How to Find Your Body Shape – And learn to rock it!

How to Find Your Body Shape – And learn to rock it!
Carly Jacobs

A wee little while ago I asked all my lovely readers to comment on what they would like to see more of on my blog. There were heaps of responses on all kinds of topics but the voices that screamed the loudest were the ones who needed advice on how to dress well for their shape. Unfortunately there is no way to answer this question for everyone. I have read so many body bibles and have walked away feeling even more confused than I was before. I have decided that all this ruler, pear and apple shaped crap is stupid. What annoys me is that every book and magazine that I read says that women who are ‘pear-shaped’ should wear halter tops and low cut t-shirts to show off their ‘best feature’ which by default should be their breasts. Not all pear shaped women have good breasts or shoulders. They may have killer abs or an Audrey slender neck. There are far too many variables within our makeup to be able to label people as a particular shape. It just doesn’t make any sense. Why do you think separates are so popular? Because a lot of people aren’t the same size all over! So let’s break it down shall we?

The best piece of advice I have ever read is from ‘Dress Like A Star’ by Annebelle van Tongeren. Annebelle recommends taking a photo of yourself dressed in fitted clothes, printing it out and then blacking out the photo and getting a clean look at your silhouette. Come on ladies we have all stood in the mirror and sucked our stomachs in and flattened our hips and thighs. The silhouette never lies.

Here is mine.


This is the issue I have with all this ruler/apple/pear crap. Not once has anyone covered the classic Big Foot shape. The Big Foot has massive shoulders and arms, no waist and tiny ankles for chasing after humans and swimming around in the lake hunting for fish. An abnormally large head is also part of the package and because the Yeti-woman apparently has a lot of testosterone her breasts are tiny and are stuck on the rib cage of a football player. Her legs are pretty tops though and she is exceedingly proud of the gap between her thighs. Slim hips are also a blessing but when they are sandwiched between the shortest legs known to man and a comically long torso they kind of lose their appeal.

After you have blackened your silhouette Annebelle suggests drawing a line across your widest point. Once you have found that line DO NOT EVER PUT A HORIZONTAL LINE ACROSS IT. By that I mean if your breasts are your widest point drop that strapless dress immediately. If your hips are your widest point steer clear of hip hugging jeans and belts. I really like this concept because it’s formulaic and not opinion based. This method doesn’t give you the option of lying to yourself. The proof is in the pudding baby face.

Now the best thing to do with this information is to create vertical lines across your widest horizontal. For example pleats, gathering, scarves, layers, draping and bias cut can all create vertical lines to kill that widening horizontal that everyone has. My widest point is clearly my shoulders.

Here are some verticals that I have used in past outfit shots to kill my horizontal…

Scarves create vertical lines across my widest point, drawing your attention towards the centre of my shoulders thus creating the illusion that I don’t play gridiron.

Beading detail sloping downwards into a point draws attention away from my big arms towards my teeny tiny bosoms.


Vests are fabulous for broad shouldered gals. They create two long verticals that travel down the body adding extra slimming power cutting through my Amazonian build.

But ladies, being the style addict that I am I have flat out ignored my figure on more than one occasion.

Cap sleeves and a high neck. My only saving graces are the downward pointing triangle, the contrasting belt and the fact that this dress is adorable.

High neck and a horizontal lace pattern right across my widest point. Look at me… ‘Hey, maybe if I put this big bow in my hair no one will notice my man shoulders!’.

Don’t even start with me and this dress. Not only am I putting an incredibly strong horizontal right across my beefy chest but I am adding volume with ruffles.

Can everyone see the difference when I actually acknowledge my flaws and make the effort to hide them? This is not to say that I can’t wear horizontal lines across my widest area for the rest of my life. It just means that I have to accept the fact that I will look like a swimmer on steroids if I do.

Now ladies (and gents…) I challenge you to do the same! Take your photo, blacken your silhouette and tell me what your widest areas are. I will do some research and compile a list of flattering verticals for any horizontal you may have. Oh and do read Annebelle’s book. She is an Australian stylist and has stupid amounts of experience in television and she has a lot of very cool technical tips!

Love Lady Smaggle



  1. Annebelle van Tongeren 14 years ago

    Hi there
    Well aren’t you a darling for being so kind about my little book Dress Like A Star! Thanks so much for the encouragement.
    Kind regards
    Annebelle x

  2. Lady Smaggle 14 years ago

    Annebelle – Holy moly! I didn’t think you would see my post! I LOVE your book and I am so flattered that you took the time to comment. Thank you so much you totally made my day!

    Cupcake – I think they do make the little skull caps. I might go for a wander on Ebay and try to find one. Will let you know how I go!

  3. Lady Smaggle 14 years ago

    Natasha – That’s what I thought! It makes so much sense than those generic body type guides.

  4. Annebelle van Tongeren 14 years ago

    Hi again
    Just because your blog is SO fun to read and makes me remember that fashion is meant to be something we love, feel free to have your readers email me photos in the silhouette stance and I will happily get back to them with my best suggestions for styles that will work. Thanks again for the rave review. You, my dear made MY day! x Annebelle

  5. Cupcake 14 years ago

    Oooh ill have to get her book!! hehe..
    😀 I havent done the line thingy yet
    tho ill get around to it after 😛

    Cant b bothered commenting the other posts below, but two things..
    1) I love love love your bracelet/bangle collection
    2) Do they still make anything that resembles those gorgeous little cap things that the 1920’s women wore? THey look so gorgeous! Especially the sparkly ones hee!

  6. Natasha 14 years ago

    that is such sound and practical advice…I also hate the silly ‘dress for your figure’ guides because so few people conform perfectly to the formula. I have also read the same exact advice infinity times. This is more ‘scientific,’ and putting verticals on your wide points is a good thing to remember.

  7. Lady Smaggle 14 years ago

    Annebelle – Whoa! Thank you! I’m emailing you right now!

    Lauren – You have NO IDEA how famous I’m feeling right now. It’s so exciting! I’ll do an official ‘contact Annebelle’ post soon.

    Teresa – Thank you! It’s comments like that keep me posting everyday!

    Gervy – I LOVE Trinny and Susannah. I didn’t buy their new book though because it looked a little confusing. Please do email Annebelle when I do the contact post. And thanks for saying I’m in proportion! That’s the best compliment ever! I think the silhouette is a little more flattering than the real life version! 🙂

  8. Lauren 14 years ago

    Ohmigod! Annabelle commented on your post. That is seriously the coolest thing ever… you should feel totally famous!

    I’m ridiculously knobble-ly – kind of like a misshapen stick but that is cool, I’ll rock it…

  9. Teresa 14 years ago

    That is great advice, Thanks!! I can’t wait to try it out myself. I always look forward to reading your blog when I get to work in the morning. Keep up the great work 🙂

  10. Gervy 14 years ago

    Well I was a fool and bought Trinny and Susannah’s new book and still can’t work out which I am. It’s very puzzling. But I don’t resent shelling out the cashola cos I do love them and Susannah DESERVED her 2000 pound fur stole.

    Love this post. I will try and get my silouhette photo done and report back…

    I have to say, your shoulders/chest seem in proportion to me, I wouldn’t have said they were wider than your hips, even from looking at your silhouette.

  11. Lady Smaggle 14 years ago

    Kerrin – Don’t worry I will! I tend to spout all this advice about how to dress well and then I just ignore it and do what I damn well please. 🙂

  12. Lady Smaggle 14 years ago

    Hailey – Ah yay! I aim to please. I’ll keep them coming. I just always loved those bits in magazines the most!

  13. Kerrin 14 years ago

    I like Trinny and Susannah too, but I found their advice a little tricky, because I don’t fit into any one category. You should definitely continue to wear that black and white dress though – it’s a classic!

  14. Hailey 14 years ago

    I like the outfits where you are “ignoring your figure” the most! lol.
    I am crazy for your informative posts, this one was great too!! I especailly dug the scarf series, those pots are still starred in my google reader! 🙂

  15. Lady Smaggle 14 years ago

    Hailey – It’s easy! Just take a photo print it out and then colour it in in black. Then scan back onto your computer. A few readers have used the ‘lasso’ application in photoshop but I don’t know how to do that…

  16. Heidi 14 years ago

    This is awesome…but how do you black out your silhouette? is that an easy Photoshop parlour trick? Help!

  17. JST Books 11 years ago

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