Coats for All Shapes, Body Shapes that is.

5 body shapes and the right coat

Coats for body shapes

Winter is Here!

Winter is here now and most of us are spending a large part of our lives in coats.

Now that you understand your body shape the next question is “What is the best coat for me?”. Here are the five basic shapes and the best coat silhouette each one.

Sassy Gal (aka inverted triangle) Body Shape

Your broad shoulders give you a great natural posture and make coats look great on you. The object is to create more of a curvy silhouette. Choose a fitted and belted jacket. Big flap hip pockets add to the look you are going for. Don’t get carried away with fancy or oversized collars – stay classical. Going with a small check pattern will also draw attention away from the shoulders and add to the overall look you want.

Lady Diva (aka hourglass) Body Shape

You have the shape everyone is going for just don’t lose it in the bulkiness of the coat. Keep the coat a fitted one with a v necked collar. Emphasize the v neck and wear your coat with the collar button open – use a scarf to keep your neck warm. You can sport the hip pockets and wide collar – just as long as the waist is fitted snugly. Don’t chop yourself in half with a tie belt. It will trash your silhouette. If you wear a belt make it a buckled one over a fitted coat.

Earth Goddess (aka apple) Body Shape

If it is warm enough you can still employ the Rule of Thirds and leave your coat open down the front. Otherwise, look for a coat that has a pattern or design going down the center front of the coat (perhaps even around the neck in a shawl collar. Keep the elements simple and steer away from big lapels – a lapel less duster style coat works best on you. Add a long scarf hanging around your neck and traveling down your center front to break up your torso into those thirds. You can sport simple beautifully

Lady Peacock (aka pear) Body Shape

Like everything else in your wardrobe, you along can play with all the unique and different collars and lapels around. The funnel shaped collar is carried off best by you as are huge lapels and double ones. Wear all the scarves in all their unique ways that you want. With all your focus on the face and shoulders just let the coat skim your waist and hips and fall smoothly.

Lady of Movement (aka rectangle) Body Shape

Like the rest of your ensembles, keep it flowing. Your shape handles belted coats the best – letting the material puff out above and below the belting. Add hip pockets and dynamic lapels and you are set. Because you are usually tall for your size the three quarter length coat is best for you and keeps you in proportion.

Above all, buy a coat you love and feel great in! Dress to your likes and not to our shoulds and, above all,  have fun!



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Lessons Learned from the CMA Awards

When the stars come out to walk the red carpet in the CMA it gives us the perfect opportunity to see what does and does not work on the various body shapes. This year’s gala provided a couple of beautiful examples. This year we have two perfect example of the same body shape – Lady of Movement (aka rectangle)- and what to do and not do.

What IS a Lady of Movement or Rectangle Bodyshape?

Before we start looking at stars let me go over what makes a figure a Lady of Movement or rectangle body shape. A Lady of Movement’s bust, waist, and hips are within 6 inches of each other creating an athletic slim figure. As the name implies, she looks best when creating movement in her clothing – swirling, asymmetrical flowing lines.

lucy hale beautiful body shape

The Right Way

As a Lady of Movement (aka a Rectangle) body shape, Lucy Hale picked a beautifully appropiate gown. Two level hem and flowing material hanging from a beautiful neckpiece are all perfect for her. As she moves the gown will move and flow around her creating beautiful movement and suggesting more of a figure underneath.



Lacey Musgraves Lady of Movement no

Oops! Let’s Try Again. Not the Best

While there is no question that Kacey Musgraves is a beautiful woman the dress she wore on the red carpet did her no service. Had she been a Lady Diva (aka Hourglass) or a Sassy Gal (aka Inverted Triangle) the dress would have shown off her curves beautifully. As it is, the dress draws attention to her natural lack of curves and creates a very uninteresting rectangle of a shape walking the red carpet. She would have been better following Lucy’s example with angles and flowing lines.


Your Body Shape (and more in general)

To discover your particular body shape and some guidelines on dressing to your assets check out my website Istina Design and enter your measurements into my     BodyShape Calculator


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What is your Bodyshape?? The answer in 3 simple steps.

What is your body shape? Previously I described the 5 body shapes and guidelines on how to dress. Next step is determining your particular shape.

That will take 3 easy steps with 3 simple measurements.

Step 1 – Prepare to measure.

In addition to a tape measure, there are a few other things you will need to before measuring.

First, leave your jeans for another occasion. They are bulky and act as a girdle.

Second, the less material between you and your tape measure the better. Lightweight garments are best. Tank top and leggings are perfect

Third, gather up your tools.

a good tape measure.

elastic. To determine where your waist is.

a mirror. This will help you find where you are measuring. A good friend would be a good substitute.

Step 2-The Measurements

Now, take that tape measure in your hands and start measuring

1- Bust. Making sure the tape measure is level with your bust across your back measure around the widest point of your bust. Do NOT pull the tape measure tight.

2- Waist. If you are not sure where your waist is, tie a piece of elastic around your waist and move around. It will settle at your waist. It is fine to pull this one a little tight. You are measuring over clothes

3 – Hips. The dreaded hip measurement is next. Hips in this context is the widest part of your body below your waist. Look at yourself sideways in the mirror to find this line and measure it. Do NOT pull tight here.

Step 3 – What Bodyshape are you?

You are a Lady Diva (aka Hourglass)  if your bust and hips are within 2 inches of each other and your waist is 7 – 8 inches smaller.

You are a Lady of Movement (aka Rectangle) if hips and bust are within 2″ of each other but waist is NOT 7 – 8″ smaller

You are a Lady Peacock (aka Pear) if hips are more that 2″ larger than your bust and waist is smaller than  bust.

You are a Sassy Gal (aka Inverted Triangle) if your bust is more than 2 inches larger than your waist and your waist is smaller than your bust.

You are an Earth Goddess (aka Apple) if waist is larger than or equal to bust.

You can be on a scale between two shape. Claim ownership of both shapes. I will clarify that on an upcoming post.

Right now, you can you can go to my website Istina Design  to read up further on what your particular body shape will look best wearing.



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You’re not a Rectangle! You are a Lady of Movement!!


Rectangle with arrows

To continue with our exploration of empowering body shapes, let’s select another body shape and discover new and empowering ways to see and dress it

You’ve checked your measurements and they are less than 8” difference between your waist and bust and your waist and hips. (Want an assist in figuring out that shape then try my BodyShape Finder.) In the old paradigm you would be a rectangle. Talk about BORING!!! You don’t even merit a fruit taste! Not so fast!! You look gorgeous in clothes that flow and move around your body. You are a Lady of Movement!

You are part of largest groups of body shapes. Ladies of Movement make up about 46% of the American population. You have the look that marketers create when they are displaying garments for sale on decorative hangers where everything looks great. But…don’t give in so easily to what you “should” wear. You have a unique body shape. Because you are an elegant column of a woman nothing distracts from garments that flow and move around your body, creating shapes of their own. Those billows create hips and busts and bring oodles of life to your form. You don’t run the danger of your body shape being exaggerated by the forms created by your clothes


What to Do?

Look for garments that have a flow and movement of their own. Let your clothes put the visual curves in your body.


On Top

Look for jackets that draw the eyes to the waist. It could be a single button closure at the waist of a belted jacket. Draw the eyes to your bust with short fitted jackets. You are one of the few shapes that can wear soft drapey tops that accentuate your bust. Stay away from the boxy jackets. You look best in flowing and curving lines. Stay away from the boxes – this includes the boxy look created by double breasted and unstructured jackets and tops.

Draw attention to your shoulders with shoulder or yoke details. Use contrasting fabric and drapey fabric. You can get away and actually look great in styles that draw the eyes across the shoulders and widens them. Accompany that with a waist cinching detail and you rival the Lady Divas (aka Hourglasses).


On the Bottom

The same suggestions apply to your waist and hips. Flowing and billowing and curving around your body.Flared and mermaid skirts are great! Add flowing pleats and gores. Hem your skirts with pointed handkerchief or asymmetrical hems to add to the movement.

Your legs are probably one of your greatest assets. The go on and on in proportion to your shape. But they are straight and you want the eye to go round and round and not up and down. So avoid mini skirts in favor of 3/4 length hems

But those same legs make pants one of your best choices. Have fun. Sport baggy hip pockets. Wear crop pants or capris. Go super wide and floppy. Skinny jeans – not so good – unless you want to emphasize the skinny and long and lose all that movement that makes you so interesting.



Some general rules to follow are:

Use strong blocks of color to set up movement in your ensemble

Add curves and stripes (just not the narrow vertical jailhouse stripe) to give curves to your shape.

Define your shoulders and hips

Use dramatic angles


For More Info

If you want more detailed info on your particular body shape, get our free e-book Know Your Body Shape


Final Note

Above all, don’t be so bound by the ‘rules’ that you select clothes that you don’t like. Enjoy the clothes you wear – that will generate the best impression

Check out your body shape at Find Your Body Shape. Then download your specific shopping guide from my Shop.






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Oh, Those Oscars! Body Shape Dos and Don’ts

With celebrity measurements so easily accessible on the Internet, celebrity red carpet posing is a great way to see what does or does NOT work for a particular body shape. The Oscars were no exception. There were many beautiful and amazing dresses on display as well as some best left in the closet. Leaving that editorializing to one side, there were a few attendees that understood and dressed to their body shape and a few that did not.


oscar minus

Perhaps the biggest oops on display was Brandi Granville’s dress. Ignoring the question of whether or not it was going to stay on, it was a rectangle’s nightmare. While I could not find her measurements recorded online, she is clearly a rectangle. Her bust and hips are very close in size to each other and her waist is not much smaller. The low-cut cleavage brings the eyes down closer the the waist and creates a very horizontal line in the middle of her torso. Add that to the very straight line of the dress as it ‘skims’ her body and there is no curving lines to move the eyes around her body. Viewers are definitely fixed on her low bust line. Even the leg slit has a horizontal line at the top and the yardage of fabric on the floor again creates a low horizontal line. What curves she has are lost in the blocky midsection lines created by the dress.


oscar plus


On the other side of the spectrum are two women who know exactly the best way to show off their figures. First, and perhaps the best I saw that night was Halle Berry’s black sequined dress.  She has a very  hourglass like figure with bust and hips in close relationship to each other and a waist several inches smaller. Her dress did much to accent that fact with lines that curved into and out of her waist. A close, almost corset like waist showed off her figure beautifully. With hips an inch or so more than her bust, the diagonal striping on her shoulders does the finishing touch of evening up her proportions.


Oscar plus 2

Another beautiful example of dressing to enhance her body shape was Naomi Watt and her dress for the Oscars. While just barely an hourglass, her figure verges greatly towards a rectangle. However, unlike Brandi, Naomi’s dress does a lot to accentuate her hourglass shape. The bustline of her dress creates a great deal of vertical lines with the cutout of one shoulder and the asymmetry that creates. The roundness of the top of the cut out side creates more movement. The skirt clings to the hips and curves in and then out again to create a beautiful vertical sweep to the dress. The skirt is streamline and adds to the vertical feel of the dress. The eye is kept moving around her dress in pleasing curving lines. This makes her figure look even more hourglass.

These three ladies are beautiful examples of how the way you dress and the choices you make affect the way you are seen and the appearance of your figure. Find pictures of celebs who look fantastic in their dresses and look up their measurements. Then study and learn how the dress adds to their appearance.

Above all, have fun with fashion.


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Trunk Shows

To avoid the major markup that retail stores have to impose on clothing to cover the cost of retail I am using a different way to get my clothing to you - in home trunk shows. Invite a few of your [...]

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