Many style advisors begin by telling you to measure specific parts of your body to discover which fruit shape you have. In my experience, very few bodies fit neatly into these classifications. For example, you may find that you have an apple shape middle and pear-shaped hips. Rather than delving into what type of fruit you might be, let’s talk about focusing on the parts you like best.
If your slim hips are an area you are proud of, don’t wear loose-fitting khaki cargo capris that hide your shape and make your legs look shorter and thicker. Instead, try white jeans or skirts that skim over your body and show your shape without hugging any part too much. Hemlines that end where your legs are most slender will show off your legs to their best advantage. This tip also applies to other parts of the body.
Hemlines and necklines are focal points. Sleeves that end mid-bust will draw attention to that area, so I don’t wear short sleeve tees. If you have narrow shoulders and a small bust, boat neck tops are golden for you. Tops or jackets with hems that land at your hips’ widest part bring the focus to that area. I prefer hip-length because it helps me balance my top-heavy frame, and I often wear jackets and tops at mid-hip to avoid hiding any part of my short legs.
Women sometimes comment that dresses are the perfect summer look, but if you wear a dress shape that isn’t a good match for your body shape, it can make you look much larger than you are. I’ll give you an example. When I wear a shapeless tank or T-shaped dress with no darts and no waistline details, I look like I am wearing a tent. This is because the shoulders, chest, and upper back are the largest part of my body, so a shapeless top or dress makes the rest of me look even larger since they fall from the widest part. On the other hand, I look much more slender in a soft dress that slightly gathers above my natural waistline and then skims over my tummy and hips. Note that the most slender part of the torso is often just below the bustline, not at your natural waist.
If you have an hourglass shape, your waist is your smallest part. You likely already know that you look best when you keep your waistline in focus. Bring attention to the parts you like best. Shapeless clothing will make us look larger than we are.
Garments that skim over the body and move with you will always be more flattering than those that hug too tightly and showcase the bits we aren’t fond of. Some advertisers try to convince us that a long top will hide a tummy, but it will bring all the attention there if thin knit fabric clings under a bulge. A loose-fitting top that stops just below the tummy will be a much better choice.
Wearing a light color belt in a similar tone to my top shows that I have a waistline, but the jacket hides that it is thicker than I would like. If I had worn a navy belt, it would have made my short waist look even more so. The jacket and loose-fitting pants also hide the fact that my behind is flat.
Styling tips are tools to help us present the best version of ourselves. There is no correct body shape or proportion. The magic happens when you learn how to flaunt what you’ve got. I hope that sharing my tips and examples helps you do just that.
Similar items are found in the following links: Jacket – Tank – Pants – Belt – Shoes – Bag. (My jacket is a size large, the tank is a size medium and my pants are size six.) I wore this look to dinner at a casual restaurant. It had rained for most of the day, and the temperatures were in the 70s.
Many thanks to JoAnn H., who wrote to ask for more information about dressing different body types.
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