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Figure flattering tips from the A-list

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Kate shows that clever shapes can help balance the figure to create the illusion of perfection
 Photo: © Rex

23 APRIL 2010

Making the most of your body obviously isn’t as easy as making sure it’s soft and smooth or we’d all feel like supermodels with just a regular wax and a bit of body butter.

But it’s still possible to make the most of our figures by dressing to suit our shapes.

Stylist Patrick Swan has worked with everyone from Madonna to Kathleen Turner and knows what rules the A-list follow to retain that aura of perfection. He let us in on those secrets at one of a series of seminars he’s presenting at Champneys.

Shape: Curvy

As seen on: Kate Winslet, Kelly Brook, Christina Hendricks
Golden rule: Always balance your shoulder to your hip and make the most of your waist

Dress to impress: Keep jackets long (high hipline or at fingertip length) or short – anywhere inbetween draws attention to a curvy bottom area without the balance of a slimmer waist – and go for wrap, empire, sheath, tank, strapless and bias cut dresses. Tops should tuck in, with skirts that fit at the waist and mould to the hip line. Waisted, flat-fronted trousers are flattering if you’re long in the body; otherwise try a low waist, hip skimming, flat fronted or bootcut shape. Add belts as a final touch, wide if you’re tall and narrow if you’re not.

Shape: Pear

As seen on: Kelly and Sharon Osborne, Leona Lewis
Golden rule: Add volume on top to balance hips

Dress to impress: Go for bigger patterns or tops with detail on the top half to draw the eye upward and wear V-necks or scoop necks to create balance. Nipped in waists, strong shoulders – very now! – belted and A-line shapes or empire lines work well. Choose jackets that reach the hip or thigh. Darker colours on the bottom half will help. And, in the all important trouser department, shop for hemmed trousers that cover the top of your shoe to create the illusion of length and draw the eye down, without waistbands but with a side or back zip.

Shape: Straight

As seen on: Nicole Kidman, Lisa Kudrow, Sandra Bullock
Golden rule: Create the illusion of curves

Dress to impress: Only add volume on the top or bottom half and go for buttoned, waisted, wrap tops with waistcoats to hide a straight waist or a sleeveless V-neck sweater over a shirt to attract the eye down towards the waist, distracting from the sides. A-line skirts and dresses create a waist, as do shift, shirt and wrap dresses. Avoid jackets with too many buttons done up, but choose open blazers or belted or peplum jackets.

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