Make Clothes Work for You

Make Clothes Work for You
To look better in your clothes, you must honor your proportions, and the secret is to establish a graceful bust-to-waist and shoulder-to-hip balance, as with the Marc Jacobs fluid jersey dress featured here.

To establish your personal proportions, identify whether you have one or a combination of the following:

ample chest,
slighter chest,
fuller booty or
bountiful belly.

Overall, this doesn't mean compromising on what you like, but rather, showing devoted consideration for your shape in the most flattering way possible.

For a More Ample Chest
For a Slighter Chest
For a Fuller Booty
For a More Bountiful Belly

For a More Ample Chest

Ideally, you'll want your breasts to be held up in a secure, comfortable and shapely manner, so we recommend you don't buy a brassiere right off the rack but get fitted for a good and, most importantly, comfortable one by a professional who knows the distinct characteristics of construction, cup shape and size.

Stylists Clinton Kelly and Stacy London, authors of Dress Your Best, recommend choosing tops with higher-placed armholes "to create a distinction between the arms and chest." Lower-placed arm holes can give the appearance that you're wider at the bust than you actually are.

Try a blouse with pretty side venting, which will give a slight flair at the lower waist, balancing the more ample dimensions of your bust area. Look for jackets with pockets or embellishments at the hips to pull attention away from your chest while creating a flattering balance to your proportions.

Wear a classic black top with a lighter-colored bottom piece, such as beige or cream. This'll create a wonderful contrast, as the black gives the impression of diminishing, while the lighter bottom will stand out more, balancing your more ample bustline.

For a Slighter Chest
Make Clothes Work for You
If you're not into pads, try a "balconet" bra, which is styled to create a lifted, fuller round look to the bosom without all that extra "stuffing." The oldest trick in the book: Wear tops and jackets with pockets placed directly at the bust, especially pockets with flaps, which will add the illusion of a "little something extra."

An empire waist, with it's high horizontal seam directly beneath the bustline, looks brilliant on slighter chests and gives a pretty emphasis to the bustline. Tops with fluttery, billowing detail will suggest a less-scarce bustline. Tie-front shrugs or "ballet sweaters" work well on the smaller bustlines.

For a Fuller Booty
Fuller Booty
Choose seamless fuller briefs or boy-cut panties in satin or nylon, which will offer more complete coverage, so skirts and pants will lay more smoothly over that delicious booty. Look for jeans with a bit of stretch.

They're magical, offering subtle contour and support, shape and super comfort. An A-line dress or skirt, which drapes at the hip and bells out at mid-thigh, just grazing the booty, is a lovely silhouette for you. To balance the fullness of your bottom, try a lighter top, such as ecru or cream, with a black, deep-chocolate or burgundy skirt or trousers.

This will create an optical symmetry resulting in a markedly more proportional silhouette. Experiment with drop-waist seams, which give the illusion of raising the hip-to-booty area, creating flattering contours.

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