Archive for January, 2008

New Year’s resolutions: no pain, we all gain!

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

New Year’s eve has come and gone and most of us are still pondering what our resolutions will be and how long we’ll stick to them.  Two of the most popular, yet disappointing resolutions are the desire to loose weight and start an exercise program.  I started thinking about how I can accomplish this without all of the pain and deprivation associated with dieting and exercise.  Then I had my “AHA” moment, to coin Oprah’s much used phrase.  Why not DRESS thin instead of dieting my way there?  So with that as my goal, here are my suggestions for dressing thinner.

I have to start with what NOT to wear.  For both men and women, pleats add weight!  Remember this always, unless you are very thin (thus no need for above resolutions) pleats are extra fabric and are rarely going to make you look thinner.  Similarly, pants with a tapered or “peg” leg type bottom, will exaggerate your middle, an area most of us don’t want to draw attention to.  Pants that are too short (listen up all you men out there) also make you look shorter and heavier.  The combination of pleats at the waist with a tapered bottom is going to add 10 lbs. without the fun of eating and drinking your way there.  You make the call!

Clingy and tight fabrics are not our friends.  If you are trying to look thinner, keep the focus away from your problem areas, thus no tightness in the middle.  Also remember that bigger is not necessarily better.  A very tented style makes it hard to discern where the garment ends and you begin.  Overly baggy tops or bottoms definitely add unnecessary pounds.  Large horizontal stripes are also to be avoided as they make people appear wider than they are.  Large scale prints are another possible pitfall in the quest to dress slimmer.

Make sure you don’t cut yourself off in the middle.  In other words, extend a vertical line down your body and try not to chop it off in the middle.  You can accomplish this by wearing monochromatic outfits or colors that are not totally contrasting like black and white.  You can always add some color interest with a scarf or interesting piece of jewelry.

Now that you know what not to wear, let’s focus on what to wear.  For bottoms, a wider legged pant or trouser will always balance a larger middle, as will an A-line skirt or dress.  These gently fall away from the body making your bottom and hips look smaller and more balanced.  Obviously, darker colors on the bottom half of your body will minimize that area.  Black is not your only choice either.  Try dark wash jeans, brown, navy or dark grey pants and skirts instead.  Pay attention to the quality and drape of the fabric.  Fabrics with a little more body are not going to hug your problem areas, and will fall nicely away from your body.  Bottoms that are lined are also going to look smoother and sleeker than those that are not.

As you may imagine, any type of clothing that creates a vertical line from your head to your toes is slimming and makes you look taller.  This is one of the most appealing things about wearing high heels, as it visually extends that line.  You can also create the line by wearing vertical stripes.  These can be on a button down shirt for men and women, a chalk or pin stripe in a pant (men or women) and also in a skirt or dress for women.  This illusion is one that is proven over and over.  Wearing a longer top for women also extends that imaginary or real vertical line.  This can be done with a longer jacket, tunic top or long cardigan.

Keep your prints in check, and scale them back if you tend toward more dramatic colors.  Remember that your accessories should also be considered in dressing slimmer.  Handbags should be chosen in relation to your natural size.  If you are larger boned, carrying a very small bag will make you appear bigger and vice versa.  Be sure to choose a handbag based on what your needs are, but also what your body type is.  Jewelry falls into this same category.  Chunkier jewelry looks better on a body that can accommodate the oversized look.  Choose jewelry that catches people’s attention, but is also in sync with your body size.

The last tip for looking slimmer is perhaps the most important.  Wearing the right “foundations” (aka undergarments) is the key to looking thinner.  The right fit takes away 5 lbs. visually and the wrong fit can add 10 lbs.  Which would you prefer?  You can find a good fitter in the lingerie area of most major department stores.  Following these suggestions might just get you that much coveted question, “have you lost weight?”  Don’t worry…I’ll never give away our little secret!