Find Your Body Shape

Knowing your body shape makes it easy for you to identify what clothes work best on you. One body shape is not better than another — this is just a short guide to finding out what will be most flattering for you. The following are common women’s shapes.

body shape diagram

How to Find Your Body Shape

Use a mirror: Stand in front of a full length mirror in your underwear or in form-fitting clothes. You’ll be able to see your body shape outlined in the mirror. If it’s not entirely obvious, you can use an erasable marker to outline your body onto the mirror and compare it against our handy image below.

Body shape calculators: Westfield New Zealand has an easy-to-use body shape calculator, where you input your bust, waist, and hips measurements to find out your body shape.

Types of Body Shapes

Pear Shapes

Pear-shaped ladies have a smaller bust and wider hips. They tend to carry their weight in their hips, thighs, and butt.

In contrast to apple-shaped ladies, pear shaped ladies might be less prone to heart disease because their fat is concentrated around the less-dangerous hip area. However, they tend to be more prone to osteoporosis because of the additional weight on the thighs.

Concentrate on adding volume to the upper body, while reducing visual weight at the bottom with slim-fitting darker trousers.


Rectangle Shaped Women

Rectangles can be either thin rectangles or larger rectangles, but either way this body shape is characterized by a straight silhouette — chest, waist, and hips are stacked in a straight line with similar dimensions. This is also referred to as a “straight” or “column” body type.

Rectangles should pay close attention to their Body Mass Index (BMI) within healthy range, whether or not you’re a thin or a larger rectangle.

Rectangles can play with textures and patterns as they can pull off almost every clothing option. For thinner rectangles especially, embellished skirts and tops will add interest to your frame. For larger rectangles, boatneck tops and pencil skirts would be great options.straight or rectangle body shape

Inverted Triangle Shape

Seen frequently on athletes like swimmers, this body shape is strong with broad shoulders. Your bottom half is smaller than your top, with little definition between your waist and hips.

Your small waist could mean that your risk for heart disease is lower.

Inverted triangles should look for v-shaped necklines on tops to draw attention down from broad shoulders, and wear a-line skirts to balance out the lower half of their bodies.

triangle body shape

The Classic Hourglass Shape

Think actresses like Mad Men’s Joan Hendricks or Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara — hourglass shaped ladies have small waists and larger chests and hips.

Hourglass-shaped ladies tend to have more estrogen because of their rounded hips, and might be more likely to get pregnant easily .

Hourglass ladies have figures suited to clothing like wrap dresses, pencil skirts, and skirts with flounced hems. Clothes should hug the body but not be too tight or constricting.


Apple or Round Shape

Apple body shapes tend to have smaller busts and shoulders, and slender legs that would look great with skirts. Most of the weight is concentrated in the stomach and hip region, where there is little definition between the two.

A larger waist in comparison to the rest of your body could mean a greater increase in abdominal fat tissue, which is strongly associated with type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease, among other health problems, according to the American Cancer Society.

Apple-shaped ladies can choose to show off their slim pins in flirty skirts or adding definition to their waist with a belt. A-line skirts and dresses with nipped in waists would look very flattering on apple shaped ladies.

round or apple body shape


Shape and Style

Once you know your shape, keep in mind the styles that are most flattering as you assess your closet and shop for new items. Dressing to highlight your shape can help you look and feel your best.

Learn about how to measure your body to get the best clothing fit.


21 thoughts on “Find Your Body Shape

  1. From the definitions of each body shape, I’ve finally determined that I am NOT an hourglass, but a cross between an Inverted Triangle and a Pear! 35-26-40 with very broad shoulders!

  2. Hi. I have been classified as an pear but my breast are large though. I wear a 40 DD bra so would I be a mixture or pear and hour glass

  3. Hi,

    I have a medium average bust, a medium small waist which is high. My belly measured around my belly button below my waist is the same measurement as my bust and so are my hips. What am I? I don’t look like a pear and I don’t look like an apple either and even though my measurements are pretty much a column my true waist is smaller. I look good in A-lines, high waists and especially empire tops and dresses. Also accenting my upper body with light or bright colors looks good on me. I look good in tunics and low hip pants. It makes my upper body stand out and elongates my torso . I’m sort of confused about what type I am even if I know what looks good on me. Thanks!

    1. Hi Elona,
      From your description, your body would be in the rectangle or “column” body type, although your smaller high waist makes you a slight variant of that type. This makes sense with the things you’ve found look good on you as the flare of a-lines and empire cuts add visual “shape” and flow, versus boxier cuts!

      1. Hi,

        I’m relieved to know what I am, so to speak. Lol. I thought I was a pear, but I’m a variant of a column, which makes sense. I’m working on losing weight and wonder what I’ll look like when I’m done. I particularly appreciate you validating what styles flatter me. It sure helps me to know what to look for when I clothes shop. It’s indeed hard to shop for a column. I used to have an hour-glass figure. I’m looking forward to coming back here after I morph 😉

        Great site you have!

  4. I am so confused. My measurements are 32-27-36 which makes me a pear…but if you take into consideration my shoulders they are 38 inches so slightly wider than my hips…look the same width in the mirror. I am 5ft5 with long legs. Not quite sure what I am. Gain weight in but and thighs first.

    1. Hi Louise,
      While listing a few common body shape types can help people choose their most flattering styles, people aren’t made with cookie cutters and not everyone fits neatly into one of these “shapes.” Your measurements indicate you have attributes from pear, column and hourglass shapes, so you will want to consider clothing styles that work well with those types. For example, you will want to look for pants and skirts that are suited to the hips of a pear or hourglass shape. For tops and jackets, look at both column and hourglass shaped clothing to find styles that will suit you!

  5. I agree with a couple of earlier comments that these are models or ideals, not boxes into which everyone will fit. Certainly, none of them suits me.

    My bust is slightly larger than my hips, my shoulders very broad, my waistline thick & high. So I can’t wear A-line skirts (oh, how many times have I come across an A-line dress described as ‘will suit every body type!’—rubbish) or V-neck tops. Square are best). Sleeveless tops also make my shoulders look narrower. I like clothing tailored to my bust and hips, but skimming my waist. Wrap skirts, but not wrap dresses. My legs are OK. In an older parlance, I am definitely a mesomorph, and was very muscular in my youth.

    I worked all this out, painfully, myself, down the years. I’m ‘fausse maigre’, as the French say (they always do seem to have a name for it), and if I were French, someone would have told me when I was 18 what suited me. I wish…

  6. Having a hard time figuring out my shape some calculations put me as an pear/spoon shape and some say hour glass my measurements are 38.5 inches bust 34 inches waist and 43 inches hips. I have a short waist and high hips

    1. Hi, with your measurements, I’d say hourglass, with slight pear tendencies. 😀 For dresses, you will probably find best fit in 2-piece dresses!

  7. I’m not sure if I’m an hourglass or pear. My bust is 33 inches, waist is 22 and hips are 33.5. I have a long torso and short legs and I’d say I hold more weight in my bottom half (my thighs have always been curvy but my arms are slender). My shoulders are as broad if not slightly broader than my hips though

    1. According to your measurements, you have an hourglass figure. Your bust and hips are balanced and you have a well defined waist. Pear shapes usually have a smaller bust and wider hips.

      1. Im a 6 ft tall female and I weigh 145lbs. I can hardly find jeans or dress pants long enough for me. Thank heavens for Old Navy and a few other on-line stores that now have a tall department. I need your help in trying to figure out my sleeve length. Im having a hard time in finding a winter coat that fits. Im tired of buying my coats from the mens department only because the arm will be long enough but the body of the coat way to big. Can you help me ? Im long and lanky with long arms and legs .My torso ie average

        1. Hi Terri, Tall shopping can definitely be a challenge and many sites don’t list sleeve lengths for women’s clothing, making it even more of a mystery. 🙁
          There ARE some good options however. I recommend trying Lands End – they have a good selection of tall coats (although their styles tend to be utilitarian) and their size charts have great detail – For example:

          ASOS also carries a number of tall sizes and has a nice selection of stylish coats.

          You might also want to check out Long Tall Sally

          Good luck!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.