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  Dress For Your Figure

By Lynn Lopez

Coming up with the perfect outfit to match our figure can be difficult at times. Not all women are built alike, so what may look good on someone else may not look good on us, especially when the other woman's body type is different from us. Also, it is not always good to rely on the fashions displayed by runway models on the catwalk. Let's face it: designers generally love stick-thin women, and runway models are several sizes smaller than the average woman.

But whether we have the body that makes for a walking mannequin or not, there is no rule out there that says that we cannot wear clothes that flatter our figures and remain fashionable. After all, it is us ordinary women that make fashion designers rich. All we have to do is to choose carefully the clothes we wear so that they enhance our assets and play down our liabilities.

How should we dress to flatter our figures? It depends on what type of figure we actually have, and there are basically six types of figures.

The skinny type. The skinny type is, well, skinny. Skinny women are those whose bodies are thin, angular, and yes, with very little fat in them. What skinny women would want is to create the illusion of curves, and this illusion of curves is achieved by creating bulk through layering clothes vests over tops or dresses over trousers. Aside from layering, wearing clothes with extra details like ruffles, pleats and gathers also add bulk to the body and make it seem curvier.

The top-heavy type. Top-heavy women are women who have bulkier upper bodies and busts that are bigger than their hips. What they would want is to create a balance by playing down the upper body. This can be done by wearing dark tops, or tops that have monochromatic prints, and then pairing them with light-colored pants or skirts. Wearing necklines that give the illusion of length, such as V-necks, will also help tone down the bulky torso.

The bottom-heavy type. Bottom-heavy women are those who have hips that are bigger than their upper bodies. Women with these body types ought to draw the attention away from their hips by wearing light-colored tops that enhance the cleavage and pairing them with sober, dark-colored skirts or pants. The eyes can be further drawn to the torso through the use of chunky necklaces, dangling earrings or long chains around the neck.

The long and lanky type. Women with long and lanky bodies have more flesh than the skinny ones; they are also generally taller. But they have the same concern: how to create the curves that they do not have. The layered look also works for women with this body type. Wide skirts or pants with wide legs in light colors will also work, but never pair them with tops with a low cut.

The petite type. Petite women are those whose bodies are short, lean and thin, but straight. They are small-breasted and do not have waists. These women would need to create the illusion of a waist by wearing a bold belt that greatly contrasts with their tops or their dresses, or full skirts.

The curvy type. Women who have curves should feel good no matter what the sizes of those curves are. Curves are beautiful, and they should be enhanced by clothes that skim the body, like wraparound dresses or blouses, or clothes with fabrics that drape the body. Baggy clothes should be avoided because they only add unwanted bulk.

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