By: Bernadette Grondin
In different articles I have discussed just how important it is for us as women to really accept how our bodies are shaped and fall in love with them. There's no such thing as the “perfect” body. Whatever shape you are, that is the unrepeatable you! You are beautiful and amazing.
However, it is fair to say that some styles of clothes flatter one figure more than another in the same way that plaid on plaid flatters nobody (despite my ten year old brother's insistence). Although the media tries to convince us that all female bodies should be Hourglasses, there are so many great outfits that an Hourglass can't wear because they only look great on a Diamond or Apple. Many of our most prominent celebrities aren't Hourglasses, but they still rock their body type and dress to flatter every aspect of it.
Adele is a classic example of a celebrity who knows how to show off - her beautiful, curvy, female body. Adele has an Apple shape and she looks great as one. Apples typically have a large bust, and their hips and waist tend to blend into each other, which is why Adele shapes her curves with dresses and tops that cinch at the waist and then flare out. It emphasizes her hips and defines her waist in a way that shows off the gorgeous Apple shape. Flared skirts or pants also emphasize the hips and give the legs a nice shape, which is obvious to see in Adele's photos. Going for flares usually looks better on Apples, since tight pants or jeans tend to restrict the natural curves of the body – they try to mold the leg into a particular shape and can make hips and legs look bulky. Adele, however, knows her body and loves it, which is easy to see by how she dresses in a way which doesn't hide her figure, but expresses it with elegance and charm.
Beyond hour glass: a tour of body types:
It is worth exploring some of the other body types, of which there are at least six besides the popular hourglass.
The Diamond Figure is so named because women with this shape have wide hips, slim shoulders and bust, and an undefined waist. Tops and dresses that tend to cinch underneath the bust or waist look great on Diamonds as they let the fabric flow down naturally over a Diamond's already great hips. And, because Diamonds already have awesome hips, it's better to find jeans or skirts that fall straight to give their legs a longer, straighter look. If you have a Diamond figure, be proud of it and love it!
The Pear and the Triangle figures often get put together as they look similar. The Pear shape features large hips, average bust and shoulders, where the Triangle has slightly more petite shoulders and bust. An example of a Pear/Triangle figure is none other than the gorgeous singer, Kelly Clarkson. Kelly, like Adele, is one of those celebrities that has had to fight the long fight against the media to show just how much she loves and rocks her body.
Kelly shows women that the Pear/Triangle shape is a figure worth having, and one that is no less beautiful than any other. Triangles and Pears look good in tops or dresses which try to embellish the bust and shoulders, such as how Kelly wears dresses with lace at the top to make the bust line of the dress more prominent. Triangles and Pears typically have a nice waist and so they can look good with tops that come in to shape the waist, either by a belt or cinching, or have shirts that fall straight to give a nice flow into their great hips. For bottoms, Triangles and Pears look great in skirts or pants which fall straight without too much flare, such as bootcut jeans; more flare can make them look wide rather than flatter their natural shape.
Ah, the Hourglass! The most coveted body type; the figure Hollywood calls the “perfect shape” and says all women should strive for. If you are an Hourglass, you have a great body and you should love it! If you don't have an Hourglass shape, you have a great body and you should love it! The Hourglass is not more special than any other type, although it is so beautiful in its own ways, just as the others are. An Hourglass is known for the aligned waist and hips and the slim, cinched waist. However, because the Hourglass shape has the slim waist to deal with, it can actually be difficult to dress. The Hourglass can’t rock free-falling tops as well as some of the other figures, but looks amazing in ones which cinch either at the waist or under the bust, or tops that have ruching built in. For bottoms, Hourglasses look great in pencil skirts and straight pants, as both types emphasize an hourglass's great hips and slim down her legs.
The Inverted Triangle is a very unique shape, but one we have been seeing a lot recently with the Olympics currently in play. Inverted Triangles have broad shoulders and bust, and a slim waist and hips. Our Canadian swimming Champion, Penny Oleksiak, is one of the beautiful women with this figure. Penny is not only an example of what hard work and dedication can accomplish, but she also shows just how beautifully triumphant the feminine body is.
Inverted Triangles like Penny look amazing in tops that cinch at the waist or below the bust to draw out the waist and hips; ruching would look fabulous on Penny. Because the Inverted Triangle has a slim waist and hips, A-Line skirts or ones that flare out help give some curve, although you could also style a flared jean (which is finally coming back into style!) or a bootcut to emphasize an Inverted Triangle's slender legs.
And finally, the Rectangle. The Rectangle is the most common female body type, with aligned shoulders and hips, nothing necessarily accentuated, and no pulled in waist like the Hourglass. I personally adore this body type, but I am biased as this is my own personal figure. The Rectangle looks spectacular with ruching or tops that pull in at the waist, as they give a bit of definition to the hips and bust. I also find that shirts which have embellishing at the bust or draping fabrics look fantastic on the Rectangle. We Rectangles don't have those glorious hips of the Diamond, Pear, or Triangle, but that's alright: we can still look mighty fine in some straight leg or flared jeans. I personally love flared skirts and think they look great for my figure; they emphasize my hips just enough to make my legs look long and straight. If you have a Rectangle figure, recognize how beautiful it is. It may be the most common body type, but it's also incredibly awesome. Trust me: I love every ordinary aspect about it.
A closing reflection:
The reason women are all built differently is to show the diversity of beauty. We women have to fight the idea that one figure is more “perfect” than the others, and this begins by loving the body you have. I challenge all of you to look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that your body is yours and that it is beautiful. If you start with that fundamental Truth, dressing your body in clothes that flatter your figure will become a much easier task. No matter the figure, the shape, or the size, we women are pretty dang attractive and it's about time we acknowledge that.