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Body shape: everything you need to know


Choosing what to wear isn't only about getting the colour right. It's about knowing the shapes and styles that flatter you, that emphasise your good bits and conceal the bits you're not so keen on.

Knowing your body shape is crucial to understanding which clothes will work on you. While your lifestyle and personality all influence your own unique sense of style, the fact is that what you need to put the clothes on is your physical body, so the shape of that body is rather a linchpin of personal style.

So how can you figure it out? For so many of us, knowing our own body shape can be a surprisingly elusive piece of information. Rather than being able to focus on our overall appearance and shape we get hung up on our boobs, our thighs, or whatever other body part becomes our victim of choice.


However, it is perfectly possible to find out your true body shape. Our flowchart quiz will guide you to your true body shape, regardless of how you view yourself (and I speak as someone who considered themselves curvy of boob and round of thigh for years before discovering that actually an inverted triangle was closer to my true shape).

Although it is perfectly possible to do this quiz alone, I would suggest you get a friend to look at you objectively and help you answer if at all possible, particularly as some parts are more easily viewed from behind than in front - it took someone else to point out to me that my shoulders were broad, straight and angular for me to realise that that was the widest point of my body. 


Once you've discovered your body shape, click on the links below to be taken to a post which will tell you everything you need to know about your shape and the styles that will work for you.

Do let us know your body shape in the comments below. It helps our designers make sure we have styles for everyone each season!

Jessica Holliday on Jul 04, 2021 3:29 PM

I am a tall (5'8") inverted triangle. My favs are the Seville Jackets in sultry navy, ganzi purple, soft white. I even bought the fuchsia altho a winter color.

Judith Wilthew on Nov 09, 2019 10:49 AM

I was apple but am more a column now, but I have always had a larger waist even when skinny!

Marian on Oct 30, 2019 7:52 PM

I am an Autumn column shape, and would appreciate Kate's advice for those without full busts!

Virginia Quant on Oct 23, 2019 9:04 PM

Please could you provide some ideas/knitwear for those post menopausal among us (I'm 65) who can easily feel cold in winter, but would like to look smart without just dumping layers of droopy cardies over everything! (even if they are the right colour!) As one gets older one needs a bit of a sharp 'edge' as one's general outline and face lose the definition of youth- even with lots of exercise.

Tricia Carrington on Oct 21, 2019 10:30 AM

I feel a few more flattering/different necklines would be very welcome; eg:- Bardot neckline, not too wide/not off the shoulder. Also, small/medium portrait necklines are so very flattering! I do feel such designs would really be a bonus to your collection.

Tricia Carrington on Oct 21, 2019 10:25 AM

It would be lovely to have a relaxed fit, 3/4 sleeve, square, V or scoop neck top with an eyelash trim around the neckline; so flattering! Think they would sell so quickly. At just 5’ tall, I find many of your tops/skirts far too long. Also, what about a not too thick, baggy crop jumper for next autumn; fabulous with a pleated skirt!

Kathy Tugwell on Oct 16, 2019 4:17 PM

Although I come out as an Apple shape, I carry most of my weight on my bust and not on my middle, so don't really know what I am. I am also short.

Adele Bateman on Oct 03, 2019 9:02 PM


I am short waisted

Rene on Sep 25, 2019 11:20 AM

Large apple

Rene on Sep 25, 2019 11:18 AM

I am large Apple shape

SUE Jane BOULTON on Sep 22, 2019 7:05 PM


Lynda on Aug 11, 2019 7:12 PM


Karen on Aug 07, 2019 9:27 AM


Chris on Jul 06, 2019 12:02 PM


Alice on Jun 10, 2019 1:10 PM


Sarah on Jun 10, 2019 1:07 PM


Kathy on May 09, 2018 9:29 PM

This is very helpful, and the links to the specific Kettlewell clothes that suit are great. Perhaps you could also do an article about proportion and what kind of thing to wear if you are long (or short) waisted, have long or short legs, wide (or narrow) shoulders etc? It all helps choose Kettlewell clothes that will suit by style as well as by colour!

Gill Le Lievre on May 08, 2018 10:13 PM

Great blog. What would be really helpful woul d be if you could give some indication which stle the clothing in the catalogue is best suited to eg gamine, classic etc.

Pauline Duncan on May 06, 2018 3:54 PM

My body is hour Glass

Jane Gentles on May 05, 2018 3:25 PM


Catherine Holland on May 05, 2018 10:13 AM

Great article. This information is so useful.

Catherine on May 04, 2018 2:55 PM

Plenty of your tops are flattering for pear shapes but not two of the ones you show here! Both the swing top and short cascade would add bulk at the waist. Swing top also looks like it would end at the widest part of a pear-shape.

Paula on May 02, 2018 11:43 AM

A few years ago you did some lovely summer cardigans in the same fabric as the your cami’s and tops with lace down the buttonhole panel. Is there any chance these will be coming back?

Kettlewell Colours: I've passed your suggestion over to the design team. If we did do this style again it wouldn't be until next Spring/Summer season though. Keep your fingers crossed!