Knowing the measurements of your body, which in turn help you better understand your body shape and proportions, means you can make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing clothes and putting outfits together. This way you will purchase items that will flatter your figure and hopefully stay in your wardrobe for years to come.
So where to start? Many people would suggest to only measure yourself horizontally, but we think it is also so important to measure yourself vertically too. So not only do you know you proportionally sit in relation to your bust, hips etc but also are you short torso or do you have long legs. Knowing this opens up the door to so many tips and tricks on how to dress your body the best way.
First what do we need to measure: a sewers tape measure, pen and notepad and an extra set of hands is always handy for certain measurements that can be a bit tricky on your own. We find the easiest way to measure is to simply be in you bra and knickers – this way you get true measurements without any extra fabric. If a friend is helping then wear tight fitting clothes such as a tank/singlet and leggings.
- Shoulders: This is measurement is best with someone helping you. You want them to take the measuring tape and gently drape it around your shoulders. You don’t want it too tight but at the point where it could almost slip off. You want to measure the broadest part of your shoulders which is above your shoulder blades at the top of your shoulders.
- Bust: Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your bust. You want it to be snug so that it stays in place but not so tight that it flattens your chest. We find it is best to start in the middle of your chest and wrap around so you can easily read the measurement.
- Waist: When measuring your waist you want to measure your own natural waist, not where you skirt or jeans might sit. Your natural waist is the narrowest part of your waist and usually sits just above your belly button. Again we like to measure from the middle to make it as easy as possible to read the measurement
- Hips: Like your shoulders you are looking to measure the broadest part of your hips. You don’t want to measure where your hip bone is but rather a little lower…the measuring tape should be sitting across the middle of your bottom and wrap around your body.
Knowing all of these measurements is a brilliant start to determining your body shape. A system that has been around for a number of years is the shape system to help determine the best features of your body that you can highlight. They are:
Round – more curvy with a less defined waist.
Inverted Triangle – your shoulders are your broadest point in comparison to your hips.
Triangle - your hips are your broadest point in comparison to your shoulders.
Rectangle – all four of your measurements are about the same and less defined waist.
Hourglass – your shoulders and hips are pretty much in proportion and your waist is well defined.
Each of these shapes has a defining set of characteristics…don’t worry if you don’t fit exactly into one…these are simply a guide to better help you dress your body and to give you some tips and tricks to highlight your most flattering areas and help to conceal areas you might feel a bit more self-conscious about.
If you are wanting to know more in-depth information about your shape (and remember you can fit more than one too) follow the links above once you have finished measuring yourself.
Now to measure vertically…
Firstly, it is always good to know (and generally we don’t need a tape measure for this part) if we fall more in the petite height, standard or tall. This will help when looking at measurements of flat lay garments to determine where a skirt length might finish or if a top will be too short? So how would we know this in terms of height measurements:
Petite is usually defined as someone that is 5”3/160cm or less.
Tall is usually defined as someone that is 5”9/175cm or above.
Wanting to know more about how to dress if you are petite or tall then take a look here.
When we measure vertically though, we also want to know how proportionate we are based on our torso and leg length as this can have a major impact on how an item of clothing can sit. For example Ashley, our owner tried a dress on two women both a size 10/12, one that is 158cm and one that is 173cm. Whilst you would expect the dress to have been much shorter on the taller women in fact the length hit at exactly the same point just below the knees…here’s why. The shorter lady has long legs and a short torso and the taller woman had a long torso but shorter legs…this is why understanding the proportions of your body is so important.
There are a number of ways that you can measure vertically but I find this the most straight forward. With the same measuring tape you want to take the following measurements and write them down:
- From the top of your head to our nipple line (you can keep your bra or singlet on for this).
- From your nipple line to the hip line (right at the highest point of your hip bone).
- The high hip bone to the centre of the knee.
- The centre of the knee to the floor.
After doing this you can determine which of the following best suits you:
Proportioned: where the top two sections are almost equal to the bottom two.
Short torso/long legs: where your torso is shorter in length in comparison to your legs
Long torso/short legs: where your torso length is longer in length in comparison to your legs.
If measuring all four sections is a bit much for you then there is a quick but not as accurate way…take your hand and lay it flat with your fingers together right under your bust. Then take your other hand and place it exactly the same way underneath. If you can feel your belly button at the very bottom of your lower hand you are in proportion, if your belly button is way higher then you are short torso/long legs and if your belly button is way below your lower hand then you are long torso/short legs.
For more tips and tricks on how to dress for your vertical body shape take a look here.