Are your legs and hips are slimmer than your upper half? If so, you may fall into the APPLE category. Apple is one of the four general body shapes for women. The other three are pear, hourglass, and ruler. The most flattering clothing styles will help you appear narrower in the shoulders and waist, and accentuate your best features, which are your legs and chest. Here are some tips that will help you in dressing for your body shape.

TOPS AND SWEATERS. A good choice for a top would be one that skims your body and falls straight down to your hips, elongating your figure. Bulky tops and chunky knit sweaters are not flattering for your figure type. Also, avoid ruffles, as they add volume. Frilly tops will not be as flattering on you as sleek shirts. Thin layers look good on apple shapes. Try layering a camisole with a long, body-skimming, simple cardigan. Opt for v-necklines, as they will draw attention away from your shoulders.

JACKETS. Avoid jackets with shoulder pads, or any sort of ornamentation on the shoulder such as buttoned tabs or epaulets. Also, avoid double breasted jackets. Choose blazers which button just below the bust (no higher, no lower). The most flattering jacket length is exactly at the hip.

ACCESSORIES. Create slimming, vertical lines with a long scarf or chunky, long necklace.

SUPPORT GARMENTS. Because apple-shaped figures tend to have larger breasts, make sure you are wearing a very supportive, perfectly fitting bra.

SKIRTS. Generally, shorter skirts are more flattering on apple-shaped figures than on other body types. Flared or A-line skirts will balance out your torso. Also, a tiered, ruffled skirt may be very complimentary to slim hips and legs, which are charactistic of apple-shaped figures. Choose patterns and bright colors to show off your legs. Avoid straight skirts.

PANTS. Choose pants that have a flat front (no pleats)! Pants that have a lower rise than your natural waist are a good pick. Make sure your pants are not too tight (to avoid a muffin top). Since apple-shaped figures have flatter buts than other types, try to find pants that have big back pockets, preferably with flaps. Skinny or tight jeans, and jeans with tapered ankles are to be avoided. Boot-cut or flared leg pants are best.

WAIST. Empire-waisted styles look great on nearly everyone, particularly if you are apple-shaped. A raised waist takes attention away from your middle. Steer clear of belts, low-waisted styles, and any clothing that cuts your middle in half visually. Horizontal stripes should be avoided.

COLORS. Dark on top and light, bright or patterned on the bottom will look flattering on you. Try a patterned skirt with a bright top. Or choose a black sweater over bright dress. Khaki pants with a navy sweater would look fabulous.

WHERE TO SHOP? Finding the right clothes is rarely easy. Browsing through the stores in your local shopping mall may often lead to frustration. Expand your choices by finding stores online that carry your size and preferred styles. My list of personal favorite stores for figure-flattering clothing is as follows:
LAND’S END – (great for finding basics and classics in a wide range of sizes; well made clothing that lasts; love their cardigans and their swimsuits can’t be beat)
NEW YORK AND COMPANY – (excellent sales, can always find a coupon for this store; their knit pants are a great fit solution for every figure; nice styles for work)
VICTORIAS SECRET – (their underwear fits better than most other brands; online clothing is super cute; find special pieces – tops, dresses, etc. – with great details)
OLD NAVY – (look here for weekend and lounge clothing; they have extended sizing; if you’re plus sized, don’t be afraid to consider their maternity clothing – can find cute, flattering styles)
DRESS BARN – (carries plus sizes; a godsend for plus sized woman who are in need of suits or formal business attire)