The body comes in huge variety of different sizes, proportions, and body compositions. While size is about how much mass a person has and body composition about what makes up that mass (fat, muscle, skeletal structure), body shape describes how muscle and fat is distributed and how the skeleton is moulded.
This calculator is designed to calculate your body shape and can be used to help you get ideas on how to dress. Body shape can also be an indicator of health risk. However, this body shape calculator is not intended to assess health. Instead, waist-to-hip ratio or waist circumference are better indicators of health, and often used by health professionals.
To use this body shape calculator enter your shoulder, bust, waist, and hip size.
How to Take Your Body Measurements
To determine your body shape you’ll need a measuring tape to take measurements from four areas – the shoulders, bust, waist, and hips.
Shoulders: Wrap the measuring around your shoulders, as high as you can without the tape slipping off. You might need help taking this measurement to get the widest circumference of the shoulders.
Bust: Wrap the measuring tape straight across your back and around the fullest part of your bust. The measuring tape should be snug, but not too tight and should not change the shape of your breasts.
Waist: Wrap the measuring tape around the smallest part of your waist, which is generally just above the belly button. Ensure the tape is even around your back. It should be snug, but not too tight.
Hips: Wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of your hip, which for most women is just below your hip bone and around the largest part of the butt. Keep the measuring tape straight and tout.
If you can, get a friend to help you, as it will be difficult to take your shoulder measurements by yourself. Accuracy is key. Also remember to stand with good posture when taking your body measurements.
What Are The 5 Body Shapes?
There are five main body shapes, with each shape based upon the size of your physical features and the overall balance of your body. There is no universal agreement on the exact proportions for each shape.
This body shape calculator uses the following classification. However, some body shapes may not fit neatly into any of the body shapes listed below.
Aka: Ruler, Banana, Straight, H-Frame, Athletic
Body equally proportioned throughout.
Shoulders, bust, and hips are the approximately the same size.
Little or no definition at waist.
- Tend to put on weight in stomach, while maintaining slender arms and legs. This may result in a change of body shape to apple shape.
- Shoulder, bust, and hip measurements are within 5% of each other. Waist is less than 25% smaller than the bust.
- Rectangle body shape measurements: E.g. 32-26-33, 34-30-35, 36-33-37.
Aka: Figure 8, X-Frame
Upper and lower body are equally proportioned.
Shoulders same (or almost the same) size as the hips.
Clearly defined and pronounced waistline.
- Tend to gain weight fairly evenly across the body, especially the hips and chest area.
- The waist is at least 25% smaller than the shoulder and hips. Shoulder and hip measurements are within 5% of each other.
- The hourglass shape is sometimes given two further categories called top hourglass and bottom hourglass shapes.
Top hourglass shape: Has the general hourglass shape, but the bust is visibly larger than the hips.
Bottom hourglass shape: Has the general hourglass shape, but the bust is visibly smaller than the hips.
- Hourglass measurements: E.g. 36-24-36, 38-28-38, 34-25-35.
Aka: Spoon, Triangle, A-Frame, Gynoid shape
Upper body is smaller than the lower body.
Shoulders are narrower than hips.
Waist is fairly defined.
- Slender arms.
- Bust is often small to medium.
- Tend to have flat stomach and find it easier to get defined abs.
- Tend to gain weight below the waist, such as the thighs, lower part of the hips, and butt.
- Hips are more than 5% bigger than the shoulders.
- Pear shape measurements: E.g. 32-28-35, 34-30-38, 36-32-42
Aka: V-Shape, Cone, Strawberry
Lower body is smaller than the upper body.
Shoulders are wider than hips.
Waist is not prominent.
- Slim legs, narrow hips, and a smaller butt.
- Tend to have a large chest or bust.
- Often have prominent shoulders.
- Generally gain weight in the upper body, such as the arms, chest, back, and stomach.
- Shoulders are at least 5% bigger than the hips.
- Inverted triangle measurements: E.g. 40-36-33, 36-32-32, 34-29-31
Aka: Diamond, Round, O-Frame, Android shape
Waist is larger than hips.
Shoulders and hips approximately the same size.
Widest around the middle.
- Most weight carried in the midsection, such as the belly and chest area.
- Slender legs.
- Waist is larger than hips, and shoulders are not more than 5% bigger than waist.
- Apple shape measurements: E.g. 40-44-42, 36-38-37, 34-35-34
Use body shapes as a means to help you achieve certain goals (more on that below) and to generally understand your body better. However, if you feel it only boxes you into a certain category and has no further use, don’t use it.
How to Use Body Shapes
When using body shape it’s worth remembering the significant limitations of it. There is no universal agreement on the measurements, categories, and even names of different body shapes. That’s because any attempt to categorize the human body into neat categories will have a fair amount of shortcomings, and body shape is no different.
Furthermore, measuring the circumference of the bust, waist, hips, or any other body part doesn’t tell you everything. Perspective matters.
Body Shape: Front vs Side
According to your body measurements you might have one body shape, but when you view your body from the front your body shape might look entirely different. For example, Giselle Bündchen is often described as having a rectangle shape. In fact, she has the body measurements of an hourglass shape.
That’s because we have shape from the font, as well as the side. In other words, you don’t just have width, you also have depth. Your bust measurement includes your torso and your breasts, and your hip measurement includes your hips and also your bottom.
So you might be more curvaceous from the front (your shape comes from your hips for example) or more curvaceous from the side (your shape comes from your breast or bottom), or have a balance of both. And this might not be the same for your upper body as for your lower body.
How Height Affects Body Shape
And then there’s that other dimension – height. The taller some is, the more rectangular and less curvaceous their shape is going to seem. Take the oft touted hourglass measurements of 36-24-36 (bust-waist-hips). At 6′ (1.82m) tall a woman would have a body shape similar to a runway model, while at 5’5″ (1.65m) would have a body shape akin to that of Marilyn Monroe.
There are a lot of ways body shape can come together. This means that two women with the same body measurements can have very different body shapes.
So use body shape only as much as you find it helpful. The human body is remarkable, and every body shape is beautiful. Simply use body shape as a tool to help you get to where you want to go.
Ways to Use Body Shape
Body shapes can be helpful in several ways:
- Fashion. If you have been finding it difficult to find clothes that fit the way you want, understanding your body shape might be a helpful step towards finding pieces that are more flattering. The plethora of styles can be overwhelming. Think of the number of necklines alone – off-shoulder, square, round, cowl, boat, halter, and so on. Being steered towards certain styles can help you find designs you might have otherwise overlooked.
But what using body shapes should not do, is stop you from wearing clothes you like whether or not it is recommended for your body shape. Your style is your style, and body shape should not change that. Because more than anything, fashion is about personality.
- Exercise. Understanding the overall balance of your body can help you determine which areas of your body you may want to target more with strength training.
- Health. Body shape is determined in part by how body fat is distributed across the body. In addition to body weight and BMI, body fat distribution can affect your risk for certain health conditions.12 Waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) are often used to help determine who is at increased risk.
A waist-to-hip ratio greater than 0.85 for females and 0.9 for males is associated with a greater risk of cardio-metabolic diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.3 While a waist size bigger than 31.5 inches (80 cm) for women or 37 inches (94 cm) for men is tied to a higher risk.456
How Age Affects Body Shape
One way body shape can change is with age. The first time is during puberty when estrogen triggers the development of female traits such as the widening of hips, breast development, and the storage of fat in the hips, butt, and thighs. Male puberty results in the widening of the shoulders and the ribcage.78
Another major change in body shape that occurs in females (other than pregnancy) is the menopause, when estrogen levels fall. This causes body fat distribution to shift from the lower body to being stored around the waistline, resulting in a more rectangle shape or apple shape.9