How to Determine Your Horizontal Body Shape & Discover Your Perfect Style Guidelines

Body Shape

Are you ready to start dressing for your shape? Before you begin, you need to understand your body shape and your proportions. To do this you must determine something called your “horizontal body shape”. Your horizontal body shape is important in helping you determine clothing silhouettes and design elements that work best for your body shape. In this post, we’ll help you discover your horizontal body shape, also known as the relationship between your chest, waist, and hip line, and we’ll look at style guidelines that work best for your exact proportions.


I have an hourglass figure.

  • My full hip line and my full best line are the same width.
  • My waist is well defined.
  • I have a balanced vertical body shape.

THE GOAL: The goal for an hourglass figure is to emphasize curves and the waist, and eliminate bulk.

Opt for fitted clothing, clingy fabrics, defined waistlines, straight pants, and gently flared shirts/pants.

Avoid stiff fabrics, baggy styles, and high necklines.


I have an inverted triangle figure.

  • My bust is large and I have broad shoulders.
  • I have narrow hips and a well defined waist.
  • I am a long legged vertical body shape.
  • My bottom is flat.

THE GOAL:  The goal for an inverted triangle figure is to create an hourglass body shape by balancing the upper and lower body, while drawing attention away from the upper body.

Opt for flowing fabrics, low to medium necklines, A-line skirts, flared pants, and three – quarter length sleeves.

Avoid stiff and bulky clothing, styles that emphasize shoulders, high necklines, big collars and tapered bottoms.


I have a triangle or pear shaped figure.

  • I am bottom heavy.
  • I have proportionally narrow shoulders, large hips, and a well-defined waist.
  • My bust is small to medium.

THE GOAL: The goal for a pear shaped figure is to balance the top half to the bottom half by creating the illusion of a wider upper body.

Opt for accessories and designs that accentuate the upper body, short sleeves, shoulder pads, medium to high necklines, skirts that are straight to slightly flared, garmets that emphasize the waist, low rise pants, and boot leg cuts.

Avoid baggy clothing, stiff fabric, garments that add bulk to hips, hems and design lines at the hip lines, tapered bottoms.


I have a rectangle shaped figure.

  • I have a straight, boyish body.
  • My bust and hips are the same size.
  • I have an undefined waist. 
  • I have a small to medium bust.
  • I have slim legs and slim arms.


THE GOAL: The main goals of a rectangle shaped figure are to define the shoulders, add curves, and define the waist (for slender types).

Opt for shoulder pads, semi-fitted clothes, medium to high necklines, wrap dresses and dresses that flow through the waist line, A-line shirts, straight and gently flared pants.

Avoid clingy fabrics, low necklines, fitted clothes, baggy clothing and narrow skirts.


I have an oval/diamond shaped figure.

  • My body appears round in the torso
  • I have an undefined waist and a large stomach.
  • My stomach is low (oval shape).
  • My stomach is high (diamond).

THE GOAL: The goal for the oval/diamond shaped figure is to create a longer, inverted triangle shape, and draw the attention up towards the shoulders and face. 

Opt for focal points that draw the eyes toward the face (jewelry), shoulder pads, semi fitted and loose clothing, support underwear, fitted bras, same-colored tops and bottoms, low necklines, tops and dresses that flow through the waistline, straight and slightly flared skirts.

Avoid clingy fabrics, fitted clothes, large patterns, high necklines, large lapels, belts, tucked in tops, narrow and tapered pants and skirts. 

Horizontal Body Shape

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