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Pick your produce: Understanding men’s and women’s body shapes

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body shapes

Pick your produce: Understanding men’s and women’s body shapes

Men and women come in all shapes and sizes. Beauty standards, fashion trends and cultural pressures try to promote one silhouette over another, but at the end of the day we’re just built differently. The best way to feel beautiful, handsome or attractive is to understand your unique body shape and emphasize the best features on your body. This can seem like a trip to the produce aisle, comparing pears, apples and bananas, but it’s easier than that. Your wardrobe and your workout can be tailored to enhance your shapely figure from every angle. Guys and gals, skim through these body silhouettes to find your perfect fit.

Womanly figures

Women are segmented into endless lists of different body types, but there are four major women’s body shapes. The differences between each figure are most notable in a woman’s shoulders, bust, waist and hips. Women who don’t know their shape can measure these areas to determine which shape their body most closely resembles. Body shapes aren’t about height and weight. These categories help women identify their natural curves, so they can show them off. Understanding your body’s silhouette helps you identify which styles of clothing are most flattering on your figure.

Inverted triangle frames

Women with an inverted triangle silhouette have wider shoulders, a larger bust and narrow hips. The waist is usually not very defined. This body type is sometimes called an apple shape or a V shape. Women with an inverted triangle figure should look for tops with V-necks and a cinched waist. Tailored jackets that are fitted at the waist and have a little flare at the bottom are great wardrobe pieces for this silhouette, because they create curves and balance. A-line skirts are a shapely option for bottoms that enhance your figure. Good workouts for women with a V frame balance out a strong upper body by focusing on leg strength. Stair steppers, lunges and squats are essential.

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Triangle frames

Triangle silhouettes are defined by narrow shoulders and wide hips. This frame is also identified as a bell, a pear, a spoon or an A frame. Clothes that are fitted on top and flare at the bottom are perfect for women with this shape. Look for items that keep the focus on your narrow shoulders and balance your wide hips. Women who are pear shaped want to offset their lower body by focusing on their back and shoulder muscles during their workout. Cardio exercises like walking and the elliptical machine burn fat, while shoulder presses, lateral raises and tricep extensions build upper body muscle.

Straight frames

Women whose shoulders, bust and hips are about the same size have a straight body shape. Other words used to describe this figure include banana, ruler and rectangle. Rectangle silhouettes don’t have a defined waistline, so they create one with their wardrobe. Tops with belted waists and structured shoulders help define your waistline, and skirts with bows or ruffles add volume to narrow hips. Workouts for ruler types should have a total body approach with walking, jogging or jump roping for cardio. Muscle building exercises should build strength in your arms, abs and legs. Planks, diamond pushups and lateral hip raises are a good place to start.

Hourglass frames

Hourglass silhouettes are coveted in beauty magazines and pop culture, but it’s actually the least common body shape. Women with shoulders and hips that are about the same size have an hourglass figure if they also have a small, defined waist. Clothing pieces for this shape should accentuate the small waist and keep the hips and shoulders balanced. Mix up your cardio routines. Include a variety of strength training exercises in your workout program to challenge different muscle groups and maintain your flattering figure.

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Manly body shapes

Men obviously don’t have the same curves as women, but their bodies shapes are broken into similar categories. I’m not talking about the fruit comparisons found in every women’s magazine. Guys don’t usually relate to a pear. Generally, a man’s body is classified as an average build, an inverted triangle, a triangle or a rectangle. The differences between these shapes affect which clothing styles and suit cuts will look best.

Average builds

The average man has an average build with broad shoulders and a normal waist. He has muscles, but isn’t totally beefed up. This frame is sometimes identified with a trapezoid shape. Emphasize your shape in formal wear with tapered trousers and jackets. Guys with this build have a lot of freedom in their wardrobe, because their body already has a natural balance.

Inverted triangle builds

Inverted triangle men have an athletic build featuring strong shoulders and a trim waist. Their clothes have to accommodate their muscular frames, so that can mean buying a size larger. Horizontal stripes and v-neck shirts work well with your build, but skinny jeans do not. Slim bottoms can look unbalanced, creating the chicken leg look that comes with skipping leg day.

Triangle builds

Opposite of men with an inverted triangle frame, some guys have a triangular build. This means their waist and midsection weigh down their narrower shoulders. “Weigh down” doesn’t necessarily mean these guys are overweight, it’s just a way to describe that they are visually bottom heavy. Wearing darker clothes with structure on top will flatter your frame. Polos and vertical stripes are good, but horizontal stripes are bad on this shape. Straight leg trousers will help disguise your waistline.

Rectangular builds

Guys with a narrow, rectangular build have shoulders and hips that are about the same size. They may or may not have a lot of muscle, but this body shape will make muscles look less defined. The task for their wardrobe is to create definition and shape by adding layers and wearing skinnier bottoms. It’s easy for men with a straight frame to be overwhelmed by big shirts and large shorts.

Men and women don’t come in a one size fits all body. A person’s unique shape is part of his or her attractiveness. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a pear, an apple or any other fruit from the produce aisle, understanding your body’s figure will help you learn how to flaunt your body silhouette from every angle.

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