4 REASONS YOU’RE STRUGGLING TO IDENTIFY YOUR BODY SHAPE (AND 3 EXERCISES THAT WILL HELP YOU)

If you’re struggling to identify your body shape, this article is for you.  It shares the 4 main reasons why you’re struggling, and 3 things that will help you find out your true body shape

Being able to identify your body shape is super helpful.  Not only does it help you to get a better understanding of your own shape, it also enables you to follow a set of general guidelines to help you dress to make the most of it. 

​But you’ve read body shape books, have taken quizzes to identify your shape, have read countless blog articles about body shapes, and are still struggling to identify your body shape, ​this post ​is for you.

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4 reasons why you're struggling to identify your body shape

1. ​YOU'RE PROBABLY NOT ​VIEWING YOUR SHAPE ACCURATELY

​One of the things I’ve learned over the past 12 years as a personal stylist is that what you think your shape looks like, and what it actually looks like ​are often, sadly, ​two different things.

I’m willing to bet that you think your shape is curvier than it is, you think it’s more unbalanced than it is, and you think your waist is less defined than it is.  If you don't’ have an accurate view of your shape, it doesn't matter how many body shape quizzes  you take, or how many body shape books you read; you’ll probably never identify your true body shape because your outcome is based on inaccurate information.

2. ​YOUR SHAPE MIGHT HAVE CHANGED

​Some women have the same body shape their entire life, but you'll probably find that your shape has changed as ​you got older.  It can be down to a whole host of reasons, but the main ones are pregnancy, health, age and fitness.

​​Your shape might be only slightly different, or it might be dramatically different...so much so that it aligns with a totally different body shape!  But if you ignore the changes ​or don't​ take the time ​to learn how ​your shape has ​changed, you will never be able to identify your true body shape.

3. ​YOU'RE ​​VIEWING YOUR SHAPE WITH UNKIND EYES

​If you're spending a lot of time focusing on the things you don't like about your shape, there's a high chance that you're not seeing all the GOOD things about your shape.  

I’ve seen this countless times when I’m shopping with a client - I'll put her in an outfit and her eyes are immediately ​drawn to the area that she ​doesn't like, to see how good/bad it looks in the new outfit.  

I get it. I’ve done it...and I still do sometimes, but I've trained myself to take a step back when it happens, so I can look at my shape and the outfit as a whole.  Because the problem is that when you focus on what you dont' like about your shape, and view your shape in sections rather than as a whole, you're stopping yourself from viewing an accurate, more appreciative view of your shape, which means you'll continue to struggle to identify your true body shape.

​4. ​YOU'RE ​SHAPE OVERLAPS WITH TWO BODY SHAPES

​The 4 primary body-type categories are really quite elementary, and while ​you might align perfectly with one of them, the truth is that your shape probably ​overlaps with a second body-type. This means that ​your TRUE body-type ​might be a combination of 2 shapes!

If you’ve ever…

  • Struggled to fit yourself into just one 4 body shape categories 
  • Taken a body shape quiz multiple times and had different results
  • Have taken body shape quizzes and had multiple answers for one question, or no answer for another
  • Read blog articles and body shape books but still don't know what your body shape is
  • And suspected you’re one shape but sometimes feel more like a different one

...then the chances are that you have ​a combination of 2 shape!

​WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE STRUGGLING TO IDENTIFY YOUR SHAPE

​If you read all 4 reasons why you're struggling to identify your shape, you'll probably have noticed an underlying theme - building a more accurate view of your shape.

​Getting a really clear understanding of your shape is the KEY to identifying your true body shape.  ​ And while identifying your body shape isn't the be all and end all; knowing what shape your shape aligns with the most will enable you to find and follow a set of guiding principles to dressing to make the most of your shape.  And that is what will help you build a closet of clothes you ​want to wear and enjoy wearing!

So, if you want to start to get a better understanding of your shape, here are 3 simple things that will help you.  I've ​created a simple worksheet for you to download at the bottom of this post that will guide you through each of the​m.​  So make sure you grab that before you do these!

​​1. ​​IDENTIFY YOUR ASSETS

Stop focusing on what you don’t like about your shape ​and shift your focus on to your assets - those areas that you want to show off.

​DO THIS 👇

  1. Download this worksheet
  2. Stand in front of a full length mirror
  3. Look at your shape as a whole and identify at least 3 things you like about your figure.  If you struggle, I've included a checklist in the worksheet to help prompt you.​

​​2. ​​​ASK YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO DESCRIBE YOUR SHAPE

​I’m willing to bet that how you see your shape ​and how your friends and family view your figure, is quite different.  If you're anything like my clients, you think your shape is curvier than it is, ​more unbalanced than it is, and you think your waist is less defined than it is.

​One of the things I get the students in my course Style Your Shape to do is ask ​their friends and family what they think of ​their shape and which characteristics they like most about ​their shape.   It's so interesting to hear what answers they got and how they compare to how my student views their shape!  

​Ask your friends and family​ 👇

  1. ​​How would ​they describe my shape?
  2. What characteristics do ​they like the most?
  3. What do ​they think ​you should be showing off?

​Don't forget to download the worksheet​, it has space for you to answer those questions.

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​​​3. ​​​​TAKE SOME MEASUREMENTS

One of the biggest mistakes you're probably making is thinking that your shape is more unbalance than it actually is, or that your waist isn't as defined as it is.  It's a common mistake but by taking some simple measurements you'll be able to get a far more realistic view of your proportions.

One of my favorite exercises my students do is to measure their shape and work out the ratio between their hips, waist and shoulders.  It's a fantastic way for them to get an accurate view of their shape, and is often quite eye opening because it's supported mathematically.


Take the following measurements 👇

  1. Measure your shoulders, wrapping the measuring tape around your shoulders at the widest point
  2. Measure your hips.  Measure the fullest part of your hips, rather than your actual hips.  This will probably be about 8 inches below your natural waist.
  3. Measure your natural waist.  This is generally about 2 inches above your belly button.  You can also find it by bending to one side and putting your hand on your hips - your thumb will naturally sit around your waist.  This is a great article on finding your waist if you're struggling.


Once you've got your measurements, ask yourself the following 👇

  • How balanced are your hips and shoulders?  Are they more or less balanced than you thought?
  • How defined is your waist?  Is it more or less defined than you thought?

​​Like I mentioned earlier, identifying your body shape isn't the be all and end all, BUT once you've identified your body shape it enables you to find and follow a set of guiding principles to dressing to make the most of your shape.  

And knowing how to dress to show your shape off to it's absolute best is what will ​make shopping and getting dressed, so much more enjoyable!


If you enjoyed this post you might like:

5 REASONS TO KNOW YOUR BODY SHAPE​

MAXIMIZE YOUR CLOSET BY UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL HIDING INSIDE

HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR CLOTHES FIT WELL

FIND OUT WHAT YOUR BODY SHAPE IS

​Download ​the workbook ​to guide you thorough ​three exercises that will help you build a more accurate view of your shape

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