We've all been there -- a 10-year reunion, a wedding, a gala, or just a date on the calendar that we circled to mark our desire to finally lose those 10 pounds that have dogged us since the holidays. We meant to go to the gym. We meant to not eat that extra slice of pizza. But, oops -- it just didn't happen. So what's a guy or girl to do?
Luckily, there are a few tried-and-true tricks that'll have you looking lean, mean and fabulous in no time. The key is to finesse your dress by picking clothes, shoes, makeup, and accessories that will lengthen your lines, camouflage your problem areas and play up your assets.
Looking your best isn't about wearing the sexiest rags or the skinniest jeans. It's about finding clothes that flatter your particular figure. So, take a look in the mirror. Are you heavier up top or pair shaped?
The first step is to determine your body type. Beauty is all about proportion. By figuring our where your body is out of whack, you can choose clothes that will camouflage your figure's quirks and make you look 10 pounds thinner. Read on to find out what it means to Fibonacci your fit.
Fibonacci Your Fit with the Golden Ratio
There's a number called phi (1.6180339. ), derived from the Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21. ), and it has amazed scientists since its discovery. So what does it have to do with beauty? Turns out, everything. The Fibonacci sequence reveals a symmetry - the golden ratio - found in nature, one that the human eye finds highly pleasing. In fact, the more symmetrical a person's features are, the more "beautiful" that person is perceived as. So it makes sense that applying the same concept to dressing your body can yield the same results. To achieve a symmetrical-looking appearance, try these tips for balancing different parts of the body:
Top-Heavy: Top-heavy women should invest in a really great bra and avoid skinny jeans and other cuts that make the lower half appear disproportionately lean. Match a darker color on top with a light-colored A-line skirt that falls just below the knee for a more balanced overall look. Look for shirts that cinch in below the bust line - often the smallest part of the torso - to achieve an hourglass shape.
Larger Bottom: The 1980-long-sweaters-over-leggings trend is back! But pear-shaped women should steer clear from this look since it could exaggerate your bottom and make your legs look stumpy. Instead, try a shirt with a collar that draws the eye toward the face, a three-quarter length coat or an A-line skirt to bring your booty into balance with the rest of your body.
Larger middle: Skinny jeans and low-rise jeans are not friends of a larger middle. They can distort your body by pushing your skin into unflattering configurations, such as the dreaded muffin top. The trick is to fit your largest part first and work from there. You should pay particular attention to where the crotch seam begins, making sure if fits well. Typically, higher rise jeans with a flare tend to balance out a larger middle. Try to stay away from form-fitting shirts with the exception of a ruched shirt, in which the fabric has been gathered and stitched for a rippled effect that draws the eye into the waist, creating a cinched-at-the-waist look.
Curvy All Over: Curvy women benefit from more structured clothing, for instance a leather jacket that sits just above the hip, or a skirt that flatters your curves. Avoid frills and frippery; lacy, ruffled tops will only add volume. Instead, mix different fabrics or colors on the top and bottom to create a defined waistline. Deep v-neck blouses and dresses focus attention on your face and bust.
Investing in the right clothes for your body type will put you well on the way to looking 10 pounds thinner, but there's even more that you can do. Next we explore how the right shoes, makeup and accessories can add height, thin your face and balance your outfit.
Makeup, Accessories & Shoes
Once you've picked the perfect outfit for your body type, it's time to explore how your makeup, accessories and shoes can help you look ten pounds thinner. Let's start with your face.
Makeup Counts - In Small Amounts When it comes to looking thinner, it helps to have high cheekbones. And if you don't have prominent cheekbones, you can create them. Find a three-tone blush palette and apply the darkest tone just below the entire length of your cheekbones. Brush on the medium tone right above the dark tone and finish it off with the lightest tone on top for a youthful glow.
Next, try bronzer and shimmer. A bronzer that is just a hint darker than your skin tone will give your face a little touch of the sun, for a glowing, thinner look. Use shimmer (stick to soft, light, not-so-sparkly tones) to highlight the more striking areas of your face and draw attention away from the rounder, plumper parts.
When applying makeup, always blend well and use a light touch. The goal is to thin your face, not to end up looking like you're in drag.
Shoes and Accessories Shoes and accessories can really make the perfect look pop. Pointy-toe shoes are almost always a good choice; they lengthen the legs for a longer, taller, thinner appearance. Cowboy boots with pointy toes are appropriate for a curvy gal's frame, while an ankle-strap pointy-toe shoe works well for a tall figure. Petite and heavy women should avoid heels with too much height; they throw shorter women out of proportion and make curvy women look heavier.
The right accessories should match your proportions. If you are curvier, try a large clutch or a cuff rather than a tiny handbag or a slinky bracelet. Petites should choose bags with shorter shoulder straps, so the bag hangs at the middle of the torso, drawing attention to the waist. For ladies with a bit of extra weight around the middle, a belt that buckles just above the natural waist can make you look narrower.
Next up, we'll take a look at how men can get in on the thinning action.
Men and Their Waistbands
Men in our lives: We have something to tell you. You're not fooling anyone by wearing your old-sized jeans -- with the band tucked way under your protruding belly. Sure, you may wear the same pant size that you were in college, but your stomach has morphed, and it shows. Here are a few tips using the same concept for achieving balance in proportions:
Beer Gut: Lots of guys carry a little extra weight around the middle. Structured, boxy jackets in stiff fabrics like leather help balance larger stomachs. Wearing shirts untucked will disguise a belly; but men should make sure shirts fall no lower than the bottom of the crotch area. Also, guys should avoid pants that narrow at the ankle and fit under the belly as opposed to over it. Try pants with wide, straight legs - this will help balance the stomach area -and make sure the pants fit in the crotch. You can also trick the eye from your mid-section with a blazer or sweater. Another trick for drawing the eye up and down vertically is to add a scarf.
Barrel Chested: Barrel-chested men need to make sure their clothes are big enough through the shoulders, even if they have to buy a larger size so that the shoulders fit, then have the clothes tailored in other areas. A boxy sweater with a v-neck will draw attention to the face, while a wider-cut pant leg adds substance on the bottom, bringing a larger top half into better balance.
Love Handles: Some guys carry their weight on their sides and hips. For these men, dark sports jackets and good-quality top coats are the best bet. The right coat will camouflage love handles and add volume to the upper body, which helps balance a bulkier lower half. Experiment with a bright, lighter-colored shirt underneath and stick a handkerchief with a splash of matching color in the top jacket pocket to draw attention to the face.
By now we've all figured out our body types and are dressing them accordingly. Read on for some universal advice that will help anyone, regardless of body type, look 10 pounds thinner.
Wrapping Up: Skinny Tips and Tricks
No doubt, body-type appropriate clothes, shoes and accessories create the appearance of better proportions and help you look 10 pounds thinner instantly. However, there are also a few universal tips and tricks that apply to everyone, regardless of body type:
Posture Please: Standing up straight and tall, with your shoulders high and slightly back, not only elongates your body and makes you look thinner, it also makes you appear confident and in control.
Spanx for the Memories: In 1998, Sara Blakely cut the feet out of her panty hose to mask lumps and bumps and make her legs appear flawless in light-colored pants. The rest is history. Spanx now offers a full line of body-shaping apparel - hosiery, bras and panties, camis, even swimsuits. Form-fitting, slenderizing, tummy and cellulite whittling shapewear by Spanx or its many competitors, has become a must-have wardrobe element for women looking to take a few pounds off instantly.
Your Bra Is Your BFF: When your girls are lifted and separated, you look thinner, period. You appear taller. Your waist appears narrower. Ladies with a larger bust will especially need to invest in a really, really great brassiere.
Master Monochrome: Darker, monochromatic colors give the appearance of a longer, leaner line, but can be boring. Try a jacket with a print or texture to create visual interest. And don't forget bold-colored accessories, which can really help to draw the eye upward.
Focus on Your Favorite Feature: Whether it's your eyes, long legs or a tiny waist, we all have a part of our body that we like. Pick your best feature and accentuate it. But remember to keep it in proportion. Your long, shapely legs may look fantastic in skinny jeans, but no one will notice them if they're starting at the muffin top blooming at your waistline.
Bag up the Baggie Clothes. Then burn them. Enough said. Oversized clothes never, ever make you look thinner. In fact, make friends with your tailor. Most off-the-rack clothing can benefit from raised hemlines and other necessary alterations.
Try these tips and you'll be on the road to a leaner and meaner look in no time. And if you'd like more study material, style mavens Stacy London and Clinton Kelly will help you bone up with these tips.