What can Knowing your body shape Tell You?

I’ve had a lot of people contact me asking how to identify their body type (if you’re not sure what your body type is, just take a body type test!). It is clear that body shape is considered an important factor in the “finding clothes that fit” problem faced by many women. I’m here to tell you that yes, it’s important, but no, it’s not everything (in fact, I wrote an article about how personality is ten times more important than body shape when it comes to choosing clothing and apparel).

So today I’m going to share with you what understanding your body shape can tell you, and how you can use some rules from my magician’s toolbox to use these illusions to embellish your figure.

Body shape is your outline, viewed from the front (almost) is your outline. We judge your body shape based on the difference between your shoulders (not chest size), waist, and hips/upper thighs.

It doesn’t take into account your upper arms, knees, or calves, or your body proportions, petite or tall, rounded or flat hips, or all the other body changes.

But what isn’t your body shape test telling you? Please watch my video.

When you’re thinking about how to embellish your body shape (you can find the way to “diagnose your body shape” here, if you’re still struggling and want more personal attention and my opinion as part of my 7-step style program), you need to understand the rules of line and how we interpret and look at line.

Vertical line

Vertical lines elongate and embellish the body. They give the illusion of height or length. The eye moves quickly across these lines.

Horizontal line

Horizontal lines elongate or widen the body. We constantly look for horizontal lines when looking for the horizon because it gives us a sense of balance. Every hem (unless asymmetrical) is a horizontal line.

Diagonal line

Diagonal lines draw attention and produce results. The more “vertical” the diagonal, the more you can modify the body, the more “horizontal”, the more you can broaden your vision. In Western culture, we read from left to right and also look at horizontal lines from left to right, so some diagonal lines make us look up and some down.


Curves add volume (or, as my American image consultant friend puts it, “roundness adds pounds”). The arc moves the slowest for our eyes because we need to move over a larger area (which is also why the arc increases in volume).

Knowing a little about lines helps us think about how to dress our body shape and how to use our “magician’s illusion toolbox” to change it. Want to look taller? Add some vertical lines. Want to balance your hips? Add horizontal line elements to the shoulders. To move the eye upwards, consider wearing a jacket that draws the eye upwards (vertical openings) and outwards (diagonal lapels). Want to add curves? Add a tassel to the area.

What can Knowing your body type tell You?

It tells you how to use lines for balance and embellishment. In addition, it tells you where you need details, where you need to draw attention to yourself with design elements or accessories, and where you need to keep it plain and boring (no details) so that if you don’t want to draw attention to the part, it won’t draw attention to yourself (camouflage).

So, when you think about how to polish your body. think

1. Where to place the horizontal line to widen, balance, or highlight (if the horizontal line is narrow)
2. Where to use vertical lines to elongate and/or trim the body
3. Where can I use diagonal lines to move my eyes
4. Where can an arc be used to embellish the body or add volume (straight lines on curved parts of the body often look tugged/curved and uneven)?

You can take my body shape calculator quiz here to get an idea of your body shape.

How to read the lines of clothing

It follows that analyzing the lines on an outfit can give you an idea of how the outfit will make you look. Before trying on anything, look at the lines and structure of the clothes first, even seams and pleats will add lines to the clothes, which will affect the effect of the clothes on the body. The above piece will look great on an A-shaped person because it shows off A slim waist, covers the hips/thighs, and balances the wider hips with a lateral shoulder extension at the neckline.

Here’s another example.

This dress :
Broad shoulder
Waist shaping
Elongate the torso

Therefore, it is perfect for H-shaped figures whose shoulders are not very square.

What does body size not tell you

What do you like
How long should the hem be
Accessories and details of the shape
The shape and style of the shoes
Proportions of elements and patterns
Everything I’ve listed in this blog post

By understanding the role of lines, you can know what clothing and design elements you need to flatter your figure.



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