One of the skills of Italian Fashion is knowing how to find the right clothes for all body types. It is not enough for a dress to be beautiful to be classy: it must be just right for us.

Knowing how to dress to enhance yourself is not as trivial as it sounds. "Oof, that dress looks divine on her and not on me! My body is ugly", or "He looks good in anything, he can wear whatever he wants": how many times have we thought or heard these phrases repeated? If you read this article, you will discover that these are just clichés. They are widespread but wrong, simply because each cut of dress enhances a specific type of physique more than another and because there are five different types of body shape, both male and female. So, it's not enough for a suit to be beautiful to give class to our outfit: it has to be the right one for us. And, fortunately, Italian fashion is unsurpassed in this respect.

Therefore, the first thing to do is understand our body's shape, and the second is how to bring out its strengths.

Ladies and gentlemen let's remember that having accomplices or tricks up our sleeves can make all the difference in life. Italian Fashion is one of them: if we know how to make it our own, it will be one of our best allies in many circumstances.

Fashion is a goddess. The most female of females, whose beauty is immortal. She moulds herself to any will; she gives herself without limits and panders to desire. A lover, a perfect accomplice.

Ivan Venerucci

The 5 female body shapes: what is the perfect body?

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For gallantry's sake, let's start with the sissies. Even though it may shock many of us, the most beautiful stars in the world of music and film belong to one of these five categories, which have their merits and flaws, so 'the perfect body' as a final prototype does not exist. The only 'universal law', if we can call it that, is to create harmony between the shapes of our bodies. And these sex symbols know how to do it.  

5. Pear (or triangle) shape

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This physique is pretty easy to recognise because it features narrow shoulders and chest, a slim waist and generous hips. Triangle-shaped women tend to have shorter legs, and the extra kilos are always located from the navel down.

How to choose the perfect dress for this type of structure? The number one secret is to bring out the slim waistline, using garments that mark it and avoiding oversized ones: they would look like a sack of potatoes.

Although it may sound strange, skirts and dresses are the clothes that look best on women with a pear-shaped build, but it depends on which ones: dresses that cinch in at the waist are OK, maybe strapless to show off the bust, and soft, 50s-style full skirts are OK. When it comes to trousers, only two models suit this body shape: palazzo trousers and wide-leg trousers, strictly high-waisted.

Another secret is to enhance the upper part of the body with the help of the optical effect created by the colours: for the upper part, light colours, bright patterns, polka dots and checks, for the lower part darker and above all plain clothes.

Examples of pear-shaped women: Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian and the italian showgirlValeria Marini.

4. Rectangle shape

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The rectangle shape is the classic model's physique, i.e. a slim, "shapeless" body. This women are the envy of all because they don't usually gain weight and, if they do, they gain kilos evenly. But karma intervenes to get even: their most common flaw is having small breasts and a flat back, which risks making a woman look unfeminine. So even in their case, there are some valuable tricks. What's the secret? It's creating a bit of movement.

The most fantastic luck of the rectangular body is to be the only one that can play with fabrics, colours, patterns and lengths because it will never be vulgar. You can wear extravagant and minimal clothes, dresses decorated with ruffles, asymmetrical cuts, jackets with shoulder pads, tight-fitting outfits underneath and looser ones on top, such as soft knits and leggings. Yes to miniskirts and dresses that leave the back bare.

Examples of rectangle women: Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow and the talented Italian singer Giorgia.

3. Apple shape (or circle)

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Warning: being an apple-shaped woman does NOT mean being fat. Women with this type of physique do not have a waist, and their characteristic is to have a chest and hips of the same size, but they also have slender, slim legs. Their bottom is generally flat, and they tend to have a belly, but don't worry: a super effective trick is to use a slimming girdle.

The secret to an apple frame is to enhance the legs with short or above-the-knee dresses or highlight them with light or bright colours. If you have an abundant décolleté, you can experiment with dresses with a girdle below the breast.

The outfit that looks best on these women is undoubtedly the dress, and the must-have item is the cardigan.

Oversized garments are strictly forbidden as they would create a "camping-tent" effect and no tight-fitting, figure-hugging dresses, but yes to V-necks and plunging necklines. The perfect trousers for this physique are tight on the legs but do not mark the waist too much, possibly combined with long shirts that reach below the bottom, and yes to shorts.

Examples of apple women: Adele and the beautiful Italian women Sabrina Ferilli and Maria Grazia Cucinotta.

2. Hourglass shape

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The hourglass shape is the most feminine of all, the one with the right curves, and its characteristics are shoulders that are the same width as the hips, florid breasts, a prominent bottom and a well-marked waist. Women with this type of physique usually tend to gain weight, but they do so evenly. The secret here is to enhance the shape without exaggerating so as not to fall into the vulgar and to learn to avoid mistakes that would risk making you look a size or two fatter!

So yes to all garments that mark the waistline, yes to soft cuts and flowing fabrics, but no oversized clothes, and absolutely yes to sheath dresses: this is the perfect garment for them. As this type of physique is very well-proportioned, as a general rule, when choosing an outfit, you should always try to maintain a balance between the top and bottom, both with colours and volumes.

Examples of hourglass women: Scarlett Johansson, Beyoncé and the great Italian actress Sophia Loren.

1. Inverted Triangle Shape

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The inverted triangle has opposite characteristics to the pear: broad shoulders, a wide chest, narrow hips and thin legs. The breasts may be more or less prosperous, and the bottom will be small but slightly prominent. Women of this type will never put on weight on the ass and belly, but rather in the upper part of the body, and they have a narrow pelvis, a flat stomach, and a marked waist. The secret, therefore, is to focus attention on the lower part of the body, emphasising the waist and legs, with soft garments on top and tighter ones underneath which mark the waistline in a natural way, no straight dresses and yes to short skirts. In general, avoid all knitwear that shows off the shoulders too much or highlights them, as well as jackets with shoulder pads. However, if we want to emphasise the shoulders, we can balance the figure by creating volume in the lower part with the help of colours: it is better to prefer dark and simple garments for the chest combined with tight trousers and skirts or with bright patterns.

Examples of women with inverted triangles: Angelina Jolie, Renee Zellweger and the beautiful Italian television presenter Alessia Marcuzzi.

The 5 male body shapes

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OK, now it's the boys' turn, both those who want to figure out how to hide a few minor flaws and those who do sports and diets to have the perfect body. Let's put it this way: Italian Fashion can train you to tackle your wardrobe as well as your coach trains you in the gym. And then there are the real alphas, those who would never spend more than a minute choosing which clothes to wear (they say). 

Fashion for women is like football for men: everyone can feel like a coach at least once.

Cristina Parodi

5. Trapezoid body shape

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The trapezoidal physique has broad shoulders but relatively narrow hips and waist. The upper and lower body are well balanced, so it's a simple structure to dress, as you only have to maintain the proportions. Such a man can wear a wide variety of jacket-pants combinations and be daring with patterns and fabric colours. One small tip: if you tend to have short legs, no lapels, please.

Examples: Jason Momoa and Gerard Butler.

4. Inverted Triangle Body Shape

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It looks like something familiar. Yep, male body shapes also include the inverted triangle, meaning broad shoulders, narrow hips, and waist. This structure is usually that of athletes and bodybuilders. But even though they are proud of their beautiful shoulders, it is essential to choose an outfit that doesn't accentuate the imbalance between top and bottom too much. For example, when selecting outerwear, it's better to go for a blazer rather than a structured jacket (which, let's face it, with their arms would be pulling them all over the place) and, as for trousers, no skinny jeans, just a basic slim fit.

Examples: Dwayne Johnson, Cristiano Ronaldo, and the great Italian dancer Roberto Bolle.

3. Rectangle body shape

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It has similar characteristics to the female rectangle, i.e. shoulders as wide as the waist and hips. So, as a man's shoulders always have their appeal, you should choose clothing that broadens them to achieve a trapezoidal optical effect. You can create this by wearing jackets with slightly padded shoulders, double-breasted and perhaps patterned fabric, over plain trousers with a slim fit.

Examples: David Beckham and Brad Pitt.

2. Triangle body shape

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Triangle body shape is the pear-shaped physique, i.e. the shoulders and chest are narrower than the waist and hips. It creates a strange optical effect that we need to correct by clothing: men with this type of structure have shoulders that look sloping and the lower part of the body that appears "bigger" than the upper part. The remedy is dark coloured jackets that are not too loose, perhaps combined with button-down shirts that tend to taper the shape of the torso. As for trousers, it's best to choose those with a medium fit and, if your legs are not very long, avoid turn-ups, even if they are trendy.

Examples: George Clooney and Michael McIntyre.

1. Oval body shape

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This type of physique looks round, particularly in the tummy area, often with narrower shoulders and thinner legs than they should be to look proportionate. In this case, it will be essential to choose outfits that can slim the bust and widen the shoulders: specific fabric patterns also help in this, such as vertical stripes and pinstripes. One recommendation is to avoid too bright belts and too short jacket sleeves, which would make you look stocky.

Examples: Adam Sandler and Italian singer-songwriter Cristiano Malgioglio.

Italians know that it is style that counts, not fashion, and Italian style has no limits of class or age.

Stefano Gabbana
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Here we are. I hope I have made it clear to you that fashion is not only a great friend for fashion victims but that it can make us feel better about ourselves if we know how to follow its advice in the right way. Many see fashion as the "fashion of excess" that parades down the runways to amaze and seek fame, criticism or approval. Still, there is another, gentle and discreet, that knows how to transform into princes and princesses who, in their hearts, feel they deserve more. 

It's all a game, with new rules for each passing season.

Stefano Gabbana

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