Fashion hacks: How to dress for your body shape

Whether you're pear or apple shaped, have a boyish or hourglass figure, these clever style tips will ensure you pick the most flattering outfit every single time.

Boyish figure
You're a boyish figure if your bust and hips are of similar width. Your bust is fairly small and you have no defined waist. Your bottom is probably neat and flat and you have long slim legs.

Tip 1. Create a defined waist with a wide eye-catching belt. Cinch it over a loose blouse and full skirt for maximum effect.

Tip 2. Shirts can look too masculine on boyish figures, but a cleverly cut white shirt with a small ruffle at the neck and waist tie will soften your look and add a waist while still being smart for work.

Tip 3. Because you have naturally long legs, most hemline lengths will suit you. Go for an A-line mini as it's not too tight and will give you more of a waist.

Tip 4. Look out for wrap dresses in clingy soft jersey that have weight and hang well. The diagonal line of the dress creates the illusion of shape. Add a belt for extra definition to give you a waist and curvier hips.

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Tip 5. Belted coats with pockets on the hips add bulk and emphasise your hips and waist. A mac with padded shoulders also provides width on top, making your waist seem narrower. Make sure the belt is a different colour to add the impression of extra curves.

Tip 6. While most women are advised to steer clear of horizontal stripes, they help create the illusion of a bigger bust on boyish figures.

Tip 7. Skinny jeans and straight satin trousers will look great on you, but steer clear of wide-legged trousers and very tailored suits as they're not the most flattering choice.

Hourglass figures
You waist is narrow but your hips and shoulders are wide. You have a good-sized bust and tend to carry fat equally over your whole body.

Tip 1. Forties and fifties-style dresses are made for your figure.

Tip 2. Choose thinner lets over wide or you'll look like the proverbial egg timer.

Tip 3. Dresses or tops that cross over at the waist look good and emphasise a great cleavage. Ba;acne a top with wide-leg trousers and make sure the skirt of the dress is full enough to balance out your shape.

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Tip 4. Don't hide your body under baggy clothes. Make the most of your shape by wearing well-fitting tops and tailored bottoms.

Tip 5. Structured cropped jackets and boxy shapes that end on the bottom of the hip add proportion to your top half and draw attention to your narrow waist.

Tip 6. For trousers, bootcut wins every time as it helps to balance out wider hips.

Pear shapes
You are small-breasted and have a small waist with curvy, wider hips, a rounded bottom and heavy thighs. You may also have a slender neck and sloping shoulders.

Tip 1. Hipster trousers are good for getting rid of the gaping waist problem often suffered by small-waisted pear-shapers. Look for low trousers or jeans that sit neatly on the hips and draw attention to your tiny waist.

Tip 2. Draw attention to your upper body and waist by wearing neat fitted tops with pretty necklines, patterns and colours.

Tip 3. A-line skirts are by far the most flattering for pear shapes, as they slim the hips.

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Tip 4. Avoid cropped trousers as they cut off your legs.

Tip 5. Even out your shape with puffed sleeves on tops and shirts.

Tip 6. Go for dresses or skirts that end just above the knee and in the winter team them with dark-coloured straight boots to hide chunky calves.

Apple shapes
You have full breasts and a wide back, slim arms and wide shoulders, slim hips and legs plus a small, rounded bottom with a soft, rounded tummy.

Tip 1. Wear shirts that extend lower than your waist to reduce chances of any muffin tops. If you like your hips to look a little more in balance with your bust, try a shire that meets the largest point of the hips.

Tip 2. Try loose, unstructured jackets over slim-fitting dresses to even out your figure.

Tip 3. Choosing the right material for your shape is very important. Don't go for tops created from tight-fitting material such as Lycra, as they will cling to every lump and bump. Tailored clothes made of cotton will always be more flattering on your shape.

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Tip 4. Skirts that sit just below the waistline with a brightly coloured belt or and will draw attention away from your waist and highlight your hips.

Tip 5. Choose a shirt with a slightly lower neckline to keep eyes moving upwards. Try a thin chiffon blouse over a cotton camisole to skim over a thicker midriff.

Tip 6. Look for wide-legged palazzo-style trousers - these will create a more even look between your upper and lower halves. If going for skinny trousers, team them with a longer top to help slim your waist.

Tips extracted from Fashion Hacks Hacks by Caroline Jones and Fiona Wright, (£7.99, Foyles) published by Carlton Books. 

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