THE BLOG
05/22/2014 12:32 EDT | Updated 07/22/2014 05:59 EDT

Knowing Your Body Shape is the Key to Looking Great

Knowing how to dress for your particular body shape is key to looking great. Without this knowledge, you might not know which clothing cuts, styles and lengths look best on you, how to wear certain items to suit your body best or how to choose and place accessories to monopolize on the body you've got.

In case you missed it, in my last post I wrote about the very first thing you need to do to look great and have killer style. Today I'm covering Step 2. It'll get you well on your way to knowing what to buy, how to wear it and how to put it all together.

If you completed the exercise in Step 1, you should have a good handle on your personal style. If you didn't, I recommend going through the process and figuring it out. Otherwise you'll continue to struggle with not knowing what to buy when you're out shopping.

Once you're all caught up (or if you already are), it's time to move on to the second step -- dressing for your body shape. Now if you've read my eBook, Don't Do It, then this will be familiar to you. Think of it as a little refresher. If you haven't read the eBook, then read on.

Knowing how to dress for your particular body shape is key to looking great. Without this knowledge, you might not know which clothing cuts, styles and lengths look best on you, how to wear certain items to suit your body best or how to choose and place accessories to monopolize on the body you've got. The result? You can end up buying all the wrong clothes and (even worse!) looking less than stellar. And who doesn't want to shine like a star?

Generally speaking, knowing and understanding your body shape (both your horizontal and vertical proportions) can help you create visual balance and harmony. Visual balance and harmony is pleasing to the eye. Pleasing to the eye, well, you get it. You look good. Really, really good.

Knowing how to dress for your particular shape helps you to look your best because it plays up your assets and downplays the areas of your body that you don't necessarily want to draw attention to. It's all about highlighting certain parts, deemphasizing others and fooling the eye into believing that you are the epitome of proportion and balance.

To determine your shape and learn how to dress for it, there are two ways you could go about it -- one's mathematical and one's visual.

If you choose to use the mathematical approach, you measure certain parts of your body (horizontally), pop them into a formula and voila -- you're typically either a piece of fruit or a geometric shape. Then you measure other parts of your body vertically to see whether or not you're short or long in certain areas. If it sounds difficult or confusing, don't worry -- its not. Easy peasy.

If you choose the visual approach, you stand in front of the mirror and take stock of what you've got -- both horizontally and vertically. You take a look at where you go in and where you go out, where you're long and where you're short and then you look at the relationship of all these parts to each other.

Some women are very obviously shaped a certain way and can determine their shape visually. They can see where they're unbalanced or where their proportions are off. Others? Not so much. If your body shape is one of the tough ones, don't be discouraged. There are a number of body shape calculators online and a variety of books dedicated to helping you determine yours.

Once you've identified your horizontal shape and vertical proportions, there's a great deal of information available with respect to how best to dress, do's and don'ts, tips and recommendations.

Overall, you need to be aware of and knowledgeable about the body you've got. Be mindful and start paying attention to how certain things look when worn certain ways. Play around with different cuts and styles to see what they do to your overall proportions and whether or not they're creating visual balance. If you're unsure, ask an onlooker if their eyes are pleased.

If you find this confusing or just want quick info fast, you can always contact a stylist to assess your body and give you personalized tips. I happen to know a really great one.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

Photo gallery How To Dress For Your Body Shape See Gallery