Your Body Shape

Confused about your frame and where your curves fit in? Learn more about your body - and how to accentuate it - now!

Can you remember the last time you got up close and personal with your body? Thought so. And I'm not talking about the 'oh-no-I'm-so-fat' scrutiny. I'm talking about the kind of appraisal which could save you from embarrassing yourself. On your wedding day.

Because, if we were totally honest with ourselves, we'll know that big breasts in boob tubes are not a pretty sight, and that a tiny bust STILL needs a bra...even if it's a strapless one!

It's an eerie thought, but looking your best starts in front of a full length mirror. Don't be shy now...

Identifying your shape
Standing in front of a full length mirror, look at the width of your shoulders and compare it to the width of your hips. Is it the same size? Or are your hips wider than your shoulders, or vice versa?

Next, examine your waistline (the narrowest section of your torso) and compare it to the size of your hips and shoulders.

Once you have this information, use the descriptions below to see which shape is most likely you.

*Within the 4 main categories, there is room for variation. You can be a skinny or plump pear, a small-framed or large-framed hourglass, a tall or tiny rectangle and etc.

The Pear Shape
If your hips are wider than your shoulders and your waist is well defined, then bingo! you're a member of the most common body shape, the Pear. The great thing about being Pear is the fact that most clothes are made with your form in mind.

What suits you?
Upper body: Stick to strapless (to show off your gorgeous neck), V-neck and scooped necklines.

Lower body: An A-line bottom (or Princess style as they're known) is the best option, but avoid a too bulky skirt. Empress line works well too and so does diagonal draping on the bodice.

Stay away from:
Upper body: Halters and high-cut necklines – they only make your hips look bigger.

Lower body: Bias and straight cut dresses don't work on your shape either, because they bring unwanted emphasis to your hip area. Full, gathered and pleated skirts do much the same. Best advice? Stay away from anything bulky or chunky around your hip area. Mermaid-style dresses also don't work.

The Rectangular Shape
If your hips and shoulders are roughly the same width, and your waist isn't exactly defined, then you're a Rectangle. You have a straight, boyish body shape, and your breasts are probably small or medium sized. With your form, your main style aim should be to add curves.

What suits you?
Upper body: Structured and corseted bodices create an illusion of a smaller waist, as do high necklines. If you have firm upper arms, then use it to your advantage by wearing short, sleeveless or boat-neck style tops. If you are tall, then go for an elegant empire line or bias cut. Remember to keep necklines wide to show off your elegant shoulders.

Lower body: Full skirts are fabulous, as are dresses that wrap or flow through your waistline.

Stay away from:
Upper body: Clingy fabrics are not your friend, and neither are high necklines nor halter-style tops. Avoid rouging and draping around your waist area, and never go for anything too clingy or too baggy.

Lower body: Narrow skirts and straight cut dresses are your nemesis – they end up making you look boxy.

The Triangle Shape
Are your shoulders wider than your hips? If so, then you – like most models – have the Inverted Triangle body shape. Although it's not a rule, you are usually top heavy, with broad shoulders, big bust and narrow hips.

What suits you?
Upper body: Straight cut dresses are very classy, and because you have small hips, you can pull off a ball gown rather elegantly. Halters balance your shoulders and hips, and flowing fabrics work a treat!

Lower body: Because your hips are nice and small, you can get away with most of the bulkier styles – just make sure you get your top/bottom balance perfect.

Stay away from:
Upper body: Stiff, bulky fabrics, and styles that emphasize your broad shoulders. Also, avoid high necklines, big collars, full or fancy sleeves.

Lower body: Be sure to stay away from anything tapered.

The Hourglass Shape
The Hourglass is the most coveted body shape of them all. Think Marilyn Monroe. If your hips and shoulders are the same width and your waistline is well defined, then congrats, you are the most envied shape on the planet!

What suits you?
Upper body: V-neck, strapless and scooped necklines work the best, as do off the shoulder styles. You want to keep your neckline low, because it creates an illusion of a slim décolletage and chest area.

Lower body: If anything, go for an A-line or Mermaid style... You want to accentuate your perfect figure. On the chubby side? Use ruching to disguise your wobbly bits.

Stay away from:
Upper body: High collars don't work as well on your body as V-necks do, so stay away from them. Your main aim should be to attract as much attention to your defined waistline as possible.

Lower body: Straight cuts are wasted on your beautiful curves, and unless you're tall and slender, it will probably end up looking inept and clumsy. Also, be wary of gathered and pleated bottoms as it will make your hips appear even bigger.

Which of the four body shapes best describes you? Do you have any valuable style tips? Share them with us in the box below.

- Women24

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