The likes of TV style gurus Trinny and Susannah and How to Look Good Naked presenter Gok Wan have made us all aware of the importance of dressing to suit our shape.
And now High Street giant Marks & Spencer is getting in on the action by launching an advice hub for real women.
The chain has called on five fashion bloggers of real shapes and sizes to create body shape styling advice for women.
Just launched, the online advice hub has information videos and styling tips to give clear information on how to identify which of the five main body shapes you have.
With more than 10,000 people searching online for advice about body shapes each month and the BBC recently reporting that more than half of the public has a negative body image, M&S is hoping the new hub will give women the confidence they need to make an informed decision when choosing dresses for their body shape.
Working collaboratively on the project, fashion bloggers Muireann Carey-Campbell, Amanda Carr, Kate Sutton, Gemma Cartwright and Harriet Thorne offer their personal styling expertise and can be seen self-modelling the dresses, proving there’s a style for all women at M&S.
So, just how do you tell if you’re a strawberry, a pear, or even a rectangle? And how do you flatter your body shape? Here are the new M&S bloggers’ top tips.
Women with a strawberry shape have a wider bust and are top-heavy with narrower hips and waist. Kate Sutton, of blog Wit Wit Woo, said: “I really can’t avoid it, but I tend to show my cleavage area. I don’t like to show too much off, just enough! I would tend to wear a maxi dress in the day, something free-flowing and comfortable. In the evening, something more fitted, probably a bit sexier and just below the knee.”
Slender body frame with a similar bust, hips and waist width. Amanda Carr from The Women’s Room blog is representing rectangles. She said: “I am basically a rectangle, but a 51-year-old one, with a 50-plus roll of fat around the middle – which we all get. To have a bit of structure around my waist is really lovely and reassuring.” She chose a cotton-rich Oriental floral-print shift dress to flatter her figure, saying: “This dress is beautifully made inside; fully lined and cotton rich. For us picky older women where quality is important, this hits the mark.”
Pear shapes have wider hips and bottom with a narrow bust. Gemma Cartwright of blog Big Girls Browse said: “Fitted and flare styles are always really flattering for pear shapes. Drawing attention to the waist is key; bring the eye inwards.”
Like rectangles with a similar bust, hip and waist ratio. Muireann Carey-Campbell of the Bangs and a Bun blog said: “I loved the purple peplum dress the second I saw it. It’s very “me”. I love bold colours and I like to show off my arms so I love that it’s sleeveless. The peplum detail is perfect for my rectangular shape as it attracts attention to the waist. It’s a nice length too.
Wider bust and hips with a narrower waist. Harriet Thorne who writes the Where Is Harriet blog said: “I’m an hourglass, so generally larger hips, waist and bust. I went for a knee-length dress, fitted around the waist and not too high a neckline, so as not to draw too much emphasis to the hips and bust.”
The body shape advice hub is also offering free downloadable buyers’ guides, with tips from assistant dresses buyer Barbara Bobadilla, who said: “Pop the guide in your handbag and bring to your local marksandspencer.com so you’ll always have some key pointers to stick to when dressing your body shape.”