Everyone’s body type is different.
If you don’t know your body type, let’s start there.
I like this test to determine your body shape because it uses both the bust and shoulder measurements to find your true, overall shape. She gave each shape it’s own celebrity name, which is actually genius, because we can now go see what types of things that person wears and mimic it!
I am considered petite, just shy of 5’4”, which makes what I wear have a whole new set of rules. I always thought I was a rectangle shape but according to every test I took online after I measured all my bits, I am a petite hourglass. I would never have put myself into the hourglass category as my chest is not Scarlett Johansson voluptuous but body shape is all about the measurements. Audrey Hepburn, for example, was also an hourglass.
A woman’s body type is only a guide, it can change before and after babies, or with stress (hey now, see how this ties in?!). Addiction causes a tremendous amount of stress and it comes out in everything we do. It can even change our body shape!
“Well, one more reason to get a divorce, I guess!” (SO kidding! Don’t do that).
What is important is that we dress based on our current body shape and use our clothing to enhance what we like and hide what we do not.
We women don’t always (often) love our bodies. Yet, God gave us these amazing, magical bodies that grow humans and then have the potential to feed them a fully-balanced, nutritious diet for years (unless you ask my American doctor who suggested that less breast-feeding, more water and whole milk would be most beneficial to my baby. Ha. Ha. Ha. Not kidding).
Our bodies are amazing!
I want to blame social media but this story for women is as old as time. In fact, it goes back to the Garden of Eden. Yes, God cursed our bodies to suffer in childbirth and later, nullifying the first curse, again in menopause. But is it so hard to believe that the curse was on our bodies as a whole? That we would experience pain also in how we feel about them?
Genesis 3:16 says, “He said to the woman: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children with painful effort. Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you.”
“…your desire will be for your husband…” listen, let’s be real, we don’t care about how our husband looks at us, but we do. We don’t care about how that boyfriend sees us, but we do. We don’t care about how that nice boy from church who would make a great husband thinks of us, but we do.
We care. And when caring hurts, we force ourselves to stop caring. We may compare ourselves to others and feel bad, or shut down. Build walls. Refuse to be vulnerable.
No body type has been excluded from the comparison game.
My husband bought me an exercise ball the other day and I seriously considered killing him for about ten seconds. I’m postpartum but I’m not overweight at all. Some squishy bits remain from the baby still but overall, I’m in very good shape. Better shape than him, by a long shot.
But he bought me an exercise ball.
And even though I have no “issues” with my body, I had a fleeting race of insecure thoughts, “Is he calling me fat? Is he going to have an affair because of my minuscule baby weight? Have he lost his mind bringing me an exercise ball or does he just want a divorce?!”.
I very indignantly proclaimed I would NEVER be using that ball. He should return it and get back his five dollars!!!!
If you’re an Anna Kendrick, all you see is Kim Kardashians. If you’re a Kim Kardashian, you’re supposed to look like Heidi Klum. If you look like Heidi Klum, you should look more like Zoe Saldana. If you look like Zoe Saldana, it’s better to be Megan Fox. If you look like Megan Fox, it would be better to look like Gwen Stefani. If you’re cool like Gwen Stefani, you feel like you fall short because you’re not Shakira. And Melissa McCarthy? She just laughed about it.
See the problem? (I’m not saying those women don’t love their unique bodies- they might! Was trying to make a point).
On this fresh adventure, we are going to love our bodies. If you have a small chest, you can wear v-neck t-shirts and tank tops with full abandon! If you’re curvy, you may wanna put the ta-ta's into a more shapely turtleneck that short, shapeless women cannot rock in the same way.
I know it can be expensive, but for the purposes of this entire process, if you do have a large chest and don’t have a good bra, I want you to get fitted and buy one. Save your money if you need to, but buy one that fits like a glove. The clothes aren’t going to look or feel as good without one.
And while you’re at it, buy new underwear because you never know when you may need it and a lady should always sport nice undies.
Does your wardrobe suit your body type?
Be very critical of what you choose to keep in your closet.
The reason we feel like we “don’t have anything to wear” most of the time is because what we own doesn’t really suit us.
There are two types of body types: angular and round.
Each body type has “corrections” that the top stylists make when dressing. For example, most people think Kim Kardashian is an hourglass when she is actually a smartly-clothed pear.
Most stylists look for balance, which is totally fine, but if you’re a rectangle and proud of it, don’t feel the need to “create curves”. I generally try to hide my curves because I was raised in a Mennonite community and you know, it just feels right. We live in such a highly sexualized culture these days, the line of what is appropriate and not can be very blurry.
Angular Body Types
The Triangular bod (apple, inverted triangle):
straight across shoulders
hips are smaller than shoulders
waist is slightly visible
gains weight on torso and back
widen the hips
narrow the shoulders to make more proportionate
The Rectangular Gal (banana, straight):
barely visible waistline
waist, hips and shoulders are the same width
make silhouette less flat and curvier
add more volume to the top and hips to add curves
Round Body Types
The Round Woman (apple, oval):
hips and shoulders may have the same width
waistline has the same width as shoulders and hips, or is wider.
hips, thighs and bottom are narrow
high-hip higher than low hip
gains weight on middle
opposite of triangle
create and define the waistline
narrow and elongate the upper body to harmonize with lower bottom
The Spoon Body Type (pear, triangle)-
hips are wider than shoulders
round, sloping shoulders
buttocks and thighs are full and round
gains weight on thighs
add volume to upper body
broaden the shoulders
draw attention away from hips
Either Angular or Round
The Hourglass Body Type-
hips and shoulder measurements within 5% of each other
round, sloping shoulders
well-defined waist, significantly smaller than hips and shoulders (aprox. 10-12 inches smaller)
lower hips are wider than your high hips
thighs are full but narrower than the lower hips
gains weight in hips and waist
could be a full hourglass with a large bottom and bust, or a classic hourglass
no corrections needed, lucky duck!
can draw attention away from curves with baggy clothing
pay attention if you lean more angular or round
The key to “body harmony” says style expert Daria Andronescu, is to wear clothing that has the same shape as your body.
If you have an angular shape, wear angular clothing.
If you’re a round shape, wear round clothing.
When I learned this, it was a lightbulb moment- of course! Why put a square peg into a round hole?! Or more appropriately, a square body into a round dress.
Take notice of…
The shape of the cut of the garment: is it cut to sit straight and you’re trying to fit curves into it? Maybe not!
The fabric pattern: is it a round pattern like a large floral or is it a rectangular pattern like a plaid? The plaid is going to look best on the rectangular body and large floral on the round body.
The material: is it well-structured or is it flowy and loose? Structured clothing will look better on a rectangular (more structured) body and the flowy clothing will look better on a round body. [Source]
We went to Europe a few years ago to visit my brother and one thing the Europeans do much better than North Americans is their jackets. Take a look at your coats and outerwear, what shape are they? Is there a well-defined waist for the straight body type? How long or short is the jacket? Does it fall in the correct place on your body or does is fall mid-way down a round bottom and stick out (that’s no good, we don’t want that!).
Paying attention to the clothing we put on our bodies makes a big difference in how it looks and whether we want to admit it or not, we feel the best when we look our best.
Here’s an idea- why not check out some local thrift stores and look for gently-used, pre-loved wool coats? A wool coat will be the warmest and you can get it tailored to fit exactly your body. $10 for a jacket and another $50 for a tailor to get a custom-made wool jacket? Sounds like an ethical shopping steal to me!
“What in the world? How does this help me with my loved one’s addiction? My world is falling apart and you want me to clean out my closet and figure out my body type?!”
Yes. That’s exactly what I want you to do.
We live in a world where we want everything now. Although we can tell ourselves that healing is a process, we do the same thing with our loved ones- we want them fixed now.
The honest truth is that even if your loved one became stone-cold sober today, they’re still on a journey and it’s going to take a long time for healing to be completed. They need to find inner healing, you need inner healing and then you need to find healing for your relationship.
The first thing that goes out the window when our loved ones start to struggle is our care for ourselves. I don’t want you waiting around for them to get better before you take care of yourself. As frivolous as it sounds, we are going to take a year to freshen up and improve our quality of life.
A year may sound like a long time, but how many years has the addiction stolen from you until now?
The Bible tells us not to be vain or to adorn ourselves with jewels, but if you read the verse in it’s entirety, I believe there is a non-hyper religious balance to what we have believed about beauty.
“Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes, but rather what is inside the heart—the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” -1 Peter 3:3-4 (ESV)
Our beauty should come from who we are on the inside, not only the outside. It’s a call, not a compromise!
Let me ask you something…
Do you like you?
Are you proud of what you have done in your life so far?
Do you feel worthy of God using you for great things?
Do you feel full of purpose?
Your healing will touch everything around you. So, let’s be normal. Let’s be women. Let’s find ourselves again.
As you go through your closet, think about the awesome body God gave you and keep only what looks good and feels good! Emotionally, this is the best place to begin.
Actually, fresh undies are the best place to begin. Don’t forget those!
If you’d like to learn more about how to figure out your body type and dress it, check out this video series from French Fashion Designer Justine Leconte.