BASICS

How To Determine YOUR Body Shape Using These Easy Measurements

Grab a pen, paper, and a tape measure! Today’s the day you figure out your body shape! Knowing your body shape will make a HUGE difference in the way you shop for clothes, get dressed in the morning, and see yourself! When you know your body shape, you can learn how to dress in the most flattering ways. There are 5 main body shapes. But remember, no two bodies are alike! You don’t need to fit in ONE body shape category. You may be a combination of both. This is just a starting point for you to get a better understanding of your shape! You can also watch the videos below for more helpful tips!

How to Determine Your Body Shape, Erin Busbee sharing how to find your body shape with simple measurements featuring a fit woman in white underwear and bra measuring her body with a yellow measuring tape

Measurements

There are four measurements you’ll need to take to determine your body shape. First, get dressed in something minimal like a camisole or lightly padded bra. You can take the measurements yourself or have a spouse or friend help you. Tip: As you’re measuring, make sure there is no drooping or slack in the tape to get the most accurate measurement.

Shoulders – This should be taken as high up on your shoulders as you can get without actually slipping off your shoulders
Bust – Measure at the fullest or widest part of your chest
Waist – Measure wherever the smallest part of your waist is. This may or may not be around the belly button area.
Hips – Measure the fullest part of your hips…this isn’t necessarily at your hip bone.

How To Determine Your Body Shape, Erin Busbee of Busbee sharing how to find your body shape using four simple measurements and looking at size charts

Size Charts

Now…why do we need these measurements!? Knowing these will also help you shop only more easily. This will help minimize returns and save you time and money! On most (if not all) online retail sites, there is an option to view the size chart for an item. Take your measurements and cross-reference them with the size chart to figure out exactly what size you need to order! When in doubt or in between size, I always size up! Remember that petite, tall, different sites, and brands, all have different size charts so make sure you check!

how to determine your body shape, Erin Busbee of Busbee sharing how to determine your body shape

Body Shapes

Now to the exciting stuff…actually determining your body shape! Below, you’ll find the five body shapes. Use the measurements you took and decide which one (or two) you fit in!

#1 | Inverted Triangle

In general: Your shoulder and bust measurement will be bigger than your hip measurement.
Looking at the numbers: If your shoulder measurement is larger than your hips by 2 inches or more. Or your bust measurement is larger than your hips by 4 inches or more.

Watch my video on how to dress an inverted triangle shape here.

#2 | Triangle

In general: If your hip measurement is larger than your shoulder and bust measurements. By the way…this is the most common body shape among women!
Looking at the numbers: If your hip measurement is bigger than your shoulder measurement by 2 inches or more. Or bigger than your bust measurement by 4 inches or more.

Watch my video on how to dress a triangle shape here.

#3 | Circle

In general: Your waist is your largest measurement.
Looking at the numbers: If your waist is larger than bust, waist, or hips by 2 or more inches.

Watch my video on how to dress a circle shape here.

#4 | Rectangle

This is what body shape I am! My hip, shoulder, waist, and bust measurements are all about the same.

In general: You don’t have a ton of definition in your waist.
Looking at the numbers: If your waist measurement is not 8 inches less than your bust, shoulders, or hips.

Watch my video on how to dress a rectangle shape here.

#5 | Hourglass

In general: You have similar measurements in your shoulders, bust, and hips. But the waist measurement IS clearly defined.
Looking at the numbers: Your waist measures 8 or more inches less than your other measurements.

Watch my video on how to dress an hourglass shape here.

Long or Short Waisted

Knowing if you’re long or short-waisted is another super helpful thing to know! To find out which one you are, stack your hands on top of each other (with palms facing toward you), place them under your bust, and see where your hands are compared to your belly button.

If your lower hand completely covers or goes past your belly button, you’re short-waisted.
If your lower hand is above your belly button, your long-waisted.
And, if your lower hand is right at the belly button, you’re proportionate.

Make sure you watch my videos on how to dress a short torso and a long torso!

Do you still have questions about how to determine your body shape or aren’t sure what your measurements are telling you? Please ask away in the comments below!

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Thank you for stopping by!

How To Manifest Anything, Fashion blogger Erin Busbee of Busbee Style wearing an orange and blue Staud Ina dress with white sunglasses walking around in Telluride, Colorado
Erin Busbee
After a decade in TV news, a desire to help women "look pretty" sparked a career pivot. I started my own wardrobe consulting business, styling "real" women for many years. In 2014, I changed direction again, using my TV background and styling expertise to launch this website and my YouTube channel. We are now a community of nearly 700,000 dynamic, vibrant, amazing women over 40... who know that age isn't something you need to hide from. For us, life is just getting started!!
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7 thoughts on “How To Determine YOUR Body Shape Using These Easy Measurements

  1. Question on body type… not sure if I’m rectangle or hourglass
    Shoulders 37 1/2
    Bust 32
    Waist 29
    Hips 38 1/2

    Thank you!

    1. Hourglass body shapes have a waist measurement that is 8+” smaller than all other measurements. Your waist is only 3” smaller than your bust. Your other measurements are all similar so you are a rectangle. I hope this helps. ~Erin xo

    1. Yes, everyone doesn’t always fall neatly into one shape or another. I’d say that you are on the border of a rectangle and an hourglass. Your hips and shoulders are pretty close in size. Hourglasses typically have a waist measurement that is 8” smaller than all the other measurements. Your waist is 6” smaller than your bust and 8”+ smaller than everything else. When you look into the mirror what do you see? Do you see a clearly defined waist? If so, you may want to follow the tips for hourglass, but if not, try rectangle. I hope this helps! ~Erin xo

  2. Feeling good about dressing the body you have can be so frustrating, especially as many of us don’t get a good fit off the rack other than with stretchy athleisure. As an inverted triangle, the tailor is the secret weapon in my wardrobe. I have to purchase blouses, dresses, and blazers a size bigger to accommodate my chest and shoulders, but the middle ends up being way too big (enter the tailor). Same with trousers, I make sure they are comfortable at my waist, then have them taken in at the hip and seat, but then they fit perfectly. It’s a few extra dollars, but I factor that into my purchase cost, and even my bargain buys and basics look so much more expensive, put together, and I wear them longer. Many dry cleaners can do simple alterations for a nominal cost if a tailor is hard to find.

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