Fit The Part

Comfort and poise are crucial in professional situations, so your work clothes must fit and flatter your body well -- and your body type dictates the styles that fit you best. Here are a few tips on finding the right office clothing based on your body's proportions from career and image coach Lizandra Vega, author of The Image of Success: Make a Great Impression and Land the Job You Want.

What to wear to work

"H" Shape

Shoulders, waist & hips have virtually the same dimensions.

Jackets with soft shoulders minimize your shoulders' sharp angles. A wrap dress or double-breasted jacket with X-shaped lines gives the illusion of an indented waist. A belted garment also makes the the waist look smaller in relation to shoulders and hips.

"A" Shape

Shoulders are considerably smaller than waist and hips.

Balance this shape by adding width and visual interest to the upper body through the use of shoulder pads, brightly colored scarves, spread collars and lapels.

"V" Shape

Funnel or cone-like shoulders are the widest part of the body, with tapered hips and thin legs.

Add volume to the lower part of the body by choosing full-circle skirts as well as wide-legged pants. Raglan-sleeve tops minimize the oversized shoulders of this silhouette.

"O" Shape

Rounded mid-section is much larger than shoulders or hips.

Peaked lapels elongate this silhouette. Avoid pants with cuffed hems, and choose socks and hosiery with color value similar to that of your shoes. Choose diagonal or vertical patterns and lines to elongate this shape. Monochromatic colors also provide a slimming effect.

"X" and "S" Shapes

Both silhouettes have indented waists with shoulders and hips of similar proportions.

The difference between the two is that "X" shapes are more angular, while "S" shapes are curvier.

These are the two most balanced body types, so they can carry many styles depending on height. "S" shapes are flattered by fluid fabrics that drape well, while "X" shapes can carry more taut fabrics. Keep it from looking too sexy in business by downplaying your pronounced waist; don't wear belts, scarves or fitted waistbands around it.

Dress to your strengths

Remember to highlight the positive attributes and minimize the not so favorable. The knee-length v-neckline sleeve dress puts more focus on the neckline, which you can accessorize easily with a fun necklace (office) or diamonds (evening). With its coverage on the upper arms, no jacket is required.

If your arms are attractive, the cowl neckline sleeveless dress shows off their definition while maintaining a timeless, classic look. Throw on a shrug or dressy jacket if your arms are not your strong point.

For a sexy yet understated sophisticated look, the innovative "front-to-back" sleeve dress is ideal for layering under work blazers or alluring shimmer jackets.

Whatever your body type or style approach , each style here is designed in durable, soft-stretch knit fabrics for comfort and ease, which also allows for easy travel. The washable knit fabric creates soft structure through purposeful seams and pleats to create a slim silhouette.

Whether you prefer a cowl-neck layering piece, an innovative yet simple front-to-back style with clean lines or a black-tie, floor-length v-neck column dress, a style is available to suit any' woman's occasion, figure and style.

Expert TipsMore fashion hints

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Tags: business casual office style

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