The dos & don’ts of dressing for your body type

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!