In shape for 2010

Looking great is knowing your body shape and using that knowledge, explains our beauty expert Carol Goodsman...

Looking great is knowing your body shape and using that knowledge, explains our beauty expert Carol Goodsman...Body ShapeBody shapes vary enormously. A woman who thinks she is a size 14, may actually have a size 16 bust, size 14 middle and size 12 hips. There are six traditional figure types (angular, rectangular, hourglass, apple, pear and ellipse), but many of us still find it hard to pinpoint which type applies to us, or feel we fall between two or three types. Take a look at your body in a full length mirror and decide what you want to emphasise and what you would prefer to play down. Also, take time to notice if your bust line is naturally high or low, your neck or limbs particularly long or short. It is the balance of the figure that really matters. See where on your body you are inclined to carry more weight and avoid wearing texture, print and light or bright colours in that area, as they will add bulk. If you carry weight around your middle and have a great bust, empire lines with fabric gently floating over your middle section is a great trick to minimise bulk and balance your shape.

Your StyleOnce you have worked out the overall proportions of your body and the shapes that will flatter it, it is important to think about your individual style. Some people are style chameleons and can move freely between a variety of looks. For others, it is important to stick to one or two, adapting them to the current fashion. Do you suit floaty florals and lace, bohemian styles, understated elegance, a more natural, dressed-down look or perhaps something more outrageous and flamboyant?The looks that flatter you will be affected by your colouring, your frame and also by your personality. For example, a woman with dark, strong colouring and an angular frame is likely to have some drama in her style, but if she suits very flamboyant clothing, there is also likely to be a touch of the exhibitionist in her character. Such things can often be well hidden and it is important to be honest with yourself. Think about the clothes in which you feel most comfortable and receive the most compliments.

Colour, Print and TextureFor some, especially those whose natural colouring is strong, the colours they wear can make or break their look. If a particular colour seems to light up your face, minimising imperfections and makes you appear younger and healthier, opt for other colours that have the same qualities, that is which are equally strong, warm or cool, clear or soft.Your style will also dictate the colours you choose. If your look is classic, you are more likely to stick to neutrals and blocks of colour, rather than prints. Texture and print have the same use in balancing your shape and are also affected by your style. Natural fabrics with an unfinished texture will flatter those who suit a dressed-down look, floaty florals and lace will appeal to those with a girly, delicate style, while velvet and bold prints will suit those who are more dramatic.So, think of yourself as an individual whose shape, style and colouring are unique. Once you take a step back and realise what is most flattering for you, you are half way to understanding how to bring out the best in your look.And everyone, regardless of shape, size, age, style or colouring, can look great if they understand how to style themselves.Carol Goodsman is the owner of Alice Carroll Image Consultancy. For personal shopping appointments call   01..., email, or visit the website at

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