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Octavia Spencer Is My Pick For The Best-Dressed Star of 2012 (PHOTOS)

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Every week I sit down and pore over photos of celebrities for our best and worst-dressed lists. As I consider the stars and what they're wearing, I focus on a few key elements: the color and whether or not it's flattering to the star, the length and fit of the garment and, lastly, my visceral reaction (that gut instinct that makes me either swoon, or let out a dejected sigh).

This past awards season I was taken aback, time and time again, by Octavia Spencer's style. "The Help" star and Oscar-winning actress repeatedly hit all three of my criteria and landed on our best-dressed list many times. But unlike stars like Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington or Gwyneth Paltrow, Spencer bucks tradition when it comes to her appearance. Rather than being industry-standard thin, Spencer embraces her curves and she dresses her shape perfectly.

Spencer started off the awards season back in January with a bang. Wearing a black and cream lace dress, the star accentuated her hourglass figure with the plunging neckline and belted waist. But our favorite look of the year is a toss-up between her lilac-colored Golden Globes dress and her silver Oscars gown.

What is Spencer's style secret? She has a few cards in her back pocket. She often wears Japanese designer Tadashi Shoji, a man who knows how to drape fabric, without losing a woman's shape in a morass of fabric. Instead, he works around a structured bodice and rouches the material in a pattern that pulls the eye inward, creating smooth curves.

The Elle cover girl knows how to show off her best asset: her waist. Most of her outfits are either gathered at her waistline, or she wears a belt to define her hourglass shape. She often wears V-neck silhouettes that frame her lovely face, emphasize her neckline and show off her décolletage. And she's not afraid to don three pairs of Spanx.

Ladies, take note: This is how to dress your curves. Take a page from Spencer's book and emphasize your best assets. We look forward to watching the award-winning actress in 2013 because her style game will only continue to get better, and we can't wait to document it.

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