Determine Your Body Type

Body image is big business in America. People are often dissatisfied with one thing or another about themselves. Truth be told, most of our complaints center on body parts that we have not learned how to work with, so therefore we are discontent. In this section of the site you will learn to accentuate the positive. Self-acceptance is only a heartbeat away once you learn how to identify your body type and dress it for your best look. This section is for you too boys. . .Yes that’s right. Male forms are also distinct and could benefit from the right look.

Female Body Types

As you can see in the following diagram, there are 4 basic body types: Athletic, Pear, Ice Cream Cone, and Figure Eight.

Athletic body description:

  • You generally have an athletic body with toned arms and legs.
  • You are generally proportioned.
  • Your waist is less curvy. It is about 9 inches smaller than either your hips or bust.
  • Your bust size is usually smaller.

How do you dress an athletic shape?

You should use clothes that give your body curves.


  • Wear jeans, pants, and skirts that sit an inch or two below your waist.
  • Wear a good bra with padding that pushes you up.
  • Jackets should be tailored and fitted at the waist to accentuate your curve.
  • A sheath dress or wrap dress would look great on you.

Do Not:

  • Don’t wear clothes that make you look straight up-and-down.
  • Don’t wear oversized clothing that swallows your shape.

Celebrity athletic shapes: Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Bosworth, Kate Hudson, and Keira Knightley, Gabrielle Union.

Ice Cream cone shape description:

  • Shaped like an ice cream cone, or an inverted triangle
  • The bottom half is smaller than the top.
  • The chest measurement is larger than the hip measurement.
  • Usually have small legs, smaller, non-curvy hips, and small bottom.

How do you dress an ice cream cone shape?

The goal of dressing an ice cream cone shape is to minimize the bust area, define the waist, and accentuate your hips.


  • Skirts and dresses with a flare will help accentuate your hips, balancing out your upper body.
  • Wear V-necked tops.
  • Wear belted jackets, dresses, and tops to help your define your waist.
  • Wear a good bra that lifts.
  • High heels help lengthen the body.

Do Not:

  • Avoid tight-leg pants that taper at the ankle.
  • Avoid tops that come all the way up to the neck. They make your bust and shoulders look larger.
  • Don’t wear tight-fitting tops, especially if you’re popping the buttons

Celebrity ice cream cone shapes: Tyra Banks, and Dolly Parton.

Pear body description:

  • Shaped like a teardrop. Smaller on top, larger on the bottom.
  • Wider hips and bottom. Most weight concentrated in these areas.
  • Usually have slender shoulders and arms.
  • Often have a flat tummy.
  • Often have a very small waist.

How do you dress a pear shape?

The goal of dressing a pear shape is to minimize your hips for a more unified look.


  • Pants should be sit at the waist and have a straight leg or boot cut to balance out the hips.
  • Tops with interesting patterns and details, help draw attention away from your lower body.
  • Empire-waist dresses emphasize your smaller upper body while camouflaging the hips.
  • You look great in A-line skirts and wrap dresses.

Do Not:

  • Pants that taper in at the ankles will make your hips look larger.
  • Jackets that end below your waist make your hips look larger.
  • Tucking in your shirt can make you look boxy.

Celebrity pear shapes: Jennifer Lopez, Mischa Barton, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Kelly Clarkson

Figure eight body shape description:

  • Classic Hourglass Shape
  • Your chest measurement is roughly the same as your hip measurement.
  • Your waist is about 10 inches smaller than your bust and hips.
  • Your body is proportionate and curvy.
  • Your waistline is small and defined.

How do you dress a figure eight shape?

Figure eight shapes should wear clothes that maintain their balanced proportions.


  • Pencil skirts look great on you.
  • Wrap dresses will accentuate your small waistline.
  • V-neck tops draw attention to your face.
  • Short fitted jackets.
  • Pants should be tailored at the waist with a slight flare at bottom.

Do Not:

  • Shapeless tops add weight to your upper body.
  • Baggy pants add weight to your lower body.
  • Empire dresses make your waist look undefined.

Celebrity figure eight shapes include: Beyonce, Jessica Simpson, Kate Winslet, and Salma Hayek.

Male Body Types

There is much less variation in male body types. There are also fewer options on dress as well. The male body types are: Y Build, Athletic Build, Slim Build, and Pear/Oval Build.

Y-build body description:

This body shape is larger on top and smaller on the bottom. The shoulders and chest are much wider than the hips. This is a typical shape for body builders, gymnast and swimmers.

How do you dress a Y-build?

Most clothing looks great on a Y Build.


  • Wear tops that are fitted.
  • Dark colored shirts top balance body
  • Pants that are at the waist or just below the waist

Do Not:

  • Wear double-breasted jackets
  • Avoid high-waisted pants.
  • Avoid tight, straight-legged jeans

Athletic build:

This is a body type that is well-balanced. The chest and hips are proportionate. The average male is an athletic build. They have low body fat and readily develop muscle mass.

How do you dress an Athletic build?

The goal when dressing an athletic build is to preserve balance. This body build is able to wear any variety of clothing.


  • Can wear low-rise jeans, fitted or loose tops
  • Able to wear prints or solids

Do Not:

Wear baggy shirts and pants that add bulk to your frame.

Slim build body description:

This body type is typically long and thin. While there is distinct muscle tone, slim builds are slimmer than the athletic build. They are typically lanky and may have long extremities (arms and legs).


  • Wear clothes that bulk you up without overwhelming you.
  • Wear tailored looks to accentuate your model-type body.
  • Relaxed fit jeans will hide the thinness of your legs.
  • Double -breasted jackets will make your upper body look larger.

Do Not:

Wear clothes that are too tight or too big.

Pear or Oval build body description:

This body type carries weight around the midsection or in the hips. This build needs clothing that defines and balances the areas that are disproportionate.


  • Wear tailored clothing that brings in the waist
  • Do wear dark colors to minimize the size of your frame

Do Not:

  • Avoid wearing bright colors on top
  • Double-breasted jackets will add bulk
  • Pleated pants will make your bottom half look better
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