Part of being a woman, it seems, is an eternal dissatisfaction with our bodies. While we may groan when we hear a stick-thin celebrity complain about her (perfect!) legs, most of us have some feature that makes us cringe when we look in a dressing room mirror.

Flatter Your Figure

Every woman has something about her body she’d like to hide, whether it’s heavy thighs, a pudgy tummy or a too-round bottom. With just a few visual tricks, your problem areas will disappear, and let your true beauty shine through!


If your hips are wider than your shoulders and your thighs are round, you have a classic pear-shaped body. The dressing is a snap if you remember to accentuate the positives: a shapely waist, delicate upper body, and attractive shoulders and arms.


  • Avoid anything too tight.
  • A-line skirts that hit around the knee area are ideal because they draw attention away from problem areas. Miniskirts are generally a bad idea because they accentuate heavy thighs.
  • Pant waists should fall somewhere below the natural waistline for a better fit. A straight or slightly bootcut leg is the most flattering. Avoid patterned or light-colored pants. Skip fussy details like big cargo pockets, rouching or excessive zippers around the hip area.
  • Shorts can be tricky, but for workouts and casual wear choose lightweight, loose-fitting shorts (no bike shorts). Slimming side stripes on shorts can give the illusion of sleekness.


  • Avoid too-baggy tops or too-tight tops: the looser tops will make you look large all over, the tight tops will make you look out of proportion to your hips. Look for fitted — not skintight — T-shirts (something with some stretch) and button-front tops. V-necks, turtlenecks and open collars all call attention to the face, which is always a good thing.
  • Jackets and blazers should hit anywhere but the widest point of your hips. That could mean right below the waist to mid-thigh, depending on your height. Wear jackets and blazers open for the best vertical lines.
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  • Look for dresses that nip in at the waist and slightly flare out over hips and thighs.
  • You can pull off a full-skirted ballgown because it will hide heavy hips and thighs.
  • Try sleeveless and strapless dresses to play up pretty shoulders and arms.
  • An empire or raised waist dress brings the eye up away from problem areas. Careful, though. Sometimes this gets mistaken for a maternity look with fuller figures.


The apple-shaped body is usually softer around the middle and has heavier breasts, with narrower hips and slimmer legs. Make the most of your womanly figure by showing off your legs and great cleavage.


  • Avoid too tight (plays up large breasts too much) and too baggy (just makes you look heavier). Opt for fabrics that skim the body, preferably knits and wovens with stretch for a better fit.
  • V-neck, boatneck, turtle and mock necks, and shirt collars are your most flattering necklines.
  • Play up nice cleavage with a peek, not a Dolly Parton-sized slice. Especially appealing: a pretty lace-trimmed cami showing under a jacket or top.
  • Avoid full sleeves or puffy sleeves.


  • Balance out a top-heavy figure with an A-line skirt that will give you the look of a waist and more of an hourglass look.
  • Choose flat-front, never pleated, pants that have a lower rise than the natural waist.
  • Five-pocket jeans are your friend! Front pockets on jeans help disguise a tummy problem, while back pockets can help define a flatter rear common to top-heavy women.
  • Avoid anything too tight — from pencil skirts to skintight jeans — because it will only accentuate top-heaviness.
  • Play up nice legs with shorter (an inch above the knee) skirts.
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  • The one-piece dressing is tricky for you. Best bets: A sleeveless black sheath, a soft princess seamed dress, a strapless dress with corseted top.
  • Resist the urge to cover up head-to-toe: showing a little skin, whether it’s bare arms or shoulders, is much more flattering.

We can’t all be blessed with a perfect figure. However, we can wear clothes that emphasize our good points and disguise our so-called bad points. Two women with identical bodies can look dramatically different in both size and shape simply because of the clothes they’re wearing. But how can you make the most of your body? Check out these rules to make your figure look fabulous…

Use light and dark colors to make your body appear more in proportion.

For example, a woman with big hips and a small bust should wear slimming dark trousers or skirt and size creating light colors up top. This two-pronged attack can make a huge difference to how your body looks.

Use horizontal and vertical stripes to widen and lengthen.

For example, if you’re overweight, never wear clothes with stripes going across. This will make you seem even bigger than you are. Instead, try to wear clothes with stripes going down. This will make you seem taller and as a result less dumpy.

Use bright colors or patterns to draw attention away from problem areas.

Heels are a gift from God: They can make your legs look considerably longer, your bum considerably smaller and your overall appearance considerably better. They’re not for every occasion but a woman without a great pair of heels in her wardrobe is missing out on the best figure flatterer around.