Body Shapes

Body Shapes Sketch for blog

This month we are working through a series in our Beauty Segment along with Kerry Leigh Wilson from New look Image Consultancy, that teaches us about our image. Throughout this series Kerry is teaching us how to make the right decisions when it comes to our clothes, make-up and hair, which will allow you to be true to yourself while looking fantastic! Today we are focussing on body shapes, what they are and how you can make the most of yours.

Because our bodies are all so different, we can’t all wear the same clothes. They hang differently on every one as we all have different curved and straight lines that make up our bodies shape. The best way to know what looks good on you is to go for a figure analysis to determine your body lines and learn how to accentuate your good features.

Shapes that make up your Body

You have two main shapes that make up your body. A horizontal and a vertical shape and no matter what diet you go on or how much you exercise you cannot change your two shapes, they are based on your skeleton and your genetic genes.

Your horizontal shape is your shoulder and hip width compared to your waist. These are the common shapes you hear in fashion blogs – the pear, the apple, the inverted triangle, the hourglass, the rectangle.  There is one in 7 horizontal shapes you can be. Your horizontal shape determines the cut, the fabric and the details of your garments. Each shape has a different set of guidelines to follow to look their best.

The Basic Horizontal Shapes are:

Pear Body Shape

    • Well-Defined Waist
    • Bust and shoulders are proportionally narrower than your hi-line
    • Thighs and maybe but might be full and rounded
    • narrow or sloping shoulders
    • may have short and/or full muscular legs

Inverted triangleBust and Shoulders are proportionally wider that your hips

    • Hips are narrow or at least narrower than your bust and shoulder
    • may have slim legs
    • Might have a flat bum
    • you project a sporty-athletic physique. Figure looks toppled


    • Bust and Shoulders are about the same width as your hip-line
    • might look shorter and heavier than you really are
    • you have little or no waist definition

Hourglass Body Shape

    • Bust and Shoulders are the same width as your hips
    • you have a defined waist
    • When gaining weight, the fat usually stores evenly throughout your body


    • You have the appearance of being round, slightly wide around the waistline
    • your waistline lacks or has no waist definition
    • your hips and bum might be wide and full along with your waistline
    • Bust, waist and hips are very close in measurements

Your vertical shape is based on proportion. The idea is to make your upper, mid and lower body to all appear in proportion. Some people are born this way, but for those of us who have longer torso’s or taller legs, we need to dress in such a way that make sit all look in proportion.

The Basic Vertical Shapes are:

Balanced Body

    • Your upper body length is almost the same as your lower body length
    • You height from your hipline to the ground is equal to half your full height
    • Your waist is equal to your bent elbow
    •  The short segments (bust-to-hip and hip-to-knee) are similar in length as are the long segments (head-to-bust and knee-to-floor).

Long Legs / Short Torso

    • Your legs tend to be very long as compared to the torso length
    • The height from ground to hip is higher than half your full height
    • You appear high waisted, higher than your bent elbow
    • Weigh gain tends to be around the midriff

Short Legs / Long Torso

    • The upper body tends to be longer that the lower body
    • Often has a low, heavy bottom
    • Weight tends to form on the thighs and bottom

The idea behind knowing your body shapes is so that you can put focus on the good parts and draw the eyes away from the not-so-good parts. We want to balance out the way our bodies look by making use of colours, materials and clothing lines and styles. So keep this in mind when you go shopping and focus on buying items that maximise your smaller areas while minimizing the bigger ones to create a balanced look. To do this, avoid any detailed items on your negative point, because detail just creates attention towards that area and use colours to your benefit. Remember light and bright colours maximize an area and dark, muted colours minimise an area.

Lastly, always buy the right fit. Forget about the size on the label and rather buy something that fits your body perfectly. Wearing clothes that are to big for you, only make you seem bigger and ones that are too small also accentuate your size, making you seem bigger than you are. A perfect fit is when you can put two fingers between your skin and the item of clothing.

Kerry Leigh Wilson created New Look Image Consultancy with a clear mission – to help people feel good about themselves. You can book a consultation with her on or meet up with her on Facebook or at her Website. Tune in on Monday’s between 11:00 and 11:30 for our beauty chat’s on Kingfisher FM.