How do I Determine my Body Shape?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Identifying your body shape can benefit you in many ways. Not only can it help you choose flattering clothing for your body, but it can also help you determine an exercise regimen that will maintain or enhance your proportions. Understanding your body type is quite simple, and all you need is an accurate tape measure.

You can determine your body shape by taking a few basic measurements.
You can determine your body shape by taking a few basic measurements.

Most body shape definitions are determined by the proportion of the shoulders or bust, waist and hips. It is best to measure yourself without bulky clothing, as that will add inches to your real measurements. To get accurate results, measure around the fullest part of your bust and hips, and the narrowest part of your waist. This is how most garments are fit, so knowing your own size will help you when shopping or ordering clothes without trying them on first.

Someone with an "apple" body shape carries weight at the waist and upper body, not just in the hips and buttocks.
Someone with an "apple" body shape carries weight at the waist and upper body, not just in the hips and buttocks.

If you have an hourglass figure, your waist will be considerably narrower than your hips and bust. Many hourglass-figured women have a difference of between 5-10 inches (12.7-25.4 cm) between their narrowest and widest points. Ideally, the measurement for your hips and bust will be similar to one another. Women with hourglass figures should wear clothes that accentuate their small waists, like wrap dresses, kimono tops, and flared or boot-cut jeans. These clothes will help preserve the lines of your body, and give greater emphasis to your fabulous curves.

A woman with an hourglass figure has a waist that is narrower than her breasts and hips that are wide.
A woman with an hourglass figure has a waist that is narrower than her breasts and hips that are wide.

Pear bodies, also called spoons or triangles, are larger at the hips than they are at the bust and shoulders. Experts recommend that people with a pear shaped body dress to accentuate their top half, drawing the eye upward to the chest, neck and shoulders. Flowing tops help balance out a pear figure, as do bold printed shirts, A-line skirts, and dark-washed jeans.

Boot-cut jeans work well for women with hourglass figures.
Boot-cut jeans work well for women with hourglass figures.

The opposite of a pear body is called an inverted triangle or cone. People with these characteristics will be wider through the shoulders and bust and narrower at the hip. Flowing, full skirts are a great choice for this body type, while dark or plain fabrics on top will help minimize a size difference. You can also emphasize your shape by wearing an off-the-shoulder top and fitted skirt, making your waist and hips look exceptionally narrow.

People who are "pear-shaped" primarily carry weight in the hips, buttocks, and thighs.
People who are "pear-shaped" primarily carry weight in the hips, buttocks, and thighs.

Knowing your body shape can help you customize work out routines, particularly if you lift weights. Hourglass-shaped people should take care to include a varied abdominal routine, to help maintain their small waists. Pear and inverted triangle shapes can do additional exercises to help increase muscle in their more narrow areas, and reduce bulk in wider places, giving them all-over shape balance.

Fashion magazines frequently post guides to shopping for your body shape. While these can be helpful in ensuring a clean silhouette, they are not universally perfect. Everyone’s body is different, and probably the most important component to dressing well is personal style. Allow your body shape to be a guideline, but no matter what, choose clothing that makes you feel beautiful.

The proportions of the shoulders, bust, waist and hips are used to determine body shape.
The proportions of the shoulders, bust, waist and hips are used to determine body shape.
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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Discussion Comments

anon991900

My measurements are 30-23.5-34.5 and I've been told I'm a pear because I tend to carry fat in my butt and thighs, but I also have broad shoulders so I feel like that contradicts the pear shape. What is my body type? I've never understood it.

anon991212

I'm 5 feet tall (yes I do realize I'm short), but I've been told that I am either an inverted triangle, a pear, or an hourglass.

My bust is 32 inches; my waist is 24.5 inches; and my hips are 34 inches. I'm 97 pounds. Can someone please help? Thank you.

anon989565

I'm 5'3" of 30 yrs. My size is 38 - 34 - 38. Kindly advise my shape.

anon954448

I am wondering what shape I am. bust:32, waist:28, hips:37. I am 5"4 and would really appreciate it. Thanks.

anon350922

I'm Kay. My shoulders are as same as my hips but I'm supposedly a pear? I'm just a little confused on what shape I really am.

Here are my measurements: shoulders - 39; bust - 34.8/35; waist - 28 (on a good day 27); hips - 39.5; thighs - 23-22 inches. I'm 5'3.

anon348022

I am 14. I have a 23" waist and a 31" hip. What is my body type?

anon338454

I am Linda and I am 18 years old. Please let me know what body shape I fit in. My bust is 36, waist is 30 and Hips are 39. Please tell me if it is good for a girl and how to improve it.

anon338269

My measurements are 34-27-38. I'm 5'2 and weigh 138. I need help finding my shape, please.

anon310903

My body weight is 142 pounds, my height 5'1", my bust is a 36D, my waist is 32 and my hips 37. Please tell me my body type.

anon306763

I would like to know my shape. My bust is 32, waist is 28, hip is 36, and I am 5.0 feet and 114 pounds. Hope someone responds.

anon290329

Seriously, I don't know what my shape is and I would be happy if someone tells me. My bustline is 28, waist is 21 and my hips are 34.

anon283845

I'm 21, 5 feet 2 inches tall, 32 inch bust, 27 inch waist and 37 inch hips. I'm unsure of my body shape. Most people say I'm athletic. Also, my hips and shoulders are the same measurements. I have a big butt so I'm guessing that contributed mostly to my hip measurement.

People also say I have nice legs but I fail to see that because my thighs are bigger than what I see on the internet. When I look in the mirror, I see a tiny curve in my waist but I might be delusional. I also have bulging abs, not flat, but you can tell they're abs.

anon282381

I'm also wondering what shape I am. My measurements are 40-38-42 I'm 5'8, 170, and 15.

anon279152

I have a 37 inch bust, 24 inch waist and 36 inch hips. What is that?

anon278062

I would like to know my shape, if anyone could help please. My bust is 30 inches; waist, 24 inches; hips, 32 inches and I'm 5'5, 115 pounds last time I checked. I'm 19 years old too. I've been told I have an athletic build, and I do have long limbs for a short person. Hope someone responds.

anon260461

I am 5'5. I measure 32 inches around my bust; 23 inches around my waist and 31 inches around my hips. I weigh about 99 pounds.

anon255023

I'm 5'1 with a 38 inch bust, 30 inch waist, and 41 inch hips. I think I'm an hourglass, but might be a pear. I didn't see what type of clothes to wear on here.

anon247047

I'm 5'4," my weight is about 135 pounds and I carry it all in the middle. My measurements are 36C-33-35.

It's hard for me to exercise since I had a massive stroke (had it when I was 27 I'm 32). Anyway, I think I'm an apple shape right now. But I'm not sure -- maybe hourglass? But I have problems with my rear being so flat.

anon226076

Thanks a lot for the article! My bust is 33, my waist is 28 and my hip is 35. What am I?

anon219837

i'm 4'10 and my measurements are 37-28-37. what body shape am i? please help.

anon219003

My height is 5"3 and weight is 54kg. i measure 32 28 33. is that OK?

anon217875

I really want to know my shape and also know the kind of clothes to always look for. I wear a 36c, my waist is 38 and my hip is 44.

anon212124

I have no idea what shape I am. I'm kind of cone, kind of hourglass 37-24-34 and I'm 5' 3".

amypollick

@anon208324: Sizes online are not exactly standardized. My suggestion would be to try on different slacks in the store and find the size that fits you best. If you need a slightly larger waist, buy to fit your waist, but if available, buy a "slim" fit, since you don't need the extra room in your hips.

Most women don't exactly fit most sizes. That's how the fashion merchants get us to buy more clothes.

Order the size that you think will fit you best online and if it's too big or too small, return it. Try not to get caught up in sizes, since they vary so much. Buy what fits and looks best on you and ignore the little number on the tag.

anon208324

I need some help. .I have been trying to buy pants online and I don't fit into any size right. I'm a 34D, 29 waist and 34.5 hip. Based on my hip size I would wear a size 2 or 4, only for that to fit it says I should have a 24 or 25 inch waist and I don't! Can anyone help me?

anon182899

what is my body shape? My bust is 34, my waist 27, my hips are 37, and i have broad shoulders and that confuses me. Am I a pear shape or hourglass shape?

anon179631

I'm 5'4 my bust is 34, my waist is 32 and my hip is 35. what shape am i? Please help.

anon179293

My measurements are 35-28-33. What shape am I?

anon168826

I'm around '5"2-'5"3. I'm 15 and my measurements are 37-26-34. what is my body shape, and is this good for my age?

anon167968

My bust is 40, my waist is a 35, my hips are a 35. what shape am I? please help. I am going shopping for new clothes after losing 95 pounds.

anon167967

My bust is 37 my waist is 34 my hips are 36. what shape am I? please help.

anon159695

My bust is 42 inches, my waist is 38 inches and my hip is 44 inches. i want to know what's my body shape?

anon158721

I would love to know what body type I am. It would be greatly appreciated if any of you guys can help me out. My bust is 36, waist 30 and hips 36. I'm 5'4. Thanks for helping me.

anon157295

my body measurements are 36 32 42. I'm 150 pounds. What's my body shape?

anon156932

I'm trying to figure out my body type. I'm 5'2", my bust size is 42 inches, my waist is 35 inches and my hips are 42 inches.

anon155275

I'm 27 years old and indian. I have a baby. my bust measures 32.5 inches, waist 25 and hip 33.5 and I'm 5'5" tall. please advise me what shape i have.

anon153863

Please help me figure out my body shape. I am a 14 year old girl. I'm 5'2, and 103 pounds. My measurements are

bust- 34C; waist- 24.5; hips- 33. Thanks!

anon148356

Please help me determine my body shape. my bust is 34, waist 27 and hip is 37. i am also a size zero or one at times. Thanks much.

anon144865

i am 5ft 1 inch. my bust is 30 inches my waist is 30 and a half and my hips are 35. please, please could someone help and tell me what body shape i am? thank you!

anon138386

i want to know my body shape. my bust is 35 inches, my waist is 25 inches and my hips are 36 inches. I'm 5'8 and i weigh 128.

anon131150

most people are a pear shape but i am top heavy due to my 30 F bust (natural) and my waist being 24.

if you look at yourself in the mirror and think of a object that best looks like your body shape and voila -- you're done.

dreamer

I'm 5'2m my bust is 41, my waist is 36 and my hip is 42.

anon118249

My measurements are bust 34, waist 26 and hips 36. I want to know what body type would I be?

anon112603

waist28, bust34, hip36. what is my shape?

anon107198

I need help determining my shape. Bust 34, waist 28, hips 38. The measurements indicate that i am pear shaped, but i have no hips! I do gain weight on my thighs and bum and I have thick legs. Please help!

anon105210

I recently added weight and have love handles beneath my waist. My hips are not wide, but I have a big butt.

The sizes of my body currently are: Bust- 37, waist- 28 and hips- 40. What shape do i have?

anon96906

I'm 5'2 and 48kg, age 22, but how can i know my body shape?

anon96101

I'm 5 ft 2 1/2 in. I wear a 34B, I weigh 129 lbs. My waist is 27 in. My hips are 35 in. What's my size and shape please?

anon94779

I need to know my shape! I'm 33,29,31

anon89955

I would like to know my shape. I'm 34-29-35.

anon89080

my bust is 36, my waist is 27, my hip is 37. What body shape do i have? please and thank you.

anon88487

I'm a 34D with a waist of 27. i can't even find good clothing that fits me right.

anon82974

what is my shape? bust 34, waist 28, hips 38.

anon82420

I am a 32 d with a 30 inch waist and a 38 bust. What am i?

anon78268

well basically, if your lower half is larger (if you gain more weight there) then you're a pear. If you have a defined waist with similar hips and breast measurements then you're an hourglass. (means you carry weight on top and bottom).

xXxLovelyxXx

i can't figure out my shape: 36 DD Bust, 27" inch waist, 38" hips. I'm 5'7 and 130 pounds. Oh and my sister would also like to know. She's: 36B, 30 waist and 36 hips she's 5'6 and weighs 135. Please advise both shapes. Thanks.

anon71625

I would like to know my body shape also. My bust is 46, waist is 43, hip is 47. thanks

anon69167

help. what's my shape? My bust is 32, waist 28; hips 38.

anon67857

OK so my waist is 30 and hip size 38-39 and bust 38. my weight is 149/150 (don't look like it) and height is 5'4 or 166. I need help to determine. well i must be an hour-glass figure, duh, but i need help for losing weight!

anon65814

Can't figure out my body shape. Am 5'8 tall, bust i wear 36B, waist is 34' and i weigh 165 pounds.

Please advise my shape.

anon61231

i have a fairly hour glass shape: 21/22 waist; 23/24 hip; about a 24/25 bustline itself. my bra should be DDDD30 so big, but anyway, i weigh 97 pounds and i eat about eight times a day.

anon58506

I have a 34 inch bust, 23 inch waist, and 32 inch hips. I'd say I'm an "inverted triangle". (I'm also 113 lbs, and 5 ft 6)

anon58098

i'm 5'6" and 160 pounds (don't look it) and i'm 36" up top, 26" in the middle, and 40" down below. i'm athletic but does this mean i'm pear or more hourglass?

anon58097

I'm pretty sure i'm hourglass -- sort of. 36 up top, 26 in the middle, and 40 down low. Good or bad? /;I

anon55919

hey i can't figure out my body shape either. i'm about 5'6, 114 pounds. Bust is 34B, waist is 24 inches and hips are 32 inches. Please help! Thanks!

anon51484

I don't seem to fit into any of the categories. :/

I am tall (6ft) have long arms and legs but a short torso and don't go in much at the waist. Feels a bit like my hips are too high up and my ribcage is too low down. I have a curvy bum and thighs also.

I don't know if i am I pear because I have a flat stomach, prominent collar bone, slender arms and small bust, but larger bottom half. but also my shoulders are quite broad with being tall. No idea!

anon45316

What is my size and shape please? Bust is 40D. Waist is 32. Hips are 37. I am 4'11. weight is 127. Thanks!

anon31365

I'm also wondering what shape I am. My bust is 34, my waist 26 and my hips are 35.

anon29066

I'm trying to figure my shape. My Bust is 43, waist is 38 and hip is 41. Please advise what shape am I. Thanks

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