When you want to look taller, think short. “Mini but tailored like are great for petite shapes,” says fashion stylist and blogger Sarah McManus. “The better the fit, the taller you will look; otherwise you’ll be hidden under too much fabric and lose your petite figure.” Plus, these dresses are perfect staple pieces for both day and night. Pair with work-appropriate pumps and a cardi or blazer for day, and then lose the topper, switch up the accessories, and add some sexy heels for the p.m.
Another trend to try on for size? A top and bottom in the same color, a la a pantsuit. “Dark colors work best because they recede, making the wearer look leaner, and when you look leaner, you look taller,” says Paula Darnell, About.com’s petite style expert. Because shades such as brown, deep purples, and oxblood red (seen head-to-toe on the runways of Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs) are so in for fall, now is the perfect time to try out this trick!
For women who have little to no difference in size between their hips and their waist, “this updated little black dress with a pop of color from WISH is super flattering,” says fashion publicist Emily Simarski. “The on-trend neon contrast and extra fabric over the bust and hips will enhance and give the illusion of more curves.”
Other trends to try on for size? Pleats, which give a straight by adding depth, volume, and visual interest, and prints. “Wearing matching prints from top-to-toe looks super-cool, but only the less-curvy can attempt this trend,” says Danica Lo, executive editor of StyleBistro.com. “While it can make others look bigger, on athletic bodies, whatever your size, the clothes won't stretch and warp as much, and will only add the illusion of curves.”
What masks a midsection better than peplum, this year’s hottest trend! “This design element cinches your waist and creates a waistline where needed, and the flare makes hips and thighs appear smaller,” says Fanny Woo, stylist with UrbanDarling.com. Peplum also draws the eye to the bottom of your torso, where apple shapes tend to narrow out. The key is to make sure that the flared part falls in the proper spot—below the waist and sitting right on the hipbones. This can be tricky if you are tall. The solution? “This peplum-accented dress by Long Tall Sally was specifically designed so that the proportions are right on a taller frame,” says brand spokesperson Brooke Rhinehart.
Another trend to try on for size? An oversized sweater paired with leather leggings or colored skinny jeans. “Chunky, oversized sweaters were all over the fall 2012 runways, from Theory to Charlotte Ronson,” Lo says. “By pairing this big knit with tight pants, it camouflages your tummy and shows off your thin legs.”
When you’re bigger on bottom, looking great is all about emphasizing your top half, and what better way to do that than florals? “This bold print blazer from Gypsy Junkies is the perfect example of how you can wear floral prints into fall and winter, and it brings attention to your top half while covering your hips," Simarski says.
Another trend to try on for size? A bold shoulder. “Jackets with strong accented shoulders like geometric padding or adornments help to create a balanced proportion between your shoulders and your hips,” says Christina Pollack, contributor to the LA Times Fashion Magazine.
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