I am far from what most people in the fashion industry would call "slim." I've got boobs, hips and thighs that I inherited from my mother (and her mother before that). I've floated between a size 10 and a size 12 for most of my life. And instead of trying to fight against what I was blessed with, I have learned to accentuate those curves and -- using the sneakiest of wardrobe tricks -- dress myself slim.
With most women in this country being a size 14, perhaps it's time for us to try simply changing our clothes instead of constantly trying to change our bodies. I think we could all certainly use a good dose of positivity when we're getting dressed in the morning. If we're wearing things that make us feel fabulous, then only good things can happen, right?
I've put together some simple rules that I personally always try to follow when I am shopping for clothes and putting together outfits.
Rule #1: Always define your waist.
This is so important! When I try things on that look like a tent, I feel like a tent. It's that simple. With either the pattern, the cut of the garment or the simple addition of a belt -- it's always wise to highlight your waist and show off how tiny it is. It really does instantly give you an hourglass shape, which is so important. Make sure that you're defining your natural waist, too. Too high, and it can make either your chest or tummy bigger than it; too low and it can make your top half look larger. I cannot tell you how many women I see on a daily basis who aren't showing off their small waists!
Rule #2: Think "long."
Next time you're out shopping or looking at clothes, look for pieces that have long stripes -- either going right down the front or down the sides of the garment. Sure, it's a visual trick on the eyes, but hey, whatever works! Any kinds of long stripes, panels or piping can all make you look longer. Why? Because your eye automatically goes down the length of the garment, and it creates a very slimming effect. They do the opposite of what we all feel horizontal stripes do.
Rule #3: Practice your Geometry.
This is one of my favorite tricks to employ. Beyond just accentuating your natural waist, look above and below at what you're wearing and think of two triangles. Place them on top of one another, with the top triangle upside down and the bottom triangle right side up. Now picture them meeting in the middle ... what do you get? A perfect hourglass silhouette. So, if you're worried about having a larger chest, accent your shoulders. The eye immediately goes up there, and away from your chest. Then, if your waist is accented, the eye immediately drifts down to that tiny waist. And from there, they'll see your gorgeous hips as your skirt flows away from your body.
Rule #4: Elongate from head to toe.
I get really annoyed when I see square-toed shoes. Stop it! You might as well be cutting your legs right off! A square or super rounded toe will own make your legs look shorter. You want the line of your leg to continue on gracefully ... not end abruptly. Try a pointy toe, which can really make your legs look miles longer. Trust me, it works.
Rule #5: Perfect your proportions.
When I'm looking for outfit inspiration, I love looking at style guides, magazines, lookbooks -- anything I can get my hands on that shows how different brands pair their pieces together in unexpected ways. You can see from these examples what a nice full skirt does, how a longer top with a short pair of shorts can make your legs look longer and leaner and how simply tucking a shirt into a skirt can instantly make you look leaner. Try playing with different proportions like these, and you might discover new outfit combinations that give you a boost.
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About Alison, a.k.a. NYC Recessionista: Alison Jimenez is the sole creator and author of NYC Recessionista, a bargain shopping and fashion blog since 2008. Alison has an insatiable appetite for bargain shopping, mixing bargain basement and designer fashion in the same outfit, and getting more than one season's use out of her favorite pieces through the magic of mixing and matching. She also has a husband who would prefer it if she saved more than she shopped. In addition to her blog, Alison can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.