Normally, I am a fan of honesty. It is good for all areas of your life, work and business but, when it comes to dress
ing, we women have been cheating for centuries. Push up bras, shapewear, hair extensions, high heels, tummy-control stockings... the list goes on and on.
We say it is all for men and our partners in particular BUT it is really to impress other women. Ouch!
If the word cheating feels a bit harsh, many Image Consultants call it Illusion Dressing. I prefer to call it Smart Dressing.
So let's get down to some smart dressing tips for business and professional women over 40 so you feel good and look like you have dropped a dress size.
Be Smart with Colour
Yes we all know that dark colours make you look a dress-size smaller. Before you congratulate yourself on your all-black wardrobe, let's be a little smarter.
Ditch baggy black clothes. Check that your black clothes skim your body. Take the neckline lower than your collarbone. Add some texture for variety - lace, frills, pleats, buttons or material with some sheen or shine... anything but plain matte, smooth black. Look for a pattern with a mixture of black and a little bit of a lighter colour to create an interesting black.
Consider also other dark basic colours like chocolate brown, charcoal grey or red-black. Buy rich dark colours like grape, aubergine, purple, maroon, claret red or dark green to look slimmer and feel elegant. Wear some of these colours in silk, lace or a mesh fabric for variety.
Choose Your Style Carefully
To look like you have dropped a dress size, wear something that gently emphasise your midriff area (i.e. from your bust to your belly button).
Wear a dress or a top with a band that goes from under your bust to above your waist. This is a very popular style and suits all figures. You will look slimmer because it highlights your rib area and suggests a smaller waist.
Any dress that gently defines your waist also works well. Wear this style at mid-knee length as longer hems in this style can make you look dowdy. Small pleats that cross over diagonally across the midriff area also slim and flatten your tummy.
Vertical pintucks from your neckline to the fullest part of your bust create tiny gathers that skim your waist and suggest a smaller body. Any other style that has a little bit of gather below the bust also works well. Avoid wide vertical pleats or lots of small vertical pleats from the bust or neckline. These styles add too much fullness and make you look bigger or worse, pregnant when you have passed that stage of your life.
Diagonal and curved colour-blocking breaks up your body shape and gives the illusion that you have lost weight.
Good Fit is the Secret to Looking Slimmer
A good alteration will make your clothing look like it was made exactly to fit you. Fit is the secret to looking slimmer and more professional as most women hide behind baggy, boxy clothes which make them look and feel bigger.
Your most flattering skirt, dress or sleeve length plus skirts and pants that are tapered slightly to the hem add up to good fit and the illusion of being a dress-size smaller. Perfect fit also builds your confidence and straightens your posture. Experiment with the best length for you and if you have sewing skills, you can do it yourself. Otherwise seek professional help and advice.
Last Words on the Subject
Buy shapewear that has a high waist (i.e. it goes up to under your bust). This style slim ribs, waist and tummy in one go. Last, last words - stand tall. Good posture instantly makes you look slimmer.
So cheat away (Sorry! Smart Dress) with my blessing and drop a dress size.
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