Flatter your body with the fit and flare style

For plus-size women, a good first step toward building a flattering wardrobe is to learn which shapes and styles work best on your body type.

Experimenting with different clothes is the best way to learn what looks best, and once you find a few styles that always look great you can start to play with colors, patterns and other details.

One popular style plus-size women should definitely consider is the fit-and-flare look. Also known as A-line, fit-and-flare styles complement almost every body type. Take a look at this fit-and-flare style guide:

Why wear fit and flare?

Fit-and-flare dresses, skirts and tops are universally flattering because they mimic an hourglass shape, even if the woman wearing them has a different body type altogether. The cinched waist and flared skirt define the waist while draping over a curvy lower body.

Even if your hips and thighs are wider, wearing a fit-and-flare dress or skirt makes the more voluminous lower body look like part of the garment, rather than part of your body’s shape. Fit-and-flare clothes can also accentuate a woman’s small natural waist or even create the appearance of a tiny waist for women with less definition.

How to wear fit-and-flare dresses

Fit-and-flare or A-line dresses are the most common ways you’ll see the style worn – and they have the added benefit of being versatile and fun. Styles that flare out a little less, or flare at the hips then slightly narrow toward the knees, are perfect for staying stylish at the office.

Wear dresses with a wider princess-cut flare to go out in the evenings or just look sophisticated and chic on the weekends. Loose and flowing skirts are perfect for spring, and those with a more structured fabric are great for softening the look of wider hips.

Wear your fit-and-flare dresses with short cardigans and cropped jackets to get the most out of the hourglass-shaped cut.

How to wear fit-and-flare tops

Fit-and-flare tops are a little less common than dresses of the same style, but one of the most familiar fit-and-flare top styles is peplum. Peplum tops narrow at a woman’s natural waistline, then flare out over the hips.

Any top that widens as it reaches the hips can be considered a fit-and-flare style, though, so look for blouses, blazers or sweaters that give you that hourglass shape.

Look for high-low and asymmetrical hemlines that will make the hips appear more narrow and add a touch of panache to your look. Wear fit-and-flare tops with fitted bottoms, like pencil skirts and slim-cut pants, to balance your outfit.

How to wear fit-and flare skirts

A-line skirts look best when they sit at the natural waist rather than hips. Pair them with tucked-in shirts, like a button-up blouse at the office or more casual tee for weekend wear.

This spring, choose a skirt with a feminine ruffle at the bottom for an even more exciting look, and layer a matching fitted blazer over it to create a formal work outfit that will still give your curves a flattering shape. Also, keep in mind that when you’re wearing an A-line skirt or dress, putting a belt around the waist can create even more definition!