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Why you might not be the body shape you think

Hourglass, bottom hourglass, top hourglass, spoon, rectangle, diamond, oval, triangle, and inverted triangle… there are nine official female body shape classifications. However, new research shows that just moving the tape measure by 1cm could shift 40% of women into a different shape class, giving conflicting results.

Depending on how somebody is measured, a spoon shape – which is like a pear – can also be judged to be a bottom hourglass shape. Similarly, a triangle can be reinterpreted as a rectangle.

The way how women see their bodies is very important. Probably most if not all women have complexes about the way they look. Now with the researches done by Dr Christopher J. Parker from the Loughborough University, we find out that not even we don’t have to worry that much about our bodies but also that we might have thought about our shape in a completely wrong way. 

Dr Christopher J. Parker, the research’s lead author, said: “Style and health experts often use women’s body shape as the basis of style choices. If a woman wants to replicate this advice – for choosing the ‘right’ style or taking the right supplements, the classification must be stable. Our research investigates this problem”.

The study – in collaboration with the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University – measured 1,679 women using three widely used measurement placement directions.

The researchers found small changes in measurement placement put 40% of women into different, non-compatible, body shapes when looking to objectively classify body shape.

“We need to understand if a woman’s body can be classified into more than one body shape just by taking a slightly different measurement – for example, moving the tape measure up by 1cm when taking a waist measurement.”

It seems like with body positive movement we are moving forward to change our mindset. 

Body positive

“A stylist might give stunning suggestions for a ‘spoon’ body,” said Dr Parker. “But if a woman measures herself using slightly different parts of her body, then she may follow the ‘bottom hourglass’ style by mistake. Discovering how precise experts must be when telling people how to measure and classify their body may help style guides be easier to replicate at home.”

Dr Parker added: “Maybe everything we know about body shape is flawed.”

Maybe… or perhaps we just have to start loving our bodies no matter which size or shape we have! 

Hanna Kantor

Hanna Kantor

Founder of OpenCall Magazine. Fashion and commercial photographer. A graduate of Journalism and Photography at the University of Warsaw and Universita degli Studi di Milano. Sleeps long, works even longer.