Body Shape Guide

Welcome to Styling Hourglass!  Before I get started with clothes, I want to start by writing this body shape guide and how to determine your body shape.

In many cases (myself included), a woman’s perception of her body can be a sensitive subject.

I want this post, and the whole blog, to encourage body positivity and help women feel more comfortable in their own skin with their clothing choice.

Personally, I can always find issues with my body when looking in a mirror.

But this isn’t the way it should be.

We should be able to love ourselves and everything that makes us!

After so many times of picking myself apart in the mirror, I wanted to go on a self-love journey along with some lifestyle changes to help me become a more confident and happy person.

At the beginning of my self-love journey, I looked through my closet and found all of the pieces of clothes that I LOVE and make me feel great.

I wanted to do this so I could identify the types of clothing that I felt comfortable, confident, and happy in.

It’s also an easy way to start to be able to accept yourself and the body that you are in.

Knowing my body shape has really helped me to figure out which features I want to show off and which features I may want to draw less attention to.

It is an important thing to know about yourself as it will help you when picking out what clothes to wear.

With this blog post, I want to help you learn about the 5 most common body shapes for women and be able to identify your own body shape.

What is Body Shape?

Body shape refers to how your body is structured from the shoulders down to your hips. It can also help you to understand where your body holds weight.

The body shape categories covered in this guide are grouped based on measurements taken from your shoulders, bust, waist, and hips in relation to one another.

Keep in mind that this a guide to help you be aware of how your body is structured and how it looks when styling yourself.

Clothing in Relation to Body Shape

Unfortunately, the same pieces of clothing don’t fit all body shapes the same.

There have been several instances where I found a really cute dress, but it doesn’t cinch in at my waist and makes me appear much wider than I am.

Or the dress fits my torso and bust well, but the fabric around my hips is too tight.

In both cases, this is due to the cut of the clothes.

Cut refers to the style or shape of the clothing.

Take dresses, for example. They have many different cuts such as fit and flare, body con, A-line, wrap, shift, princess, mermaid, trumpet, and so on.

With each body shape, there are different cuts that flatter and enhance each shape.

With my hourglass shape, I prefer dresses that are fitted around my waist or shirts that stop just above my hip bones.

Knowing the type of cut that will highlight your body shape will help to cut down trying clothes that you will dislike and dealing with online returns.

If you would like to read more about my body type, you can go to my About section.

5 Most Common Body Shapes for Woman

Below are the 5 most common body shapes for women and what defines them.


The measurement are pretty much the same from shoulders down to the hips.

The body is typically a straight line from the bust to the hips.

There can be a little bending in at the waist but there is not much.

No defined waist.

Inverted Triangle

The body gives the appearance of an inverted triangle with the point starting at the hips and the base of the triangle going from shoulder to shoulder.

The shoulders and bust are bigger than the hips.


The hips are larger than the shoulders and bust with the base of the triangle going from one side of the hip to the other and the top point coming up between the shoulders.

This is the opposite of the inverted triangle.


The body gives the appearance of an hourglass from the shoulders, coming in at the waist, and going out again at the hips.

The bust and hips are about the same size with a smaller, very defined waist.

The hourglass figures can either be proportionate on the top and bottom, top-heavy, or bottom-heavy.


The waist is the largest part of the body.

The waist is larger than the shoulder, hips & bust giving the circle like appearance from shoulders to hips.

Measuring to Find your Body Shape

Before you start measuring yourself, make sure you have a fabric measuring tape.

I got my retractable fabric measuring tape off Amazon for $7.

LINK: Measuring Tape

Now that you have your measuring tape, make sure you’re not wearing any thick clothes.

Wearing thick clothes will give you the wrong measurements.

I suggest wearing a sports bra and a pair of leggings.

Now that you have your measuring tape and are in the correct clothes, you’re ready to measure!

TIP: When taking your measurements, have your phone with you so you can record all of your measurements. This will help you when you are looking at a sizing chart online.

There are 4 places on your body you should measure:


  • You will need to measure from the widest part of the shoulders.  
  • The widest part is right at the top of the shoulders just before the tape measure starts to slips off.
  • It helps to have a friend do the measuring.


  • On your bust line measure on the fullest part of the bust. 
  • The fullest part is usually at the nipple level.
  • When you wrap the measuring tape around yourself, make sure it is snug, but not so tight that it squishes you and is uncomfortable.


  • Measure around the narrowest part of your waist.
  • The narrowest part is usually right above your belly button.


  • Measure the widest part of your hips (including your butt as well)
  • The widest part of your hips is usually at the bottom of your hip bone

What Body Shape am I?

Now that you have your measurements, you are ready to find out what type of body shape you are.

Shoulders, bust, hips, and waist are around the same measurements

  • Rectangle

Shoulders, bust, and hips are around the same measurements with a waist that is smaller by 8 or more inches

  • Hourglass

Hips are larger than shoulders and bust

  • Pear

Waist is larger than hips, shoulders, and bust

  • Circle/round

Shoulders and bust are larger than hips

  • Inverted Triangle

I Know My Body Shape, What Now?

Knowing your body shape allows you to figure out with cuts work best. It will help you make snap decisions on clothes before you even try them on.  

This snap decision will then help to narrow down what items you will love and dislike on yourself when shopping, cutting down on returns and time spent trying items on.

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