How do you know if you have a vintage or modern silhouette?By establishing which silhouette you have, picking out clothes will be a lot easier. You can pick out which clothes will likely suit your body without spending hours and hours trying things on, and your wardrobe will suit your body shape. This is essential for those with a capsule wardrobe.
Vintage Silhouette: Those with a vintage silouette will have more than a 9-10+ inch difference between their bust/hips and their waist measurement.Vintage silhouettes tend to have large breasts and hips/bums in comparison to their small waist, and would say these are their best features.
They tend to naturally carry more weight on their arms, legs, and stomach than a modern silhouette. They tend to look more "solid" at a healthy weight than a modern silhouette will, and are described as "curvy" even if they are a low weight. Vintage silhouettes often have a gap at the back of their pants above their bum.
I am a vintage silhouette (my measurements are bust 37", waist 28", hips 41").
*note: someone with smaller breasts but broad shoulders, small waist and larger hips sometimes suit a vintage look. use your judgement).
Bust 38", Waist 27", Hips 40"
Bust 45", Waist 32", Hips 49"
Bust 35", Waist 25", Hips 36"
Bust 56", Waist 42", Hips 53"
What vintage silhouettes should wear:
Vintage silhouettes need to think about the structure of their clothing. Vintage girls should wear clothes that are fitted and not too big, even if they're overweight. Generally, the waist should be accentuated whenever possible with tailoring or belts. Anything without a distinct waist tends to make them look much heavier than they are.
The 50s and 60s are fantastic references for these women. High waisted is generally more flattering, as it shows off the waist and hides a tummy that many vintage silhouettes have. Vintage silhouettes generally tend to suit skirts that hit mid thigh to the knee. Any shorter or longer many not be very flattering to their legs.
Boot cut jeans flatter a heavier thigh and hips, and you may need pants tailored to avoid a gap between their pants and their body in the back above the bum. In general, vintage silhouettes flatter dresses and skirts more than pants.
What Vintage Silhouettes Should Avoid:
Shift Dresses, Loose tops that don't cinch at the waist, anything with the word "flowy" in the description, skinny jeans, maxi dresses, capes, ponchos, anything too loose.
Pencil skirts and second skin stretch dresses can look fantastic on a very lucky vintage silhouette who doesn't have extra fat on her tummy and legs, but most won't suit these looks.
Modern Silhouettes have less than 9" difference between their hips/bust and waist. They tend to have more toned arms, legs, and tummies but less prominent hips, bums and breasts.
Often modern silhouette girls have problems with jeans cutting in at the top and giving them "muffin top". They also may find that dresses with full skirts may make them look slightly shapeless. Often modern silhouettes are thin, but if they gain weight its often in their thighs and sides, giving them a pear or boxy shape.
Bust 32", Waist 26", Hips 33"
Bust 40", Waist 32", Hips 40"
Bust 35", Waist 32", Hips 37"
Bust 29", Waist 24", Hips 30"
What Modern Silhouettes Should Wear:
Most "trendy" clothing fits a modern silhouettes. Skinny jeans, short shorts, bandeau skirts, low rise pants, crop tops and skin tight dresses fit a thin modern silhouette and make them look like a rock star.
For modern silhouettes who aren't the size of a fashion model, flowy is your friend. You can get away with looser tanktops, maxi dresses, and straighter fit tops that go over the breasts but don't cinch at the waist as distinctly. You can have more fun with layering, ruffles, and trapeze shapes too.
Since your waist isn't as distinct, you can wear looser shapes and won't look larger. Backless can work fantastically for a modern shape; their smaller breasts can get away without a bra. Shift dresses were made for the modern silhouette More masculine cuts can work wonderfully, and many modern silhouettes can pull off an androgynous look.
Our current era has a lot to offer the modern silhouette, the 20s, 70s and 80s also embraced the modern silhouette.
What Modern Silhouettes Should Avoid:
Modern Silhouettes have a bit more liberty than their vintage friends if they're a waif, but if they are a little big larger, its best to avoid high waisted pants that will make you look boxy. A-line skirts can sometimes look a little strange, as can anything that is too cinched in if it doesn't fit you properly as it will throw off your proportions and make your waist look quite large.
A modern silhouette may find that clothing can fit their waist but then the bust is much too large. Make friends with a tailor who can fix these for you, or wear something stretchy.