8 Ways to Look Thinner -- Right Now!
Can't wait to lose weight? Here's some slimming advice from fashion experts
By Colette Bouchez
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
You're following a healthy meal plan (at least, most of the time) and working out. You're getting healthier, and you know that before long, you'll look as good as you feel. But still, the weight loss seems so slow. And while that's healthy, it can also be frustrating -- you want to be thin, and you want it now!
The solution: Use your wardrobe as a secret weapon. No, it won't actually help you lose weight. But the right clothes can help you look a lot thinner while you're in the process of slimming down.
"It is totally amazing, but any woman can look 5, 10, even 15 pounds slimmer automatically by simply using a few fashion tricks to fool the eye," says Lourdes Figueroa, founder and chief executive officer of UdefineU, a DVD program that teaches women how to become their own stylists.
According to Figueroa, many of those "perfect" bodies we see parading around in movies and on TV are nothing more than the result of some very clever shopping.
"Essentially, they use clothes to balance their bodies and put everything in proportion, which is really what dressing slim is all about," says Figueroa, now a size 8, but once a size 20 herself.
Linda Arroz, former editor-in-chief of Big Beautiful Woman magazine, heartily agrees. "The body is a sculpture, and you can shape it and visually reshape it, depending on your objectives," says Arroz, now a spokeswoman for the Plus Size Collection at Spiegel.
It's All About Balance
But where to start? Here's the experts' advice: Take a deep breath, then a long, hard look in a full-length mirror -- stark naked!
"You have to look past the extra pounds and focus on your overall body shape, the proportion between your top half and bottom half, and details of your basic bone structure, such as the width of your shoulders, the length of your neck, the width of your hip bones, " says celebrity stylist Laura Siebold, director of LiveStylist.com.
These areas, Siebold tells WebMD, are keys to balancing any figure type.
"If your top is decidedly larger than your bottom, then achieving proportion is about choosing styles that simultaneously minimize your top half while accentuating your bottom half -- and again, a full-length mirror can be your best friend," says Siebold.
Likewise, if you're bottom-heavy and top-light, Siebold says, look for clothes that bring the eye upward. Think great necklines and bright colors near the face, and dark colors on the bottom.
"Your goal should be to achieve a visually balanced, symmetrical look between top and bottom so when you look at yourself in the mirror you see an unbroken line, and no one area jumps out," says Siebold.
In addition, Arroz notes, you can fine-tune your balancing act by paying attention to body details like your torso (long vs. short), bosom (high, low, large, or small), hips (wide side-to-side or wide front-to-back), and recognizing where you carry the most weight.
"Any one area of your body that doesn't look right in relation to the rest of your body is the area that you need to address with corrective clothing," says Figueroa.
Size Matters -- Size Tags Don't
While visual balance is important, so is wearing the right size. That sounds simple enough, but Siebold says it's an area where we often make major fashion faux pas.
"We often think that if an article of clothing fits around our body that it fits our body, but this is not the same thing," says Siebold. Clothes should gently curve around your body, without clinging but without hiding your shape, she says.
"A plus-size girl's best friend is definitely her tailor, because oftentimes just a dart here or a seam there can give even the most inexpensive outfits a designer look -- and yes, that will make you look thinner," says Figueroa.
As unflattering as baggy, shapeless clothing can be, wearing outfits that are too small can be an even bigger fashion disaster.
"When you are a size 6, trying on a size 8 to get a better fit isn't a big deal; but when you're in an 18 and you need to size up to a 20, you feel like a horrible failure," Figueroa says. "Going up a size isn't just a fashion move, it's a whole psychological experience, and so we often avoid it."
To shake those feelings, she says, learn to ignore size tags and go for what looks best on your body. To make sure you have the right size, make sure there's about a finger's width of space between your skin and the garment. "More than that and your clothes are going to make you look shapeless; less than that, and you are squeezing into too small a size -- and either one is going to make your look heavier," says Figueroa.
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