Dress to flatter you

A lot of you who follow me on Twitter, Instagram, even IRL on Facebook, know that I have been documenting my weight loss and “whaa”-ing about outfits and clothes. Particularly pre-wedding and now as a gluten-free Celiac disease person (I would put sufferer, but I am not suffering anymore!). My weight has plummeted since Christmas 2011 (almost 190 then down to 170 by April), and continues to drop (another 20-ish down). I am gifted with good genes that made me a beautiful hourglass figure, and I am lucky enough to not having lots of weird cravings and can tone up pretty fast… but it isn’t always easy. I am still not at my goal weight (but continue to get closer) and working in an office does not help. I spend a lot of time at the gym at home, and frequently will be working out with music so loud I am sure I look this stupid…

to my husband when he walks in the door. Anything to look/be/feel healthy, right? The hardest thing right now is not investing in designer clothes that might be too big for me in two months. I see lots of cute items but I am really working with what I have and being more creative!

Ways to dress to flatter you:

1. Shop eBay for New With Tags (NWT) items from reputable sellers. My biggest thing is every season I make a wishlist of items I loved but did not get. Sometimes I am all like this…

…but I normally end up just digitizing the list by emailing it to myself so I have a copy of it for when I am ready to seek them out after the season is over. Then I will occasionlly come into some extra funds and will search in Gmail or use my Label for shopping to find these favorites. I can frequently find specific items on eBay this way which is great. It is frequently much cheaper and still new. Southern Social has posted about eBay tricks before – here. Like her, for me it is about quality not quantity and this way I can get the very best for a fraction of the price.

2. Figure out what colors look best on you. Are you one of those people who grew up in the 70s/80s/early 90s like me and people talked about getting their colors done? High on the cheese factor but actually it can make a big difference in how you look. I think this maybe was a big thing for Southern women, so let me know if you Yankees know what I am talking about. FLASHBACK Y’ALL: Color Me Beautiful…

The simplest thing is use colors to your advantage. Besides knowing what colors look best on you, consider the classic way to dress. Dark colors where you are larger and want to slim and trim things down, brighter shades on the smallest part of your body. I am hourglassy, so really I tend to wear things in a colorblock style or have a belt at my waist (29″ which makes sizing hell). Shirtdresses, wrap dresses, and the such seem to work best on me because of my hourglass shape, but I am learning what else to do.

from StyleSight

3. Big prints will make you look bigger. Get rid of your big prints if you are apple, pear, or hourglass shaped. What shape are you?

from Eves Apples.

Just remember, big prints widen everything. Small patterns camouflage, however. Continuing from that, stripes that are horizontal or vertical can be slimming if the stripes are both dark (navy and green, pinstripe) and skinny. So even if you are busty, sometimes horizontal stripes will still flatter. But, at the end of the day, the most flattering patterns or stripes are vertical. Princess seams on a dress or blouse will run from the outside edge of your bust down to your hip, and will slim you down as well.

Lastly, pleats. Some people think pleats add weight. That is bullshit. Those people are likely wearing skirts that are too small. If a pleat is pulled apart, it is too small. It should lie against the ones around it. I have a gorgeous knife-pleat Brooks Brothers skirt I adore wearing. It is high-waisted but is beautifully constructed and quite slimming thanks to those knife pleats. They are narrow and straight and it looks tailored to me even though it is off the rack.

from Capitol Hill Style

4. Continuing on pleats… don’t own any pants with pleats. Please. Never. They look horrible on everyone. They will give you extra lower-belly weight just because of their contruction. Stick with flat-front. This factoid especially goes out to men (where pleated pants are more common)! Otherwise women all around will react like this…

5. I have been cutting back on shopping as I said earlier, and one of my biggest things has been keeping my proportions balanced. Today I am wearing an A-line skirt, but it is a high-waisted number so it really does not flare out that much (another J.Crew relic, from 2005). It is a muted gold and has some pleats. I am wearing with it a snug-fitting cashmere camel cable sweater. So, A-line normally means wide and adding volume but how this skirt drapes and the fitted nature of the sweater keeps it all in check.

I normally go for well-draped and architectural-cut items now (not just asymmetric). I am pulling out lots of jersey for evening.

from Donna Karan
Cotton-poly or fine cashmere-wool blends for work dressing. I am wearing tanks with a snug blazer and skinny jeans for evening. I normally wouldn’t do this but other clothes are swimming on me right now. If you can afford a hundred dollars, get your pants waistline tailored, hems lifted for pants that have dropped, and take out some excess fabric from the shoulder of your sleeveless dresses. Even wearing a pair of heels when you have been wearing flats can take pounds off and deceive the eye. It makes a big difference.

Maybe you are on a budget and you cannot get things tailored. Consider tucking in your tops where you used to be unable to do so before. A blousy top tucked into a skirt or pant can keep you lean. This will rid you of the excess fabric and makes you look less George Costanza-y.

6. Try to layer thin items or buy longer shirts. So many brands now are still so bad at cutting shirts that don’t work on long-waisted or tall people. I have this problem as I am both! I used to do this in college and am revisiting it – I wear a B.P. (Nordstrom’s juniors department), Frenchi, or J.Crew tank or t-shirt under my sweaters and some tops (in similar color family) to keep me from having my shirts fall at my fullest part. This way, I am not accidentally showing skin and I am also keeping my frame looking lean. Drawing the eye down one smooth line really makes a big difference. This look is especially important over the hips. I try to buy new shirts that fall at my hip-bone. This sounds extra long but when you put on your jeans you will see how different it makes you look weight and body-shape wise.

from Nordstrom

So, these are my tips on how to dress in a flattering way. They definitely keep me from wasting my time (who am I kidding, I have fat days like anyone else but I used to have what felt like PERMANENT fat days thanks to not being diagnosed with Celiac) getting dressed during the day, but now I feel smug I have spent the time being OCD and figuring this stuff out now so I save time in the future.

Do you all have any tips you would like to add?

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Virginia based lifestyle blogger Whitney of WorthyStyle shares her beauty, fashion, gluten free cooking, family life, and more. Follow along!

16 thoughts on “Dress to flatter you

  1. Oh I am so glad this post made you laugh! I try really hard to throw in some humor every once in a while. Pleats is all kinds of awkward on some people!

  2. Congrats on your healthy weight loss! And just think of all of the fantastic clothes you'll be able to buy when you reach your goal weight 🙂 xo

  3. Thank you so much, Sara! I cannot wait to go shopping, but I am trying to have a lot of fun “making do” in the meantime. Did you get your colors done when you were younger?

  4. I am so envious, I would love to be an hourglass, I'm an apple.
    I lost a lost of weight, 45lbs, it's a constant struggle to keep it off but I'm much happier.

  5. Oh darling! Please do not be envious. Being an hourglass makes sizing a pile of shit. I am a 6 in tops and a 14 sometimes in bottoms just because of my hips being naturally so wide. It is ridiculous. It is why I live in skinny jeans (that are rarely washed as they are perfectly broken in) or skirts/dresses. Honestly, you are not missing out!

    And be proud of your weight loss. I am sure you are happier. It is such a good thing to do for you! I am proud of you for it as well. We only get one life to be healthy.


  6. So glad to hear you are doing so well. I have always struggled with that what shape is your body thing, because I felt it is too restrictive. I have clothes in my closet that by all accounts shouldn't work on me, either because of height, shape, or age, but they do. I try everything that speaks to me on, you never know. Sometimes you get a pleasant surprise and a new fashion possibility opens.

  7. You make a very good point – sometimes you can be surprised how something outside your norm/comfort zone/rec'd area works well on you. That is a great point!

  8. Great tips!! And you cracked us up with the clips you added in. The one of Brad Pitt on the treadmill is hilarious!! 🙂

    Jayme & Mendi @ Her Late Night Cravings

  9. I always buy what fits well and is flattering. I don't worry about the trends or the size on the tag (since so many stores have different sizing now). These are great tips!

  10. Buying what fits well is most definitely the most important thing, although I always add an addendum to that – what if it doesn't fit well but a simple tailoring job could fix it (hem, sleeve, waist nipped in, etc.)? I think that is an important differentiation!


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