition of the waist, determine what that shadow looks like. The V Shape (like our friend the A) is an unbalanced shape, meaning that the visual width of the hips and shoulders is not equal. Look at a capital letter V. If you imagine the top of the V as the shoulders, and the bottom of the V is the hips, you get a feeling for look of an V. The V Shaped woman may or may not have a defined waist, and the shoulders are wider than the hips. The V Shape is often thought of as a “swimmer’s body.” Women with wide hips often envy the V!

How to Find Your Body Shape

Put Away That Measuring Tape! We have all heard the old 36-24-36 ideal of curvaceous womanhood, but those numbers don’t tell the whole story! That 36-24-36 could be an A, X, or 8, and dress very differently to (ahem) maximize her assets.

Get Out Your Camera! 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. If the line from your hips to your shoulders angles inwards, and your waist remains inside the line you drew, your body is a V Shape.

Now that we’ve sorted that, what’s next? Your body’s scale and proportions play into your best choices, but in general…

V’s What to Wear

If the goal is to balance your hips and shoulders, then V’s can do this by wearing darker colors on the top and lighter colors on the bottom. Raglan sleeves, and unembellished tops are good choices. Skirts and pants with horizontal patterns (like stripes) or details also can also help balance the bottom. Whiskering on jeans works for V’s, as do cargo pockets which many other body shapes need to avoid. Wide belts slung low on the hips look great on a V! Gathered and pleated skirts are a nice balance to the shoulders. Trousers or jeans with a flare or bootleg are flattering for V’s as they also create a balance to the shoulders. V’s should look for tops and jackets that have v-necks or low lapels, and look great in jackets with patch or flap pockets near the hips. Feeling fancy? Halterneck dresses and gowns are made for you, Miss V! The V body shape is the opposite of the A, and as you can see below, they dress “oppositely” too…

V’s What to Avoid

A V Shape that wants to create balance should avoid drawing attention to the shoulders. Skip the tops and jackets with epaulettes, cap sleeves, gathered or puffed shoulders; these just add more volume where none is needed. Spaghetti straps on tops just make those broad shoulders look even more broad. Shiny and blousy fabrics on the top will also create more volume. Wide, high lapels like those on biker jackets create unnecessary width. Stay away from double-breasted styles to avoid adding bulk to your upper half. Bright and flashy patterned tops also create more visual volume, and are to be avoided.

When You Love It Anyway

I am sure everyone is tired of hearing the alterations mantra, but it suits for every body type! V’s often find tailoring trousers to take out bulk from the hips and thighs a necessity, especially those whose waist is less defined. V Shapes need to buy jackets and tops to fit through the shoulders, and have the body tapered to fit properly. If a blousy ruffled top is a must have, wear a long vest over it to create a smoother longer line. When you wear a top with a very high or closed neckline, draw verticals with jacket openings  or even a long necklace or two. Gotta have those skinny jeans? Tuck them into a pair of riding boots!

How about you? Have you found your body shape yet? There are still three more to come! Have you learned anything new reading the posts in this series? What? Or what do you have a question about? Please let me know in the comments below! Iove to hear from you…

Stylishly yours,



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