Body Proportions Explained

"Why a Proportional Body Shape Matters and How to Achieve It"

Hourglass figure
Not only is your body shape important to figure out - your overall body proportions is just as fundamental as the shape your body.

Ever wonder why an outfit just looks great on someone, even though you don'’t particularly like the clothes?

That's usually because of the proportions of that look. When an outfit is balanced, it looks proportional, and we're attracted to this kind of symmetry. It is also why some face and body shapes can be considered more attractive than others.

If one proportion is bigger/smaller/longer/shorter than the other, you will need to balance out this proportion or the opposite of it to visually change the apparent difference in size/length.

Basically, adjusting your body proportions can help you create a balanced silhouette, and can help you look taller and slimmer; shorter and curvier.

Best Body Figure with
Ideal Body Proportions

The Hourglass Shape fulfills the symmetry-criteria and is considered an ideal body shape.

The Hourglass is proportional because:
  • Lower and upper body parts are in line with each other
  • It has a defined waist which is considered feminine and slim-looking
  • There's no single "heavy" point in your silhouette that dominates your silhouette

It basically has all the curves on the right places!

Scientific research has shown that we're automatically attracted to symmetry - it's visually pleasing to the eye. So your main goal when it comes to dressing for your body shape is to create balance on your frame. 

The chic fashionista Anna Villaruel says We all have different preferences. Everyone has different opinions of what's attractive or not. Some like it curvy, others prefer it slim. There really aren't an ultimate ideal body shape. Sure, we're automatically attracted to a proportional shape, but that doesn't mean you *have* to have that to look good. There are other things that are considered attractive.

But no matter what shape your body is, a good rule of thumb in creating balanced body proportions is: Pair clothes that are in proportion with your body shape. So you might want to enhance and minimize areas (your upper and lower part) that are needed to create a balanced body figure - creating an illusion of a proportional hourglass shape. 

So how do you exactly do that?

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How to Improve Your Body Proportions

If your body figure lacks proportions there are several ways to balance them out. I'll give you a couple of examples here to give you an idea of how it works:

Putting Together a Proportional Outfit

Body shape proportions with clothing

1. Let's say you have curvy hips (or butt for that matter) and want to wear a hip-hugging skirt. Now, the skirt will definitely enhance your curves and it can also make you look shorter. So to create symmetry and balance you'll need to add more weight on your upper part.

To balance the overall shape, add a top with volume (like for example ruffles or other details that draw the eye back up).

2. If you have wide shoulders and want to highlight your killer shoulders, then you can wear a tube top but make sure you balance out the look by wearing flared pants or skirt.

Mini lightbulb How it Works:

This styling strategy applies to anyone no matter body shape. So if you're wearing a baggy balloon skirt, always balance it in conjunction with the rest of your body shape and outfit.

If you have curves wear a detail-rich or light-colored top with the fitted skirt. If you have a full bust, wear something more solid and simple on top because the skirt will already balance out your heavy upper body.

Seriously. You can practically wear almost anything you like as long as you have the body proportions in mind!

The chic fashionista Anna Villaruel says The guidelines for the various different body shapes only give you a basic starting point in achieving a proportional silhouette in conjunction with your body figure. But what most fashion experts haven't emphasized is the fact that you can wear whatever you want as long as it is in balance with whatever you wear it with, and not necessarily your body shape only.

Contradicting Fashion Guidelines

The same body proportions-strategy applies to your vertical line as well.

I'm sure you've discovered contradictions when it comes to dressing your horizontal and vertical body shape. For example, if you are a Pear with a short waist. The guidelines for Pears say that long tops emphasize your curves but the vertical body shape rules tell you to wear long tops to elongate your torso.

What do you do now?

Simple. Wear the long top but add a pair of eye catching earrings to bring the eye back up.

But what if you're an Apple with long torso and short legs?

A short jacket can make your upper body look more toppled. But how about wearing the short jacket with a pair of flare or bootcut jeans?

Now, here are more ideas on how to add more weight or camouflage to parts of your body that is out of proportion:

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Enhance & Minimize to
Improve Body Proportions

Dark Colors & Light Colors

Dark colors minimize, and light colors maximize. If you want to draw attention and/or visually 'expand' a certain part of your body - like your bust or toned legs, wear white or another light color on that area. A bright color will also help bring attention to an area it has been placed on but it will not expand it significantly.

Light color enhance, dark colors minimize

Generally, light colors create a focal point, while dark colors take the attention away. Stick to light colors for areas that you want to enhance and be seen, or would like to plump up a bit!

Like for example, if you want to draw attention away from your arms and to your toned chest, wear a white V-neck top and layer it with a dark colored cardigan.

Patterns Draw Attention

Print top maximizes Just like light colors, you can use patterns to accentuate your better half (upper or lower half) or expand areas that lack width and plumpness.

So if you want to draw attention to your upper body, wear a print top with a plain pair of pants or a skirt. Or if you have great legs, wear a pair of gorgeous heels with cute straps.

Don't be afraid to wear prints if you want to look thinner. Prints usually camouflage a muffin top - you just need the right print and scale for your body figure. Small to medium prints on small to average body scale, and medium prints on bigger body figures. Bigger prints can also work if you're a plus-size but the pattern must complement your body shape.

Also, prints with a dark color base and/or vertical patterns don't have a widening effect.

Sparkles & Embellishments

Shine and embellishment draw attention and exapands Sequins, shimmer, beads, studs, metal hardware... They're great for highlighting and drawing attention away from body parts you're not confident about. Strappy shoes and large earrings are two great pieces that accentuate your best assets, as well as create balanced body proportions.

Do you have great legs? Why not slip on a strappy or bright colored pair of shoes? Or what about glossy tights?

If you love your cleavage, try a ruffle blouse.

Or what about your defined waist? Accentuate it with a detailed wide belt over a simple dress.

    Tip: Matte shine and gloss have dark shadows that may minimize

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Related Content:

Guide to Finding and Wearing Your Best Colors How to Determine Your Body Shape How to Give Yourself a Style Makeover How to Flatter and Improve the Proportions of Your Face Shape with Accessories and Hairstyles
How to Improve Your Self Confidence and Look Your Best in Clothes Guide to Petite Clothing and Fashion Guide to Womens Plus Size Clothing How to Take Your Body Measurements for the Perfect Fit

Go Back to the Golden Rules of Dressing for All Body Shapes

Jump Back to Guide to How to Determine and Dress Your Body Shape

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The Chic Fashionista's Latest Trends Picks - Chic Runway Looks and Must-have Trends and Trendessentials The Chic Fashionista's Chic Inspiration-blog - Outfit ideas, celeb style and trend styling tips The Chic Fashionista's Stylish Finds - Latest trends and shopping picks, sales & discounts, link round-ups and featured posts & blogs/sites Learn more about the fashion basics on how to look your best and dress stylish

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