How to Dress Thinner and What Not to Wear - Tips on Choosing Clothing for Your Shape and Size

Wearing the wrong clothing can visually add pounds to your body. Everyone has heard the basic rules, for example - wearing black will slim you, wearing horizontal stripes will make you look larger. Here are some additional tips that will help you choose a flattering wardrobe, no matter what your size.

Rule #1: Choose the right fit! Many people wear clothing that is either too small or too large - which only accentuates weight. Selecting a proper fit is the #1 way to look slimmer. Clothing that is too large and bulky will add 10lbs, and clothing that is too tight will do the same.

People who wear tight clothing have the false hope it will make them appear skinnier, when it actually accentuates pudgy areas. Those who prefer baggy clothing assume the loose fit will "hide" fat, making them appear smaller. Neither of these two notions actually assist in creating a slim silhouette. Clothing that is too tight simply re-locates fat, causing unsightly rolls and the impression that you are about to split a seam. Loose fitting, baggy clothing visually adds 10 pounds of bulk, making you appear much heavier than you actually are.

So how do you know when the offending piece needs to go back on the rack?
If you can pull the fabric away from your body, easily providing more than 2 inches of space between the piece of clothing and your skin, the item is too big. On the flip side, if you are unable to comfortably fit a finger between the piece of clothing and your skin, it is too tight.

Basically, you want to look for clothing that most flatters your own individual figure, and always remember to dress proportionately. For instance, don't pair a full skirt with a blousy top, or you risk looking extra round.

Rule # 2: Ignore the size tag, and purchase what fits. Far too many women regulate what they buy by the number on the tag. Instead, you should purchase based on what fits - whether that is a size 6 or a size 26. Every manufacturer is different, and you should never limit yourself to the size on the tag. If you need a much larger size in a certain brand, don't let that deter you from making the purchase of a great item. Simply remove the tag when you get home if you are bothered by the number. Basically, you want to look for clothing that most flatters your own individual figure, and always remember to dress proportionately. For instance, don't pair a full skirt with a blousy top, or you risk looking extra round.

Rule # 3: Stick to darker colors for the most slimming look. There's a reason the color black is a go-to choice for everyone wanting to look slim. It takes away the visual pounds and hides a multitude of flaws. Brighter, lighter colors often accentuate the negative aspects of your body, and can cause lumpy bumpy areas to show through. Avoid pieces like white or bright tights, or bright shoes paired with dark pants. If you want some variety to pair with dark colors, wear fun accent pieces by adding a colorful tank, or accessories like a lengthy scarf, necklace or bracelets.

Rule # 4: Choose tailored clothing which is built to create curves, where curves should be. Many clothing companies mistakenly create pieces that look square when laying flat on a table. Clothing should display shape and movement, even when not being worn. All shirts should taper slightly at the waist and under the breast bone. Pants and skirts should also taper slightly at the waist, and flair out a bit at the hip. Tailored clothing gives your entire body gorgeous curvaceous shape.

Rule # 5: Buy some great shoes! Shoes are extremely important in creating a flattering look. While not always practical, wearing heels will extend the length of your body, which is key to looking slimmer. Luckily, there are many varieties of heels, which include platforms, pumps, clogs, wedges and stacked heels. These are normally comfortable for every day wear, and can extend the visual appearance of your legs for a slimmer look. If you can't stand the thought of summer time without wearing flip-flops, look for cute platform thongs with unique jewel or embroidered accents. Avoid bulky tennis shoes or any wide, flat styles unless you will be exercising or participating in an outdoor activity.

Now that you have a general idea of what to look for when shopping, here are a few specific do's and don'ts for individual pieces of clothing.

Shirts: Avoid overly fluffy peasant shirts, or wild floral patterns. These add visual depth and heaviness - which in turn add unwanted width to your figure. If you don't like boring solid colors, pair a sleek patterned tank underneath a solid fitted jacket or blouse, and add a couple of stylish accessories. This will automatically emphasize your bust line and slim your waist.

Those with broad shoulders want to avoid strapless and halter style tops, and puffy cap-sleeve shirts, as these only accentuate shoulder width. When selecting a tank, go with spaghetti strap styles to downplay wide shoulders. Always look for v-neck, sweetheart, or low scoop necklines to elongate the upper chest area, minimizing shoulder width and creating an overall slimmer look.

To create the illusion of a longer, leaner body, select a shirt that extends in length to the mid-hip area. This instantly cuts the volume of the rear and stomach in half, and adds visual length to the body. Shirts that are too short can result in an overall short stubby look. Pairing a top with a lengthy eye-catching necklace can also be slimming, but avoid choker style necklaces, as they make the upper body appear wider and the neck appear shorter.

Pants: Choose pants, shorts and Capris with a mid-rise waist (rather than a low rise or long rise). A low rise waist often push fat upwards, causing the dreaded "muffin top" around the stomach, making it more pronounced. Selecting pants with a rise that is too long accentuates a round stomach, and makes the rear appear twice its actual size. The waist line of a mid-rise pant should ideally land at or just below the belly button to provide a flattering fit.

It is also vital to select pants with the correct length. Go either too short or too long, and you end up taking 3-4 visual inches off of your legs. Whether you are tall or short you should purchase slacks that fall 1-2 inches past the ankle bone. Shorts should end between mid thigh and knee, and Capri pants should end at the knee or just below the knee.

If you carry most of your weight in your mid-section, tapered pants should always be avoided. Picture a penguin (wide in the middle, with tiny narrow feet) - this is how you will look if you wear tapered or skinny-legged pants. The most flattering pants for this body type are straight leg and flare leg. Forget what happens to be trendy at the moment, and wear what flatters your body type, because looking good never goes out of style.

Skirts and dresses: For the most flattering fit, stick to lengths that end just above the knee, or that extend past the calves. Lengths that land anywhere in between can cause a dowdy look that will make hips appear wider, legs appear shorter, and add visual pounds. While shorter skirts with a few layered ruffles can look cute and flirty, you want to avoid bulky long skirts with several layers of ruffling. Look for flowing, soft fabric that glides easily over areas you want to conceal, but steer clear of heavy cotton fabric or clingy knits that can accentuate flaws.

If you're following all of these suggestions now, you probably look great already. But, if not, try a few of these ideas to see how simple it can be to find a slimmer you - without relying on a crash diet!

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