Operation: Core Wardrobe – What shape am I?

operatoin core wardobe 2
The idea of sewing my core wardrobe has been growing for the past year.  I’ve taken the last 6-9 months or so to plan for it.  Not that it needs to take that long to plan for a wardrobe, it’s not like we’re climbing Everest here. Or is it?

The first steps in sewing a Core Wardrobe that looks and feels smashing is to determine what body shape you are. I took Tish Gance’s fitting class from HISS Studios here in Denver.

The true eye-opener was when our bodies were analyzed as to what shape we were (Apple, Pear, Rectangle etc). Now, this was totally optional and you had the option to not do it or to have Tish help you privately. Most of us have some body issues, good lord I wore baggy men’s clothing for years to hide my shape.

In my leggings and tank and I stood in front of the group where everyone came to the conclusion that I was a Pear. I was a Rectangle but due to ‘birthing babies’ and the fact I don’t work out for two hours every day I’ve morphed into a lovely Pear.

So, what looks best on Pears or other shape? There is a virtually a Library of Congress sized resource out there for you to find what works best for your shape. Our Pinterest boards for body shape how to dress and sew for it might be a good place to start. Or just Pinterest in general. I also like the book The Pocket Stylist by Kendall Farr.  I prefer books that use real women as examples. Where’s the benefit of looking at a 23 year old 6’ slender framed woman in building my wardrobe? Where!?

I would also like to add that for every body type there is a multitude of differences within. For instance, I am a short-waisted Pear and there are long-waisted Pears. If I wore the same thing as a long-waisted Pear I would look out of proportion.

The important take-away here is you really need to have an accurate assessment of your body shape, especially if you’ve never had it done. The fashion industry loves to convince us that we’re still the same size that we were in high school with this ridiculous vanity sizing but our clothing size is really such a small part of getting a great looking wardrobe. We can all look good (or bad) regardless of size.

Here is a visual to body types. Sometimes a persons shape doesn’t fit neatly into these 5 categories. A fitting specialist can really help pinpoint what will look good on you and what to avoid.

For the next post, I’m going to discuss the most painful part of this and show you the patterns that I will be using in sewing my wardrobe.




  1. Wow, this was a learning experience for me! I’ve always considered myself a pear shape but I’m actually an hourglass. I guess this is what my most recent sewing teacher meant by saying I have a curvy shape. Who knew you could be flat chested and still curvy? Thanks for the post, I learned a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know. So it boggles the mind when you think of RTW for women trying to get all our different shapes in to a small (relatively) range of styles. Viva la Sewing!


  2. So true about boxy styles making an hourglass figure look frumpy. What I find puzzling is that all the shapes beneath the geometric symbols are the same. It would have been so much more helpful is if the women’s silhouettes had corresponded to the geometric shapes that are used to represent them–a broad-shouldered narrow-hipped figure behind the inverted triangle, a figure with weight around the middle for the circle, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great Post, Jilly! Looking forward to this series, and hoping that other body shapes represent. I was a loooong-waisted rectangle forever before hourglass, and boy, you can’t find two more opposing wardrobes than those. I couldn’t understand why I looked so frumpy, but the boxy clothes of a rectangle will instantly turn an hourglass into a Slavic grandma.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this post! I am definitely an hourglass. It is so important to pick patterns which are correct for your body shape. After all these years of sewing, I’m still learning this. (As recently as one month ago!)

    Totally looking forward to the next one.

    Liked by 1 person

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