No matter how well you think you know your body, there’s a good chance New York City board-certified plastic surgeon Matthew Schulman, MD, knows your butt type even better. Over the course of his career, he’s examined an estimated 50,000 butts from 35 countries and almost every U.S. state. And he’s personally augmented more than 2,000 of them.
Dr. Schulman says your butt shape is determined by the placement of your pelvis and hip bones, the amount of fat you have and its distribution, the size of your underlying gluteal muscles, and the way your butt muscles attach to the thigh bone. The outcome is a butt that fits into one of five categories.
What Causes the Different Types of Butt Shapes?
Your skeletal structure determines the main framework for your body shape, and the overall shape that you end up with is determined by the distribution of fat and muscle on top of your skeleton. For the butt, the main factor which causes the particular shape of the buttocks is your pelvis, followed by your fat distribution which is largely genetically determined. In general, for most people who do not do specific glute training, muscle does not contribute a lot to butt shape as the glutes are generally underdeveloped in most people.
Females and males obviously have very different butt shapes, but this article will focus mainly on the different types of female butt shapes.
What are the Different Types of Butt Shapes for Women?
Most plastic surgeons recognize four main shapes when it comes to the female derriere:
- Square – “H” shape
- Round – “C” or “O” shape
- Heart/pear – “A” shape
- Inverted – “V” shape
If the line between your hip bone and outer thigh runs perpendicular to the ground, congrats, your butt is square, according to Dr. Schulman.
The best bottoms for you: While styles designed to hit high on the thigh can ride up and result in a wedgie, boy shorts, bikinis, tangas, and thongs can be comfortable and flattering for women with square, flat butts. Just steer clear of panties with elastic-edged leg holes, which tend to have extra fabric that can cause awkward bunching.
This particular shape is caused by either higher more prominent hip bones, or a distribution of fat in the ‘love handle’ area. The overall effect is that the butt looks square shaped and is closer to appearing as a straight up-and-down right below your waist, rather than tapering to the waist with a smooth curve.
If the line between your pelvis and hips angles inward, your butt takes on a “V” shape from behind, according to Dr. Schulman, who says this butt shape is common among women with broad shoulders and very narrow hips.
The best bottoms for you: Stick with briefs, boy shorts, hipsters, or bikinis without high-cut leg holes, which won’t provide quite enough coverage for your butt cheeks. Because a V-shaped butt can make your cheeks look like they’re sagging, make sure your underwear’s leg opening cups the bottom of your buns for extra definition.
The V shape is more commonly seen in older women as lower estrogen levels result in the shift of fat storage from the butt to the midsection. This can result in an inverted shape where the base of the butt is less full than the top of the butt. Unfortunately this butt shape is also prone to sagging as well.
“Pear-shaped” women tend to have A-shaped butts that widen below the hip bones, according to Dr. Schulman.
The best bottoms for you: Because A-shaped butts tend to stem from fuller thighs, the most comfortable underwear styles have high-cut legs with larger leg holes. Stick with tangas, bikinis, or boy shorts made from stretchy lace, or seamless, laser-cut edges — and avoid styles with elastic-edged leg holes, which can be binding and uncomfortable.
The heart or pear shape is generally considered to be the most feminine of the butt shapes, and is a result of fat distribution around lower portion of the butt and thighs. This results in a more tapered look from the waistline to the bottom of the butt (hence the “A” shape or ‘upside down heart’ description).
Fat storage around the butt and thighs in women is caused primarily by the hormone Estrogen. Unfortunately Estrogen levels can decrease as we age, which can lead to fat being stored around the abdomen and midsection instead of the butt.
This one is pretty much self-explanatory, but mostly because you’ve seen this shape on Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, and J Lo. If you want a rounder butt — which tends to be a popular sentiment among Dr. Schulman’s patients — strengthening the butt muscles can give your backside “more projection” without surgical intervention.
The best bottoms for you: A round butt requires extra fabric in the back for full coverage — otherwise, the crotch of your underwear will just shift backward, which can lower the front waist band and trigger a frontal wedgie — not cool. Tangas and thongs, as well as briefs and boy shorts with four-way stretch, a center back seam, and — in a perfect world — ruching along that seam are ideal for contouring your butt cheeks. Pro tip: Size up for even more coverage.
Commonly referred to as bubble butts due to their round appearance, a round butt is characterized by a fat distribution around the cheeks of the butt – including the upper portion of the cheeks, which causes a rounded effect when viewed from behind. This shape often sits high when viewed from the side, and is usually quite perky and full.
5. Upside-Down Heart
The ol’ upside-down-heart-shaped butt is round without defying gravity. Like round booties, “it involves a curve to the outer hips, but with more volume in the lower part of the hip,” Dr. Schulman explains.
The best bottoms for you: Because your butt and hips are full, and your buns are set low, high-cut leg holes might not give your butt cheeks quite enough coverage. Go for briefs, boy shorts, hipsters, or bikinis with a lower-cut leg opening. If you’re worried about looking saggy, make sure your underwear’s leg openings cup the buns, hitting right below your butt crease for the illusion of an instant butt lift.
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