FOR us non-supermodel, regular women types, there is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to fashion.

Everyone has a different body shape and sometimes it can be hard to find clothes that fit well for those of us who aren’t thin, slender and hipless (one of the reasons why I can never find anything to buy online!).

Sometimes it feels like there just isn’t anything out there for what seems like the majority of women. After all, how many of us actually are a size 2 (US) and tall enough so that we don’t have to shorten the jeans we buy, and have a chest we can squeeze into any top so that we don’t look obscene?

This is where good fashion sense and creativity kick in.

These days, there aren’t too many clear-cut rules when it comes to mixing and matching, and styling. Depending on the occasion, dressing up isn’t as complicated as it used to be what with trends like “indie”, “grunge”, “retro”, “punk” and so on gaining acceptance in the fashion world.

Here are a few tips for different body shapes that can help you dress to impress:

Key jeans

Finding a pair of jeans that fits, flatters and flaunts your assets is tough. Anyone who’s ever struggled to find “that” pair of perfect jeans can relate to this dillemma.

Fortunately, clothing brands like Levi’s are introducing products that put emphasis on shape – not size – to help women everywhere find a mould that suits them.

Levi's Curve ID ankle flare feature

Through their Curve ID range which caters to different body shapes, the “slight curve”, “demi curve” and “bold curve” are designed to help women with varying hips, thighs, and waist sizes find that perfect fit.

Over the seasons there have been changes and additions to the collection, the most recent one being the ankle flare, a style which can work with a casual ensemble (T-shirt and wedges) or for semi-formal events (heels and a dressy top).

Petite style

You may not realise it, but quite a few of our favourite stylish celebrities are petite, and they know how to work with what they have. There’s Salma Hayek, Natalie Portman, Sarah Hyland and Eva Longoria, to name a few.

One useful tip for short girls is monochrome – wearing the same colour from head to toe will help you look more put-together. Wearing similar shades from top to bottom make the outfit “flow” in a way and your figure won’t be “chopped” in half, drawing attention to your height.

Wearing one colour from top to toe is a great way to dress for petite girls

Wearing nude shoes is also a must-do for those who are petite, as are long earrings and statement necklaces.

Shape enhancers

While hourglass figure-types have no trouble nailing the tiny waist look, other body shapes may need a little assistance.

For example, if you’re rectangular (relatively equal bust and hip measurements, but don’t have a defined waistline) or pear-shaped (smaller shoulders and a larger lower half), the cut-out element would work well for you.

Cutouts can really enhance your shape

The strategically-placed diamond shapes can be actual cut-outs, or a piece sewn on to give the illusion of a smaller waist – this trick works brilliantly on almost anyone, and there are heaps of stores that sell dresses with this feature.

Balancing act

Apart from the hourglass, petite, rectangular, and straight, athletic builds, there’s also dressing for the triangle (proportionally smaller busts/narrower shoulders and larger hips/thighs) and inverted triangle shapes that can be tricky!

The key is to try and balance it out by playing up your smaller areas, or toning down your larger areas.

Cap sleeves work great for those with smaller shoulders

For the triangle, wear pieces that draw attention to the bust and minimises hips and thighs, for example tops with V necklines and cap sleeves which will make your shoulders look wider. Avoid tops that are too long (like tunics) and anything that will highlight a small bust (tight, sleeveless tops, for example).

As for the inverted triangle, try not to look too top-heavy by playing up the hips with horizontal-lined skirts (only if you have narrow hips!) and wearing strapless dresses to show off your shoulders. Avoid at all cost: off-shoulder type tops, shoulder pads and high necklines.


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