The 10 Commandments of Flattering Fashion
By Elizabeth Blackwell
Color and Fit
1. Keep It Monochromatic: If you're wearing the same color from shoulders to feet, it creates the illusion of one, long, unbroken line. That makes you look slimmer and minimizes individual features. Think neutrals: black, camel, cream, dark brown.
2. Just My Size: Anything too big (baggy T-shirts) or too small (tiny tank tops) will make you look larger than you are. You won't fool anyone by cramming yourself into a smaller size or hiding under loose fabric. Buy clothing that actually fits your body.
3. Skim, Not Skin: The fabric of your clothes should skim your curves, but not become a second skin. Stiff fabrics will create lumps and bumps; super-sheer fabrics can highlight a little too much. Look for fabric that drapes and falls in a flattering way.
4. The Perfect Pants: For the most universally flattering style, look for a flat front (gathered waists only make your stomach look fatter), low waist (about an inch or so below your navel -- not hip-huggers) and a slight flare at the bottom (to balance out the width of your hips).
5. The Perfect Skirt: An A-line skirt looks good on everyone, and offers especially good camouflage for big bottoms and pudgy tummies. Keep it knee-length to make your legs look their best.
Tops, Suits, and More
6. The Perfect Top: V-neck tops and long-sleeved turtlenecks are flattering on almost everyone, because they have vertical lines, which draw the eye up. That makes your torso look longer and leaner.
7. The Perfect Suit: Choose a jacket with small pads to define your shoulders (without making you look like a linebacker), a waist that's slightly tapered to give you a womanly curve (a belt works well, too), and pants that are fitted in the hips and flare slightly at the bottom.
8. Smooth Foundations: Obvious underwear lines will sabotage your smooth, clean line. Wear silky bras that won't make shirts cling. Choose thin, seamless panties that won't be noticeable under pants.
9. Size Matters: Make sure accessories balance with your overall look. A too-tiny bag or oversized earrings can throw everything off. Your purse, jewelry, and shoes should blend with the color and texture of your outfit (and be in proportion to your body size).
10. Seek Professional Help: When it comes to high-quality wardrobe staples, like a great jacket or classic black wool pants, a good tailor is crucial. Have the clothing altered to fit your body perfectly, and you'll wear those pieces for years.