Our bodies are like snowflakes—each one completely unique and beautiful in its own way. But when it comes to shopping for the styles that are sure to fit your body and conform to your shape, it can be helpful to have the right language to communicate your shape to your Dia Stylist. While all of us at Dia&Co are firm believers in wearing whatever you want regardless of what the plus-size fashion “rules” may say, giving your stylist a better understanding of your body’s shape can improve your Dia Box experience.
So forget the fruit shapes made famous by magazines and instead read through our guide to find the shape that feels the most applicable to your body. But remember: Each body is unique, so you may be a combination of two!
The top-heavy body type generally has broader shoulders and narrower hips. Some have described this body type as an inverted triangle, or a “V” shape. If when shopping for a two-piece swimsuit you notice that you need to grab a size down or two in your bottoms, you might have a top-heavy body type. Another way to tell is if the curviest part of your body is your bust, while your hips and rear are relatively straight. The top-heavy body type, in the simplest description, means you carry your weight on top, and therefore may have to size up from your bottom size when shopping for shirts. Finding jackets and woven tops that fit perfectly might be trickier than finding bottoms, but sometimes just trying on a larger size is the solution.
The bottom-heavy body type has often been referred to as “pear-shaped,” or even “teardrop-shaped.” If you’ve ever needed to size down on the bottom, your body shape may fall into this category. Sometimes plus-size women with this shape can wear tops and bras from the straight-size section, but have to head to the plus-size section for denim. If the curviest part of your body is your hip, thigh, and rear area, while your mid-section and chest are relatively straight, you could have a bottom-heavy body type. Additionally, bottom-heavy shapes usually have a more defined natural waistline. Fit-and-flare dresses—dresses that are only fitted at the waist—are an easy fit for you if this is your body type. Since the bottom part of the dress is flared out, it can accommodate curvier hips and legs. You can probably wear a fit-and-flare dress in your top size without having to factor in your curvier bottom half.
This is the category that magazines will call “apple-shaped,” or even “H-shaped”. If the curviest part of your body is your tummy and bust area, while your legs and arms are smaller, you probably have a midsection-heavy shape. While women with top-heavy shapes often have broader shoulders and narrower hips, midsection-heavy shapes may have shoulders and hips of the about the same width—enabling them to wear the same size top and bottom. A silhouette with built-in curves will add more definition to your waist, while a more streamlined silhouette will follow your natural shape. All that matters is that you feel great in what you wear!
Straight or Rectangle
Plus-size women are often referred to as “curvy,” so the word’s become a catchall for all bodies sizes 14 and up. But because all bodies are unique, not all plus-size women are truly curvy—especially women whose bodies fall into the straight or rectangle category. This body type is fairly evenly weight-distributed and doesn’t have one area that requires sizing up or down. For instance, while the top-heavy shape may require a size up to accommodate a larger bust or shoulders, the straight shape doesn’t have that same issue. Additionally, this shape doesn’t have a defined natural waistline, much like the midsection-heavy shape. Fit-and-flare or wrap dresses will create a curvier silhouette if that’s your desired effect, while other styles will follow the natural lines of your body.
This shape is curvy all over, from a curvier bust to curvier hips—plus a more defined waistline. This shape has also been referred to as an “X” shape. Like the straight or rectangle shapes, the hourglass shape is also fairly evenly weight-distributed, but it’s significantly curvier. Fit can be tricky depending on how your curves are shaped. While an hourglass-shaped woman may wear the same size on top as on bottom, there are top-heavy hourglass shapes that require a larger size on top to accommodate a curvier bust, just as there are bottom-heavy hourglass shapes that require a larger size on bottom to make room for curvier hips. Unlike bodies that fall into the straight category, the hourglass body has a more defined waistline. Crop tops, full skirts, and wrap dresses will draw attention to the natural waist, while a straighter line can be created with less-fitted pieces.