Fashion Pulse Know Your Body Type
  Paula Blackman
September 2014

This is the first in the series of articles which are intended to enhance your understanding and broaden your perspective of how you view your body type, size and to attempt to teach you to use clothing to look your best. J Crew has just-launched a size 000 which, according to the company’s size chart, fits women with a 23 inch waistline: the equivalent of an extra extra extra small.


This article is intended to uplift and liberate you rather than try to convince you that you are only as beautiful as your clothing tag would have you believe or to validate the stereotypes displayed by the media or on the runway. This article will not attempt to convince you about vanity sizing (which attempts to make anyone over a certain weight believe that if he or she wears any size above extra extra small he or she is unattractive and unhealthy). On the contrary, the intention is to empower people of all sizes, shapes and features to understand how to enhance their features with the use of clothing.


Research suggests that more than 90 per cent of women want to change something about their physical appearance, with their body weight being at the top of that list. Research also suggests that physical appearance is also a major concern among men, with, beer bellies, man boobs “moobs” and going bald being the major concerns.  So it’s not just a “girl issue”, but a “human issue”. Body image is the way we perceive our bodies and our assumption of the way others perceive us. The way you perceive your body can affect the way you carry yourself, relate to others and even how you feel about yourself. Your image of your body is often affected by family, friends, social pressure and the media. Why should you be interested in knowing your body shape? Well, it will help save you time and money when shopping for clothes and it takes the guess work out of the exercise.


In this era of flourishing cosmetic procedures, whether surgical or non-surgical, there are makeup tricks that can make us look like almost anyone we imagine and conceal unflattering features. There are touch ups, nips and tucks, botox and silicone implants to help you create the body you have always dreamed of, if that’s your preference. But for those of you who want to love the skin you’re in with its imperfections and all, you can use clothes to make you look your best. If you are interested in finding ways to look glamorous, simple or elegant, keep reading to find some helpful suggestions to assist you while you work on creating the body you are most comfortable in.


Your body type

The fashion industry has determined different categories of body types. This can appear to be a simplistic categorisation of the person as it overlooks the complexity of the human physique. However, for the purpose of effectively clothing the body the application of the categorisation is necessary. The first step in learning how to dress your body to look its best is to determine what your body type is. To do this you would need to stand in front of a full length mirror with your feet together, wearing as little clothing as possible or a full body suit. Focus your attention on your shoulders, bust, or chest, hips and thighs and pay attention to your curviest and straightest areas. You would now need to take your measurements starting with your chest. Standing straight without slouching to any side, take a tape measure and wrap it around the fullest part of your chest keeping it parallel to the floor. Ensure that it’s not too tight by inserting your thumb between the tape and your body. Repeat the exercise on the narrowest part of your waist and the widest part of your hips.


Once you have your measurements, compare them against those of the five most common body types.  For women there are five body shapes:

  • The ruler/rectangle: the shoulders, bust, waist and hips are generally equal in size with the waistline one to eight inches less than the bust;

  • The apple: usually a large upper body, bust, shoulders and waist with slim hips and slender legs;

  • The wedge: broad shoulder and full upper body, the waist is flat with hips narrower than the bust and shoulders;

  • The hourglass: usually proportional in the bust, hips and thighs, the waistline measure eight to twelve inches less than the hips; and

  • The pear: generally wider hips and thighs with small bust and waist.





Now for the guys, there are three body types. These even sound masculine and are not associated with any particular object, but that is a discussion for another forum. The male body types are:

  • Endomorph: round physique or stocky build;

  • Ectomorph: small or thin frame with small shoulders and a flat chest; and

  • Mesomorph: rectangular shape.





Now that you have determined your body type pay attention to those areas of your body you think are your problem areas: it may be your thighs, derriere, waistline or arms; then determine what areas you like best about your body. The list may be the same. Making note of the areas of your body you consider to be your positive and negative features will help you learn how to mask your “problems areas” and accentuate the areas you feel are your best features. That is not to say that one particular shape or feature is better than the other since they are all beautiful parts of the whole but the exercise is simply designed to give you more confidence when you are dressed and hopefully be the impetus for further self-improvement. Though confidence is more than just skin deep learning to be comfortable in your skin can help you to appreciate yourself and create positive self-perceptions which could in turn lead you to living a happier and healthier life.









By: Paula Blackman | FEATURES | September 2014

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