Dressing For Your Body Shape

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and cringed at the small breasts, narrow hips or large belly? Please remember no woman, including that fabulous lingerie model, has a faultless body. However, some women through clever clothing choices,manage to downplay their flaws and accentuate their strengths better than others. These women are able to pull it off mainly because they understand their body shapes.

The female body can be broadly categorized into five different shapes based on bust, waist and hip proportions. Body shape is independent of overall size. For example, though Debra Messing and Keira Knightley may look very different in size, they essentially have the same rectangle body shape.

BANANA

If your bust and hips are almost the same size and your waist is undefined, you have a banana or rectangle body shape. Your waist measurement is less than nine inches smaller than your hips or bust measurement. Though there may be fuller versions of this body shape, you are more than likely to have a small or medium bust with proportionally slim legs and arms. While dressing, your main aim should be to add curves to your body by defining your shoulders and waist.

Feminine dresses and girly skirts will add the necessary curves to your body. Look for semi-fitted clothes that skim your body but do not cling to it. Anything too clingy will only accentuate the straightness of your frame. Wrap and draped dresses will give the illusion of a well defined waist. Invest in cute waist defining belts to wear over shirts, cardigans and coats. Pinched or pleated waists too can help in creating the right curves at your waist. Fashion details like halters, ruffles, laces and beads will give you that ultra feminine look.

Stay away from baggy tops and pants as they will only accentuate your absence of curves. Chose slightly flared flat fronted pants over narrow ones to soften your shape. Please never go bra less under a flimsy top even if you have small breasts as it looks extremely tacky. Unless you are uncharacteristically well endowed, stick to high and medium necklines.

Celebrities sharing your body shape include Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Hilary Duff, Keira Knightley.

PEAR

If your hip measurement is at least two inches more than your bust measurement and your waist is well defined, you have a pear or triangle body shape. You are likely to have proportionally narrow shoulders and a medium bust. You should try to balance your bottom half by adding volume to your upper body.

Use accessories and details to draw attention to your upper body. For example a wrap dress will emphasize your bust, accentuate your well defined waist yet hide your large hips and thighs. Big lapels, neck embellishment, small shoulder pads help broaden your upper body. Short-sleeved tops will keep the attention on your upper body. To avoid adding bulk to your hips, stick to straight and slightly flared skirts.

Wear low rise pants to prevent unsightly muffin tops. Coats with buttons on the top half and belted waists work great for the bottom heavy woman. Avoid clingy skirts and tapered pants as they highlight the hip. Wear vertical patterns and dark colors on the bottom to give the illusion of slender hips and thighs. Contrasting it with light colored top will further enhance the slimming effect. You may also wear prints on dark backgrounds to deviate attention from broad hips.

Stay away from any fashion detail that adds volume to your lower body like side pockets, front pleats and embroidery or seam details on back pockets. Empire waist dresses will hide your defined waist and accentuate your broad hips. On the other hand, a fitted top paired with a full, pleated knee-length skirt will not only highlight your waist but also conceal your wide hip. Avoid tapered pants that emphasize a wide middle area, try boot-cut pants and jeans to create a straight, lean line.

You may follow celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Shakira, and Rihanna for style tips for the pear shaped woman.

HEART

If your bust is three or more inches larger than the hips and your waist is well defined, you have a heart or inverted triangle body shape. It is often considered the second best female body shape. You probably have broad shoulders and proportionately slim legs. Your main goal should be to create the illusion of the perfect hourglass body shape by balancing your lower body to your upper body.

Since you are top heavy, first and foremost get a well fitting bra. Low and medium-low necklines will divert attention from your upper body. A fitted, single-breasted blazer that defines the waist but is roomy enough in the bust not to pull has an over-all slimming and shape defining effect.

Three quarter sleeve will help bring the focus down to the lower half your body. Wear dresses that emphasis your waist and A-line and tulip skirts and flared pants will add volume to your narrow hips and balance out your breasts.

Avoid ruffles, neck embellishment, big collars, thin spaghetti straps and delicate camisole tops. Chose dresses with strategic gathers under the breast to direct all eyes to your waist. Stay away from high waisted pants and skirts.

APPLE

If you have an undefined waist and large stomach with the overall appearance of being round in your torso area, you are an apple shaped woman. There are actually two female body shapes that are referred to as the apple – the oval and the diamond. If you are an oval, you have a large lower stomach. On the other hand, a diamond shaped woman has a higher stomach. In either case, you must try to draw attention to our shoulders and face, to create a longer heart body shape.

Wear earrings, necklaces and other focal points designed to draw the eyes up towards your shoulders and face. Small shoulder pads will also help by broadening your shoulders. Dress in the monotone to create an uninterrupted slimmer and longer body line.

Avoid clingy fabrics and fitted clothes as they will only accentuate your roundness. Likewise, belts, tucked-in tops and front pleated pants will bring undue attention to your mid section.

Celebrities who have your body shape include Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Osbourne and Britney Spears.

HOURGLASS

If your bust and hip measurements are nearly equal and you have a narrow waist, you have an hourglass body shape. It is usually termed the perfect female body shape. Your hips and shoulders will be balanced and your waist will be visibly pinched in. Your fashion goal should be to highlight your fantastic body shape by flaunting your curves.

Wear fitted and semi-fitted clothes in soft, clingy and flowing fabrics. V and scooped necks will help accentuate your feminine curves. Jackets with a single button will emphasize your narrow waist. Pick dresses with defined waistlines. Chiffon dress with a corset will work great here. The tailored look always works for the hourglass frame. Wear straight and gently flared pants to avoid disturbing the balance.

Skirts and pants should be fastened on the side and flat-fronted, to avoid extra bulk. Stay away from tight, wide-cut pants, which can make the bottom look wider. Don’t hide your curves under un-pinched tents and baggy clothes.

Beyonce, Jessica Simpson, Halle Berry, Oprah Winfrey, America Ferrera and Tyra Banks have the much coveted hourglass body shape.

Of course you must understand your current body shape may change. If you transform shape by more than two inches then please re-evaluate your body shape and ensure your clothes flatter your new shape. Though some shapes may appear easier to dress, if you pick the right clothing choices you will be able to make the most of your body shape.

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