Yesterday, we looked at line in the face and body. In today’s post we move on to chapter 2 – body shape and silhouette.
Here is my crude representation of the six shapes in the book:
The first two, rectangle and oval, are wide-waisted shapes. The middle two, figure-eight and hourglass, are narrow-waisted shapes. The last two, triangle and inverted triangle, may be wide- or narrow-waisted.
This exercise requires an honest look in the mirror. The point here is not to dress your fantasy body, nor the body you fear you have. Self-acceptance is key here (but I don’t know if it is a pre-requisite or if it comes as a result of this exercise).
You need to assess both front and back view because they may not show the same shape. I find that the assessment is fairly easy in the front. After all, that is the familiar view – you see it in the mirror every day. The back is a whole different ball of wax. For the longest time, I thought my shape from the back was rectangular. Until I really studied this picture:
When I was taking these pictures last year, it didn’t occur to me to tie something around my waist. I should have done that because that T-shirt isn’t narrow enough to cling at the waist. But even without showing the true narrowness of my waist, this picture shows an hourglass shape from the back. Not even close to the rectangle I was expecting. And look at how straight my shoulders are – there’s hardly any slope at all. (This is not cool when your favorite vintage patterns require sloped shoulders to look good.)
Once you determine your natural shape(s), there are ideas and illustrations of clothing that suits each shape the best. The squareness of my shoulders puts me in the hourglass section (even though I like the illustrations of the figure-eight styles better). The hourglass shape requires clothing that emphasizes the waist, accommodates the straight shoulders, and flares over the hips. This flaring can be achieved in a fuller skirt or with a short peplum over a narrow skirt. I don’t care for fuller skirts but the peplum bit may explain why I like this picture very much:
It satisfies all the requirements: waist emphasis – check! straight across shoulders – check! flares over the hips – check!
If you are one of those people whose shape looks different from the front and the back, the next part of this chapter offers ideas and illustrations for accommodating your two visual shapes.
If you happen to prefer a different silhouette or are one of those people who like to experiment, this chapter offers plenty of guidance for transforming each shape into any of the others (where possible), for visual widening and narrowing of the shoulders and hips, and for visual narrowing of the waist.
So, dear readers, which shapes are yours? What are your preferred silhouettes? Or, if you don’t have this book, have you read Imogen’s explanations of the different body shapes?