Monday, January 27

Go Ahead, Flaunt It!

Michael Kors

New Year's Resolution: Stop wishing for a new body and start loving the one you already have!  Everyday we all face the full-length mirror alone and like most women I've done a lot of fighting of the body God gave me.  Insecure about my small chest and lack of other ASS-ets, I've considered everything from padded bras to booty shorts to plastic surgery.  Only since entering my 30s have I finally grown to accept the body I was born with and dress in a way that truly makes me feel confident, despite what the rest of the world thinks.  In today's post, I'm bringing women everywhere some serious support.  After canvassing groups of my friends for their no-fail fit tips, shapewear secret weapons and expert shopping advice, I now deliver everything you need to know right into your dressing room.  So get ready to see a whole new you in that reflection.  Whether you're curvy, full figured, or slim and boyish, I've got the best shape secrets for you. Read on, then slip into your most flattering look yet.  Double-takes are guaranteed!

1. Start With the Fundamentals

No dress-for-your body guide would be complete without these essential principles.  My four fave ways will turn the spotlight on your best assets and downplay the rest.

a. Color Block Strategically

In a nut-shell, use dark shades where you want coverage and high-voltage ones where you feel the most confident.


b. Be Sensible With the Shine

Eye-catching metallics create optical tricks (say a vertical pattern on your midsection to keep the eye traveling up and down).  Avoid them where you don't want gazes lingering.

Michael Kors

c. Choose Prints that Flatter

Patterns highlight the areas where they're placed.  But many of today's digital prints also offer helpful illusions, like emphasizing the waist with a contrasting color.

Oscar de la Renta

d. Play Up Your Proportions

The most important ground rule: Know what you want to highlight (Waist? Butt? Legs? All three?) as well as what you'd care to tone down (most of us would say hips).

2. Fake a Waist

Lacking on the curves?  If you have a boyish shape, throw on a cropped jacket over a dress.  The hem of the jacket creates a midsection- all the more so if it's elastic, like this sporty luxe topper.

Burberry Prorsum

3. Choose Jean-ius Denim

Perfect jeans are no accident (unless you get really, really lucky).  Now, I'm no denim expert (though owning some 200 pairs arguably makes me one), but check out these six pairs I swear by for fabric, fit, and flattery.

Contour Your Curves- Bold stripes accentuate your shape, while a clever waistband prevents plumber's butt.

3 x 1

Boost Your Backside- A higher waist adds shape to the rear view on this flared pair.


Scale Down Your Legs- The roomier fit and indigo wash of this style make them surprisingly more slimming.

Flatter Your Waist- Super stretchy material holds you in and flattens belly bulge without bagging out at the waist.


Smooth Your Thighs- Nylon- infused denim skinnies look like jeans, but fit like hosiery, skimming over lumps and bumps.

J Brand

Play Up Your Hips- This cargo inspired ultra-skinny features front zippered embellishments that give a boyish figure va-va voom. 


4. Shoulder Up

What kind of broad are you?  An under-appreciated area of figure flattery involves sizing up at the shoulders, whether you fall on the narrower or wider end of the spectrum.  Tweak your top accordingly.

If You Are Wide...

Wearing an unstructured jacket will keep you looking like a line-backer in heels.  A varsity-style jacket or a raglan-sleeve top rounds out your shoulders and evens your proportions.

If You Are Narrow....

Shoulder pads can look forced in the same way that padded bras can, but small inserts on a structured jacket are key to subtly broadening your frame.
5. Sharpen Your Dress Game

Brilliant tailoring and smarter fabrics can help you pull off a sexy little number like nobody's business.  Meet these winning silhouettes.  

Choose inset panels to hide hips.

Karen Kane

Seek out super-stretch shaping.

Banana Republic

Pick supple fabrics to flow with your curves.

Marina Rinaldi

Sculpt away with built-in shapewear.

Herve Leger

6.  Conceal a Tummy

To cover a muffin top without venturing into muumuu territory, skip fitted Ts in favor of loose, untucked designs. Styles with ruching, draping, or center-resting colorblocking all do your midsection favors.  Or try half-tucking an oxford so that it blouses out in front.

7. Head for the Heels

Here's what to consider to give legs a longer, leaner look.

Try a low-cut vamp.  Hello toe cleavage! The deeper cutaway shows more of the foot, so legs seem longer.

Sigerson Morrison

Go Nude.  Find pumps that are close to your skin tone.  The color match helps maximize a streamlined look.

Christian Louboutin

Nicholas Kirkwood
Giuseppe Zanotti

Cut it Out.  Cutaway sides reveal more skin to balance out thick ankles and highlight the sexy arch of the foot.

Jimmy Choo

Sergio Rossi

8. Get It Tailored!

I've said it before and I'll say it again- the tailor is your BEST friend!  Shopping with the little expectation of having key pieces tailored opens up a whole new (and highly) flattering world.  I've watched far too many friends discard a gorgeous dress, skirt, or pair of pants in the fitting room because of some minor fit flaw, which could have easily been fixed by a tailor.  Never let doubt about the miracles a tailor can work stop you from making that purchase again!

Prime alterations to budget for...

a. Don't settle when it comes to suits.  Gauge pants for how they fit your hips.  The hem should be tailored to your shoes and the jacket sleeves should fall an inch below your wrist.  For the jacket, check that shoulders line up, then have sleeves hemmed so they land a breath past your shoulder bone.

b. Remember the most becoming skirt hems: (1) Three finger widths above your knee, (2) Right at the center of your knee cap, and (3) Just below the knee.  A pencil skirt that extends beyond these hems, risks making legs appear stumpy.

c. Nip the waist and hips.  One simple tuck and a dress or skirt can look custom-made for you. 

9. Dress For Your Chest

If your dream size and actual cup size aren't quite in sync, try these ideas for maximizing or downplaying your natural assets.

If you want to look larger.....

Here's a little trick I know all too well:  A chunky knit (like ruffles and ruching) disguises a flat chest, especially when you juxtapose it with a smooth, matte fabric below the waist.  Another fav trick: To lead eyes up past an A cup, wear a statement necklace over a buttoned-up oxford.

Alexander McQuee


If you want to look smaller....

A voluminous midi skirt makes your chest seem less voluptuous by comparison.  Also, try moto jackets and blazers in dark neutrals to reduce a bust-line. Avoid double-breasted styles, which will play up the girls.

Lela Rose

10. Invest in All-Star Shapers and Shop With Props

Introducing the smoothers and boosters you shouldn't live without- whether you want a realistic uplift for a small bust or are craving a truly no-cling option to wear under a form-fitting dress.  Now, you could attempt to judge that big-ticket dress with tennis socks, bra straps, and panty lines mucking up the view.  But why suffer?  Slip on a thong (or body-shaping shorts) at home and bring along these other lingerie essentials for a more pleasant audition.  But always retry your purchase once you get back at the ranch because most store mirrors tend to be overly...optimistic!

Best Enhancer

Get a subtle, but effective promotion with underwire, contour inserts, and a plunge-friendly cut.

Calvin Klein
Best Minimizer

This pretty bra for larger sizes offers support sans the bulk through its fabric and built-in boning.

Elle Macpherson
Best Slip

With cotton on the inside and microfiber outside, it smooths without clinging.

DMondaine Rita
Best Butt Lifter

The silky brief below has criss-cross panels to control a tummy, plus "slings" in the back to help fight gravity.

Donna Karan
Best Tank

Super-soft, but dense microfiber fabric creates a seamless look when worn under shirts or sweaters.

Hanro of Switzerland

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