If your idea of dressing slimmer is a closet full of black suits and high heels, it's time to rethink your wardrobe. Sarah Collins, president of Sarah Collins Image Consulting in Toronto, has simple tips for achieving a sleek and stylish look, no matter what your body type may be.
Working with clients one-on-one and through corporate image seminars, Collins puts a positive spin on dressing for your body. Focus on what to wear instead of what not to wear, she says. "I'm in the feel-good business. I want people to feel good in what they're wearing."
She says the most common misconception people have about dressing slimmer is they have to wear black. While black does provide an overall sleek appearance, it's not the only path to a more svelte look.
Her first piece of advice: "Cut yourself some slack," she says. "Know that you are normal and everyone's body is different." Once you start looking at yourself through a less critical lens, fashion can be a lot of fun. Here are her tips:
1. Go monochromatic
First off, wearing a monochromatic colour scheme is elegant and flattering to all body types, explains Collins. Even wearing an all-white suit, for example, will look good on someone trying to dress slimmer because it doesn't chop up the body. The last thing you want to do is chop up your look with a different colour, which could make even a slim person look stocky.
2. Stop hiding behind baggy clothes
Make sure clothes fit you properly, Collins suggests. Wearing clothes that are too baggy can easily add the illusion of five to 10 pounds to your frame and make it look as though you are hiding behind something, she says. On the other hand, wearing clothes that fit properly – not too baggy and not too tight – exudes confidence.
3. Add accessories
Accessories are a smart trick for looking slimmer, Collins explains. Adding bangles or a nice pair of earrings is a great way to pull together an outfit and add a tasteful splash of colour to a monochromatic look. Accessories like a pendant or brooch draw the eye up, and toward your beautiful face.
4. Choose lower waistlines
When it comes to choosing the right pair of pants, Collins says your best bet is to stick with a lower waistline with a flat front and no pleats. A slightly lower waistline helps to elongate your look, she explains. Pants should be on the longer side so there is a nice break at the cuff. Boots will finish the look, lengthen the legs, and can add height and elegance, she says.
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5. Bet on belts
Belts can also be a great tool when trying to dress slimmer. Wearing a belt with a nice buckle lower on your hips will draw the eye to the belt and elongate your overall look, especially if the belt blends with your clothing colour, Collins says. Belts can also help tie a look together, and are a very versatile accessory.
6. Skinny versus wide pants – you can wear both
Since skinny pants are still on the fashion radar, there are ways to wear them and look streamlined, Collins says. If you are going to wear skinny pants, pair them with a voluminous top or long blazer, she says. The same principle applies when wearing a wide-legged trouser. Pair them with a fitted shirt or jacket. "The whole outfit shouldn't be completely voluminous or stick straight," she explains. But pairing one with the other makes it simple to dress both slim -- and stylish. Collins also says that if you are going to go with a skinny jean or pant, you can achieve a sleeker look with stylish boots worn over the pants.
7. Wear colour
Use bright colours wisely, Collins says. Since classic browns, beiges and charcoal greys look good on everyone, she suggests bright splashes of colour as underpinnings to an outfit. Wear a rich magenta or deep blue camisole under a dark grey suit jacket to spice up your look without going over the top.
8. Flattering footwear
When helping her clients pick the right footwear, Collins chooses boots as the no-fail option. Boots are flattering on everyone, and everyone can look sleek in a boot, she says. If you are wearing a pair of jeans, just adding boots and a blazer will complete your outfit, and also be slimming. Heels, too, are a slimming footwear, but stay away from ankle straps, which cut off the lines of the legs, she explains.
Wearing stylish clothes that fit you well – and that you are comfortable in – can help retrain you to appreciate your body, Collins says. After all, it's only when you are comfortable in your own skin that you can feel good in what you put on.
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