Our body shape and its characteristics make up our body image. Our shape is determined by our skeletal structure, and the muscle to fat content ratio in different areas of the body. Our body will also change depending on age, gender, and physical exercise. In this article, I will give you a brief summary of the different shapes, types, and other characteristics that make up our body image.
There are between 50 and 80 different shape combinations (depending on your theory). To determine your shape, use the body shape calculator. You can also learn why it’s important to wear clothes that flatter your shape and how to dress your body shape. Here are the general categories within which all bodies loosely fall:
Also known as the A-shaped body or the triangle shaped body, it is characterized by having narrow shoulders and wide hips. Click here to find our more about the pear body shape.
Also known as the strawberry shape body or the inverted triangle. This shape is characterized by having wide shoulders and narrow hips. Click here to find out more about the V-Shaped Body.
Also known as the X-shaped body. This body has shoulders and hips that are equal in width with a waist that is significantly narrower. Click here to find out more about the Hourglass Body Shape.
Also known as the O-shaped body, the circle or the square. This silhouette has shoulders, waist and hips that appear to be the same width when looking at the body from the front. (Also, see rectangle shape below). Click here to find out more about the apple shape.
Also known as the H-shaped body, athletic body or straight body type. Like the apple , the shoulders, waist and hips appear to be the same width when looking at the body from the front. The difference is that this body will have a longer torso in proportion to the rest of the body. Click here to find out more about the Rectangle Body Shape.
I hope you don’t take offense to “standard.” I’m not saying that this is the ideal or something everyone should work towards. This is just a way of saying that the majority of people fall into this category. A person with a standard body will often mistake themselves for one of the other silhouettes, but if you were to take measurements and use our body calculator, you will get the correct shape. What characterizes a standard is someone that has shoulder that are slightly (emphasis on slightly) wider than the hips and has a gentle curve at the waist. Most clothing stores will design their clothing based on this body. Click here to find out more about the Standard Body Shape.
An American psychologist by the name William Herbert Sheldon established a system of categorizing different body types called “somatotypes.” There are three somatotypes:
You can be a combination of these somatotypes. For example, you can have a mesomorphic upper body and an endomorphic lower body. You can find out your body type by going to the “My Body Type” page. Once you know your somatotype, start dressing for your body type.
In today’s culture there is so much emphasis put on body weight. The only time weight should be a concern is if you are underweight or overweight. You can calculate this by using the Body Mass Index formula (BMI). If this is the case, improving your diet, implementing exercise and a healthy lifestyle is important, although all people should be doing this anyway. When it comes to dressing for your body, more focus should be on your body shape (i.e. pear, apple, etc.) and your somatotype (your body type i.e. ectomorph, endomorph). There are other things as well to look at such as bone structure and lines in body (see below), but overall your weight is just a measure of how heavy or light you are. That is why I say a scale is only necessary at the doctor’s office.
A good example of how height affects our body is by comparing the apple (or square) silhouette with the rectangle body. A rectangle is simply an elongated or tall square. We can divide female heights into 3 categories: Tall, Medium and Short. Short women are also called petite. Here are general estimates of what each category can look like. This may vary by culture.
Tall: over 5 feet 7 inches
Medium: 5 feet, 3 inches to 5 feet 7 inches
Short: under 5 feet 3 inches
Your bone structure is a measure of how strong or delicate your bones are. We should consider bone structure when choosing our shoes and accessories. An accessory piece that matches our bone structure will often be more flattering to our body image.
This describes whether specific features like our eyebrows, eye shape, face shape and even our fingernail shape is more square and straight verse circular and curvy. This is also something to consider when dressing with accessories, choosing patterns and wearing certain fabrics.
There are categories of body types based on health systems such as the Adrenal Body Type and the Thyroid Body Type. To be honest, I don’t know a lot about these two specifically, but based on my little research, your adrenal gland and thyroids can affect where and how you gain weight. There are actually specific diets and exercises that you can implement for each health condition, however, I am not recommending anything here because I am not a doctor, nor have I done enough research to determine whether it is safe.
What I can say is the obvious, which is a healthy lifestyle will promote a positive body image. Don’t get hung up on conforming to a particular silhouette, but focus on your eating, exercise and think happy thoughts!
Our posture is usually not considered in regards to our body image. You can have a posture that is slouched forward, tilted back or straight. A posture can also be relaxed or tensed, and closed or open. Our posture is determined by our attitude, emotions, health and thinking. Studies show that we become products of our experiences and most of all our thoughts. Our posture although, often overlooked, can have the most powerful impact on our body image.
There are different aspects that play into our body image. When it comes to dressing for your body, your body shape and body type are most important. When trying to create an overall look you can also look at other factors such as bone structure and the lines in your body. Aspects like height, length and weight, are just measurements and are relative to whatever context you place them in. Most importantly, our bodies will ultimately conform to our attitude toward our life, our environment and ourselves. If you’re unhappy with your body, visit an experienced surgeon who will help you achieve your perfect body shape!
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