Assessing body types means taking into consideration horizontal and vertical measurements. Horizontal body type looks at the ratio of bust, waist and hips. A visual look at the body in the mirror is also useful.

The body type that is perfect for all women is the Hour Glass. For the rest of us who are not of this type, we employ sleight of hand techniques to create that balanced proportion that nature didn’t provide. Remember that our body type is the same whether we are a size 2 or 22. While diet and exercise are very beneficial for our health, these will not our change our basic types.


This is the most common body type for women where the body is proportionally wider at the bottom than the top. You are the woman who needs to create strong lines at the shoulder to create proportion with the hips. If there is weight gain, this usually accumulates at the thigh area.

  • Light colored tops and dark coloured bottoms are good choices,
  • Shoulder pads that are undetectable are a good way to accentuate the shoulder.
  • Bateau, square necklines create a strong horizontal line at the shoulder.
  • Slight A-line skirts give hip and thigh room.
  • Straight to Boot cut pants and jeans. No skinny jeans!
  • Embellishment on the top, instead
  • Low contrast between hemline, legs and shoes

Maria Triangle

Wrap Dress

Mandarin Collar Top

Straight Trousers

Inverted Triangle

This is the second most desired body type after the Hour Glass for women. The body is wider on top and narrower at the hip. This woman is trying to create proportion with a strong hip line to balance with the top. If she gains weight, then the body type may resemble an oval.

  • Dark colored tops and light colored bottoms
  • An excellent fitting bra is a must (true for all women!!)
  • Soft flowing, unstructured tops
  • Patterns or embellishments on the bottom like pleats, tiers, yokes on skirts. A-line skirts and dresses widen to create balance
  • Medium wide to wide pants

Maria Inverted Triangle

A-line Dress

Tiered Skirt

Flared Pants


This is another common body type with little or no defined waist (7” or < difference between waist & hips). Her upper and lower body measurements are similar. This woman is trying to create proportion by lengthening her upper body in proportion to her long legs. Most rectangles have short upper bodies and long legs. If she puts on weight, her type may resemble a Diamond.

  • Semi-fitted shift dresses create the illusion of a waist.
  • Pants with little or no waistband worn just below the natural waist
  • Semi-fitted vests and soft garments
  • Narrow belts worn loosely below the natural waist
  • Belts in the same color as the top visually lengthen the torso

Maria Rectangle

Wrap Skirt

Tailored Shirt

Santana Knit Twin Top

Hour Glass

This is considered the perfect shape…designers design clothes for this body type while skinny, 6’ Rectangles model them on the runway!! Visually, the upper and lower body will be similar while the waist will be 8” or > difference between waist & the hips. This woman’s weight gain will be evenly distributed and most clothing styles work for her.

  • Soft, fluid fabrics
  • Avoid cutting the body in half…thirds are more visually appealing
  • Simple clean designs
  • Waist definition

Maria Hourglass

Streamlined Coat

Pleated Stretch Skirt

Knowing your body type and how to dress it well in terms of which styles are most flattering is important information that makes shopping more efficient and pleasurable. Dressing yourself using correct proportion techniques as outlined, actually can visually remove 5-10 lbs on your frame. If you are looking for more specific help in this area, please contact Maria and she’d be delighted to do a detailed body assessment.

All clothing photos courtesy of Nordstrom



Check out our Etiquette for Kids store!

Safe, online ordering!


Maria and her Etiquette Program have been featured in several media outlets including:



Sign up today and receive a FREE Kids Workbook on Social Skills!


Includes fun and engaging lessons guiding your child to build lifelong skills for social etiquette, online safety, phone communication, friendship and so much more! PLUS, receive our bi-monthly newsletter with etiquette tips and courses for kids, teens and young adults.

Thank you! Please check your email for your FREE e-book gift!