Understanding Body Shapes

by Charlotte Wood
(last updated September 24, 2014)

It's a simple fact: not everyone has the Barbie shape we are often led to believe is "normal." I mean, good grief—who actually looks like that? No one! Something you'll need to come to terms with is that we all have different body shapes and that's okay. There are ways to flatter your body shape and those ways may differ from someone else's but that doesn't mean that your body shape is "bad" or "wrong"—we're all just different. And thank goodness we're different because otherwise things sure would be boring.

There are a few different body shapes including slender, short, tall, stocky, big (not to be confused with fat), petite, and a myriad of other "classifications." The key to looking good is understanding your body shape and dressing to flatter that particular shape. Granted, some shapes are easier to work with than others, but everything is possible and you just need to know the right tactics to take. For a slender body shape for instance, most things can work. You'll want clothing that accentuates length. Choose pants that elongate the leg and fitted tops. Most styles can flatter this body type.

If your body type is more compact, the first thing to keep in mind is to find clothes that fit. This tip actually goes with any body type and should always be followed. Regardless of whether you're a size four or a size ten, you need to wear clothes that flatter your shape otherwise nothing will look good. You may have to get some clothes tailored or something to make them fit well, but it will always be worth it to wear clothes that fit. For those more stocky body shapes, find clothes that are fitted, but not tight. You don't want your clothes to accentuate those not-so-flattering areas, but you also don't want to be hiding in your clothes. You can find clothing that doesn't draw unnecessary attention, but also is fitted and make you look good.

Other things to keep in mind when understanding your body shape are attitude and exercise. You need to have a positive outlook your body and be happy with who are physically. Exercise is always key. You need to keep up your body type whatever that may be and you do that through exercise. That way you can achieve and maintain and optimal form for your body shape.

Looking good is by no means impossible and just takes some time and effort on your part. Go shopping for an afternoon and take the time to try on clothes, get someone else's opinion (you may want to even ask the opinion of the store clerk for a truly objective perspective), and don't be afraid to buy something great or turn down something mediocre. The key to understanding body shapes is knowing that there isn't a standard body type and that you can best enhance your body shape through clothes that fit, regular exercise, and of course confidence!

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