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Secrets to dressing for your body type

Laura Williams, M.S.Ed. is a personal trainer, freelance writer and entrepreneur who works with a wide variety of fitness clients. She's the founder of the popular website, - Girls Gone Sporty, and she's the host of the High Impact Blogg...

Tips and tricks for every type

Remember Jessica Simpson’s unfortunate “mom jeans” look? For a woman whose fashion sense is usually flawless, she only had to make a single mistake for the whole world to take notice. To avoid making fashion flops like hers, you need to know the secrets for dressing for your body type. Secret #1: If you’re curvy like Jessica Simpson, avoid high-waisted jeans.

Are you bottom heavy?

Pear-shaped secrets

If you're bigger on the bottom than you are up top, you'll want to balance out your pear-shaped frame. When shopping for this spring's hottest trends, wide-legged trouser pants and thigh-skimming A-line skirts will be your best fashion friends. Wide-legged pants skim your hip's widest point, then make a beeline toward the floor, minimizing the width of your legs. Likewise, A-line skirts tuck in at the waist and taper nicely outward, hiding your hips from view.

You don't just want to focus on your bottom half though. Draw attention to your shoulders and face by choosing body-hugging tops with interesting necklines that draw the eye outward to balance out the hips. Boatnecks and cap sleeves work wonders on a pear shape.

wide legged pants

(1. Nordstrom, 2. Anthropologie, 3. New York and Company)

Bigger around the middle?

Apple-shaped secrets

If you tend to be rounder around the middle, with hot legs, nice breasts and thin wrists, you probably have an apple-shaped frame. The trick for you is to play up your assets while giving yourself the illusion of a waist. First body shape secret? Opt for body-skimming dresses with an empire waistline. This look will highlight your nice legs and breasts, while minimizing your middle. Choose a contrasting-colored belt or sash and cinch it around the empire waist, drawing attention to your smallest point.

When dresses just won't do, choose straight-legged pants, jeans or shorts and top them with jackets and cardigans that hit at the hip and button up to a point under your breasts. Avoid high-necked tops, opting instead for v-necks and scoop-necks that will flatter your frame.

empire waist dress

(1. Express, 2. Modcloth.com, 3. True Religion)

Long and lean?

Athletic-shaped secrets

When you're lacking curves, structured clothing with a little built-in bulk will help give you the illusion of curves. '70s-style high-waisted pants topped with a skinny, bright colored belt will make your hips and waist look hot. Choose shirts with ruffles, bows and lace across the chest to add emphasis to this region. Jackets and shirts tailored to fit-and-flare will also help emphasize your waist. When choosing shorts and skirts, opt for shorter hemlines with pleats, ruffles or a tulip-puff -- the short hemline will show off your legs and the flare will give the impression of hips.

anthropologie super flare

(1. New York & Company, 2. Anthropologie, 3. Anthropologie)

MUST READ: Find out more on how to dress for your body type >>

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