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Determining Your Body Shape

For most of us, shopping for a new outfit can be rather frustrating, especially if you have to try on one unflattering outfit after the other. But did you know that knowing your exact body shape can make this a whole lot easier? And believe you me, itís not just about being a size zero.

In fact, using your body shape as a guide will come more useful for women who want to emphasize some assets while camouflaging flaws (like me!).

While couture designers would have us believe that an expensive dress can transform us into the supermodel that we always secretly yearned to be, the truth is that it really is the other way around: you start with the body and design the clothes around it. Supermodels strutting on the catwalk look so perfect because they have been carefully handpicked to suit the dress, and then measured and fitted to within an inch of their lives.

I was thinking about the body shape thing just the other night, when I was trying to shop for Christmas gifts for my mom and sisters. With parties being thrown left and right during the holidays, I thought that rather than order the customary monogrammed bathrobe that I usually get them, I would buy them each an outfit and give it early so that they would have something to wear for the holiday shindigs. Let me share with you something that made the task a whole lot easier: a guide to the 5 basic womenís body shapes.

Keep in mind that these body shapes can come in slim and full versions; just because you may be a few pounds overweight doesnít mean that you canít be an hourglass. So strip down to your bra and undies, stand in front of a full-length mirror, and find your shape.

The Hourglass

The hourglass is deemed as the ideal feminine shape: full bosoms and generous hips contrasting with a nipped in waist. You are an hourglass if your shoulders and hips are in line, and your torso curves in to your waistline.

The Ruler

This body type has few visible curves and no defined waist. You are a ruler if you have balanced shoulders and hips but the waist is not nipped in. Most fashion models fall into this category.

The Pear

The pear is smaller on top than on the bottom, so curves seem more obvious below the waist than above. If you wear a smaller size in tops than pants or skirts, you are a pear.

The Apple

The most prominent body feature of an apple-shaped woman is her tummy, which is often accompanied by a large bust and a heavy frame.

The Wedge

The wedge is also referred to as an inverted triangle because the shoulders are wider than the hips. This is the typical swimmerís body.

When trying to determine your body shape, wear one solid color with no distracting details or prints. Find good lighting and a buddy with whom you feel comfortable enough; itís hard to view our own bodies as a whole, so some help would come in handy.

Remember, and I cannot stress this enough, each body shape comes in slim and thicker versions: look at the overall proportion, not just at your flaws: you can be a size 0 hourglass or a size 16 hourglass.

Once you know your body shape, itís much easier to go online and find fashion tips which will guide you in picking out styles that will pull your body in proportion.

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