Let's start off though with accepting the fact that "style" is not about age or size, it's more about establishing in your own mind clothes that will suit and work for YOU.
* V-necks or deep scoop necks create the illusion of a longer body. If you have a beautiful neck why not show it off? High necks emphasise a large bust and while sometimes we like to do that, there are other times when the over-all effect of how we look is more important.
* A tailored, sigle breasted pantsuit is more slimming than baggy layers. (OK, even I succumb to baggy layers when I feel like it!). But in the mean a darker shade, lengthens the torso and slims the hips. Double breasted jackets add width to the look of the body.
* Generously cut shirts, A-line tops and jackets/coats look great over slim or cropped pants. Once again don't believe those who tell you you "shouldn't wear cropped pants". If you like cropped pants, then wear them. However the hint that the flowing tops will compliment slim pants still goes. It's important though that the shirt, top or jacket covers the bottom and thighs. Don't be content with any of these garments that sit on the hips or even hardly cover the waistline - the overall effect only emphasises the bits you're trying to disguise. A shirt with a squared off hem and side splits creates a sharp and defined look.
* Wear a shaped, not boxy jacket to emphasise curves. This also applies to dresses or shirts with back ties that can be tightened creating a waist. (Again have a look at the Igigi website to see what I mean by shaped dresses!).
* Combining neutral coloured pants (black, brown, beige, even white) with brightly coloured tops move the eye away from the hips and thighs.
* Avoid pleats on pants. Wear flat-fronted rather than pleated trousers and with side, not front fastenings.
* A long-line jacket is a must in all wardrobes. It hides all the bits that you want to hide a little at any one time - big hips or thighs, big bottoms and big busts.
* Match a dress with the same length coat, preferably worn just on or below the knee. Play down everything else if you want to show off your legs. And let's face it if you have good legs, do everything to show them off.
* Wear a long time coat, to ankle length, over slim pants and shirt or tunic top. Worn open, the coat gives you long-line elegance as you walk.
* A clever strategy is to wear one colour from head to toe, Lift the outfit by choose smart accessories. A lovely scarf, chunky jewellery or matching shoes and handbag will draw attention away from any figure "problems".
* Long sleeves (even in summer) hide the upper arms, while cuff details lengthen arms.
* A dress can create a sleeker line. Choose dresses with no tight waists that skim the body without clinging.
* A beautifully draped sarong-style long skirt conceals the tummy and hips. Great for the hot weather and surprisingly cool around the lower legs.
* A-line or wrap skirts not only emphasise body length and hide thighs, but also give thighs extra room when seated.
* The long-skirt is still a wardrobe must-have. Wear it as long as possible, preferably on or just above the ankle. Slightly A-line is best, as is a side split or a skirt with a lot of stretch.
* Any fabric with stretch is an extremely comfortable option. Look for this in shirts, pants, skirts or jackets. It also can hold you firm in some areas. Beware however those crepe-y stretch fabrics that can "suffocate" the body and add to especially hot discomfort.
For the women whose body has curves and a shape that doesn't fit the so-called "ideal" that the fashion industry and media demand of us, putting hints of this nature into practice not only adds to the way we see ourselves and how we stand and hold ourselves. It also adds to our confidence. For when we feel good, then we will look good.
"Accept your body - just as it is.
Don't compare yourself to the
unrealistically thin models
on the catwalks or magazines,
© R Parry-Brock - with thanks to notes from New Idea grand illusions, nd