How to flatter your figure

Make the most of your body shape with stylist Peter Papapetrou's 10 easy style tricks

fashion tips, styling advice

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Have a closet full of clothing but nothing to wear? Don’t fret. We’ll show you how to make the most of your wardrobe with advice from Toronto stylist Peter Papapetrou.

1. Build a foundation
“Build the frame before you build your wardrobe,” says stylist Peter Papapetrou. “What you wear under your clothing is just as important as what you select for the outside.” Invest in body smoothing undergarments for underneath all of your form-fitting ensembles. Look for laser cut shapewear that won’t show lumps or bumps and opt for a specialized one to cinch in any problem areas.

2. Fit to form
Every woman should own one perfect bra — it can make all the difference in giving your body the right proportions, says Papapetrou. Go for a professional bra fitting before you buy to make sure it fits you like a glove. Then expand your undergarment wardrobe for every occasion. Every woman should own a nude, racerback, strapless and of course a lacy number.

3. Tailor time
“Invest in alterations — not everything off the rack is going to fit perfectly,” says Papapetrou. If you tailor your clothing to your body, you can look like you’ve lost 10 pounds instantly, he says. Don’t get them adjusted so they are overly tight, but instead, take the time to alter or adjust pieces you purchase to fit your body’s needs.

4. Know thyself
Get to know your body, says Papapetrou. “Take the time to really look at what you have to work with — identify the areas that you love and want to enhance and the areas that you would like to hide.” Give yourself a three way “what not to wear” check before buying a new style or cut.

5. Perfect fit
There are four areas that your clothing should fit you perfectly, says Papapetrou. The shoulders, bust, waist and hips are the most important. Always fit your largest area first, he says. For example if a pair of dress pants fits your hips but is too loose at the waist you can always get the waist taken in but if it’s ill-fitting at your largest area, the material will bunch and gape.

6. No fuss
Avoid fussy outfits, says Papapetrou. When something is too much work to wear, you will never be comfortable or confident. “Confidence is always key to looking great,” he says.

7. The extras
Buy some double-sided tape to fix any wardrobe issues with clothing that doesn’t fit quite right. “It’s a lifesaver when it comes to low-cut necklines that could be overly revealing,” says Papapetrou. But remember, if it takes more than two pieces of tape to keep you in it’s time to change your outfit.

8. Buy an LBD
Yes, yes, everyone knows they should have a little black dress on their permanent rotation. But is yours the perfect fit for you? Look for ones in durable fabrics, says Papapetrou. Gabardine wools are great for structure while jersey is great for draping and ruching to hide trouble areas (though you still need body smoothing undergarments for the best results).

9. Do denim
For a casual cool look, denim is everyone’s go-to. To flatter any body shape, stick with darker denim, as it is always more slimming. Add structure to your shoulders if you have wider hips or wear an empire accent top with a softer waistline to conceal tummy trouble areas, Papapetrou explains.

10. Super staples
Besides your basic suiting there are a few other key pieces that work on almost every body. Invest in a sweater dress that’s comfy, chic and easy, says Papapetrou. Try one in different prints, with some interesting hosiery, knee high boot and one statement piece of jewellery and you’re out the door. Another investment every woman should own is an entrance coat. It’s the first thing people see when you enter a room. Buy one that’s comfortable and lightweight with a waist-emphasizing belt.