Sunday, October 5, 2008

8 ways to look thin in your clothes (without wearing torture device undergarments)

Even though they are supposed to be amazing and I have friends who would not want to live in a world without them, I kind of find Spanx and other types of "shapewear" offensive. The idea that I should suck in my lumps and bumps with tight-as-heck Lycra so as to fit into clothes that don't totally fit me in the first place seems somehow wrong-headed. Not to mention incredibly uncomfortable (plus, to me, the fact that men don't have to do this makes it extra-ridiculous). I say it's better to find clothes that actually look good on your body and, if you still feel whale-like and self-conscious, either practice self-acceptance OR apply these basic styling tricks of the eye. They're easy. They don't hurt or indent your skin. And they let you work with what you've got.

1. Avoid large prints
Noisy or bright prints basically turn anything they adorn into a billboard. A big one. Also, if you want to fake slenderness, you should avoid super-shiny fabrics.

2. Buy clothes that fit
This one seems like a total "duh," but too many people buy clothes a size too small because they'll fit into them "someday" or a size too big because they feel self conscious about their actual shape. Listen, you are what you are in this moment of time and you can't change things right this second, so why not make the best of what you have? Another word of advice: For jackets, pants and even skirts, if you can't find your exact size off the rack, buy a size up and have the piece tailored. It's a lot cheaper than you think ($10-$30 in most cases) and will make the item look like it was made for you.

3. Never, ever wear cropped pants
I can't emphasize this enough. Capri styles shorten your legs, make you look stumpy and take away any illusion of a long, lean silhouette. Seriously, unless you have a body like Audrey Hepburn, do not wear these pants.

4. Also? No tapered jeans for the rest of your life
Skinny jeans are just about a thing of the past and I am a little bit thanking God. For anyone with hips or a butt, this look was pure denim cruelty. I'll tell you why: By narrowing to the extreme at the ankle, they made curvy women look like upside down gourds. Hideous. Instead, opt for pants with a straight leg from the thighs to the feet or a slight flair at the bottom. This will actually balance your hips and make you look sexy and normal.

5. Create a waist
This tip is important for anyone, but it's essential for people with big boobs. You need a waist so that your body doesn't become just Boobs-Legs-Feet. I like wrap tops or those that have details like darts or rouching--they not only create an hourglass shape, they also hide your belly. Apply this nipped-in waist rule to dresses and jackets too.

6. Be careful with necklines
If you go too high--with something like a crewneck or a boat neck--you create the appearance of a more massive upper body. Instead, stick to v-necks, scoops and sweetheart necklines which break up your torso.

7. If you have wide shoulders? Avoid button-downs
This is a rule I follow and it totally makes me look and feel better. Because I'm broad in the chest, when I wear button-down shirts, I resemble a linebacker. The remedy to this is either to avoid these tops altogether or layer them under a vest or v-neck sweater.

8. A-line skirts are your friend
There are few people that don't look good in an A-line skirt--its narrow-at-the-top, flowy-at-the-bottom shape is super-comfortable and basically makes your butt and hips disappear. I love these in winter with pretty blouses and cardigans and tights and boots.

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