What to Do with Contradicting Body Shape Guidelines

by Anna Villaruel
(Seoul, South Korea)

March 2, 2012: I've received emails from several of my readers regarding the contradicting styling guidelines for each body shape, and I'm sure some of you are wondering about it too. They are asking how some of the fashion advice on my website and other sites (by other bloggers, image consultants and fashion stylists) could be valid if they express the opposite from each other.

We all have to start somewhere in order to put together a flattering outfit combination that complements your body figure. This is especially true if you're new to fashion and you need guidelines to what looks best on you. Once you've grasped the basics you'll be able to wear whatever you want - just by tweaking the guidelines. It also makes it less likely for you to HAVE to limit yourself to a couple of "boring" clothes and outfit combinations.

Learn more about body proportions

An Example: Pear Body Shape Guidelines

For example, if you are a Pear with a short waist. The guidelines on the website say that hip-length tops emphasize a Pear's curves and so she needs a top that falls right above the hipbone. However the vertical body shape rules tell you to wear long tops to elongate your torso. Do you follow the one or the other?

In all honesty, it depends on what you feel like wearing or what clothes are available in your closet. If you happen to stumble upon a styling contradiction then ask yourself: "If I look at the bigger picture of it, what other garments or styling tricks will help balance it out?"

Looking at the Bigger Picture

So if you decide to wear this long top that will only highlight your prominent hips and shorten your lower body, then perhaps you might want to look into bottom garments that go with the top and that will lengthen your silhouette at the same time? Such as heels or wearing a long top in a similar color to your bottom garment.

By wearing bottoms that visually elongate your legs your hips will look slimmer and your curves less noticeable:

How to Dress If You Have a Pear Body Shape? - Body and outfit proportions explained


Who says you can't tweak the "rules"? Ladies, it's all about proportions, proportions, proportions! (This is also why hiring an image consultant or fashion stylist is recommended if you need help with outfits - they can observe you from different angles and come up with outfit combinations tailored to complement your unique body figure)

Good Proportions Distract the Eye from "Problem Areas"

The goal with dressing your body shape is to improve the proportions of your outfit and look more like an Hourglass - slim waist and curves on all the right places.

Now I'm not saying that an Hourglass is the only attractive body shape there is (that's to each own) - but making sure that the upper body and lower body of your outfit look equally in line with each helps distract the eye from "problem areas" (very wide hips, prominent shoulders, muffin top, etc.) and make room for the assets you're proud of, helping you feel good about yourself.

Good proportions streamline your silhouette and guide the eye smoothly to your fabulous parts:
Body Shape Style Guidelines - Why Proportions are Important

Proud of your "Problem Area"?


I dislike calling any part of your body a "problem area", but I often use this term to describe a body part that makes most women feel self-conscious about and that affects their confidence.

The body shape guidelines are here to assist you in taking your attention away from your insecurities and appreciate your other yummy and beautiful bits - and really boost your self-confidence. If you love your luscious curves or strong, athletic shoulders then flaunt it!

So unless you're confident and want the attention to lead the eye to your top or bottom then following the body proportion-guidelines aren't necessary. However I prefer going the streamlined way because it looks sleek pleasing to the eye. And it's definitely classier :-)


What do you think? Do you think proportions matter? Do you find it easy or difficult to put together an outfit based on your body proportions?

Click here to post comments

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More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
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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