Woman Body Types:
Four Body Shapes & More

Woman body types come in all shapes and sizes. From various four body shapes systems to one including twelve, there are a variety of methods used to identify body types. Female body types are generally categorized by Sheldon’s somatotypes, letters and even fruit.

Following is a sampling of eight different systems for identifying woman body shapes. The majority of them were not created to help women determine how to wear clothes that look the best on their frames and help them achieve their professional goals.

Somatotypes (also referred to as somatypes)

Woman body types are synonymous with somatypes in the world of health and fitness. Sheldon identified three different somatypes: endomorph, mesomorph and ectomorph.

Endomorphs are described as plump and fleshy. Mesomorphs tend to be naturally muscular, while ectomorphs lean toward thinness without naturally, well-developed musculature.

While these somatotypes can be useful in health and sport, they aren’t so much so when it comes to knowing how to wear clothes that flatter various female body types.

Vague’s Body Type Categories

Jean Vague created fewer than four body shapes when he labeled the way that people carry excessive fat (or obesity). The categories included: (1.) android, which was considered male-patterned excess fat distribution held in and around the waist (i.e., ‘apple’ body shape) and (2.) gynaeoid, which was described as female-patterned excess fat distribution that was carried in and around the hips (i.e., ‘pear' body shape).

Two additional categories, thyroid (thin limbs with excess fat stored in and around abdomen) and lymphatic (excess weight distributed fairly evenly over entire body), were added to make up four body shapes. However, this system also isn’t sophisticated enough to help women discover how to wear clothes that look great on them unless they fit neatly into one of these narrowly-defined body shapes.

Traditional Four Body Types

A loosely related classification of four body shapes includes: (1.) The Pear or Triangle (similar to the gyneoid), (2.) The Tulip or Inverted Triangle (most of the weight is carried in her upper body, similar to the thyroid), (3.) The Hour Glass (full bust, small waist, full hips and is sometimes compared to a feminine mesomorph somatotype), and (4.) The Rectangle (similar to the lymphatic body shape).

Again, these four body shapes aren’t sufficient to help women utilize woman body types to determine how to wear clothes well, unless the woman fits neatly into one of these four body shapes. Ditto for the four fruity body shapes identified as: banana, apple, pear and hour glass.

Ethnic Body Type System

Ellispe Lingerie even has a three body shape category system specifically targeting Latino women. The categories include: The Latina (pear-shaped, think Jennifer Lopez), The Curvetina (hourglass figure, think Beyonce or Raquel Welch), and The Minitina (svelte, think 1920s slim or Penelope Cruz).

Six-12 Body Shape Systems

In addition to these two-four body shapes schemes, there are two six body shapes and a 12 body shapes systems that we came across. The basic six body shape frames include: A Frame (again, think Pear), V Frame (think Android), H Frame (think Rectangle), The Ruler (skinny Rectangle), The ‘8’ Frame (Hourglass), and the Oval/Diamond Frame (Apple).

Coopersmith’s six body shapes combine the fruit and somatotypes approaches. Her woman body types include three pears and three apples: the ecto-pear, meso-pear, endo-pear, ecto-apple, meso-apple and endo-apple.

BBC What Not to Wear former hosts and current Making Over America hosts, Trinny & Susannah, have outlined 12 body types. They include names ranging from candy, fruit, and building elements to china cabinet items.

A Fashion Specific System

In the end, each of these systems for categorizing woman body types is similar. The Artistry & Strategy Woman Body Types Fashion Tips System used to distinguish between woman body shapes is also similar, but provides a subtle, yet significant, and useful difference.

Go to the Artistry & Strategy Woman Body Shapes page

Find out more about traditional body shapes at the Different Body Types page.

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