There’s a reason why fashion designer Stella McCartney’s two-toned dress was such a hit on the red carpet this season. Liv Tyler and Kate Winslet were both well aware that the silhouette-extending vertical panels and curved side seams made their waists look minuscule. By sporting darker colors on your own trouble zones, you’ll automatically create a trompe l’oeil fashion effect.
Embrace shape wear
A great outfit starts with a solid foundation. Look for wardrobe pieces featuring extra-firm tummy control (fashion brands Victoria’s Secret and Spanx are a favourite) that smooth bulges while lifting the bosom and behind.
Invest in underwear that fits
While you’re at it, take a few minutes to get a professional bra fitter to determine if you, like 85% of women, are wearing the wrong size band and cups, which neither lift nor shape. Down south, too-snug panties and visible panty lines (VPLs) create unsightly bulge. For a smooth backside, consider seamless thongs or G-strings.
Sport a fitted blazer
The crisp straight lines and narrow lapels of a fitted blazer balance out excess curves. Be sure to pair it with dark-wash jeans. Even Kate Middleton who is naturally very slim knows the benefits of wearing a structured blazer, as evidenced by her fashion brand go-to Smythe (She sported the label’s blazer on her Official Royal Tour in Canada.)
Show some skin
Add some deep V-neckline tops and sweaters into your wardrobe. The open, upside-down triangle creates a high focal point up and away from your midsection, visually balances broad hips and thighs and gives the illusion of a longer, slimmer upper body. Our fashion tips? The more skin displayed between chin and chest (within reason!), the more elegant your proportions will seem overall.
Stick with one hue
Monochromatic tops and bottoms create an uninterrupted vertical line, making you look thinner and taller. Conversely, stark colour contrasts between your upper and lower body will only draw eyes to your middle.
More fashion tips to help you look thinner on the next page…
(Left) Stella McCartney, fall/winter 2011-2012 and (Right) Diane von Furstenberg, fall/winter 2011-2012
Nix the muffin top
When a pair of jeans or trousers is too tight or low, they can create that unwanted spillage, or muffin top, on anyone, regardless of size. Don’t be afraid to go up in size in your wardrobe – it’s only a number! The key is to be comfortable and look good.
Choose the right fabrics
While certain materials add bulk (think textured types like corduroy, crushed velvet, brocade and bouclé), there are certain fabrics that actually help slim and shape. Try jersey, cashmere, fine cotton, and anything with a touch of spandex.
Pick simple pants
Whether it’s a pair of tailored trousers or your favourite denim, a flattering wardrobe requires impeccably cut pants. Look for mid-rise styles that are streamlined, have a bit of stretch and offer a lean silhouette in the form of boot cut or straight leg. And whatever you do, avoid any and all details that catch the eye and give the illusion of bulk – that means taking a pass on pattern, studs, decorative extras and sequins on the butt.
Tote a shape-defining bag
Trust us when we say the handbag you carry can add or detract from the overall slimming effect of your ensemble. Whether you’re toting a clutch or carryall, choosing one with structure will lend structure to your outfit as well.
Flaunt your waist
Show off a defined midsection with colour contrasts, waistline details, and fabrics that glide over your frame. Unstructured dresses and tops (worn un-tucked), like A-lines, formless tunics, chunky knits, and baggy blouses do nothing for your figure so avoid this wardrobe blunder at all costs, or reign them in with a fabulous belt.
Wear flesh-toned footwear
The key to making your legs look longer is the keep the line of sight going all the way to the ground, rather than creating a punctuation mark for your outfit. Nude or Perspex shoes (yes, they’re back) are a red carpet staple because they help make legs look they go on forever. Skip dark booties and ankle straps stilettos, which tend to make your gams stop short.
Winter fashion trend: Cozy knits
Holiday 2011 must-haves: Metallic and sequin accents
Holiday 2011 must-have accessory: The metallic box clutch
Holiday 2011 must-have accessory: Retro party jewellery
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.