From tanks to tailored: Trimming tips for tops

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From tanks to tailored: Trimming tips for tops - Why is it that some clothing beautify while others make me look I'm in my second trimester?! The right top can truly top off an outfit or topple your best efforts to create a flattering look

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Why is it that some clothing beautify while others make me look I'm in my second trimester?! The right top can truly top off an outfit or topple your best efforts to create a flattering look. So in my search to find the best blouse with the slimming sleeves and nice neckline, I decided to talk to the experts and boy, did I get an education. A good place to start is the mirror. Know your body type before you shop. Check out what I learned to see which shirt shape suits you. Plus I found a few examples that show how the stars use these figure flattering tricks, too.

Body Type Tips & Star Styles One way to streamline your shopping and store hopping is to shop by your body type. After doing my research and talking with a few fashion experts, here are some guidelines that will guide you to a good look...

*Full on Top: If you are full figured up top, look for vertical designs that visually slim and v-necklines.Star Shape: See the difference in . The V-neck style draws the eye to the neckline and away from the chest.

*Full on Bottom: If you are looking to minimize your bottom half, look for tops with built-in panels that smooth and offer tummy and hip control or select undergarments with high-waist control. Also shop for bright designs that draw the eye upward.Star Shape: First ladies are good at doing this. Notice both selected dresses with bright designs drawing the eye upward and slimming the hips.

*Full Figured: If you are looking for all-over body slimming, search for styles with a portrait collar in dark colors that give a leaner look.Star Shape: shown here in portrait collar in a dark colored outfit.

*Hourglass: Small on top with lots of curves below beg for blouses with a gathered waist or belt to accent the waist area.Star Shape: on this magazine cover shows how to belt the waist to accent the curves.

*No Curves: For what some girls call the boy body, a figure with little or no curves, go for scoop or sweetheart necklines that will give your silhouette some shape. Surplice tops works really well because they create a waist and accent a bust.Star Shape: in this before and after photo shows how adding a scoop neck style gives her instant shape.

So, after reading about the different body shapes, I wanted to learn all about the different type of tops, so, I'll start with the basic tank.

Tank Top Tricks For Figure Flattering

Not all tank tops are created equal. Some smooth, some flatter and some show every bulge, so to figure out how to wear this great summer piece, I met with an expert. The Purple Skirt is a boutique in Ahwatukee that has recently decreased their prices while increasing their size range. And yet they continue to carry top celebrity favorites. Heather is the owner and she really opened my eyes and my options with a fashion 101 lesson on layering, necklines and slimming sleeves.

An afternoon in the boutique's fitting room was very insightful. I learned that when it comes to tank tops, there are several things to look for. The basic thin tank is made to be worn under a layer. So, although it may not flatter on its own, it will look fantastic underneath a trendy top. For busty women, look for a tank that has a fitted top. It is built for the bust, so that full-breasted women can wear tanks as well. Lastly, a ribbed tank works great for a fitness fit during exercise class and for women who have had implants. Bordeaux is the brand to try for this type of tank. It has a built-in bra shelf and is longer so it can be paired with those popular low-rise jeans. Layering also works well with this top.

Too old for Tube Tops...maybe not!

I walked right past the tiny tube tops figuring those days were long gone for me. To my surprise, Heather told me that I had to have one of these! What I didn't know is these tubes are the perfect accessory to wear under the stylish and seasonal tops like the one pictured here. A bigger surprise to me is that the fuller figured girls can wear the tubes, too because they are made to support. Plus the variety of bright colors makes the fun designs in these blouses pop.

Longing for Long Shirts that Work? I love how those long stylish tees look on tall and thin women, but I always thought they made my middle look thick. Heather showed me how to make them look long and lean, even on 5'3 me. Two tricks of the trade is to first wear a slimming tank underneath. Then gather the middle material and sort of scrunch it together. This will cover up the muffin top middle (you may not have that, but I sure do!). So no need to pull the top all the way down so that it covers your hips. Plus many of those fun shirts have great designs that camouflage the rolls. It is all in how you wear it.

Sleeves & Straps Some gals wear sleeveless with ease and some others prefer slimming sleeves. Strapless can be stunning as long as your bust isn't coming out on top. Be sure to also check behind you in the dressing room mirror, as an ill-fitting style may show skin spilling out in the back. One of the most flattering types of tops that isn't strapless, but comes close is the helpful halter top. I have noticed that this type seems to be my best look and Heather explained to me that the halter slims broad shoulders while also pulling everything up. This style directs the eye upward. And like this one, many offer a strap that doubles as a built-in necklace. Love that look!

Tailored Tops

Black is so slimming, so I own a ton of it and I usually avoid white. However, when it comes to my tailored blouse from White House Black Market, I have to say that it is not only slimming, but clean and crisp. Tailored works well on most body types if the fit is right. A lot of these tops come with sleeves that are three quarter in length and offer coverage for those of us who don't want to bear arms.

I found some clothing lines that have built-in support, slimming sleeves and other helpful bonus form features. From custom designed to designs with hidden support panels, read on for styles that go beyond the Spanx line. And don't get me wrong, I love the Spanx brand, but I was surprised to find the following clothing companies that are designed to help a girl out with those self-conscious figure flaws.

Shop Like the Stars with Custom Designed Duds If you are looking for a true custom made top without having to schedule a fitting with a seamstress, try logging on to Rebecca & Drew Manufacturing offers figure flattering apparel that is designed for your body. "Gossip Girl: actress Blake Lively is shown here wearing a Rebecca & Drew's Patented Trio-Fit button front shirt to her show's season premiere party.

When ordering, customers provide their bra size and body shape and the company takes it from there. Most items are fully refundable when the refund rules are followed. Unique company with quality clothing. Pieces are a bit pricy, but they have great sales. I ordered the Classic Value Short Sleeve Stretch Slim Fit Shirt in black and the blouse cost me $140.00 plus another $12 for shipping, but boy does it fit like a glove!

Blouses Built To Slim Shape fx offers slim wear to swimwear and each piece has hidden mesh control panels that smooth and sculpt. Oprah has featured this brand on her show.

With built-in padding in areas where needed and under wire to boost, this line has thought of every area that needs a little help. Plus the designs use strategic colors and cuts that redirect the eye up and away from problem areas. I decided to give Shape fx a test run so I logged on to One cool feature offered by the site is the body type test, so I answered the online questions ranging from how I exercise to how I shop and I selected the cartoon body type that looks most like my own figure and the results were right on. After being told that I am a hourglass shape, and I agree, I searched for the site's hourglass clothing section and found some good choices. Prices are reasonable as well. I ordered this black and white ultimate control dress and I love the style, my shape and the low cost. I only paid $69 for this stunning and slimming piece. I decided on the dress versus a blouse because as the illustration shows, this garment offers a layered-look dress without the bulk of two pieces. So trying this type of clothing idea is another trick to a body-enhancing ensemble.

So, the next time you see a star looking dazzling, keep in mind that they have stylists who use the above tips and tricks to get the look. Even us ordinary every-day gals can look extraordinary like the stars if we know how to dress in what is best for our bodies. Love your bodies ladies!