When practising a sport, it is essential to choose functional and comfortable clothes. But as in our daily lives, even sport should be pleasing to the eye! Understanding your shape is essential to choosing the perfect garment to make you feel more confident. It has been observed, in fact, that even the most successful athletes feel encouraged and achieve better results when feeling good about their appearances in competition. Every person has a way of enhancing their physical strengths. How can this be achieved? Anna Maria Lamanna, Image Consultant and teacher of the Image Consulting specialisation course at the IED in Milan, tells us: “Being aware of the lines, shapes, fits and, last but not least, the colours that enhance our appearance is the prerogative for having an image that represents us and enhances us”.
The first thing, therefore, that we need to understand is what shape we have. In the female world, there are seven prototypes to which all women can relate.
Let’s analyse the various shapes one by one. As you will see, each has something good to show!
The Hourglass figure is considered the female figure par excellence, characterised by curved lines which outline the entire silhouette.
The strong point of this physique is the presence of a well-defined waist, while the shoulders and hips are very similar in width. We are therefore in the presence of a “proportionate” figure. The strong point of this physique is the presence of a well-defined waist, while the shoulders and hips are very similar in width. We are therefore in the presence of a “proportionate” figure. The Hourglass tends to put on weight evenly, so the definition of Hourglass is not linked to so much to size but to proportions. This physique is best enhanced by wearing clothes that highlight the femininity through the choice of fabrics and cuts that emphasize the waist and the feminine lines of the body.
The full hourglass is nothing more than the evolution of the Hourglass: simply, we are in the presence of a softer hourglass, starting from an Italian size 44.
As with the Hourglass, the strong point of this physique is the presence of a well-defined waist, while the shoulders and hips are of similar width. We are, once again, looking at a “proportionate” figure. The Full Hourglass tends to put on weight homogeneously, therefore linked more to proportion than to size. As with the Hourglass, this physique is best enhanced by wearing clothes which highlight femininity through the choice of fabrics and cuts emphasizing the waist and the feminine lines of the body.
The Triangle is a body shape which is defined as “gynoid” because the weaker points tend to be the thighs and hips, areas which usually accumulate fats more easily.
It has a well defined waist and often a flat abdomen. With this body type, we are also looking at a physique characterised by curved lines with a pronounced “b” or backside. There is always at least one size in the so-called size “gap” that lies between the bust and the legs, which makes it particularly difficult for those who identify with this body type to find trousers that fit properly – often they will fit the legs well but then be large around the waist. To correct this disproportion it is important: 1) to focus attention on the upper part of the bust, creating the focus of the outfit in this area, enriching it with details that give it more volume; 2) to wear lines that distract attention from the “critical” area.
The column is a body type defined as “androgynous” as it is characterised by straight and angular lines and therefore not very feminine.
The physique is lean and agile, long but with few curves. It is a well-proportioned physique as shoulders and hips are of similar width but would be more femminine if there were more curves. This type of physique could, in theory, wear any particular shape but, in practice, should absolutely avoid oversized shapes in order to avoid the “empty” effect. This body type can experiment with more modern styles and choose clothes that are rich in detail.
This is a follow on from the Column body type, but simply a little larger, starting from an Italian size 44.
Here we see the predominance of straight, up and down lines, a barely noticeable waistline, a flat ‘b’ side and narrow hips which further weigh down the bust that is characterised by broad, square shoulders, muscular arms and, finally, the chest and back which tend to accumulate fat first in the event of weight fluctuations. The morphological somatotype of this physique is in fact android, the weak point being the upper body and the strong point the legs. For this body type, it is essential to develop soft vertical lines, to mark the waist and not to wear excessively elasticated fabrics.
This is a masculine-looking physique, characterised by the predominance of straight lines.
The focus of this physique is on the broad, square and angular shoulders which give it an upright posture, but which optically make this body type appear bulkier than it really is. The waist is barely noticeable, the hips are straight and the ‘b’ side is generally flat. It is therefore a disproportionate figure as the width of the shoulders is greater than the width of the hips. It is absolutely essential to create curves that soften this physique and make it more harmonious. Marking the waistline is an excellent strategy, as is wearing wide, deep necklines which visually reduce the width of the shoulders.
This is a physique characterised by curved lines, but with the peculiarity of having a protruding abdomen (starting from the stomach and reaching the abdominal area).
With this baseline, it is absolutely essential to draw attention away from this area, avoiding bringing attention to it by highlighting the waist. In return, however, we have a proportion between the width of the shoulders and the width of the hips, while the “b” side is flat. The great strength of this physique is the legs, which are toned and cellulite-free. It is therefore essential to propose flowing lines to dress the bust area, avoiding excessively stretchy fabrics and emphasising the legs through corsets or shorter lengths.
How to discover which is your body shape?
As you can see, every figure has its strengths. The aim of each of us, when wearing clothes, is to highlight our strengths and underplay features that distance us from the ideal hourglass figure. How can this be done? First of all, identify which shape you belong to. We will teach you how to do this through few simple steps:
1) with a dressmaker’s tape measure (the soft tape measure) measure the circumference of your shoulders and take note of the measurement,
2) measure the circumference of your hips at the widest point and take note of it;
3) measure the width of your waist at its narrowest point (2 cm above the navel) and write it down;
4) compare the numbers.
An hourglass figure will have a similar width of shoulders and width of hips, a clearly visible waist and therefore slightly narrower shape; the full hourglass figure has the same characteristics as the hourglass, but begins at a size 46 (inclusive); if, on the other hand, the shoulders seem to protrude beyond the hips (they are wider) then we have an inverted triangle shape, i.e. narrow at the base and opening upwards. In this case, the waist is not very pronounced; in the opposite case we have a triangle, in other words, the shoulders are narrower than the hips; in the rectangular and the column body shapes, shoulders and hips are proportionate, but the waist is not very pronounced; finally, with regards to the oval body shape, the figure is proportionate, with narrow hips and no waist.
Once you’ve identified your shape, only choose clothes with cuts and proportions that will work towards an hourglass figure. You will soon have perfect clothes in your wardrobe that make you feel beautiful and comfortable. Even for sport!