“Hips Don’t lie” – Shakira never sang a truer song than this, though she meant it to mean that her hips start automatically to move in dance when she finds her music, not what I mean to say in this post.
Hips tell a whole lot of things about your body. Like body shapes that differ in their silhouettes, hips also vary from body to body. Generally, they can be categorized according to the way the body curves and slopes down the waist to the hips and thighs.
Where is your hip? It is not the widest part of the body as most people generally think of a hip.The hip is measured at 7 -8 inches from the waist (which is the narrowest part of your torso).
Some have a protruding tummy which makes this portion the widest part of their body, some thicker thighs. So when measuring hips you cannot generally say to measure the widest part of the body and leave it at that. Determining the type of hip you have is important in selecting your clothes, like the pants, skirts, and underwear ( not just for determining whether you will die before the age of 30 etc etc as some health articles claim).
In this article I will cover:
The 5 types of hip shapes
It is very important that you understand the hip shape of the person you are taking body measurement because even with almost the same measurement for the hip round or waist round, bodies can have different shapes.
A-line hip shape
In this type of hips, the curves of the body slope gradually without sharp lines or any bulges from the waistline to the hips and thighs in a nice A-line shape. Back and stomach are nicely round without protruding.
Square shaped Hips
This is a columnar shape with an average hip area, the outer leg line is perpendicular to the ground, going straight up to the waist; The hip area matches the waist area because of high hip flare (love handles or wide pelvic bone) or because of a thicker waist, with this portion almost matching the hip area. In this type of body, the waist to hip ratio should be nearly equal. You may find that you look flat in almost all clothes, not nice and curvy.
You may want to camouflage the area with long tops, dark colored bottom wear etc.
Heart shaped hips
This shape has an average waist and a narrow hip shape with a high hip flare. The hip curves abruptly ( almost diagonally) from the waist over the pelvic bone to progress again diagonally to the narrow hip, resulting in what some might call a muffin top. This type of hips is usually accompanied by slim legs. You may have heard of this shape as V type of hips as well
Low waist pants/jeans are not recommended for this hip shape.
Triangle shaped hips
In this type of hip, an average waist progresses to a wide hip or wide upper thighs; there may be an almost diagonal progression of the curves from waist to the much wider hip.
In this type, the whole hip area is quite narrow, when compared to the rest of the body. You can try to bring shape to your hips with low waist styles and well fitted curvy pants/jeans. You will have to bring balance with the rest of the body with clothes having flare/embellishments on the bottom part – flared trousers, gathered skirts etc.
This is a very curvy hip with an almost protruding back. You can reduce the effect (if that is what you want) by wearing dark colored bottom wear and long tops. Avoid low waist styles.
Also Check out the related post on the 7 basic body shapes.
How to measure hips ?
To measure your hips, first locate your hip bone.Hip is measured by wrapping the measuring tape around the fullest part of your hip, below your hip bone. You would know very well where your buttocks protrude out the most. That is where you should hold your tape for measuring the hip.
When taking the hip measure make sure that you have your feet together, not wide apart; at least not as wide as your shoulders
Follow the general instructions for body measurements given in the post How to take body measurements for sewing like Stand with feet slightly apart, hold the measuring tape loosely around your hip and the buttocks with just enough space inside to keep one finger inside, keeping the tape parallel to the ground, all around
In case you have a protruding stomach, which is projecting farther from your hip level, above it, when designing fitting skirts / pants you will have to take that into account into your pattern.
The ideal body measurements for bust- waist – hip are as per the table given above. The real body measurements as we know it, are never ideal. You can take this as a general indication, largely unattainable and proceed.