Your Body Shape

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Determine Your Vertical Body Type

Start by assessing your vertical body proportions.  This is the proportion of the bottom half of your body compared to your top half.
Vertical shape is important for identifying your best garment lengths (tops and bottoms) and will come into play in determining if you should tuck-in tops or wear top garments un-tucked.
There are three vertical body types and these are applicable to both males and females.
The most accurate way to determine your vertical shape is to measure your full height and the height to your hip-line (your hip-line is the circumference around your hips where your bottom is fullest) and determine where your hip-line comes in relation to your height.
Alternatively use the rough assessment guidelines below...

Short Legs, Long Torso

body shape short legs long torso
If your legs are short compared to your upper body you have short legs and a long torso...
  • Your hip-line height is less than half your height
  • You may also have a low waist -- your waist will be lower than your bent elbow
  • You will have a long torso -- typically you will put on weight first on your thighs and hips
  • Your bottom will typically be low and heavy
  • You may also be short – although tall people can also be short legged

Your main style aims are to create the illusion of longer legs and a shorter torso.
Do wear...
  • Jewellery, scarves and garment designs that draw the observer's eye up towards your shoulders and face
  • Short to medium-long tops
  • Tucked-in tops (if young and slim)
  • Layered tops
  • Medium or light tops and dark pants or skirts
  • Medium to wide belts
  • Straight skirts
  • Straight or boot-leg pants
  • Pant, sock and shoe colors the same
  • Medium to high heels
  • Pant hems to the ground
Don't wear...
  • Long tops (if you are short)
  • Pants or skirts with a dropped waistband
  • Tight or tapered skirts
  • Tight or tapered pants
  • Cropped pants

Balanced Body

body shape balanced body
If your upper body length is about the same as your lower body length you have a balanced body...
  • Your hip-line height is half your full height
  • Your waist is at your bent elbow
  • Females may be low busted
  • You tend to put on weight around your torso or hips and thighs
  • You probabaly have a round well formed bottom or you have a flat bottom
  • You have proportionally slim arms and legs

If you are less than 160cm (5’3”) with a small to medium body scale then you are also petite.
Your main style aim is to elongate your mid-torso.
Do wear...
  • Jewellery, scarves and garment designs that draw the observer's eye up towards your shoulders and face
  • Medium-long tops
  • Un-tucked tops
  • Tops and bottoms in the same color
  • Tops and dresses that flow through the waist
  • Skirts and pants with narrow waistbands or no waistband
  • Straight or flared skirts
  • Waisted, low-rise or hipster pants
  • Straight or flared pants
Don't wear...
  • Short tops
  • Empire line tops and dresses
  • Wide belts
  • Pants or skirts with a high waistband

Long Legs, Short Torso

body shape long legs short torso
If your legs are longer than your upper body you have a long legged vertical body type...
  • Your hipline height is higher than half your full height
  • You should also have a high waist -- your waist will be higher than your bent elbow
  • You will have a proportionally short torso
  • Your bottom will typically be round and high
  • You tend to put on weight around your waist, above your waist or on the back of your hips
  • You may also be tall -- although short people can also be long legged

Your main style aims are to create visual balance by creating the illusion of a longer mid-torso and shorter legs.
Do wear...
  • Design details that draw the eye down, such as border prints on skirts and pants (unless you are short)
  • Medium-long to long accessories (unless you are short)
  • Skirts and pants in the lighter colors than tops
  • Medium-long to long tops (if you are short, no longer than knuckle length)
  • Un-tucked tops
  • Tops and dresses that flow through the waist
  • Skirts and pants with narrow waistbands or no waistband
  • Straight and flared skirts
  • Low-rise or hipster pants
  • Straight and flared pants
Don't wear...
  • Focal points that draw the eye upwards
  • Pin stripes
  • Short tops
  • Empire line tops and dresses
  • Wide belts
  • Pants or skirts with a high waistband
  • Tapered pants and skirts

Determine Your Horizontal Body Type

Need Help With Your Body Shape Assessment?

Before you can dress for your shape you need to understand what your shape and body proportions are. For professional help, either in-person or online, use my image consulting services.
Your horizontal shape is the relationship between your chest, waist and hip-line. It is their relative proportion to each other that is important rather than their actual size.
Your horizontal body type is used to identify the clothing styles that will suit you best. Although it is important to note that other factors can change some of these recommendations, such as face shape, neck and shoulder size and prominent features.

If you are male identify your horizontal body shape here.
If you are female identify your horizontal body shape from the pictures and descriptions below.
To do this assessment stand in front of a full length mirror. A long straight object such as a long ruler or a broom handle will also be useful to work out whether your hip-line is narrower, wider, or the same width as your bust-line. The easiest way to see this is to hold the ruler under your arm pit and rest it on your hip.
Select the link on your horizontal body shape to find out the general style aims and specific dos and don’ts for your horizontal body type.

Hourglass Figure

body shape hourglass figure
This is known as the perfect body shape. You have an hourglass figure if...
  • Your full hip-line and your full bust-line are the same width and your waist is well defined
  • You most likely have a balanced body vertical body shape
Check the general style guidelines for your hourglass figure by clicking here.
Get personalized style recommendations that take all of your body proportions into account by clicking here.

Inverted Triangle

body shape inverted triangle
This is the second best female shape. You have an inverted triangle body shape if...
  • You have a proportionally large bust, or you have broad shoulders, or both
  • You have narrow hips with a well defined waist
  • You most likely are a long legged vertical body shape with proportionally slim legs
  • You may also have a flat bottom
Check the general style guidelines for your inverted triangle figure by clicking here.
Get personalized style recommendations that take all of your body proportions into account by clicking here.

Triangle or Pear Shape Body

body shape triangle
The triangle body type is often also referred to as pear-shaped. You have this shape if...
  • Your full bust-line is proportionally narrower than your full hip-line and you have a well defined waist
  • You typically have narrow shoulders
  • You most likely have a balanced body or short legged vertical body shape
  • Your thighs are typically full
  • You may also have a full rounded bottom
Check the general style guidelines for your triangle figure by clicking here.
Get personalized style recommendations that take all of your body proportions into account by clicking here.

Rectangle

body shape rectangle
You have a rectangle body if...
  • Your full bust-line and full hip-line are about the same width and you have little waist definition
  • Your legs and arms will typically be proportionally slender
  • You have a small to medium bust
  • You most likely have a balanced body or long legged vertical body shape
  • You may also have a flat bottom
  • You may have had an hourglass figure when you were younger or slimmer
  • You may look shorter and heavier than you really are
Check the general style guidelines for your rectangle figure by clicking here.
Get personalized style recommendations that take all of your body proportions into account by clicking here.

Oval

body shape oval
This body shape is also often referred to as an apple shape. You have an oval horizontal body if...
  • You have the overall appearance of being round especially around the waist-line
  • Your waistline is undefined
  • You have a large, low stomach
  • You may have "love handles"
  • Your hips are wide
  • Your upper thighs are full
  • You may also have a full bottom or a flat bottom
Check the general style guidelines for your oval figure by clicking here.
Get personalized style recommendations that take all of your body proportions into account by clicking here.

Diamond

body shape diamond
This body shape is also referred to as an apple shape. You have this body shape if...
  • Your waist is undefined
  • You have a large, high stomach
  • You may have "love handles"
  • You may also have a full bottom or a flat bottom
Check the general style guidelines for your diamond figure by clicking here.
Get personalized style recommendations that take all of your body proportions into account by clicking here

*CHECK OUT what Stacy London and Clinton Kelly have to say about dressing your body shape here.

http://www.epigee.org/fitness/body_shape.html:

Making the Most of Your Shape

Though you may not be 100% satisfied with your body type or shape, there are ways that you can help to make the most of your body's characteristics. Here are some exercises that you can perform to will aid in toning your body, whatever your shape.
If you are an Hourglass'
If you are have an hourglass figure, then you should be focusing on both cardio and resistance exercises. Cardio will assist in keeping your weight in check, while resistance exercises will help to maintain balance between your upper and lower body. Vary your repetitions and keep your resistance weights light so as not to build too much muscle mass. Here are some great exercises that you may want to try:
  • slow jogging
  • stationary biking (with light resistance)
  • jumping jacks
  • swimming
  • bicep curls, shoulder presses, and squats
If you are a Pear'
If you are a pear you will want to focus on exercises that will balance out the top half of your body with the bottom half of your body. You will also want to try to thin down your lower half. To achieve this, focus on aerobic activities that work out your lower body, and resistance exercises that will build your upper body. Use light weights and perform high repetitions of exercises. Some great activities include:
  • walking
  • cycling (with low resistance)
  • elliptical training
  • jumping rope
  • leg lifts and dips
  • push ups, chin ups, and shoulder presses
If you are an Apple'
If you are an apple, you will want to focus on aerobic training in order to slim down and lose body fat. By working on the lower half of your body, you can help balance out your chest and shoulders. Look to perform exercises that are low-resistance and involve low repetitions, such as:
  • stairclimbing
  • walking on an incline
  • running
  • leg squats, leg presses, and deadlifts
If you are a Ruler'
If you are a ruler, you will be able to perform pretty much any activity you want to. Perform cardio activities to help you lose weight in problem areas, such as the buttocks and stomach. You will especially want to build muscle mass through resistance exercise. To ensure that you build a symmetrical body shape, all of the muscle groups should be emphasized and routinely given a workout. Focus on:
  • stretching
  • sit-ups
  • step classes
  • spinning
  • walking or jogging on an incline
  • squats
  • bench presses and shoulder presses