Figure Flattery

Dressing for success without losing sight of your individuality

Every woman is built differently, but all of you are beautiful. You may be tired of trying on clothing as you have developed the popular belief that your body is not made for fashion, but that is just a myth. There are clothes that flatter all body types. Are you a woman who is more curvaceous or is most of your body weight above your waist? Perhaps you have an hourglass shape? Whatever your body issues may be, don’t fret, there is a solution.

A straight dress ideal for
all body types.

Canadian textile fashion designer, Saniya Khan, blends art and design to create timeless pieces.

“There is so much variety out there for all types of figures and ages, one should feel confident in what they pick for themselves and they will feel beautiful,” she says.

For confidence in the fashion choices you make, follow these essential but simple steps to pick the best clothes for your particular body type.

Apple-shaped figures
If you carry most of your weight above your waist, especially in your stomach, that’s the first sign of an apple-shaped body. Large breasts, narrow hips and thin legs complete the qualifications.

To dress for this figure, it is important to pay attention to detail. Dress in monochromatic outfits because they give the illusion of length rather than width. Dark colours are best for the apple shape.

V-neck tops are a great choice because they draw attention to your cleavage, and if you match it with a flowing silk skirt, the fabric will skim your apple shape and you will even be asking yourself, “Have I lost weight?”

You can even pull off a short, but tasteful skirt to emphasize your great legs and draw the attention away from your problem area: your tummy.

One of the latest trends suited for your body type is a polyester satin top because it has a nice classic cut and hides the unwanted belly fat you carry.

Also a chic, classy business suit would be a great piece to add to your wardrobe because, once again, it hides your problems areas but, more importantly, it will never go out of style.

Belinda-Ann Mitchell, a professional model and fashion major at Ryerson, suggests shopping at Winners for these finds. According to Mitchell, Winners has “a huge selection, good prices” and she’s never walked out of there dissatisfied or empty-handed.

“Winners is a great place to shop because you can find some unique, but trendy pieces that another store may not have,” Mitchell adds.

Pear-shaped figures
Pear shapes are traditionally bottom heavy – have a thin and slender neck, narrow shoulders, and larger hips and thighs.

Starting with the top, you want a boat-neck or scoop-neck style shirt to widen your shoulders and balance your bottom half. Then look for accents in your top that define or show off that waist such as belts or buttoned vests – specifically a cotton-blend satin vest. You can purchase one at affordable stores like Forever21. They come in all sizes and slightly different styles so choose wisely and try them on first.

The plus-size woman with a pear shape should stay away from baggy shirts. The huge misconception is that these shirts hide your extra baggage, but in fact they only make you look bigger. Find a shirt that fits you well, but also make sure it’s not too tight. For the bottom, stick with a-line cut skirts as they skim over your problem areas. And stay away from tight pants – because they draw attention to your problem area, and you
certainly do not want that.

A simple, yet elegant wrap dress perfect for hour glass figured women.

Hourglass shape
You may have been blessed with a figure like Marilyn Monroe’s, but, face it ladies, although you have those fantastic curves, some of you have a little more love handles then you’d like. Don’t fret though – there are ways to dress up that hourglass.

Your best clothing choices are those that emphasize your waist. A classic v-neck cardigan or sweater will not only accent your hourglass figure, but add a touch of elegance to your look.

You can find belted and un-belted v-neck cardigans at H & M, but for a more glamorous and polished look, you may want to check out The Bay. Ralph Lauren’s new spring 2008 collection offers a stylish, elegant knit-belted cardigan that you should consider picking up.

Constanzo advises women to purchase garments from a store that has high quality standards, so you don’t have to go and repurchase the same piece of clothing twice when the fabric starts to peel.

The wearability of an outfit is important. Spend a little extra money on clothing so thatit lasts longer and you can wear it for more than a couple of years.

Now back to specific items for the hourglass shape. In addition to v-neck cardigans, pencil skirts are the best way to go for that Monroe body. A pencil skirt in a general or satin blend can add sophistication. Besides, pencil skirts are a staple – a must-have if you will.

“You can be creative with what you wear and don’t have to be wealthy to do so,” says Eugenia Levitt, renowned Canadian fashion designer.

For a good quality, but affordable pencil skirt, Banana Republic is a great store to shop at. Banana also has great wrap blouses and dresses that contour to fit the hourglass figure. And once again, they are very affordable!

Aya McMillan, associate editor of fashion news for Flare magazine suggests some great stores to shop at including Zara, Aldo, French Connection, Mango, Old Navy and “of course, vintage is always fabulous.”

Ladies, wear clothing that not only suits your body, but is comfortable and reflects your personality. It is after all, a second skin.

Also, lots of people are scared of colour, but you shouldn’t be. Embrace the trend. Some of the best additions to a black suit or that little black dress are a bright red heel or a neon yellow belt. Adding punch and excitement to your wardrobe will benefit your style and it can go a long way. Metallics and patents are back in style so don’t be afraid to catch the light or somebody’s attention with them.

The evolution of fashion
Fashion has evolved and will swing like a pendulum. What was in style 20 years ago, may still be in style today. So while fashion has indeed evolved – from the Audrey Hepburn classic look – it has come around again and will continue to do so.

“We saw the mini-skirt come into the fashion world in the sixties because of the quintessential mod, Mary Quant,” Mitchell explains.

While fashion evolves, it is important to stay current. Expressing yourself through style is key. “Clothing is not just one manufactured piece, it is part of a whole creative process,” Costanzo says.

Leavitt put it best when she said:

“What someone wears is a visual hint of who they are. What they wear can make them stand out or fit in. It can show what religion they are a part of, what army they are fighting for, what school they go to, what country they are from, what music they like, what morals they have. It can also be a disguise or a cover up. Of course there is more to a person than clothing, but it always says something about them.”

So perhaps it is time to start a new fashionable chapter in your life.

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