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Video: Dress to flatter your figure

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    >>> *

    >>> this morning on "bobbie's style buzz," ever get dressed and think something doesn't quite look right on you? well, "today's style" editor bobbie thomas is here to break down the do's and dont's of dressing for your body type . bobbie, good morning.

    >> good morning. i love the intro today.

    >> i love the animation, the music. you're just the star, right? let's start with the first body type .

    >> yes.

    >> it's the hourglass figure , krengt?

    >> right, and we have a picture of me and marie up here. sometimes you put clothes on and you're like, why doesn't this look good on me? well, it's because she's getting lost in this loose dress. she is actually an hourglass, which is the most flattering body type you can aspire to, because it's all about that x-factor.

    >> yet, you can't really see that shape.

    >> yes, because you're losing her stomach. if we bring her out, you'll see the correction.

    >> mia marie, come out. oh, wow!

    >> this is such a fantastic option. you really want to take advantage of your waistline. cinch in your waist, the belt trend. you have so many great belts. what i love about this dress from czar is the shoulder pads , really exaggerating the nice x, the x-factor.

    >> i love the shape of that dress. looks fantastic.

    >> ladies, please remember, it is not about size, it's about shape. it's all about balance of proportion.

    >> very good point. well, you look fantastic. all right, our next body shape is the triangle.

    >> yes.

    >> women who tend to be petite on top and bigger on the bottom.

    >> yes, you'll see she has a small shoulder line in comparison to the widest point, so that's typically this triangle. so what we want to do is add more volume up top to balance. it's all about stylish symmetry. let's bring her out here.

    >> look at that.

    >> we brought the focus up with statement necklaces. these are affordable, banana republic . the blazer is really nice.

    >> shoulder pads .

    >> yeah. shoulder pads are back. so take advantage of them.

    >> look at that.

    >> create a broader shoulderline and the button creates the perfect x on her.

    >> so you're shifting the focus up instead of down.

    >> and keeping it simple on the bottom.

    >> jennifer, you look fantastic. thank you. the next is the inverted triangle .

    >> which is the opposite of jen. and this is melissa . you'll see how her neckline is broader -- she has teeny hips.

    >> not that that's a bad thing.

    >> no, it's great. you really want to show off your assets. we really want to bring the hip line up a bit and minimize what's going on up here. so, if we bring melissa out --

    >> okay, so, this is something we want to see her body elongated.

    >> yes.

    >> and you can take advantage of scarfs. don't wrap a scarf around your neck because it will add more bulk.

    >> okay.

    >> keep it long, add a long necklace and i've shortened the bottom, opened it up so you can see her fabulous legs. and play with footwear.

    >> okay.

    >> there's so many funky shoes out there, boots, big ankle straps, shoes that normally somebody with the opposite body shape can't wear, she can have fun with.

    >> how did she tie the scarf down?

    >> it's part of the sweater and i love the sweater. it's on the website, but it's $100 and you can do a lot with that.

    >> i love it. great. melissa , thanks so much, looks fantastic. this is also something people think, oh, poor rectangle, the tall athletic type, but you still have to be careful about what you wear.

    >> exactly. space is gorgeous, but sometimes -- look at how she looks boxy with this outfit.

    >> yep, she does.

    >> what she also needs to do is create the x factor . so, she needs to add curve, increase femininity.

    >> okay.

    >> so, if faith comes on out, you'll see that we put her --

    >> and they look like different people with these outfits. it's incredible the difference.

    >> this is the secret about styling, the balance and proportion. the hem line on the shirt, you'll notice, isn't horizontal. it dips little and the ruffles add softness.

    >> cinched at the waist.

    >> exactly. the shoes bring your eye line up from her blond hair down to the red shoes . she's gorgeous and she really needs to kind of add that curve to give her that more feminine appeal.

    >> are these different -- like, we should bring everybody out when we're looking at these, but i feel there's common things, the shoulder pads , cinched waist. you're trying to create an hourglass figure pretty much for all of these women.

    >> whenever you think about it it's the x factor . come on in.

    >> and look at these lovely models here.

    >> perfect examples. you just want to find your center point and think about the balance.

    >> think about the balance here?

    >> yeah.

    >> cinching at the waist all the time.

    >> al, get with the program on the balance.

    >> it's great for guys because shoulders, you can have a small head and really broad shoulders.

    >> especially if they got to do this.

    >> thank you very much. you can check out bobbie's column "the buzz" in "in touch weekly aid and on our website. test test

TODAY contributor
updated 10/1/2009 10:33:06 AM ET 2009-10-01T14:33:06

It’s not about size — it’s about shape. Balance and proportion are the keys to flattering your figure, whether you’re a size 2 or a 22. Ladies, love the skin you’re in, and get to know your curves. I call it the “X” factor — find the best way to create harmony from head to toe with stylish symmetry. Bobbie Thomas, TODAY style editor and author of the Buzz column for In Touch Weekly, helps you learn how to shift your shape.

While the womanly hourglass figure is considered the ideal silhouette, there are still dos and don’ts when it comes to clothing options. Those blessed with an hourglass shape are naturally balanced, meaning the width of your shoulders and hips is the same and your waist goes in, giving you automatic curves.

Therefore, you want to make sure to emphasize your proportionate figure, rather than getting lost in a loose dress. Beware of blouses that billow in the midsection and those that flare from the bustline with volume. Try to avoid anything that hides your waist and crops at the hips, your widest point. Look to the hit TV series “Mad Men” for inspiration: Highlight your curves by cinching yourself in with a belt, and focus on tailored pieces that show off your slim waist.

Those who tend to be petite on top and bigger on the bottom are typically considered to have a triangle shape. Since women with a triangle figure have small shoulders and curvaceous hips, the idea is to pull the focus up and add interest to the top half by highlighting your more slender upper body.

Take advantage of trends like bold shoulders and statement necklaces, or use detailed and colorful tops to draw up the eye. Then keep it sleek on the bottom by opting for dark pants or skirts and simple shoes.

Inverted triangle
Women who are the opposite of the triangle body type — the inverted-triangle silhouette — tend to have broad shoulders and narrow hips, so it’s important to find clothing that helps elongate the torso. Try leaving a scarf unwrapped or accessorizing with a long necklace or low-slung belt to create a vertical eye-line. Remember, drop waists are flattering, so avoid high-waisted jeans, skirts and pants. Items like corsets, halter tops and padded shoulders are generally a no, but you should take advantage of fun footwear trends and show off your legs with skirts and skinny pants.

Someone who is straight all the way through from top to bottom is typically considered to have a rectangle body type, and will want to create curves and define her waistline. Many females with a rectangle shape complain of a boyish figure, but there are plenty of ways to play up your womanly assets.

Wrap tops and dresses, bias cuts, ruffles and draping can all help create the illusion of a bigger bust and hips in comparison to your waistline. Jackets or blazers that have darts at the waist and V-neck tops are other ways to curve out your silhouette as well. Just be sure to avoid square-neck or fitted tops, mid-rise pants and wide-leg or loose trousers, as all of these will create a boxy image rather than a curvy one!

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