Dressing for Your Body Shape

In a world of ever-changing trends, knowing what to wear to flatter your shape can be a challenge. YouBeauty’s Style Expert, celebrity stylist Sam Saboura, gives you basic style tips to live by, so you know how to look your best no matter what’s in style.Fashion is a tool—like makeup or hairstyles—to create a look you love. “You can change your clothing to have a positive effect on your body,” Saboura says. “You want to contrast what your body is telling you. If your body is soft, add structure; if it’s angular, add softness. The whole idea is to create balance.”

QUIZ: What’s Your Body Shape?

Flip through our style guide for tips tailored to your body shape.

Triangle Body Shape

Best features: Shapely legs, a trim waist and head-turning hips give your body feminine appeal.

Common pitfalls. “You have a slender upper body, so your instinct might be to show it off with slim-fitting shirts,” says Saboura. Resist the urge! Tiny tops throw off your body’s balance, making your bottom look bigger than it is.

Tops When you think about tops, think layers. Creating balance for your shape is all about filling out your upper half. “A cardigan is your best friend,” says Saboura, because it adds lightweight volume. For cooler weather, try cropped jackets that stop at the waist (channel Jackie O. for inspiration). Don’t be afraid to show a little skin, too. Three-quarter sleeves, wide scoop necks, and one-shoulder tops all look great on you.

Bottoms Boot-cut pants are best for your body. “The slight flare helps to balance out curves, especially if you wear them with a heel to give your legs a little length,” Saboura suggests. Go for dark, medium-rise jeans with simple stitching and pockets in the back. For skirts and dresses, try a classic A-line cut that falls softly over your curves and highlights your trim waist. Avoid high waists and pleated skirts—they’re made for filling out figureless femmes.

Fabrics and Flair Draw the eye up with bright colors and embellished tops. Saboura says, “Try a boatneck shirt with horizontal stripes,” or a cardigan with rosette detailing. Chunky jewelry can work well for you too, adding interest up top. Prints and patterns are fine for your lower body, but aim for darker colors.

QUIZ: How Fast is Your Beauty Aging?

Circle Body Shape
Best features: Slender legs, slight shoulders and a trim booty give your figure a graceful allure.

Common pitfalls. “Circles often try to cover up their bodies,” says Saboura, “but that’s the opposite of what they should do.” Showing off your neckline, forearms and a little leg (just a little!) looks elegantly classy—not to mention younger, longer and leaner.

Tops Your body is soft and round, so your goal is to add structure, especially on top. Try a structured jacket (like a blazer). “Draw angles and lines across your body with wrap dresses or asymmetrical hemlines,” suggests Saboura. Draped fabrics, cowl necks and flutter sleeves look great on you, too, for a feminine flourish. If you feel like you need more support, layer with a dressy tank top that has a bit of lycra.

Bottoms You’ve got great legs, so show ’em off! A slim, straight leg or bootcut is perfect for you, and wearing a heel “takes off a little weight and shows off your legs,” says Saboura. Dresses with ruching or gathering hide the tummy, creating an hourglass effect.

Fabrics and Flair Prints and patterns look great on you, especially on your upper body. Go for large floral or geometric prints to flatter your figure—small prints won’t do the trick. Stick to weighty fabrics (like heavy cotton, wool or muslin) that have more natural structure.

PHOTO UPLOAD: See Yourself With Perfect Skin

Hourglass Body Shape
Best features: Big breasts, a slim waist and curvy hips make your figure the crème de la crème of feminine beauty.

Common pitfalls. Your figure has natural allure, so you may be tempted to give too much away. “Everyone is trying to mimic the hourglass curve, but you’ve already got it,” Saboura says. “Show off a bit, but don’t give away all your curves.”

Tops Simplicity is key for you. Look for clean, simple tops with scoop necklines and three-quarter sleeves. Avoid layering, and look for waist belts that help define your tiny tummy. You look best in princess seams—long, shapely seams that gather in at the waist and flare out again at the hips—that have a smooth, snug look and show off your contours. Fitted jackets look great on you, but “they need to be really well tailored,” says Saboura. “Choose jackets that nip in at the waist and flair out, like a poplin jacket.”

Bottoms You look best in skirts that stop at or below the knee, not above it. Pencil skirts look great on you, as do bootleg pants and skinny jeans. Choose pants or skirts that follow your natural curve, and go for fitted options (but not too tight). “Embrace your silhouette,” says Saboura. “The sexiness is in seeing the curve, not giving it all away.”

Fabrics and Flair Keep it simple with solid colors. Prints can disguise your figure, rather than highlight it. The same goes for fabrics. Avoid extra fabric and draping, and opt for a bit of stretch. Color looks great on your body type, but monochromatic outfits look best (think: Mad Men’s Joan Holloway).

Ruler Body Shape
Best features: Slender and often athletic, your build is easy to outfit.

Common pitfalls. You have a naturally sporty look, so you may tend to choose simple, fitted cuts. “That can actually make you look boxy,” Saboura says. Instead, you want to use clothing to soften your body and create curves.

Tops When choosing a shirt, “avoid adding more square or straight lines,” Saboura advises. Instead, complement your natural lines with asymmetrical or rounded hemlines, and ruffle details. Halters look great on you, as do boatnecks and off-the-shoulder shirts. Since your body is naturally athletic, you’ll look more feminine in tank tops with a thin, delicate strap. The same goes for jackets and blazers: Look for soft shoulders and steer clear of boxy, cropped jackets.

Bottoms High-waist pants look fantastic on you, as do wide leg trousers. Both add curves and volume to your lower body. “If you want to embrace a more masculine shape with a boyfriend jean, go for it,” says Saboura. “But put some drape and movement on top.” For a ladylike look, wrap dresses look great on you, since they draw angles and lines across the body.

Fabrics and Flair Use fabric to add softness and femininity to your look. Opt for lace, silk or lightweight fabrics, especially ones with natural draping. Embellished shirts and ruffle details add softness and give your body a bit more, well, body.

Inverted Triangle Body Shape
Best features: A tapered torso, trim waist and killer legs make you look confident and fit.

Common pitfalls. Your legs are typically well-sculpted, so your instinct may be to show them off with fitted leggings. That works if you’re wearing a long top (below your booty), but in general, you want to add volume to your lower half.

Tops You look great in cowl necks and deep V-necks that help minimize a stronger upper body. Go for simple, fuss-free shirts (no ruffles!). For feminine flair, tops with gently draped fabric or flutter sleeves add movement and softness. Embrace your inner flapper, and rock a drop-waist dress—a look that few can pull off!

Bottoms You want to amplify your lower half to match the fullness of your upper body. Choose wide-leg pants or long skirts to create balance. As a general rule, look for flowy, full-bodied pants and skirts that make your lower body look bigger (yes, that’s a good thing).

Fabrics and Flair  “Have fun with embellished, detailed shoes to call attention down,” suggests Saboura. (A reason to buy shoes? Umm, yes please!) The same goes for jewelry: Keep jewelry minimal on top, but get creative with bangles and rings to accessorize an outfit. Choose light colors and prints below the belt, and stick to darker colors on top for a more balanced look. Also, consider the size of your purse. “A small purse will amplify your torso,” Saboura explains. “Carry larger purses at your side or in the bend of your arm to avoid adding volume on top.”

READ MORE: Crop Tops For Every Body Type

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