The Daily Telegraph - - Fashion -

No two fig­ures are the same, which can make buy­ing off-the-peg work­wear tricky. But it’s worth per­se­ver­ing for the per­fect fit


I’ve just moved into a more cor­po­rate sec­tor with a nar­rower dress code, mostly suits. I’ve never thought they flat­ter my fig­ure – is there a knack to find­ing one that will?


How to dress for your body shape is a con­ver­sa­tion

I have all the time with friends, clients and brands that I work with. It’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand your own shape so that you can buy clothes that fit well; I can’t tell you how many times my clients see them­selves in an en­tirely dif­fer­ent way from how I (or other peo­ple) see them.

Of­ten their style has not moved on since hav­ing chil­dren or even across decades, so they’re still strug­gling to dress for the shape they used to be.

Or, they spend too much time fo­cus­ing on hid­ing their bad bits, and not enough on mak­ing the most of their good bits. And every­one has good bits! Clothes play a vi­tal role in com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­fore we even open our mouths, and a too-tight dress or a badly-fit­ting jacket can un­der­mine an in­ter­view, pre­sen­ta­tion or speech. Re­mem­ber to take a good look at your­self and your wardrobe ev­ery so of­ten – start­ing now. Has your body changed re­cently, and if so, where? What out­fits do you feel good in? Don’t ob­sess about dress sizes: ev­ery brand sizes slightly dif­fer­ently (I range from an 8-14 de­pend­ing on the shop). I have a client who is so ob­sessed with wear­ing a size 10 that I had to start cut­ting the la­bels out – she looks so much bet­ter (and slim­mer) in a 12. While you’re get­ting started, don’t be afraid to take ev­ery­thing

into the chang­ing room, as things look so dif­fer­ent off the hanger. And don’t be put off by the need for mi­nor al­ter­ations, ei­ther, as they’re in­ex­pen­sively made with the help of a good tai­lor. Every­one’s shape is dif­fer­ent, but here are some ba­sic rules to use as a start­ing point.

To em­pha­sise a trim waist, add a belt to pull in floaty dresses, or tuck tops into A-line skirts, which will then skim nicely over your bum and thighs.

For a large bust, a fan­tas­tic trouser suit will draw at­ten­tion away from your top half, give shape around the waist, and elon­gate legs.

If you’re self-con­scious of your tummy, layer looser tops and jack­ets over slim trousers that show off your legs. Long, tall fig­ures that want to cre­ate some curves should em­brace pe­plum tops with pen­cil skirts.

To flat­ter and elon­gate legs, try wide-leg trousers or an an­kle-skim­ming maxi skirt. To ask Is­abel Spearman your work­wear ques­tions, email is­abel.spearman @tele­ or fol­low her on In­sta­gram @is­abel­s­pear­man

Edie dress, £159 (

Leather belt, £75 (the­fold­lon­ Pin­stripe blazer, £89.99; and wide-leg trousers, £39.99 ( Cot­ton trousers, £35 (oa­

Wool check pen­cil skirt, £110 (

Jac­quard pe­plum top, £155 (lib­by­lon­

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