True, most women we see hitting celebrity red carpets are so thin they practically disappear when they turn sideways to pose for the cameras.
But, believe us, there are still plenty of stars out there with body types the rest of us can identify with, and, whether they’re curvy or lithe, petite or plus-size, athletic or triangle-shaped, they know how to dress to flatter their figures.
Of course, they often have professional help. So, we turned to two celebrity stylists, Elle Werlin, who has worked with Jessica Szohr, Emma Stone, Jane Krakowski, Mary Louise Parker and Beyonce, to name a few, and Lindsay Albanese, who has dressed stars including Maria Menounos, Paula Abdul and Fran Drescher and styled for TV shows such as “American Idol,” “Access Hollywood” and “Today,” for advice on dressing for your body shape.
As they say, real women have curves—some are just more pronounced than others—but with these tips from the pros, you’ll be working your shape like the hottest red carpet divas. So, go ahead and smile and strike a red carpet pose in your living room. Because you don’t actually have to be a big time star to dress like one.
“Kate Winslet looks gorgeous and sophisticated in every look, as she knows fit comes first when choosing her red carpet style,” celebrity stylist Elle Werlin says, noting this Stella McCartney color-block dress the actress wore during the 2011 Venice Film Festival.
“This dress works for Kate because it highlights her curves and, through optical illusion, elongates her silhouette with the black side paneling. Kate is the best example of a curvy woman with a chic, classic, but still today look that puts her body shape first.”
Want to cop Winslet’s style? “Avoid prints, flowy and non-structured pieces, as well as masculine trends, as they will make one look larger and tend to highlight the wrong areas, creating a larger illusion,” Werlin advises.
When you have a long and lean ruler body shape, like Gwyneth, it’s practically a crime against fashion to not show off with a body-conscious style. The Oscar-winning actress dazzled at the 2011 Academy Awards in this shimmering Calvin Klein Collection gown.
“First off, everyone should own a well-fitted black blazer,” style expert Lindsay Albanese says of Hendricks’ look at a performance of Stephen Sondheim’s “The Company” with the New York Philharmonic in June. “Not only are they versatile, but they hide and flatter a multitude of figure concerns, creating a polished, slimming look because of the vertical tailoring and structure.
The striped shirt works because she broke up the print by pairing it with a fitted black blazer. And, the fact that she kept her entire outfit fitted shows her real curves without giving the illusion of looking bigger. For maximum flattery, I suggest adding one statement printed piece per look, then build the rest of the outfit on solids.”
From the looks of things, there probably aren’t too many frocks Cameron Diaz doesn’t appear amazing in. If you’re lucky enough to share her super-toned body shape, well, kudos to you. Go ahead and show off your gorgeous gams—and, while you’re at it, your superb shoulders, lithe arms and tiny waist, too, as Diaz did at the 2011 Teen Choice Awards in this tiny strapless minidress by A.L.C.
Petite women need only look to “Desperate Housewives” actress Eva Longoria to find styles that are anything but scandalous. The 5-foot, 2-inch star looked radiant in this coral-red classic strapless Salvatore Ferragamo sheath at Variety’s Power of Women Event in September. Note how the thin belt creates a slim waist and the nude shoes help extend her leg-line—both accessories are BFFs for petite women everywhere.
“Beyonce is a style icon, always chic, glamorous and accentuating her flawless hourglass shape,” celeb stylist Elle Werlin says, noting this Antonio Berardi number the Grammy winner wore to a 2010 fashion event. “Whether she is wearing a Thierry Mugler avant garde bodysuit or this classic white shift dress as she travels to different shows or to perform at events, each look is fabulous, highlighting her best assets.”
And the old notion that white makes you look bigger? Throw it out the window, Werlin adds, and just seek out fab tailoring that shows off your sexy shoulders and small waist.
“I have all my celebrity clients have their gowns, dresses, pants, jackets, et cetera, altered—especially when they are curvy,” she says. “You have to highlight the silhouette, not camouflage it. There is nothing more chic than a beautifully fitted dress on a curvy woman, but it has to fit properly. Thus, a curvy woman—like a petite woman—needs to befriend her local tailor. It’s all about tailoring to take an off-the-rack dress and make it look custom-made.”
“The draping and print of this dress move vertically on the body and vertical lines always slim and narrow the figure because they draw the eye up and down,” style pro Lindsay Albanese says of the Bottega Veneta dress Hayek wore to a “Puss in Boots” premiere in October. “A belt at the waist or a cinched waistline is always flattering for a curvy girl, too, because they define the waist. Opt for lower necklines for a slimming effect—high necklines tend to cut-off or stump a petite, curvy figure.”
When you’re rocking a sexy hourglass shape like Scarlett Johansson, you’re well-served by working some retro glam—and a little black dress is a great place to start. This Dolce & Gabbana number the actress wore to a Milan Fashion Week dinner with the designers has a halter-like neckline, perfect for showing up your beautiful décolletage, a flirty, full skirt that’s flattering on your hips and a short—but not too short—length to allow just the right appreciation for those great gams. Bella!
“Fit is crucial if your frame is similar to Adele’s,” Lindsay Albanese says, noting this Barbara Tfank black dress the singer wore to the MTV Video Music Awards in August. “Don’t lose your shape in oversized clothing, unless, that is, you pair it with something fitted to create shape.
If you’re going to cover up like she is here, make sure you still manage to show some skin—whether it be arms, neckline or legs, even if it’s just a little. A great tip I’ve done before is, if you love a dress, but it has a really high neckline, take it to your tailor and ask if they can drop the neckline a bit. I promise, this trick works wonders. It breaks up the solid around your neck and you look slimmer—definitely worth the money.”
“Rihanna looked divine in this Max Azria white pantsuit, channeling her inner Bianca Jagger,” Elle Werlin says. “Rihanna’s cutting-edge style plays on masculinity meeting femininity. She plays with the menswear trend, but adds sexiness with an open button-down.”
Werlin says this chic look, Rihanna wore to the 2011 Billboard Music Awards, works best on a tall, slender body type.
“Since, the suit isn’t tailored, one must have height, or else it looks dumpy. If one is too curvy, it will make you look larger, which no one wants. But if you are too thin, with no curves, it will make you look androgynous, instead of ’70s sexy chic glam meets today,” she says. “So, I think this look truly isn’t for everyone, but if you can rock it, it is fabulous.”
“Jane Krakowski has a fantastic figure, as she is petite and proportionate,” Werlin, who has styled the “30 Rock” actress and new mom, says. “She looks best in solid, bold-color dresses, as they elongate her silhouette.”
Werlin says petite body shapes can take advantage of bold color choices.
“When you are tall, it becomes too overpowering,” she says. “Petite women also look fabulous in below-the-knee form fitting-dresses—as long as the shoe is nude, you can do many printed options, too.”
Queen Latifah is the epitome of curvy, gorgeous glam in this stunning blue ombre Georges Chakra design she wore hosting the 2011 People’s Choice Awards. Curvy body shapes pay attention: From the uber-flattering halter neckline and empire waist to the flowing fabric and jeweled neckline to the darker color up top, fading into a lighter color at the bottom, this is a look voluptuous women should aspire to. Long live the Queen!