Embrace your body shape

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Everybody -- that is, every body -- is different. Understanding your body shape and knowing how to flatter it will help you embrace your curves -- or lack thereof -- and feel confident that you always look absolutely marvelous. Learn to love your shape and how to flatter it with clothing.


You have fabulous legs and breasts, and you're in proportion. You tend to carry extra weight in the midsection, so you might not have a defined waist. Your best tactic is to accentuate the positive -- your chest and your glorious gams -- and avoid adding volume around your middle. Boxy short jackets and pleated skirts should be banished forever, but you'll be the apple of everyone's eye in empire lines and long tops. Low necklines draw the eye upward, and v-necks lengthen your entire torso.


The most common and womanly figure is a pear. You're bigger around the hips/thighs/bottom, but you probably have an enviably flat stomach. Go for more structure and shape at the top: bold, brightly colored blouses and detailed, large collars, lapels and sleeves work for you. Accent the top and stay away from anything too tight on your bottom half. Pencil, tube and fishtail skirts are not your friends.


Broad shoulders and slender hips often give strawberry girls an athletic look. Your chest and shoulders make you bigger on top, but you can soften the look easily. Avoid tapering slacks; go with wide-legged trousers, and forget the shoulderpads and halter tops. Full skirts add balance to your body, and you can wear bright colors on your bottom half.


Rectangles are straight up and down but don't always have a boyish chest. You can get away with a lot of fabulous fashion and create killer curves with what you wear. Stay with styles that have built-in shape, and ditch the sheath dresses and low-rise jeans. Structured pieces with cinched belts look amazing on you. Rectangles with small chests can wear high-necked tops.


You're beautifully curvy -- full at the bust and hips, with a smaller waist. Don't disguise your sexy shape with baggy or oversized clothes. Choose waist-cinching belts, flared jeans and wrap dresses that show off your shape.

Vicki Clinebell majored in journalism at the University of Colorado, and headed an advertising agency before beginning a long career in broadcasting, spanning production and copywriting to sales and management for an ABC affiliate station. Deciding to switch gears and write fulfilled a lifelong ambition. She started as a blogger for a diverse group of businesses, and now writes for a number of websites for companies in her hometown in the Rocky Mountains, and provides advertising copy and media buying for national and regional clients. She finds the research as interesting as the writing, learning about subjects as diverse as construction scaffolding, child safety seats, and newest trends in beauty and fashion. As a long-time devotee of SheKnows, she’s thrilled to see her own work on the pages.