Donna Karan once said, “Highlight the positive and delete the negative.” I think every woman has had their moments of squeezing into something they knew was a bit too small for them or something that fit ok on their body, but didn’t have any flattering qualities.

Dressing for your body type is something that a lot of women forget to do. What may look good on someone else, or the department store mannequin, may not work once you step into that dressing room. There’s a style type for every body shape.

For myself, I’m 5’10 and depending on the designer, I flip-flop between a size 12 or 14, but I’m apple shaped. Broad shoulders, straight waist and no hips. I pray for hips, but at this point, it’s not going to happen. As I look through some old photos of myself when I was younger, I notice several fashion tragedies, mainly because I didn’t know any better.

Below are some suggestions to help you figure out what clothing options fit your specific body shape.

Top Heavy:
Goal: Your goal should be not to have Chuck Brown’s song, “Bustin’ Loose” as your theme song. Pick tops that are shaped but not extremely tight. Make sure you’re not walking around with buttons screaming for help. Instead of drawing attention to the obvious, try to draw attention to your bottom half. Also, get a good bra. A bra from Wal-Mart just won’t cut it. There are plenty of bras designed for women with ample bosom. You will spend plenty on one, but it’s worth it. Don’t do ruffles. Ever. Spaghetti straps? No bueno. To balance out try dresses that have gathers under the breast. Run like hell away from high-waisted anything.

Bottom Heavy body shapes:
Goal: As a proud card-carrying member of the “Baby Got Back Club” I always try to bring to the top half of the body and away from bottom areas. Dark clothing on the bottom half and lighter on the tops are suitable. This is where high-waisted works best. It emphasizes the waist, but draws attention from the bottom. I live in wrap dresses, especially DVF because they emphasize my waist.

TOP and BOTTOM Heavy body types:
Goal: Don’t hide it, flaunt it, but there’s a difference between fitted and tight. Fitted is good. Tight not so good. Tailored denim trousers or a straight leg works a lot better than wide-cut pants. Pleats? Yeah, you may want to avoid those as well, no need in adding more bulk.

No CURVES body types:
Goal: You gotta fake it to make it, so create curves and an hourglass shape. Playing with different patterns will create curves. Pleats benefit those without curves as well as skinny jeans because they will give you definition.

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  • Anna Pratti

    Thanks for this! The title of this post reminded of what I used to think of my body shape. For years I thought that my body type was hourglass. Only a few months back I found that I’m actually a Pear… and, sure, that explained why most hourglass recommended clothes didn’t look good on me… I just discovered, however, a website that recommends clothes for every body type. Hope it helps: stylingup.com