Analyse Your Shape

Because there always needs to be a complementary relationship between your clothing and your body line, you must first analyse your shape so that the clothes you wear look like a natural extension of yourself. You need to be absolutely realistic about this because you are aiming for a flattering image and you must know exactly what to emphasise and what to camouflage.

Body Profile

These silhouettes date back to the 1960's. It is interesting to compare them to today's sizes!

Body Shape deals with body widths – bust, waist and hips as well as shapes such as shoulder slope, tummy and buttock profile etc.

Proportion deals with lengths and how our bodies divide up – are we long waisted, short legged etc?

Scale deals with our overall size – height and bone structure.

Balance is where we bring our widths, lengths and scale into harmonious balance and create the illusion of perfect proportions and shape.

So many women have poor self images because they feel they are less than perfect. They think they are too fat, or too round, or too big, or too tall, or too short. In fact very few women have perfect figures – actually fewer than 10% have so-called perfect proportions – which makes the remaining 90% in fact the “normal’ women. It is OK to be the way you are, too have a thick waist and large bust, or to be broad about the beam and narrow on top or whatever…

Weight is not an issue in assessing your body shape. Extra pounds won’t change the fact that you are either Angular or Curvy, Straight or Round. To look your best you do not necessarily need to lose weight, but you do need to come to terms with the way you are, accept yourself and concentrate on making the most of what you have.

Personal Analysis

First study the general effect you present to the world.

  • Are you short or tall, fat or thin, average in weight or height?
  • How is your posture? Are your shoulders squared and straight, or do they have a tired droop?
  • How about your tummy? Is it flat and tucked in, or does it bulge a bit (or a lot)?
  • Is your head held confidently high?
  • Is your waistline clearly defined?
  • Are you well proportioned or do you bulge in the wrong places?
  • Are you tall enough for your width?

All Women fall into One of Two Body Types

Apple body shape and Pear body shape

The Apple Shape has a high hipbone, and usually a wide, low ribcage, which gives her a thick waist. She has lovely slim thighs, and often long legs. Her bust can be low slung and heavy. When she gains weight, fat is deposited around her waist and on her hips, but when she loses the weight it comes off her legs.

The Pear Shape has a long tapered hipbone and a slim ribcage. Generally she will have a small waist, but broad hips and thighs. When she gains weight, it is usually on her thighs and hips, but when she loses the weight it often goes first from her already small bust.

Then there are extensions of the basic body shapes – the A, X, & V figure types.

By far the easiest way to determine if you are a perfect A, X or V shape, or if your shape falls into a range somewhere in between, is to examine the way you gain and lose weight!

Extensions to body shapes

The A – Shape has a narrow ribcage (but not necessarily narrow shoulders), a small waist and hips that start out narrow at the waist and flare out to form a typical pear at buttock level. When she puts on weight adipose tissue is deposited around the buttocks and thighs, and she is very prone to cellulite. The first place she loses weight is on her bust and face and sometimes her calves.

The X – Shape is the typical hourglass. She has a broader ribcage, tends to broad shoulders, wider hips with a small waist. Her hips start flaring near the waist and are squarer than the A’s. For this reason, the perfect X figure must avoid waistline bunching and gathers. The garment should follow the body below the waist before flaring. A great many figures fall in between the A and X shapes. Madame X tends to put on and to lose weight equally over her body.

The V – Shape is an upside down triangle. She has broad shoulders and narrow hips. Her waist thickens and her tummy becomes barrel-shaped and large when she puts on weight. When she loses weight her buttocks and thighs tend to go first. Many V – Shapes have the added complication of a large bust making them appear top heavy.

The aim is to make our bodies appear perfectly proportioned and balanced.

The way you appear to others is all in the eye of the beholder, which merely follows the line of the clothes you wear. This is why your clothes can dramatically affect how your size, weight and figure appear to others. The way we perceive shape and proportions is dictated by how the eye is drawn by garment lines and by where these lines force it to stop.

You can learn how to appear taller or smaller, heavier or lighter, by choosing the right styles and proportions for your own body.

We can use garment lengths, lines and features to visually shorten one portion of the body and thereby make another appear longer; or to highlight a desirable area which will make other, less desirable areas recede.

We can create lines that cause the eye to move from side to side thereby broadening the area, or create lines that force the eye to move up and down thereby creating length.The aim is always to make our bodies appear perfectly proportioned and balanced.

Click here to Find Out What Shape You Are

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Lloyd Boston defines finding your style as "taking your world and giving it shape." That's what he's done for his individual and corporate clientele for years, and now with this beautifully designed book -- including his own original art -- he's offering his insider secrets to you. Boston's user-friendly references are filled with inspirational ideas for looking and feeling your most stylish.

Friendly, frank, and with a wealth of professional tips at his disposal, Boston guides readers through an entire year's worth of fashion choices, beginning with a new style resolution at the top of the year, through the fresh fashion possibilities of spring and barely dressed days of summer, and back through the glittering holidays.

Before You Put That On offers: • Hints for choosing garments to flatter every body type • Simple solutions for going from day to night in minutes • Tailoring tricks that bring new life to items you already own • Advice on adding accessories that turn a look from frumpy to fabulous • Organizational tips for creating a user-friendly closet

Margaret Chetter

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