Dress away the pounds



Life & Beauty Weekly: Hair & Beauty

By Stephanie Tweito Jacob for Life & Beauty Weekly

Think diet and exercise are the only things affecting how slim you look? What you wear can add or subtract pounds too—really! “A heavily embellished outfit, over-layering or a shapeless silhouette can give the illusion of adding ‘weight’ onto your figure,” says fashion designer Alissia Marciano, who’s renowned for her styling on Look-A-Like, Sexy Girl, the Rachael Ray show and Canada’s Next Top Model. The secret is to know which cuts, styles and colours work in your favour.  

 “When shopping, be aware of what is your best feature or the thinnest part of your body and look for outfits that show it off,” says Fred Connors, creator of FRED.face cosmetics and stylist and self-esteem expert on the Slice Network’s X-Weighted. When shopping, look for items that fit well—not too big or too tight—in slimming colours like navy and charcoal.

Follow these additional tips to adjust your wardrobe based on your own individual shape—and get ready to hear, “Wow! Did you lose weight?” Here’s how to do that:

1. Trim your tummy.
For many women, even regular sessions of crunches aren’t enough to flatten a belly. Here’s how to achieve the flat-abs look with your wardrobe:

Do: Start with the right underwear. “Wearing the correct shapewear will ensure that there are no unwanted bulges popping out,” says Marciano. “I prefer undergarments that look like bike shorts, but that end just below the bust line, ensuring a clean and smooth torso.”

Next, reach for empire-waist dresses (where the waistline falls just below your bust). This draws attention away from your midsection. Another option: pair longer, hip-length tunics or peasant-style tops with slim, straight-leg pants or jeans. The key is to keep either your top or your bottom flowy or loose—not both.

Don’t: Wear prints. Stick with dark, solid colours to stay looking slim. And avoid tops that fall at your waistline, since they will draw attention to the problem area.

2. Disguise un-toned arms.
Many women—even those who are otherwise fit—aren’t huge fans of their underarms. “We can’t all be blessed with arms like Madonna,” says Marciano.

Do: Marciano suggests wearing tops that have a soft drape around the underarm. Cardigans in medium-weight fabrics with three-quarter length sleeves worn over simple, tailored tops and dresses are also great for keeping arms under wraps.

Don’t: Go for loose, puffy sleeves that say, “Look right here!”

3. Slim your backside.
When your booty looks great, you’re bound to feel more confident. Get the look you want with these rules.

Do: Invest in a pair of boot-cut or straight-leg jeans in a dark wash. They should have plain back pockets that are large and placed close together.

Don’t: Wear baggy or skinny-leg styles. When buying both skirts and pants, steer clear of prints and light colours, as well as tops that end at the fullest point of your rear end. Instead, go for lightweight cardigans and tunics that fall just below your bottom.

4. Downplay a large bust.
If you’ve got it, but you don’t necessarily want to flaunt it, here’s how to make the least of your bust.

Do: Get a bra fitting. This is one of the fastest ways to look thinner, says Connors (up to 80 percent of women wear the wrong size). “Get the right bra!” he says. “When your boobs are where they should be, your waist looks smaller, your posture is better, clothing looks better, you feel sexier and can wear a smaller dress size. The right bra can make you look 10 to 20 pounds smaller!”

Next, choose fitted V-neck (not low-cut) tops and dresses. “Wearing open necklines allows women to show off their cleavage (and collarbones) in a flattering way while maintaining a sleeker silhouette,” says Marciano. Stick with simple, no-bulk fabrics without embellishments.

Don’t: Reach for turtlenecks (they draw attention right to the middle of your chest) or dresses with pockets. Tucking in your tops is another no-no—it shortens your torso, making your bust look larger.

Stephanie Tweito Jacob is a freelance writer who specializes in beauty, fashion and health. She has held editorial positions at Allure, More and O, The Oprah Magazine.