STYLE
03/20/2013 12:29 pm ET Updated Mar 20, 2013

Style Lessons We Can Learn From The Best-Dressed List (PHOTOS)

Every week, we choose the best-dressed celebrities from red carpets and events. There are always those outfits that evoke a visceral reaction, an "oooh" that is difficult to explain. But for the most part, there are unspoken criteria that these celebrities use -- to their advantage -- that keeps landing them on our best-dressed list.

What does it take to be some of the most stylish women in the world? And how can we use those lessons in our day-to-day life? We are here, dear readers, to de-mystify what makes a best-dressed celebrity just that.

1. Proper undergarments. When you build a house, you always start with a secure, steady foundation. Consider your underwear to be the foundation of any outfit. An ill-fitting bra can give the illusion of the dreaded "double boob" or even worse, make breasts look saggy. Baggy underpants distract from a sleek pencil skirt, and a sheer dress could've been avoided with proper shapewear.

style lessons
Look, Ma! No VPL!

2. Meticulous fit. The way a garment flatters the body -- no matter what the shape -- often determines whether or not a look will be on the best-dressed list. A woman can be tall or petite, thin or curvy, and if she has chosen a figure-flattering outfit, she will look great. Celebrities have stylists and seamstresses who will ensure that a look is the right length, that it's lined so as not to be transparent and that it hugs and drapes to show off the star's figure. We don't have the luxury of stylists, but we can take our clothes to the local tailor for a nip or a tuck. There are also lots of online guides on which silhouettes flatter your specific shape: read them.

style lessons
Mila's petite, curvy frame is showcased in this tea-length dress that cinches in her waist.

3. Complementary colors. Those phrases that our grannies love to use like, "I'm a winter, I can only wear navy" may seem out-of-date, but the truth is, they exist for a reason. A little research will tell you exactly which hues will best flatter your skin tone and hair color. Not sure about your complexion? Most makeup counters will have an expert who can guide you.

style lessons
The bright crimson shade shows off the actress' milky complexion and red hair.

4. Appropriate occasion. As casual as our society has become, there is still a time and a place to be dressed up. Ball gowns belong at the Oscars, not in Las Vegas. Similarly, we love seeing cocktail-length dresses and menswear-inspired suiting at formal events. Short, see-through minidresses belong at the beach ... and we aren't even sure about that.

style lessons
The ladylike below-the-knee hemline is unexpected, especially for a TV appearance. Thumbs up.

5. Balance. We love it when women show off their self-confidence in a short dress that shows off their legs, or in a plunging gown that emphasizes a gorgeous décolletage. But when baring skin, it's important to maintain some balance by covering up elsewhere. A deep-V neckline merits a jacket draped over the shoulders and a pair of sleek trousers. Likewise, a shirt-slash-minidress looks best when the neckline is modest and the sleeves are long. Otherwise, you're bound for tacky territory.

style lessons
A super short mini is less provocative when paired with a conservative turtleneck.

What do you think? Will these tips change the way you dress?

See the celebrities who practically invented these lessons:

PHOTO GALLERIES
Best-Dressed Celebs Of The Week

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