Design for Your Body – different shapes require different looks

Most garments are designed for a size 8 “balanced” figure that is the same measurement around the bust as it is around the hips and a waistline about 10 inches (25 cm) smaller. How many women do you know that actually fit that description? I can think of a couple of 20 year olds I used to know, but that’s about it. No wonder alterations shops are so busy trying to reshape readymade clothes to fit. It is why I started to sew when I was a teenager, but that is a story for another time. Today I want to talk about choosing clothes that actually suit your body, whatever shape that may be.
The “normal” woman’s figure can usually be defined by four basic shapes; hourglass, rectangle, triangle and inverted triangle. Each of these body types needs different style to look its best. The hourglass figure can look good in just about any dress as the body’s curves will fill out the lack of shape in a dress. However even these lucky women can have difficulty with pants and long jackets. I suggest that pants with a waistband or cut high in the crotch length will look best. Accentuate that waistline and don’t let fashion delude you into thinking low rise jeans are flattering. Hip length jackets will hide your shape unless tailored to nip in at the waist. If you are lucky enough to have an hourglass figure, whether size 8 or 18 you should accentuate it and feel good about doing so. We are all striving for that Marilyn Munroe shape that you have.
Rectangular bodies are thick through the waist so that there is little definition between bust, waist and hips. These women find that anything with a waistband will bag around the hips and conversely if the hips or bust fit well, the waist is too tight. They are usually better choosing a lower rise pant, one that sits on the top of the hip bone, just below the waist. When wearing dresses they should look for shapes and colours that give the illusion of a smaller waistline. Dark belts, seams that shape a figure like the princess line are good choices. The retro fashions of the ‘50’s that are popular now really flatter this body type. The defined shoulders and full skirts give one an hourglass figure where none existed before.
Triangle figures, whether bottom dominant or top dominant have challenges of their own and I will go into more detail with suggestions for them in another blog. In the meantime if you’re really tired of having your clothes altered to fit, why not try having them custom made to fit and flatter your figure? It can be a truly uplifting experience.
Your comments and questions are welcome.

1 thought on “Design for Your Body – different shapes require different looks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s