Fashion Experts: Slow Weight Loss? Look Thinner (cont.)

Nutritionist Samantha Heller, MS, RD, reminds us that sometimes, looking our best also means accepting that our bodies may never be the size we want -- and learning to live with the size we are.

"If you think color makes you look larger, try wearing the same color
on your entire body and see what a difference it can make."

"Our cosmetic weight, the one we think we look best at, is not necessarily the physiological weight at which our bodies are the happiest," says Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Medical Center.

On one hand, she says women should not be hesitant about going after their weight loss goals. But she also says it's important to be realistic about what those goals should be.

"Regardless of the pressure from the media to be rail-thin, we have to do our best with diet and exercise and learn how to not just accept ourselves, but revel in our beauty and health -- no matter our size," says Heller.

8 Simple Rules for Looking Slimmer

To help set you on the path toward looking your personal best, our experts give these eight fashion rules for dressing thinner and more chic:

  • Use single-color schemes. This could mean wearing one solid, dark color -- like brown, navy or black -- or different tones of the same color. It could be shades of beige, aqua, or coral, or any color that brings out the best in your complexion. If you think color makes you look larger, try wearing the same color on your entire body and see what a difference it can make.
  • Choose fabrics wisely. Avoid stiff, hard, and heavy fabrics, as well as clingy, over-Spandexed fabrics that magnify every bulge and ripple. The best choice: Fluid fabrics that drape the body and softly follow your curves. Your goal is to see your overall shape, not the shape of every body part.
  • Do a balancing act. If you have broad shoulders and/or a large chest, avoid shoulder pads and any shoulder detail like ruffles, puffs, or trims. Also, skip boat necks and wide scoop necks. To balance a large top with a smaller bottom, go for a sleek V-neck complemented by a full skirt or wide-leg pants. If you have a small top and large bottom, seek out shoulder and neckline attention. Choose a C-scoop neck or V-neck top and a narrow silhouette on the bottom, such as a straight skirt or slim-cut pants.
  • To camouflage large hips or a tummy, toss the pleated pants and elastic-waist slacks with lots of shirring. Choose a sleek, straight line with front slit pockets or no pockets, and elastic in the back. To minimize your buttocks and tummy, look for pants cut at, or slightly below, your natural waist. The general rule here: The higher the waist, the larger your butt will look.
  • For a taller, slimmer look, the hem of your pants should almost touch the floor, with a slight break in front at the top of the shoe. Pants that end just below the ankle can add 10 pounds to your appearance.
  • To further camouflage a large tummy, whether you're wearing skirts or pants, go for an overblouse in a slim-fitting knit or well-tailored woven fabric. Make sure it's no longer than hip length. The only exception is with tunics, which should be tapered to gently outline the body and worn over slim-fitting pants.
  • Avoid anything boxy, particularly jackets. Instead, look for semi-fitted styles, particularly those with princess seaming. These are the curved seams that run down the front of the garment from shoulder to waist, or sometimes the entire length of a dress.
  • Don't overlook the power of shoes to balance your body and make you look slimmer! Looks to avoid include thin, strappy sandals (particularly if your foot is chubby or wide), and tiny or thin kitten heels. Instead, look for a chunky heel -- and, if you can stand it, a high heel, which can make you look 5 pounds thinner no matter what else you're wearing. Styles to avoid include ankle straps, Mary Jane straps, and square-toe shoes, all of which can make your feet look squatty and your legs shorter.

Originally Published April 29, 2005.
Medically Updated May 2006.

SOURCES: Lourdes Figueroa, founder and CEO, UdefineU Self-Styling System. Linda Arroz, plus-size spokeswoman, Spiegel Catalog; Laura Siebold, celebrity stylist; television fashion commentator; director, Livestylist web site. Samantha Heller, MS, RD, senior clinical nutritionist, New York University Medical Center, New York.

©2006 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

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