If someone were to ask me what my body shape was I would find it difficult to come up with an answer. I have always been aware of the fitting issues I experience when sewing but I have never been able to pin done my actual body shape, as defined by the beauty, exercise and clothing industry.
It became my goal for this post to find the answer. I started by searching online for instructions on how to determine my body shape. There were so many different sites on this topic that I found it a bit overwhelming. I started with the body shape calculator which seems to be a popular tool for determining your body shape. There are many different calculators to try. Some calculators use your bust, waist and hip measurements to determine your body shape. Other calculators will incorporate your shoulder width measurement and/or your high hip measurement. I tried several different calculators and the most common responses I got was either a Rectangle shape or a Pear. shape. These are two very different shapes and I don’t think I am either one of them.
I then looked at pictures of different body shapes and reviewed the definitions to see where I fit in and I found that I was never consistent with my choice.
By the end of my search I still did not fully understand what I was. What I found disconcerting with the whole process was that, if I were to decide on the wrong body shape and were to follow the guidelines on how to dress for that specific shape, I could be choosing the wrong clothes.
So I decided to approach the question in a different way. One of the reasons that body shape matters is that you are always striving to achieve balance and proportion with your clothing. Balance and proportion are two of the main principles of art and design. The eye is automatically drawn to images that are balanced and proportionate. While you may not be consciously aware when something is balanced and proportionate, you will definitely notice when they are not. Therefore, if certain areas of your body are disproportionate , your goal will be to choose silhouettes, colors and patterns that will give the visual appearance of balance and proportion. When you look at it from this perspective, the name associated with your body shape does not really matter. By simply looking at yourself with a practiced eye you will be able to pick out what works and what does not work once you are aware of the areas of your body you need to focus on.
The question then remains, what is the ideal balance and proportion for the female body? How can I determine which areas of my body I need to be aware of when choosing clothing? The answer can be found in understanding your body proportions.
My next post on this subject looks at body proportions and how to analyze your own body shape. To read further on this topic click here.