Styling That Dress
Body pride is empowering, but so is feeling and looking your best. It’s 2018, so let’s be honest and transparent: There are days when bloat, the scale or extra bulges get to us no matter what size we wear. As a fashion editor who has spent decades dressing celebrities, models and real women on photo shoots, I know 50 percent of the solution is choosing the right clothes, and 50 percent is hocus-pocus styling. Simply by manipulating color and proportion and making the right choices, you can feel more confident in whatever you wear.
Wear One Color From Head-to-Toe
“Tonal dressing” — as fashion designers call it — requires that you stick with the same color group and intensity of color (light, medium or dark), but you don’t need an exact match. Darker hues like black, navy, charcoal, merlot or chocolate pare away pounds and bulges, but the tonal strategy also works for any color — even light neutrals like beige, camel, soft gray and white. The point is to have no contrast, or as little as possible, in order to avoid breaking up the body, for an overall longer, sleeker line.
Open Up Your Necklines
Start at the top. By exposing your neck, collarbones and upper chest, you instantly stretch the upper body and torso. V-necks top the list because the inverted triangle of skin adds inches to your neck and the downward point breaks up any fullness at the bust. Choose a natural V-neck, or unbutton any shirt or blouse to create a V-neck, or opt for necklines that reveal — like shallow but broad ballet scoops or slouchy cowls. Wrap dresses are also natural V-neckers. If you’re layering tops, resist the urge to fill the space and make the base layer a V-sling.
Choose A Dress
Weight fluctuation is normal after 50, but a few pounds can quickly throw off the way tops and bottoms work together. Opt for one-piece dresses — a shift, sheath or fit-and-flare style — that glide over curves and balance proportions.
Define Your Waist
The key to making newly lush breasts, hips, thighs and derriere flattering is to fake an hourglass shape. Create an instant illusion by adding a skinny belt to a dress, long-fitted sweater, cardigan or jacket. The exception here is a pot belly: Skip the belt if your tummy bulge is bigger than your bustline.
Heels make a difference. Even a 2-inch kitten, block, wedge or chunky heel provides enough lift to lengthen legs. If you’re a dress or skirt fan, know that nude pumps in a skin-tone shade that’s similar to your foundation (sand, caramel, tan or bronze, for example), with a tapered toe, work best.
Show Your Ankles and Forearms
These two body parts are always going to be your slim spot, no matter what you weigh. So show them off! Cropped pants hovering right above your ankle bones and three-quarter sleeves that show off wrists, along with V-necklines, can make anybody look elegantly trim. Keep hands groomed and nails painted in a finger-stretching pinkish-nude shade or a riveting red.
Throw On A Structured, Tailored Jacket or Pantsuit
Get a firm, crisp silhouette in seconds just by adding the jacket — or go for the total look.
Balance Fitted and Full Proportions
Changes in body-fat distribution — as your hormone levels shift, your metabolism slows down and your healthy diet and exercise routine go MIA — can result in a more obvious apple- or pear-shaped body. Go loose on the top and narrow on bottom, or fitted on top and full below. If you’re top-heavy, pair relaxed sweaters, tunics or pop-over shirts with slim jeans, pencil skirts or ankle pants. If you’re full on the bottom, wear wider pants, boyfriend jeans and A-line skirts with a fitted tee or sweater.
Swirly prints — such as abstract designs and florals — keep the eye moving and make blurring “hot” spots easy. Go as wild or classic as you like, but skip rigid geometric patterns that highlight areas you’d rather not emphasize.
Stand Up Straight, and Walk Like a Model
Don’t slump over your phone, hunch over in a C or stride from side to side. Good posture can delete five pounds by stretching your body upward. Keep your chin up, neck stretched, shoulders down and stomach tucked, to its leanest. Roll shoulders back to open up your chest and pull your breasts up, and tuck your pelvis under.
You’ve got nothing to hide.