It’s time to update the guidelines on how to dress for your body type. But before I readdress each body type in detail I need to clarify a few starting assumptions and explain the body type identification process:

There are five YLF body types

The pretty pear, adorable apple, racy rectangle, hot hourglass and statuesque inverted triangle should be familiar to YLF readers. After years of thinking through body type dressing and working with many, many different womanly figures, I still believe that these rudimentary categories best define the female form. But putting yourself into a body type category is merely a starting point. Once you know your body type, you need to do the next layer of analysis.

You might have a secondary body type

If you tend towards more than one body type you need to consider the guidelines of both. For example, you could be an hourglass with a curvier thigh area, in which case you would tend towards a pear shape. Or, if you’re an hourglass with a strong shoulder line, you’d tend towards an inverted triangle. I’m an hourglass with fewer curves so I tend towards a rectangle.

Body type modifiers add more detail

People with the same body type will still have different bodies. There are many other details that we need to consider when thinking about how best to adorn our bodies. Enter what I call the body type modifiers, such as bust size, height, shoulder width, neck length, leg length, ankle shape, short waist, long waist, calf circumference, rise size and being extra curvy.

Body types can change over time

This can happen naturally as we get older, but sometimes weight loss or gain can alter your body type more rapidly. For example, you might tend towards an apple or pear shape instead of being a typical hourglass when you gain weight in the thigh or mid riff area. By the same token when you lose weight, these are the areas that straighten out and you’re back to being an hourglass.

Identify your body type

The best way to identify your body type is to stand in front of a mirror in jeans or leggings and a form fitting top and analyze your silhouette from the front. Check how your hip width compares to your shoulder width (bust measurement does not play a part at this stage). Check whether you have a defined waistline. It might not be as easy as you think, so if you get stuck, post a picture of yourself on the forum and we’ll help you out.