Personal Style 101 – Determining Your Body Shape

More and more I come across women who are trying to up their fashion game but say they have no clue how to do it. I’ll be honest, the first couple times I heard that I remember thinking ‘what do you mean you don’t know how?’ It seemed simple, but better clothes, put together more chic flattering outfits, and ta-da you’ve upped your game. But it’s not that simple. A lot of women need detailed instructions, principles, rules, lessons on how to create flattering, on-trend looks. From these conversations, the new blog series was born – Personal Style 101. 

Lesson One: Body Shape 

All women are not created the same. Heck, even every size 12 woman is not the same proportions. Each body is uniquely and wonderfully made. Some of us might have thicker thighs, others might have a trim waist, still others might have broad shoulders or a tiny bust. The arbitrary clothing size or number on the scale might be the same but each body is different. 

Personal Style 101-1

Step One: Take Your Measurements. 

This is essential. Don’t fear the numbers. Rather learn them so you can make informed wise decisions about clothing purchases, especially online buys. 

Pull out a notebook or open a new note on your phone. 

Using a measuring tape wrap it around your shoulders, bust, waist, hips, rear, thighs, and biceps and not the measurements. When you wrap the tape measure don’t make it tight. It should fit snugly but not be constricting. 

While you’re at the numbers game, measure the length of your arms, your inseam, and from your shoulder to your waist. All of these measurements will help you purchase clothing that will fit you and not just stuff that looks good on the model or mannequin. 

Step Two: Determining Your Body Shape 

In determining your body shape, it’s all about the proportions between measurements. There are 5 basic shapes that women fall into – Apple, Pear, Rectangle, Hourglass, and Avocado. 

How do you know which you are? 

If your top measurements (shoulders, bust) are several inches larger than the bottom half measurements, you’re an APPLE. 

If your top measurements are several inches smaller than your hips and rear, you’re a PEAR. 

If your top measurements are several inches smaller than the bottom, and your waist is the largest number, you’re an AVOCADO. 

If your measurements only change slightly in all your measurements so that there are no numbers that are significantly different from the others, you’re a RECTANGLE.  

If your top and bottom measurements are close, while your waist is several inches smaller, you’re an HOURGLASS. 


Often when I do fashion workshops people find their measurements and then bemoan the findings. (The pear seems to be the most dreaded shape.) But unless you are an hourglass, there is no shape that is better or worse than another. All have strengths and all have issues. The key is knowing and embracing your shape so that you can start dressing accordingly. An avocado can’t dress like an apple. And a rectangle can’t wear the same things as a pear. So, instead of bemoaning your measurements, embrace them. Love them. They are the numbers that make up your own unique and beautiful shape. They are the numbers that you have to work with to look and feel your best.

With just your measurements and body shape identified, you’re already done with the first step of developing and cultivating your personal style. In the next post, we’ll look at what to do with this information and how it should inform your clothing purchases. 

Leave a comment and let me know what body shape you are. Personally, I’m a rectangle.

Katy Rose
Filed In: Fashion

One thought on “Personal Style 101 – Determining Your Body Shape

  1. Rosie

    I have the ‘pleasure’ of being an hourglass, and an Australian size 6-8. In spite of this being the ‘perfect’ or ‘classic’ shape, and a small clothing size, I struggle to find clothes.

    Why? People ask this all the time – they think being short. ‘tiny’ and the ‘perfect shape’ means it is easier. It is not. The reason is simple; so many clothing retailers here make clothes for ‘petite’ women in either really loud or cutesy patterns, pastels only (not my thing) or with more embellishments (sparkles, frills, dangly bits or all of the above) than one item of clothing could ever need. Then it is either too tight/short, or swamps me, even if theoretically it will fit. I like fitted clothes, with a bit of room to breathe, not sprayed-on ones, or ones I could fit 2 of me in.

    I know what suits my general shape (hourglass), specific body shape (short legs, long waist) and what I like (no branding, loud patterns and easy on the sparkle), but finding it is a whole other ball game.

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