Designers are pumping up the volume this season with the return of ’80s-inspired fabrics, poufy dresses and super-slouchy sweaters. To do volume right, think big, but don’t drown in a sea of fabric. Tackle the season’s toughest trends and take cues from the international runways by practising balance over bulge.

Robin Keeler, fashion director at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, gives the scoop on how to make volume work for your body type.

The great thing about the slouchy sweaters and tops of the voluminous trend is that they really hide a multitude of figure problems. What you really don’t want to do though is add bulk where you don’t need it. Oversized sweaters are great for your body because they will actually help balance out your bottom half. Go for subtle strips across the top and keep things soft and flowing on the bottom — avoid anything that’s too tight or clinging. If you do something voluminous on top you should keep it slim on the bottom and vice versa, but the skinny jean is definitely out for you — something a little more boot cut will still give you that tapered look while keeping you in balance. As for voluminous skirts and bottoms: stay away.

Show off your fabulous toned legs with a billowing mid-length skirt — a tough look for most people to pull of. The fuller skirt will define your waist and create more of an hour-glass silhouette to balance out broader shoulders. Slouchy sweaters will work on your body as well, but you want to create balance with slightly flared skirts or trousers.

Lucky girl, with your shoulders, hips and defined waistline, life is pretty good! Show off your curves and emphasize your waist with roomy tops or sweaters cinched in with a great belt. Cocoon sweaters, skinny jeans, prints, patterns, fun colour combinations — you can do it all! If you’re very curvy, play them down with softer fabrics and go for skinny jeans that scrunch around your ankles to create balance, or if you want to go totally ’80s, you can do leg-warmers over your skinny jeans for the same effect. Flashdance here we come!

Use a belt with your spacious tops or sweaters to imply a waistline by wearing it loosely at the hip rather than at the waist. Keep necklines interesting — you want to draw attention up and toward the face rather than to the waistline — deep v-necks or the sexy off-the-shoulder look are great. Keep clothing loose and not too tight-fitting and play down your boyish shape with softer fabrics and feminine touches like lace, trim and bows.

Ready to shop? Get the season’s must-have looks with ELLE online’s comprehensive guide to some of Canada’s best shopping across the nation! Click here!