Sunday, March 16, 2014

Trinny & Susannah's 12 Body Shapes - They get it!

***I've Moved! Come visit the new blog at Http://!***

Not quite an apple? Not quite a pear? Maybe you're a skittle!

I have been stymied for years by the standard 4 (sometimes 5) female body shapes as stated by most fashion resources. I've studied them and studied myself, but I could never settle on one because some aspect was always off. I'm not an inverted triangle because I don't have broad shoulders. I'm not an hourglass because my hips are fairly narrow. When I gain weight it goes to my tummy - does that make me an apple? That doesn't seem right either. 

Most common female body shapes as listed on Wikipedia. There are more options on an In & Out menu!
When I signed up for Stitch Fix they suggested providing my body type to my stylist, if known. Once again, I hit a wall while reading their descriptions - nothing fit! So, like all thorough researchers I turned to popular online opinion. After extensive Google searches, I finally came across a UK stylist duo named Trinny and Susannah. I hadn't heard of them before, but they starred in BBC's "What Not To Wear" and tout themselves as the "World's Favourite Makeover Queens." After perusing their site, I highly recommend checking out their work.

I was thrilled to see they've defined twelve much more descriptive body shapes (based on proportions, not size). They are as follows: Skittle, Goblet, Hourglass, Cornet, Cello, Apple, Column, Bell, Vase, Brick, Lollipop or Pear. They break down each body type in their book "The Body Shape Bible", but several online blogs also provide a wealth of information.

The Trinny & Susannah Female Body Shapes as interpreted by Nina Squirrely
I found a great decision chart on Body Shape Style that quickly derives your shape through a series of short questions. It turns out I'm a lollipop, essentially straight except for the, ahem, lollipop area. It was fascinating to read through the different body shapes along with the benefits and challenges of each. You may still not be a perfect match, but I'm guessing you can find something more accurate than your horoscope. 

Great Quiz from Body Shape Style. She also includes lots of info for determining and dressing your shape. FYI - before you skittles get confused, that's apparently Brit-speak for a curvaceous bowling pin.
Once you know your shape, blogs like Idealist Style are great resources for guidelines on how to dress or not dress for maximum effect. You can avoid most of the trial and error figuring out which clothing silhouettes, patterns and fabrics worked for you. Other people have already figured it out! 

I am constantly refining my understanding of what works on my shape. The information I've found recently is a great validation of that. Having a shortcut to this information would have been awesome in my teens and twenties. Frankly, I would love to get back the embarrassing amount of time and money I've wasted on unflattering styles that I bought because they looked great on my friends (or Kate Moss), or were 85% off with a designer label. It took me a surprisingly long time to learn that clothing isn't a deal at any price unless you actually wear it.

What's the point of all this awkward self-examination (aside from getting a cute new nickname - Helloooo Cello!)? To save you time, money, and heartache in the dressing room. Wouldn't it be fabulous to know what style of dress will flatter you BEFORE you try on two dozen that are completely wrong? How about discovering clothing that makes you look 10 lbs lighter, but that you had never previously considered? 

I believe when a woman hates shopping, it's often because they either get overwhelmed with options, or can't figure out why the things they gravitate towards never look right. Why not take what others have figured out for you and incorporate it to make shopping less headache-inducing? For example, if I didn't understand my body shape, I would have tried countless high-waisted skirts this season, because I think this trend is classy and adorable! But I know better so I can save myself the frustration.*

Funny...I swear I tried on a similar outfit...somehow it looks different on the VS model
Whether you are shaped like a pencil or a Big Mac, you can learn how to make the most of your assets by drawing attention to them. It's much easier to embrace your body when you are working with, not against it. Incorporating a few tips and tricks regarding your own beautiful shape can make a world of difference to your confidence, because you are making conscientious, informed decisions as you get dressed each day. 

*Fine, I still tried. But at least I didn't beat myself up when I predictably looked like a disproportionate freak who had no waist and her knockers resting on her hips. I just marched myself back to the lower waisted tulip skirt section where I know I belong.**

**Ok, ok.  I bought one.  Just ONE.  And using my creativity I found a way to make it flattering.***

***I haven't found a way to make it flattering. It looks awful. I put it on once and had to take it off before leaving the house. The tags are no longer on it so I can't return it. Don't tell my husband.


  1. Great post, helpful and informative. T&S's body shape flowchart is wonderful! It cuts through confusion. It turns out I'm a goblet.

    1. You know what? Since writing this I now go back and forth between lollipop and goblet. I originally discounted goblet because I don't consider myself having broad shoulders, but the midsection is definitely my trouble area! Gotta give credit to Body Shape Style for creating that awesome flowchart. I love that having this info both reinforces what I've found through trial and error and also gives some new information I hadn't previously considered. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I still struggle with the lack of an "out" versus "back" distinction when accounting for one's hips. For example, there's technically a 10-inch differential between my waist and hips only I look more "athletic" than "pear-shaped" straight on. That's because it's all booty (back) and not wide like hips are generally rendered in most assessments of type. It's frustrating. I guess for the purposes of this chart I'll just settle on brick. *sigh*

  3. Hi Quita! I've moved over to, please drop by!
    I totally understand what you're saying, and I believe for the purpose of dressing your body shape, consider your visual proportions from the front. If you have booty but narrow hips, use the narrow hip to determine your shape. At least that's what I do! It's funny that side profile isn't addressed much by these types of experts. For me, wearing a loose fitting shirt can look ok from the front, but an absolute tent from the side. I always take that into consideration!


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