Ladies, what do you think of her outfit? I think she is absolutely gorgeous. Definitely one cool fashionista. Not only is her hair absolutely stunning, but I must say I really like her style, too. She was hitting the stores at Forum Shops one forenoon. It was a sweltering hot day outside, so wearing a little looser fit would have been a good choice for me too I love the slightly thicker shirt fabric, and the color, it is amazing. The bracelet and the necklace are both good, and go well with the Aviators.
More importantly though, she’s doing an excellent job playing her vertical body type. Ok, so what’s that one may ask. Well, you’re surely familiar with the four basic (horizontal) body types; the apple, the pear, the hourglass and the banana. The Internet is full of tips and guides on how to dress each type, and what not to wear.
However, that’s not really the full download. While it is good to know the basic tips for your own type, it is actually more interesting to understand the vertical proportions of your body, and how to work those. By this I mean the ratios between:
– top of head to mid bust, and
– mid bust to waist, and
– waist to knees
– knees to feet (ground).
So let’s have a look at a few of these types:
I’m showing here (just as examples):
1) Long legs, high thin waist, compact upper body
2) Long upper body, low waist, compact legs
3) Long legs, full waist and bust, compact upper body
4) Straight body, high bust, balanced legs
5) Balanced legs, hourglass waist, balanced legs
Evidently, each of these ladies will need a unique set of cuts, fabrics and textures to flatter her features.
Now, what we want to know is what cut works best (ie. to avoid cropping the body at the incorrect spot), the fit (where to use loose fit, where tight), and where to put accessories, and what these should be like. The first of these is based on the body proportions, the two latter are based on the body circumference where the accessory is used.
Now, unfortunately we have to complicate things a bit So we add a divider line at:
– the chin,
– where the waist is at its thinnest,
– at the middle of the thigh, and
– at the middle of the calf.
Having done so we have now use a total of 9 lines to divide the body into 8 quadrants with unique heights depending on the body proportions (top of head to chin, chin to mid bust, mid bust to slimmest point at waist and so on…). Imagine you would do the same to yourself. Now, the vertical proportions of your body will determine where to crop your body, while the horizontal proportions will determine where to go fit cut and where loose cut.
Generally, when you crop you should pick a spot where you have a “safe” distance to the next divider line, and you should generally not crop in a manner that highlight a compact part of your body. The fit again will depend on the shape and the circumference of your body at a given spot. So if you have fairly wide shoulders or a boxy midsection (as is often the case with athletes) you should generally go with a looser fit there, while you may want to have a tighter fit over your waist or long legs.
To illustrate I have drawn the proportions on two different body types to the left in the figure. As you can see, the lady to the left will look good in a tapered shirt that crops at the waist. However, her outfit will not necessarily benefit from a belt at the slimmest point at the waist as the distance to mid bust will be too short.
To the right in the picture you see Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. The dress in the far right picture was probably chosen before her stylist read something like this
Now coming back to my beautiful model at Forum Shops. You can see that her shirt crops her body at exactly the right place (green line). The trousers could be just a little tiny bit shorter and more tapered, but that’s compensated by the discrete color of her shoes. The vertical height of the bracelet and the necklace help to elongate her overall look.
If you want I’ll continue in another post with tips on how to combine the horizontal and vertical proportions and body circumference and translate that into more styling tips?
In the meantime, if you want to read more on mastering the proportions, please have a look at these excellent blogs:
(Credits: Photos of Duchess of Cambridge: unknown, retrieved from: