1. If you have wide hips, avoid clingy fabrics, anything tight waisted, brightly patterned dresses and pleated skirts. Steer away too from heavily textured fabrics and knitted outfits. Opt instead for tailored trousers and boxy jackets.
2. Dressing in one colour tends to make you look slimmer, it encourages people’s eyes to travel up and down without interruption.
3. If you want to create an illusion of being more svelte than you are wear matching shoes or boots because they will give an unbroken line of colour.
4. Avoid belts if you are overweight because they are likely to cut you in half, making you look rounded. While most colours are fine, steer away from white, orange, yellow and red. They will make you look heavy. Opt instead for green, blue and grey - which are all slimming shades.
5. If you want to play down your hips, wearing earrings or a colourful scarf around your neck will help distract the eye from the hip area. You could also try wearing hats that match the colour of your jacket or coat. Bags with long straps that hang around the hips should be avoided. Teeny clutch bags are unwise, too. Instead, choose a bag that hangs around a thinner part of your body.
6. If your legs are short, do not wear skirts or dresses with, flounces or any other feature that will draw attention to them. The best way to play them down is by dressing in dark coloured separates with matching shoes. This continuous line of colour will give the illusion of slimness and add length to your figure. Be sure to match the colour of your tights and stockings to your skirts and shoes. Avoid patterned or flesh coloured hosiery, select sheer black or navy tights instead.
7. If you want to create an illusion of height, look for thin heeled boots or shoes when buying footwear. Steer away from chunky heeled shoes, sling-backs, calf-length or knee high boots which hug your calf. If you have thick ankles, look for soft leather boots which fit loosely around the ankle. Remember, you are aiming to make your legs and feet as unnoticeable as possible.
8. To hide a big tummy, avoid wearing anything that ends at your waistline, such as blouses, belts, boxy jackets, etc. Keep away from tight fitting clothes and heavy fabrics which tend to emphasise your shape. Opt for well made dresses that hang below the knee. Aim for a simple, classic style - solid, dark colours are a wise choice. Divert attention away from your stomach by wearing tailored jackets, blouses or dresses. Those with a little shoulder padding broaden the shoulder outline giving the impression of a more evenly proportioned body.
9. If you have a small bust opt for blousy tops and layers. A loose fit instantly adds generous curves. Look for interesting patterns, horizontal designs and extra details and trims on pockets and lapels. Avoid open or deep necklines and clingy fabric tops. Choose soft fabrics which give a flowing appearance. Detail like tucks, appliqué, decorative buttons, frills and pockets are good.
11. If you are a skinny lizzy and are keen to give the illusion of extra inches choose longer line, double-breasted jackets, bold print overshirts and pale hosiery. You can also “fill’ yourself out by wearing plaids and patterns, horizontal stripes and textured fabrics. Longer skirts, pale colours and fine shoes will also help. Try nipped-in waists, interesting belts, high-waisted pants or trousers with pleats at the front, too. Three-quarter length coats and any interesting waist detail are a smart choice, also. Opt for pale instead of dark colours as the former adds proportion.
12. If you are petite, you need clothes which will not swamp you. Go for clean uncluttered lines - a cropped jacket and one-colour suits gives an illusion of height. Wear prints in moderation. A print jacket or a scarf over a solid colour looks great and draws attention to your face. Avoid styles that overwhelm such as fussy necklines, ankle-length skirts, shaggy or fluffy coats. Short people look better in one colour outfits or very small prints and simple accessories. Definite no, nos include oversized T-shirts, multi-coloured outfits, large prints, strong bold colours and frills/flounces.
13. If you want to play down a large bust, go for neutrals in jackets and bright colours or patterns for skirts and trousers. Tailored single-breasted jackets are particularly flattering. Choose open-neck shirts and V necklines. Keep away from clingy tops, detailed jackets, high-waisted trousers and skirts. Simple understated looks are much better for this shape. Avoid high neckline and collars as well as short sleeves or strapless outfits.
14. If you have a “straight up and down figure” you may want to create a more shapely look. You can do this by selecting tightly woven fabrics, such as wool, gabardine or linen in sharp designs. Double-knits, wool crepe, or jersey in simple designs without too much volume will flatter, also. Avoid emphasising your waist. Sleeves are best kept straight and tapered. Steer away from vertical patterns, figure hugging styles and short cropped jackets that end at the waist. Avoid loose garments and contrasted belts as well. The best styles for the straight up and down figure should draw the eye out to the shoulder and hip and in at the middle.
15. Pear shaped women should opt for simple designs. Avoid tight skirts that accentuate every lump and bump and large checks and bold patterns. Never buy trousers with too much hip detail like flaps, studs or embroidery on back pockets. Fancy hosiery will also draw attention to your trouble spots. Select well designed tailored trousers with simple lines, well cut skirts and neck accessories, such as elegant necklaces or pearls which will divert attention away from the hip area.
16. If you tend to be a plus size all over buy a size larger than you think you need. Nothing will make you look heavier than clothes that are too tight. However, do not make the mistake of buying too large and trying to hide away in tent-like garments. This will only make you look larger. Keep patterns small, as a rule, so they won't overwhelm you and do not over accessorise. Consider wearing simple earrings and a pearl necklace, for example.