How to find a style to suit your shape

Looking good is not just about following fashion; choosing clothes to suit your body shape is important in the quest to look stylish. Emma Harrowing takes Life Matters reader Sara Larcombe on a makeover journey to show how adapting this season's trends to suit her shape will make her look and feel ready for a night out with friends.

The trend for voluminous tops and blouses has got many women in a flap. For those of us with an hourglass, top heavy or pear shape body the style can swamp your top half disguising your slim waist and making you look bigger than you actually are.

Fashions come and go and although it is good to know what the current trends are, in order to look stylish it is not always best to follow them. Instead finding your own individual style amongst the current fashions is the key to looking good.

For Sara Larcombe from the Golden Triangle, fashion is an unknown territory. The 25-year-old was brought up on a farm and is used to wearing practical clothing such as jeans and a top. After moving to Norwich a year ago Sara has been working at The Bell in the city centre and has developed a social life that requires her to adopt a more fashionable smart/casual style to frequent the city's social scene.

'I have never really worried about what I wear but recently I have been asked out by work colleagues and I just don't know what to wear,' says Sara. 'I may be 25 years old but fashion is a mystery to me, I really don't understand it. It would be great to have a Life Matters makeover to find a trend that suits me.'

The clothes

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To help Sara find a look that suits her, Debenhams personal shopper Helen shows Sara what summer trends suit her body shape.

Says Helen: 'Sara has an hourglass figure but at the moment she is hiding her slim waist under a voluminous top. There are a lot of baggy tops in the summer collections on the high street, but Sara should look for a more fitted top that accentuates her waist.

'Sara also has an alternative style and so once she has found the perfect outfit to suit her shape she can then experiment with colour, print and accessories to give the edgy look that suits her lifestyle.'

To show off Sara's figure, Helen chooses a fitted black top and layers it with a fitted blazer. As her top is fitted Sara can take volume on her bottom half and a pair of this season's must-have trousers, the palazzo pants is ideal, especially as these will disguise the part of her body that she doesn't like – her tummy.

'Teaming Sara's top with a pair of animal print wide-leg trousers will give her the edgier look she wants,' says Helen. 'The overall look is smart enough for Sara to go out in, but is also casual enough for her to feel comfortable.'

The hair

Sara's outdated graduated bob is in need of an update and Sara has a look in mind that she wants to recreate.

'I love the style of the actress Alice Cullen from the Twilight films,' says Sara. 'Her alternative style is something that I aspire to. I love the way her hair flicks out and the rich colour is great.'

Saks stylist Lauren is given the task to give Sara the look she wants.

Says Lauren: 'Sara's hair is quite thick so this style will suit her and will make her hair easier to style. For the cut I'm going to get rid of her graduated bob by making the length the same all the way around. Adding a few layers around her face will soften the look and will help Sara achieve the flicked out look she wants.

'At the moment Sara has a lot of purple in her hair so I'm going to soften the colour with an all-over dark chocolate brown tone and add lighter pieces underneath to break up her colour and add interest.'

The makeup

Sara always does her makeup in the same way. She doesn't wear foundation as it irritates her skin and she just wears mascara and eyeliner in the form of flicks along her top lash line.

Debenhams Yves Saint Laurent makeup consultant Carly gives Sara a makeup class in how to change her makeup look to a neutral eye and bold lip.

Get Sara's look:

For the base

After cleansing, toning and moisturising the skin apply a primer such as YSL Top Secret primer, all over the face. This will provide a matt base for your foundation and will help your makeup last for longer.

To find the right colour base test three shades on your jaw line and choose the colour that disappears into your skin. Apply with a foundation brush. If like Sara you have sensitive skin opt for a foundation tailored for delicate skin or choose a light coverage foundation which will not clog the skin.

To get rid of any dark circles under the eyes use a concealer. Carly used YSL Touche Eclat.

For the cheeks

Your face should now look flawless and devoid of colour, so add some warmth to your skin by applying a bronzer to your forehead, cheekbones and chin. Apply with a brush starting from your forehead and make the figure 3 down towards your chin.

For the eyes

Sara's eyes are left neutral as she is going to have a bright lip. To recreate this look use a cream coloured eye shadow over the eyelids from the lash line to the crease. Next use a chocolate brown eye pencil or an eye shadow as an eyeliner and apply along the top and bottom lash line. Finish with two coats of brown/black mascara.

For the lips

The lips are the main focus of this look so go for a bright colour such as this summer's orange. For Sara's look Carly choose a dark red which would complement her warm skin tone and suit the browns and blacks in her chosen outfit.

The verdict

Says Sara: 'If you told me that I would be wearing animal print trousers I would have laughed as I always steer clear of prints, but I love these trousers; they look smart and they are very comfortable to wear. Shopping for clothes that suit my shape has always been a nightmare especially as there are so many baggy tops around this summer, but I've learnt how to adapt current fashions to highlight my waist and I must say I do look a lot slimmer.

'I love my hair and it feels a lot better now that it is one length. Lauren showed me how to style my hair at home and it looks pretty easy. I also love the lighter colours in my hair.

'The makeup is very different to what I would usually do, especially as I always tend to focus on my eyes rather than my lips. It feels strange to wear red lipstick but it's a great alternative look that I can wear if I feel like a change when I go out in the evenings.'