If you’re anything like us, there’s a voice in your head—a voice belonging to a wiser, more put-together version of yourself—that pipes up when you’re about to overindulge. This holiday season, our voice spent a lot of time shaking her head and saying, “You have, of course, heard the adage, ‘A moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips’?” To which, if you’re even more like us, you replied, “Bah, humbug,” and proceeded to polish off your baker’s-dozenth buckeye.
So now that the holiday free-for-all is over, you’ve resolved to lose ten pounds—but you won’t have something to show for your resolution overnight. The good news is that you can get a jump-start on looking svelte with just a few wardrobe tweaks. We’ve asked two style pros for their secrets of looking slimmer even though you haven’t lost the weight (yet).
“Appearing slimmer is a balancing act,” says Angelique Alston, founder of Outer Skinz Image Group. “The trick is to draw the eye away from the area of concern and create the illusion of proportion.” If, say, you’re feeling top-heavy, she suggests picking out a V-neck shirt in a solid color and pairing it with a fuller pant or skirt. “This draws the eye downward, away from your problem area, and adds volume to your bottom half, which creates the appearance of a balanced silhouette.”
If your lower half is the problem, stylist and image expert Kara Allan suggests tailored options such as pencil skirts; they’ll slim the hips, she says, so long as they’re not skintight. “If you love pants,” adds Allan, “make sure they have a flat front, a little bit of stretch, and a slight flare at the bottom, which makes hips look slim.” For jeans, she suggests a mid-rise style with parallel back pockets, in a dark wash.
In fact, dark colors are a trimming option for any style of clothing. Both stylists agree a deep-hued, monochromatic ensemble is the quickest way to look slimmer. “When a woman dresses in one color, it creates the illusion of a taller, slimmer silhouette,” explains Alston. “Black is typically the color chosen most, but you can also pull off this trick with navy, chocolate, charcoal, eggplant, and even darker shades of green.”
Shoewise, Allan sings the praises of nude pumps that match your skin tone: “They add inches to your legs!” she says. “High heels can take five pounds off instantly,” adds Angelique.
Allan’s other tricks include wearing a long necklace to create the illusion of an elongated torso, and carrying a medium-size bag to achieve a sense of balance. She also emphasizes the importance of creating a good foundation with undergarments that fit well. “Get measured for a bra, which [will encourage] good posture,” she says. “Everything looks better when it’s in its proper place. And wear seamless underwear to avoid visible lines.” Allan’s favorite place to go for a bra fitting? Coup de Foudre on the corner of 11th and E Streets, NW. The L’eggs Hanes Bali Playtex Factory Outlet at Potomac Mills is unmatched in its selection of seamless underpinnings.
And here’s a little-known fact: “Improper hemlines can add ten pounds to your appearance,” warns Alston. “I can’t place enough emphasis on hemlines. Your frame can appear longer and leaner in an instant just by wearing the proper hemline.” She advises that the hem of your pants should almost touch the floor, with a slight break in front at the top of the shoe.
Skirts are trickier. “The wrong hemline will visually chop your legs in half and make them look like stumps,” Angelique says. “To slim and trim your legs, have the hemline hit just above the knee or right below the knee.” That’s typically the narrowest part of a woman’s leg.
As for our own advice? Have a glass of water, lace up your tennies, and step out for a brisk walk (even ten minutes will do). The hydration and fresh air will make you feel like a million buck—and that, after all, is the most important step toward looking like it.