Style Me Monday: How to figure out your body shape ? (and other things I learned from Jeannie Mai)

This summer I had the great pleasure of attending BlogHer12 in NYC and met Celebrity Stylist Jeannie Mai at the Windows Style Luncheon at the Microsoft New York Offices. During the Spreecast there was a pause during which we had the opportunity to ask questions directly to Jeannie! She was super sweet, friendly, and fabulous through the whole thing so I bucked up my courage and asked a question. My question was simple..."I can identify other peoples body shape, and how to dress them but I can never figure out my shape and the best way to dress it. Also, when determining a body shape, do you include your shoulders or just bust, waist, and hips?"I was thrilled to hear the echo of others agreeing about how hard that can be to figure out but Jeannie had an idea all ready for me. There are two different ways to do this - one on the computer and one by hand. Have someone take a photo of you straight on (make sure you're not wearing anything too loose or too tight like shapewear that would change your body shape). Then using a marker on the printed photo or a paint brush on the computer and outline your shape. If you're like me and are too critical to look at the image when you can still see it's you, colour in the shape on the computer or cut out the shape and flip it over to the white back if using a physical photo so that you can clearly see the shape of your body. (And yes, do include your shoulders as they balance our hips.)

Now that you can see your shape you can put it into the usual categories - hourglass, inverted triangle, triangle (pear), and column - but we're not done yet. It's not just shape that matters, you also have to know, what is your favorite feature of yourself? Mine is that I always have a noticeable waist no matter what size I'm wearing. Your might be your long legs, ample bosom, shapely arms, beautiful smile, defined collar bones, or something else completely unique to you. Whatever it is, name it, embrace it, and love it!

You now have all the tools you need to start dressing your best for your shape. the key thing to remember is balance. At the end of the day we are all finding the best way to balance our shoulders and chest with our hips while creating a great defined waist in between.In my case, I'm somewhere between a triangle and an hourglass. My shoulders and hips more or less balance out (though my hips are still a touch bigger visually) but I do have a noticable waist line (though it's a bit mor padded than I'd like to see it). Knowing that I love to show off my waist (and make it look as tiny as possible) I look for a few things in an ideal outfit

1. Something fitted through the hips and rear but flows down straight from the widest part of my hips 2. Something with a clearly defined  higher waist by way of an empire waist, mid to high rise bottom, or a tie, bow, rouching, wrap or belt detail hitting the smallest part of my midsection 3. A top that either shows off some bare shoulder or adds some volume with pintucks at the shoulders, capsleeves or flutter sleeves.

Hear are a few of my favourite outfits for my body type:

Has this helped you? Share it with anyone who might enjoy it... Still a little lost? Let me know where you're stuck or your body shape & favourite features and I'll do my best to help you!