What to Wear:
Seven keys for choosing clothes that make your body look its best

If you’ve ever wondered what to wear for your body shape, we have some solutions (also known as body shape fashion tips) that may lead you to be amazed by how fantastic you look in clothing that flatters vs. sabotages the appearance of your figure. Instead of relying on traditional body types and shapes, let’s look at the various elements of your body since it isn’t often that females fit neatly into one of these body types because there are several things to consider beyond height and weight.

From your neck to your ankles, there are fashion tips that you can use to emphasize or de-emphasize the length or circumference of different parts of your body, regardless of body type.

Applied Body Shape Fashion Tips

If you’ve visited the Artistry & Strategy Body Shape Fashion tips page , you’re already familiar with the idea of using lines, color & patterns, and texture & details to create illusions that draw attention to various parts of your body or not.

Now, we’re going to apply these general tips specifically to learning what to wear for your body shape, body part and segment by body part and segment…

or for a quick reference, visit the Artistry & Strategy Body Shape Fashion Tips Matrix… it’s a reference chart that outlines how various garment cuts emphasize or de-emphasize various parts and segments of women’s bodies.

The Neck

Let’s start with your neck, whether your neck is short or long, thin or full…here are some tips for what to wear to play up or down its appearance.

How to Make a Neck Appear Longer

. wear garments with necklines that lengthen the line of the neck, for example V-necklines as opposed to round necklines (e.g., like on a buttoned cardigan sweater) or un-button the top two or three-buttons on a buttoned blouse

. wear garments with collars that lengthen the line of the neck, for example shawl or wing collars instead of turtlenecks or mandarin collars

. wear necklaces (or scarves) that cascade well below that neckline (e.g., a 24 inch or better strand of pearls) instead of a choker necklace

. wear earrings that dangle below the earlobe, however, be aware of what may or may not be appropriate for your work environment

What to Wear to Make a Neck Appear Shorter

. wear garments with necklines that shorten the line of the neck, for example round necklines (e.g., like on a buttoned cardigan sweater) as opposed to V-necklines

. wear garments with collars that shorten the line of the neck, for example turtlenecks or mandarin collars instead of shawl or wing collars

. wear necklaces or scarves that hit your neck at or near the neckline (e.g., chokers or scarves tied like ascots)

. wear stud earrings or earrings that don’t dangle far below the earlobe

How to Make a Neck Look Thinner

. wear garments with necklines that lengthen the line of the neck, for example V-necklines as opposed to round necklines (e.g., like on a buttoned cardigan sweater)

. wear garments with collars that lengthen the line of the neck, for example shawl or wing collars instead of turtlenecks or mandarin collars.

. wear necklaces that cascade well below that neckline (e.g., a 24 inch or better strand of pearls) instead of a choker

. wear earrings that dangle below the earlobe, however, be aware of what may or may not be appropriate for your work environment

What to Wear to Make a Neck Look More Voluminous

. wear garments with necklines that shorten the line of the neck, for example round necklines (e.g., like on a buttoned cardigan sweater) as opposed to V-necklines

. wear garments with collars that shorten the line of the neck, for example turtlenecks or mandarin collars instead of shawl or wing collars

. wear necklaces that hit your neck at or near the neckline (e.g., choker necklaces)

. wear stud earrings or earrings that don’t dangle far below the earlobe

The Shoulders

The following tips can prevent a woman with strong shoulders from looking like a line-backer and a woman with narrow or sloping shoulders from looking frail and weak.

How to Make Narrower Shoulders Appear Broader

. wear shoulder pads under jackets and/or blouses

. avoid wearing halters

. wear garments with horizontal yokes or lines (via seaming or fabric pattern) near the neck and/or shoulder

* strengthening shoulder muscles [open new window - link to online strength-training site] can also help add volume to the shoulder area, naturally…so can improving ones posture [link to posture support page]

What to Wear to De-emphasize Broader Shoulders

. avoid wearing shoulder pads under jackets and/or blouses, unless they’re simply serving to help maintain the shape of the garment

. wear garments that cut in or has seaming that angles in toward the neck (e.g., halters…if you’re wearing it to work, it might be a good idea to keep your suit jacket on in the office)

The Breasts

When you have breasts that are of a similar size to Raven Simone's, Penelope Cruz's or anywhere in between, knowing what to wear can lead to some fashion do's or don't do's...

How to Emphasize Average Size or Large Breasts

. wear a bra that does not fit properly (may not be a constructive type of emphasis)

. wear a peek-a-boo or plunging neckline (probably not a great idea, at least not in most office settings)

. wearing garments that are high-necked, especially with a bra that doesn’t fit well…can give the appearance of one large or very large breast versus two separate and distinct ones (probably not the look you’re going for)

What to Wear to De-Emphasize Large Breasts

. wear an accurately sized bra

. wear scooped vs. plunging or high necklines

. wear blouses and jackets that fit-well, test to see if one, two or three-button blazers and jackets work better for your body shape

How to Make Small Breasts Appear Larger

. wear a bra that fits properly

. wear garments with ruching, gathers or pleats near the breasts

. wear garments with ruffles or some other detail near the breasts

. wear blouses or dresses with halter-like necklines in the front

. wear push-up, padded, silicone or water bras

. wear push-up pads/cutlets in any bra

. use make-up to create the illusion of enhanced cleavage (probably best to save this approach appropriately for evening affairs vs. day-time at the office)

What to Wear to Make Small Breasts Appear Smaller

. wear blouses, tops, dresses, jackets, etc. that are too big*

. wear scooped or princess necklines

. wear a bra that does not fit properly*

* although this is a way to de-emphasize the appearance of small breasts by not attempting to draw attention to them…realize that this approach minimizes the breasts because it does not attempt to draw attention to them, however, minimizing their smallness may amaze other people and draw attention regardless, simply due to their emphasized smallness.

The Waist & Tummy

How to Highlight a Small or Thin Waistline

. wear a wide belt in a lighter contrasting color to dresses, blouses and slacks or jackets

How to Slenderize a Thicker Waistline

. wear body shapers or kind corset-like undergarments

. wear fitted jackets with structured waistlines sewn into the garment

. wear blouses tucked into pants, but bloused gently over the waistband of the skirt or slacks

. wear blouses or jackets that float slightly away from the waist (e.g., swing coats)

. wear blouses and jackets that emphasize the narrowest part of the waistline (e.g., right below the bustline for some of us…think empire waistlines)

. wear slacks or pants without a waistband or without a substantial waistbands

. wear slacks or pants with waistbands that sit below the natural waistline

What to Wear to Emphasize a Thicker Waistline

. wear clothes that are too tight

. wear clothes that do not compliment your body type…females who wear knit unstructured dresses without slenderizing undergarments, probably won’t be pleased with the appearance of their waistlines…whereas, putting on a jacket with a structured waistline that fits well, will probably put a smile on her face

The Torso

How to Make Your Torso Appear Longer

. wear dropped waist or low rise pants/slacks

. wear pants/slacks/jeans without a structured waistband

. wear longer tops, blouses, jackets or blazers that extend well past your natural waistline

What to Wear to Make Your Trunk Appear Shorter

. wear pants/slacks/jeans with a high waist

. wear pants/slacks/jeans with a structured waistband

. wear shorter tops, blouses, jackets or blazers that stop near your natural waistline

The Hips

How to Make Hips Appear Bigger/Wider/Larger

. wear a garment with horizontal seaming, lines or stripes around the hip area

. wear a lighter or brighter colored garment on the lower half of your body and darker colored garment on the top

. wear a patterned garment (the bigger the pattern the bigger the impact) on the lower half of your body and a solid colored garment on the top

How to Make Hips Appear Narrower/Smaller

. wear a garment with vertical seaming, lines or stripes at/near the hip area

. wear a lighter or brighter colored garment on the upper half of your body and darker colored garment on the bottom

. wear a patterned garment (the bigger the pattern the bigger the impact) on the upper half of your body and a solid colored (or one with a really small, tightly packed print) garment on the bottom

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