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Body shape focus: the apple

After an overall view of Trinny and Susannah’s 12 body shapes and what looks best complement each of these, I’ll now turn my focus to another common body shape, the apple.

To remind readers, if you’re an apple, you are top heavy and the largest part of your body will be your tummy. Your body shape will be generally rounded and soft. Think Jennifer Hudson, Elizabeth Hurley, Drew Barrymore, Rosie O’Donnell, Angelina Jolie, Tyra Banks and Catherine Zeta Jones. The following questions can also help you determine whether you are an apple: Do you have broad, rounded shoulders? Do you feel uncomfortable when tops are tucked in? Is your bottom flat? Do you have an average to big bust? Are your hips narrower than your bust? Do you have fullness around your middle? Are you rocking a pretty impressive pair of legs? Are your legs and arms thinner compared to the rest of your body? If yes to all or most of these, then your suspicious are confirmed! You are indeed an amazing apple.

Finding the right look

The aim of the game in dressing the pear is to balance your silhouette. Rather than buying something pretty, think first whether it’s going to suit your body shape. Choosing the right clothes and accessories, you can highlight your best assets and conceal your less than best assets, thus giving your figure more balance.

Let’s start with the top area. As far as necklines go, opt for lower and wider necklines, such as sweetheart, scoop or square necklines, or large V-necks. Also try strapless tops or dresses. Avoid halter-tops, very high necklines, off-the-shoulder tops, boat necks and decorated necklines. If you are wearing detail, keep it above the bust line (and below the hip line – but we’ll come to that area later). Look for detail, perhaps sequins, beads or flowers, on the shoulders. For sleeves, try three quarter and wrist length, as well as flare or cuff sleeves. Avoid puffy sleeves and those that finish next to your bust. When you’re looking at fabric and material, don’t go for anything very clingy, especially around your middle. Rather, choose simple designs in soft cottons and flowing silks and if you do use textured fabric, use it as a way to draw the focus away from your middle. Don’t go extreme in the other direction though, by buying baggy, shapeless tops. A good choice of top is one with a high waistline, A-line or empire waist, especially if it falls lower than your hip bones or even goes over your bottom. Shirttails and rounded hems help to hide the tummy. Alternatively, shirts that wrap around and create folds around the stomach area help too. A top or dress, which you can tie at the waist, will also give your body better shape. As colour goes, instead of wearing the rainbow or big, bold patterns, opt for monochromatic shades or one colour in multiple shades, as they will make you look longer. For the top specifically, go a bit darker to look slimmer.

Pair your cami or tank top with a matching jacket. Layering your top half will give your figure good balance. Choose simple, single-breasted jackets with a single button, positioned under your bust and above your tummy. Jackets with straight or empire lines that hang from your shoulders and are nipped at the waist, perhaps with a belt, will fit apples well, especially if they have deep necklines. A-line coats can be worn open and lapels are good, but only if they’re not sitting on your bust line. Again, any detail and fuss should stay away from the bust area. Opt for tailored coats and blazers, open cardigans or waistcoats or duster coats finishing above the knee. Jackets and coats that end after the waist and before mid-thigh will look great. Avoid lengths that finish at the widest part of your hips.

As for dresses, A-line again, or something with a continuous pattern, is a great fit for your body and will help to de-emphasise your tummy. Dresses with the waistline around the hipbone area or dresses with a raised waist, such as drop-waist or empire waist dresses, are other suitable options, especially when they have a fuller skirt as it will help to balance out your top half. Be sure that you don’t draw the focus to your middle section or upper body, so remember to stay away from clingy fabric, halter neck dresses and puffy sleeves.

Now for your lower half. Drawing the attention to your legs and taking the focus away from your upper half will help to give your body shape more balance. But don’t go for tight material as it will make your legs appear smaller and your waist bigger. Avoid fuss at the front and if you do go for any extras, make sure they’re at the back. For skirts, again go for A-line styles to help give you an hourglass shape, or something with a bias cut. Other good skirt options are those that are panelled or have box pleats, but make sure that they start below your tummy. Skirts that are a few inches above the knee are great. Material-wise, silk and chiffon are good choices for skirts. Stay away from pockets and gathers near the waist. Skirts and trousers that are fastened at the side or back, and those that are flat fronted are ideal. The same applies for jeans. Look for jeans with a rise that is lower than your natural waist. Stick to jeans that have classic lines and avoid those extras. Pockets are OK but only at the back, where they can give your flattish bottom more shape. Trousers and jeans that are boot-cut, wide leg or flared will suit your shape well and help to create overall balance. In shorts and trousers, go high-waisted to give your waist definition and to make you appear slimmer. Also for shorts, nude shoes or high heels will help to emphasise your lower half and add height.

Onto shoes! Chunky styles, medium to high heels, platforms, wedges, calf-length boots, clogs, strappy sandals and ballet flats are good choices as the right pair of shoes can also help to add balance to your lower half. Use colour and detail too. But avoid buckle boots, Uggs, kitten heels and anything too big so as not to make your legs seem smaller.

When it comes to beach attire, hear, a halter neck is suitable as it supports a fuller bust. Wider straps are also a good choice. A tankini or vest top covering the middle can be helpful. Or adding a sarong can help too. Look for detail on the shoulders. Sway towards a plainer design on the top and pair it with a patterned bottom.

Food and exercise

Apples can find it easier to lose weight, rather than a pear, for example, as experts believe that abdominal fat breaks down faster than that in the thigh and bottom area. Losing weight should not only be motivated by the desire to look good, however, as belly fat carries with it health threats, such as increased risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases. Cutting the inches from your waist can greatly help to cut your risk of disease. Fitnessmagazine.com recommends a specific diet plan for the apple. The plan is high in healthy fats and low in carbs. Experts suggest a diet with about 40% carbs, which equates to about 600 calories of a 1,500 calories a day diet. Fiber-rich, complex carbs are recommended.

Here is their example of a good diet plan for an apple, including 600 calories from carbohydrates, 525 calories from fat and 375 calories from protein. Breakfast consists of one egg, scrambled, with a quarter cup of spinach and two tablespoons of mozzarella cheese, as well as one ounce of lean ham and a slice of whole-wheat toast with half a teaspoon of margarine made with canola oil. Your first snack would include one small apple and a tablespoon of peanut butter. For lunch, go for a yummy cobb salad consisting of two cups of mixed greens, half a tomato, two ounces of sliced cooked skinless chicken breast, one hard-cooked egg, an eighth of an avocado, a tablespoon of reduced-fat feta cheese and tossed with two tablespoons of reduced fat Italian dressing. Add six whole-wheat crackers to the mix. The second snack of the day would be a small pear and one piece of string cheese. For your last meal of the day, have a three-ounce sirloin steak marinated, each marinated in one tablespoon of light soy sauce and orange juice. Grill the steak. Have it with one small baked potato, with the skin, and top it with one tablespoon of light sour cream and chives. Add half a cup of steamed broccoli with one teaspoon of olive oil. Finally, for dessert, enjoy one cup of light yoghurt with two tablespoons of bran cereal and half a cup of frozen blueberries.

Lastly, shape.com suggests a core-centric sculpting and high-intensity (HIIT) cardio as the best exercise solution for apples. Cardio has been suggested as the best exercise for belly fat, however strength training is also important. Their plan combines high-intensity cardio to burn fat and strength exercises for a leaner body. For three or four days a week, do the following six exercises (a simple search online will offer detailed instructions showing you how to do them) – weighted bird dog, rear lunge crop, pull-down extension, pushup climbers, windmill split squat and weighted walk up. Do each of these exercises back to back, with little to no rest in between them. Once the circuit is over, repeat it two more times. The exercises only require free weights. For two days in between these workout days, do HIIT cardio training.

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