Those of you who know me are probably wondering why I ever think about this topic. I am fairly skinny, but I'm not proportional. And I'm not very tall. So, I do have to be aware of what I put on my body and what silhouette my clothes are creating.
There are 3 simple ways to look slimmer in your clothes -
1) Wear the lightest color on what you want to show off. Our eyes are naturally attracted to the brightest part of the "picture" first. The dark areas tend to recede into the background. That's why we say black is slimming. If you wear white on anything, we will notice that first.
2) Pay attention to the lines of your outfit. Our eyes will follow any lines they can find. So, if you have a strong line across any part of your body (i.e. the bottom of shorts), the eye will follow that line which tends to cut the silhouette. On the other hand, if you wear something that draws the eye down your body, your silhouette will appear to elongate.
3) Skim the body. If your clothes are too tight, you start to look like a sausage. If they are too loose, you add volume. It's all about balance.
Let's start with light colors. What catches your eye first in this photograph -
Maybe it was the sunglasses that make them look like some sort of "fashion mafia". But after that, it was the white shirts - right? The shirts are the brightest thing in the photograph. Then, they are wearing a darker jacket and sweater that make the outside edges of their body less noticeable.
Women tend to do the opposite of this when they wear sweaters and jackets. They try to cover up their middle section with a dark shirt. Then, they put on a bright cardigan sweater which just emphasizes width, and they haven't camouflaged anything at all. You want to attract the eye to the middle of your body and blur the outside edges with a darker color.
This outfit is headed in the right direction -
Your eye is first drawn to the bold stripes on her pants, and fortunately, they draw your eye down her body elongating her silhouette. The pants would be a lot more slimming if they were darker and didn't have cuffs, but they are headed in the right direction. On top, your eye is drawn to her white shirt, and the black jacket blurs the edges of her body.
I think this might be the same woman -
The dark denim looks much more slimming than the black and white stripped pants. And the suspenders provide a nice line on top.
Look at this lady -
She is not big at all, but her white sweater makes her look chunky. It seems like she's trying to cover up her upper half and show off her legs, but in reality she's doing the opposite. She needs to wear lighter shorts and a darker top that complements her beautiful skin tone.
The outfit above is an example of good proportions. The blouse is a little blousey, but it is balanced by the tailored black shorts.
This next photo is an example of bad proportions -
First of all, I have to say the girl in the photo above is absolutely beautiful, and her skin is luscious. However, this dress does not do her any favors. She is actress India de Beaufort, and you can see elsewhere on the internet that she is super skinny. This dress is pretty and she is pretty, but the dress makes her look way bigger than she actually is. And the bright shade and dots take the focus off of her beautiful face.
This "pajama" outfit works, because it is all one color and very close to her skin tone. The consistent color save the outfit from looking too loose and messy. Tans and peachy tans are a great alternative to a standard white t-shirt. They tend to be more flattering to your skin tone and less jarring than bright white. Here is another example of wearing a neutral color close to one's skin tone -
And her top is a great example of something that skims the body but still gives shape.
Now, let's talk about lines. Look at this lady's outfit -
Do you see how the black lines draw your eye down her side making her look taller? The white could easily be overpowering, but the strategic lines make her outfit very slimming.
This lady's light colored top is a good neutral color with well-placed lines. The high waist makes her legs look longer and the ruffles provide balance to her bottom half while drawing lines down her body. Her bottom half fades into the background in dark denim.
I love the abstract pattern on these pants, but they could easily be overwhelming. The lines down the sides of her pants prevent the pattern from making her look large and provide more structure to the outfit. And these are really well-fitting pants (which are hard to find). They fit her body but aren't tight. They are slim but not "skinny", so they have good proportion all the way down to her ankles.
And then look at the girl standing to her right with the light colored jeans and the "glasses" shirt. My eye is first attracted to her jeans, which are the most boring part of her outfit. She obviously put some thought into her outfit, but the jeans make the shirt and the purse look out of place and random. Imagine if she had on dark jeans (and maybe even a more substantial sandal). Immediately, she would look more dressed up and put together. And her silhouette would look longer.
This next dress is an interesting case -
The woman in the white and black maxi dress has thick stripes moving horizontally, which is risky. However, the length of her dress creates a long silhouette. And the chunky red scarf balances the lightness of the dress. I think it works for her.
So, the next time you get dressed, look in the mirror and notice what catches your eye first. Then, notice the lines on your outfit. Place the lightness (or darkness) and the lines strategically, and you will instantly look slimmer. I have developed tops for you with these factors in mind. Go to the shop to see which one will work for you -