The X Factor.jpg

If you’ve ever loved a dress on a friend and borrowed it only to realize it didn’t look quite right on you, or been drawn to a trend, like high-waisted denim, but have never been able to find a pair that flatters, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Sadly, clothes aren’t cut with every body in mind. While you can recite your jeans, dress, shirt, and shoe sizes off the top of your head, could you tell me what your body shape is? Have you ever thought about it? If so, do you know what items work for or against your figure? We live in a three-dimensional world, so our challenge is finding the right fit from clothing that appears two-dimensional on a hanger.

It’s not about size; it’s about shape.

As an individual, I’ve gone through this with my own clothes over the years and had to figure out what looks best on my body. As a style editor, I’ve also had to become intimately and instantly familiar with complete strangers of all shapes and sizes, who depend on me to come up with the perfect outfit on the spot.  

Born of necessity, the X factor appeared. I visually spot an X on someone’s frame to quickly assess that person’s body type, how I might balance his or her look, and in turn suggest the most flattering option.

Seeing this mental mark allows me to envision an axis point from which to focus, as well as areas that should be highlighted or adjusted. The X factor can help you shift your mind to shift your shape. For every perceived problem area there is an equal and opposite positive area. Understanding this concept will spare you hours of frustration in front of your closet, save you decades of dressing-room drama, and give you hints when looking at something on the hanger. We are all of various heights, we all carry weight a little differently, and all our body parts are uniquely our own. Yet most people typically identify with one of five general body types:

  • Hourglass:
  • Triangle:
  • Inverted triangle:
  • Diamond:
  • Rectangle:

To figure out which body type you fall under,
all you have to do is find your X.