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How to choose the best summer dresses (and accessories) for your body type

Imaxtree.com Image by: Imaxtree.com Author: Elle Canada

Trends

How to choose the best summer dresses (and accessories) for your body type

Like stumbling upon a lunchtime flash sale at Banana Republic, time is of the essence when it comes to finding the perfect summer dress. After all, in Canada, there are only a few short weeks for the women of this country to bare their legs in a pretty, flirty dress. To ensure that you optimize the summer window, Shea Hurley, a Toronto stylist with Plutino Group, shares her top fashion tips for finding the best summer dress for five body types: tall, curvy, petite, athletic and rectangular.

1. BODY TYPE: TALL


Celeb inspiration: Nicole Kidman, L’Wren Scott, Linda Evangelista

Shea’s fashion tips for summer dresses:
Be fussy about fit.
“Sleek is best. Lots of fabric over a large area starts looking like a circus tent.”
Experiment with prints. “They make a long, lean body seem curvier.”
Be wary of mini-dresses. “They can make it look as if your skirt shrunk!”
Go wide. “Horizontal details are good because they take your eye across the body, rather than up and down.”

Finishing touches
Play with accessories. Break up long lines by catching the light and drawing the eye to different points of the body. Just be careful to not over accessorize. No need to be afraid of heels, but you might be more comfortable and cool with a kitten heel or even a pointed-toe flat.

May we suggest:
· Dolce & Gabbana pointed brocade slingbacks
· Elsa Peretti's Diamonds by the Yard necklace for Tiffany & Co.

2. BODY TYPE: CURVY

Celeb inspiration: Beyoncé, Crystal Renn

Shea’s fashion tips for summer dresses:
Show off your shoulders. “They're pretty on every woman.”
Lengthen your lower body. “A tulip (flared out) hem lines offset the hips.”
Look for structure. “Don't let your small waist get lost in something loose or boxy. Emphasize your slimmest points.”
Create a diversion. “A strapless or one-shoulder style draws the gaze upward—a smart tactic if you carry most of your weight on the bottom.”

Voluptuous Bust: Scarlett Johansson, Lindsay Lohan
Enhanced Bottom: Jennifer Lopez

Finishing touches
If you're more on the busty side, use finer, more delicate jewellery around your face and neck – save stronger accessories like a statement clutch or handbag, bracelet or even cocktail ring to even out your look. Eye-catching shoes are another great way to give your look a more even overall feel.

May we suggest:
· A Lanvin oversized rhinestone ring
· Stella McCartney's Falabella shaggy deer zip wallet

If you're petite or athletic, we've got the fool-proof fashion tips on what summer dresses to wear this season on the next page... BCBG-bks-A-RS12-1900edit.jpg 3. BODY TYPE: PETITE

Celeb inspiration: Natalie Portman, Selena Gomez, Nicole Ritchie

Shea’s fashion tips:
Get leggy. “Embrace shorter skirts and sheer hose. Long hems and opaque tights can weigh you down.”
Show some skin. “ You don't want to get lost in the fabric of your dress, so try and stay away from covering up from head to toe.”
Turn up the volume. “Modest volume below the waist (pleats, flounces, bubble hem) can balance a larger bust or camouflage wide hips—or both.”

Finishing touches
Keep heels moderate. Really high ones make small women look as if they're on stilts. Accessorize discreetly. Big, brash jewellery is too much for a pint-sized frame.

May we suggest:
• Louis Vuitton's Float Your Boat pendant
• Jimmy Choo's patent leather Vida wedge

4. BODY TYPE: ATHLETIC

Celeb inspiration: Jessica Biel, Cameron Diaz

Shea’s fashion tips:
Take the plunge. “Deeper necklines create the illusion of more bust.”
Cinch it in. “Belts add shape by accentuating the waist.”
Try gathers and texture. “Ruching and drapery give the body dimension.”
Build curves. “Emphasize your top half with a dramatic collar, and your hips with a slightly flared skirt.”
Dress sexy. “ Having a less voluptuous figure means you can indulge in high-glam fabrics without looking too Las Vegas!”

Finishing touches
Chances are that if your frame is athletic, so are you so trying too hard with accessories may feel uncomfortable and cumbersome. Stick to a few thin bangles, fine chain necklaces and pretty stud earrings to frame your face.

May we suggest:
• Kate Spade's Seaport Twisted Bangle
• Proenza Schouler’s snakeskin graffiti sandal

5. BODY TYPE: RECTANGULAR (you don’t have too many curves—your waist, hip and shoulder widths are all similar to each other).

Celeb inspiration: Gwyneth Paltrow, Keira Knightley

Shea’s fashion tips:
Create curves. “Look for sweetheart and scoop-neck lines that help create curves. Belt your waist to create more of an hourglass figure. Wear tops with collars, ruffles and details to flatter your chest.”
Go lean. “Wear longer dresses to create a lean look and emphasize your narrow rectangle body shape.”
Support the girls. “It can't be emphasized enough—a well-fitting bra is essential for rectangle body shapes, which tend to be boyish. The right bra will make the most of the curves you have.”

Finishing touches
This body shape can carry shapes or simplicity. Remember: heels will help your legs get some lift and added shape. Layering a light cardigan or silk scarf can add some extra shape, as well keep you warm on those cool summer nights.

May we suggest:
• Marc by Marc Jacobs' Chianti sweater
• Marni's skinny belt (and go bright!)

Read more:
Summer fashion: 6 hot summer dresses under $100

Ladylike dressing: Spring/Summer 2012 runway trends

Spring/Summer 2012 fashion trends: The most stylish food-inspired fashion looks from the runways
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How to choose the best summer dresses (and accessories) for your body type