How to Determine Body Shape

Overview

Men and women fall into one of several basic body shapes that are primarily determined by their genetics. But while your body shape might be out of your hands, so to speak, it doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of it by wearing the right clothing, jewelry and accessories. First, you need to see where you fit.

Male Body Shapes

Step 1

Strip down to your underwear and stand in front of a full-length mirror.

Step 2

Get the assistance of a friend who can be honest and whose judgment you trust. Ask him to help you determine what your body shape is, whether it is trapezoid (or V), inverted triangle, triangle, oval or rectangle.

Step 3

Look at the width of your waist and shoulders in comparison to your hips. Compare the width of your lower body to your upper body:

If you have a broad chest and shoulders, your upper torso is broader than your lower torso and your waist and hips are medium to narrow, you fit the trapezoid shape.

If your chest and shoulders are proportionately wider than your waist and hips and you have bulky shoulders and arms, you have the inverted triangle shape.

If your shoulders and chest are more narrow in comparison to your waist and hips, you fit the triangle shape.

If your upper and lower body are equally proportionate between your chest, hips and waist, your have the rectangle shape.

If you have an overall round appearance, a large stomach and your waist is wider than your hips and chest, you have the oval shape.

Female Body Shapes

Step 1

Strip down to your underthings and stand in front of a full-length mirror.

Step 2

Get the assistance of a friend who can be honest and whose judgment you trust. You have six basic types to consider: triangle (or pear), inverted triangle, oval, rectangle (or boyish), diamond and hourglass.

Step 3

Look at the relationship of your hips and waist to your bust and shoulders. Compare which half of your body is wider to help determine what your body shape is:

If your chest and shoulders are narrower than your hips, bottom and thighs, you have the pear or triangle shape.

If you have a large bust with broad shoulders paired with slim legs and narrow hips, your body is an inverted triangle.

If your bust and hip measurements are proportionate and you have a well-defined waist, you have the classic hourglass shape.

If you have an overall rounded shape and an undefined waist, you have the oval shape.

If you have a shape similar to the oval shape, but you also have a large stomach that sits high, you have the diamond shape.

If your bust and hip measurements are equal and you don’t have much waist definition, and you appear to have no hips, you fit the rectangle shape.

Tips and Warnings

  • When you know what your body type or shape is, look for styles of clothing, accessories and jewelry that emphasize your best qualities.

    It’s rare for anyone to have the “perfect” body shape. Everyone has some body feature they don’t like.

    Your body might have characteristics of more than one body type.

About this Author

Barbara Alvarez has been writing online since 2008 and holds a B.A. in journalism from New Mexico State University. Alvarez has several years of professional experience working with children and families receiving mental health services. She studies health issues, working to help others change their health practices.