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12 September 12

How to Dress Your Body Shape

Guest Post by the fabulously talented & style guru Miss Imogen Lamport

Body shapes are the outline, or silhouette of the body. One easy way of working out your body shape is to take a photo of yourself in tight fitting clothing (say t-shirt and leggings or fitted jeans), and then put it into a photo program and fill in your features with a colour so that all you can see is the silhouette.

Once you can see this you can see the width of various parts of your body. The most important considerations are – the visual width of shoulders, waist and hips. If your shoulders and hips are a similar width, your body shape is what we call in the trade ‘balanced’ and will be an I, X, H or 8 shape. If your shoulders are noticeably wider than your hips then you are a V shape. If your shoulders are noticeably smaller than your hips you are an A shape. If your waist is wider than your hips and/or shoulders then you are an O shape.
What does this tell you? Body shapes tell you where to put the detail or interest on a garment. What to highlight and what to camouflage. Let’s assume that we want to create the appearance of an X shape (as most women in western cultures tend to want this – the shape of balanced hips and shoulders with a defined waistline). So when looking at each of the shapes, we decide where to draw attention, and where to distract the eye from resting, and use the concepts of line and design to do this.
For example, if you are an X shape (one measurement that can help you figure this out if your hips and shoulders are even) is that your waist is 10”+ smaller than your hip or shoulder measurement. If your waist is 9” or less different from hips/shoulders you will be either and I or H shape.



X shapes have a defined waist and can draw attention to this with belting. They look best in garments that are shaped through the waist – anything baggy or boxy won’t flatter their ultra feminine figure.



I shapes are super slim; they often describe their figure as ‘boyish’ and often feel less feminine. Most models are an I shape, and your body makes a great coathanger for lots of different clothing styles and you can play with all sorts of silhouettes.




8 shapes have a ‘shelf’ like hip and look best in straight skirts rather than A-line. As you have a small waist show this great feature off. Avoid pocket flaps on jeans and trousers if you don’t want to add more booty.



H shapes have a less than defined waist, so need clothes that skim past the waist (not belted at the waist, or tucked) so as not to draw attention to the lack of waist, instead create shaping by using detail above the bust or below the knee.




A shapes (often known as pear shape) need detail and interest from the waist up, and to keep the lower half of the body free of detail and in a darker colour than the top half, so the hips appear smaller and more balanced with the shoulders. A shapes can benefit from putting horizontal details up near their shoulders , things like boat necklines, cap sleeves, epaulettes, pockets on the bust (unless you’re busty).



V shapes have wider shoulders and often appear quite athletic. Look for halter necks, narrow V necks or scoop necks. Jeans with pocket details on the hips or distressing details will add some curve. Patterned skirts that have some flare also balance your wide shoulders.




O shapes need clothes that skim past their waist. Look for detail above the bust to draw attention to your face. Avoid belts or tucking which are not flattering for your waist.

As you can see from this, body shapes are one element in what goes into what suits you best. There are lots of other elements, such as body variations (large or small bust, long or short neck, booty butt or flat butt etc.), that you may want to think about, along with body proportions, which tell you the most flattering lengths of garments.

The more you know about each of your glorious and unique features, the easier it is to choose clothes that flatter your shape.

#For more specific information about body shapes or to follow Imogen’s fabulous and informative blog you can do so at

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