What Body Shape Am I?


Most of you will know the classic body shapes; hourglass, rectangle, triangle and pear shaped. But how do you know what body shape you are? Determining which of the four categories you fall into is as simple as three measurements.

  1. Measure around your shoulders no more than three inches below the point. You might need a friend to help you with this.
  2. Measure around your waist.
  3. Measure around your hips, at the widest part.

Your body shape is determined by the relationship between the measurements.

TRIANGLE: Your shoulders are more than 5% larger than your hips.

PEAR SHAPED: You hips are more than 5% larger than your shoulders.

HOURGLASS: You shoulder and hip measurement are within 5% of each other and your waist is at least 25% less than the larger of the other two.

RECTANGLE: You shoulder and hip measurement are within 5% of each other and you waist is less than 25% less than the larger of the other two.

To calculate the percentage difference take the difference and divide by the largest measurement and multiply by 100. For instance if your shoulders are 38 inches, waist 30 inches and hips 40 inches then the difference between shoulders and hips is 2, divide by 40 times 100 or 5%. The difference between waist and hips is 10, divided by 40, times 100 equals 25%. Therefore the body shape is hourglass.

Body Shape Is More Than Just Proportion

Don’t get too caught up in working out the figures exactly, unless of course you want to, because these four basic categories are just a starting point.

In his book The Science of Sexy Bradley Bayou, designer and stylist to the stars, gives 48 distinct body types. The archetypal four I’ve already discussed and then they are further categorized based on height and weight.

Height is broken into three categories; petite (or short), medium and tall.

Weight is broken into four categories; slender, average, full figured and plus sized.

Each person supposedly fits into these three categories; body proportion, height and weight.

Why go to so much trouble?

There are different considerations for each body type. For instance if you’re petite then you’ll need to stay away from anything overly frilly or cluttered as it will have a tendency to make you look like a giant doll whereas if you’re slender design elements are a good idea as they can add interest to your frame.

For instance from the calculations above I am a pear shape, medium height, plus size women. But it turns out my breasts are so large that ain’t nobody looking at my shoulders so in order to deal with my breasts I really need to follow the guidelines for hourglass. It really kind of seems confusing but actually it’s not.

You are the shape you are. If you’re anything like me it’s unlikely that you’ll fit exactly into any particular pigeon hole just because someone came up with a formula. There are many formulas and personally I prefer the 12 shapes of Trinny and Susannah.

What’s Next?

The thing to remember about these body shapes is that they have no meaning other than discussing clothes. They have no purpose other than to give generic examples of what is likely to fit and flatter a body with particular characteristics.

So your next step after defining your shape is to get an idea of what clothes work for you and which ones won’t.

If you have a question or comment I’d love to hear from you.


  1. says

    Hey Dee

    Definitely a triangle, though you also have some real curves going on there as well. See how definite this all is! As in not at all. Unless you’re having issues with clothes, don’t worry about it.

  2. barbara torra says

    Hi Lisa I have always been thin but I am fit.
    My shoulders are 38 or 39 my waist is 32 my hips 37/1/2 or 38
    I have a 37 or 38 chest. Not sure what type I am.
    thanks for the feedback and helping women.

  3. says

    Hi Barbara

    You seem very proportionate which I guess is hourglass or vase.

    Thanks for the comment. I appreciate your support and feedback

  4. says

    Hei Lisa!

    Love your site! I’ve browsed the web for information on body shape, and I’ve found information of more or less good quality.

    Most of the quizes and calculators asks for only bust, waist and hips measurements, but as I understand your oppinion is, that doesn’t say i all. If you have really narrow sholders, that defineds your shape aswell as your big boobs. This discovery was clarifying for me, because my bust is avarage and my but and hips are bigger, but I never felt that I could wear the same as a pear or a skittle. If I tried to put a bow on my chest, it looked humongous! But than I understood that I had to take my shoulders in considerations, and thats how I found out that I’m a Cello :)

    My measurements are 44 – 40,5 – 33 – 42,5
    I have big thighs and a butt that’s unlikely on my scandinavian body ūüėÄ My legs are shapely with defined ankles.

    Thanks for good information!

  5. says

    Hi, these are my mesasurements:
    Bust: 34.5
    Waist: 20
    Hips: 38.5
    Shoulders: 42.5
    Height: 5’3″

    I can never exactly get a straight answer as to what body type I am. Can you help me?


    Belle ?

  6. says

    Hi Belle, thanks for commenting.
    The reason you can never get a straight answer is because there are over 3 billion women in the world and 4 – 12 body shapes. The vast majority of us don’t fit neatly into a shape. And measurements are not the best way of looking at things. Given the measurements you’ve given I’d say, at a guess, an hourglass.

  7. Rachel says

    While my tape measurements read shoulders- 41 waist- 27 and hips- 40 I don’t think I look like an hourglass at all. From straight on, my hips are significantly smaller than my shoulders and I look more like a triangle. I took my 2D measurements and my shoulders were 18in across my waist is 10 inches across and my hips are 15 inches across at the widest point. I’ve never felt like I fit in the pear (because of my small bust) or hourglass categories. And now I know why.

  8. says

    I’m glad you’ve got some clarity there Rachel. Actually a small bust is one of the highlights of a pear shape, though I definitely don’t think you’re a pear. It’s most likely you’re a combination of a couple of shapes. Thanks for commenting.


  1. […] impossible to define body shapes that accurately. For instance lets examine the pear shape. The standard definition of a pear is that your bottom half measured around the hips is larger than your shoulders by more […]

  2. […] Get to know your own body shape and what will and won’t work for you. There is no point trying to dress like Nicole Richie if you’re shaped like Oprah. It simply won’t work. We are the shape that we are and the sooner we accept that the sooner it will be that we dress to suit our individual shape in a way that flatters and is comfortable.¬†Not every style and shape of clothes will work for you. Get to know what will and won’t work for you. […]

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