The problem with a lot of fashion magazines is that they tend to be quite dictatorial. They’re always telling you about some new fashion rule that you must follow or informing you about a new style guideline that you must adhere to. Journalists and stylists who issue these edicts from high upon mountains of unattainable designer clothing are forever beating us over the head with their ‘laws of style’, their must-haves, essentials and imperatives.

For the most part these instructions are largely nonsense, however every now and then a small semblance of intelligence does slip through the cracks and you find yourself with a little nugget of fashion wisdom. If there is one fashion commandment that should be obeyed, it is the golden rule of ‘fit’. Fit is probably the most important aspect of your wardrobe. You could have a closet full of couture, but if it doesn’t fit properly then you may as well be wearing a potato sack.

When your clothes fit you properly, you look good – it really is that simple. Before you can get the right fit, you first need to understand your body shape. This allows you to select clothes that flatter you, emphasising your assets and minimising any areas you are not so fond of. We all come in different shapes and sizes, and while Trinny and Sussanah believe that all women’s bodies can be categorised into a handful of body types, I firmly disagree. Yes, there are pear shapes and hourglasses and apples out there, but bricks, oranges and vases? I find all these associations and descriptions both unflattering and offensive. The reality is that we are all different shapes and sizes and for many of us, shopping can be a little hit and miss.

You have to persevere and try a variety of looks until you discover what works best for you. The joy of fashion is the moment that you discover your own look and figure out what style makes you feel good. At that moment shopping for clothes is transformed from an emotional and frustrating experience to one of pure pleasure. Here are a couple of hints that might help you navigate through the world of fit, not a list of commandments.

1. Always dress to show your shape. If you are larger or curvy, you may think that wearing bigger, baggier clothes will make you look smaller-wrong. Wearing a big shapeless sack isn’t going to make you look smaller, in fact it will just make you look bigger. Dressing for your shape means accentuating your waistline and choosing fabrics and colours that create interest. It’s about lines that are flattering and picking items that balance out your figure and help you create correct proportions.

2. Hide wobbly bits

Unless you’re Giselle Bundchen, chances are there are some bits of your body you’re not totally enamoured with. The majority of women probably stress about bums, hips, tits and legs the most -we all want them to be bigger, smaller or longer. So next time you’re shopping, remember that clothing can be used to camouflage and create a sense of illusion. Darker colours will minimise things, shaving centimetres off thighs, bums and waists. Similarly, brighter colours or shiny fabrics can highlight an area and create the illusion of things being bigger, so legs can become longer, bottoms more shapely and busts more boastful.

3. Get things tailored. You are living in a fantasy land if you think a size 12 dress is going to fit every size 12 woman perfectly. A quick trip to the tailor for a little nip and tuck and suddenly a cheaper item looks far more expensive and you look totally fabulous.