Ask a man to point out a problem area in his body and he’ll name one; ask a woman to do the same and she’ll name three. The desire to be or look skinny is something that envelops everyone, especially women, at some point in their lives. This drives some people to stay healthy but drastically diminishes the self-esteem of others. While there may not be a speedy solution to these issues, there are certain dressing styles that you can adopt on a day-to-day basis to accentuate your best features and conceal your problem areas. Fortunately, these tried-and-tested techniques not only help you look like the lean mean machine you envision yourself to be, but also help you conform to the latest fashion trends.
1. Study Your Body
The first step is to closely scrutinise every aspect of your body. Stand in front of a mirror (only in your innerwear) and make a mental note of what looks out of shape to you. This may sound easy to some, but for the body-conscious, it takes a great deal of effort just to be able to look at their image in the mirror. If there is any one feature that looks asymmetrical and stands out visibly, then that’s the area you need to focus on. Don’t be too critical; there may be some characteristics that you may not like, but others may find beautiful. Basically, you need to judge if your body is balanced – Is the top heavier than the bottom? Is the bottom wider than the top? If so, your dressing must balance your look. For instance, if you’re heavy on the thighs and want to opt for skinny jeans, ensure that the jeans are high-waist, and team them with a loose, flowing top. If you have broad shoulders, evade frilly or puffed-up sleeves. Awareness about your body is the job half done.
2. ‘Inner’ Beauty
It’s not just your clothes that need attention, but your undergarments too. If your innerwear fits well, your clothes will shape your body around them. A well-fitted bra and underwear, body shapers, pantyhose and stockings can do wonders for your figure. If your disproportionate areas are tucked into a body shaper, a wide variety of clothes can be complementary.
3. Focus on Elongation
The main idea is to have people look at you from top to bottom, rather than from side to side. For the top half of your body, pick clothes that lengthen your appearance with focus on the neck, like V-necks or cowl necks. You can also go for cropped tops to make your legs look longer. For the bottom, pick A-line or knee-length skirts (anything too long or too short will attract unnecessary attention to your thighs and hips) or straight cut pants, to create a fun, chic look. Vertical stripes, standing rectangular prints, vertical pleats, etc. can give an upright look. Don’t forget to have an upright posture too!
4. Shop Clever
When shopping for clothes, always look for the perfect size. Don’t buy a smaller size just for the satisfaction or a size too big because it hides your flaws. Too small a size will cling to your body and too big a size will hang on your body, both making you look bigger than you are. Look for outfits that have a tailored look and a semi-fitted style. Go for loose fabrics that give you a shapely look, but that aren’t too light and cheap. Light clothing materials that aren’t too clingy, like cottons and linens, are perfect. Go for rich, dark colours like black, navy blue or army green. However, this may also depend on your complexion; sometimes a lighter colour can look appealing too. Block colours and side print panels can be flattering, depending on their placement on the outfit. The main idea is to create an overall look, and not one that focuses on each body part.
Besides your clothes, elements like shoes and accessories can also add to your overall look. Relatively high heels or wedges are a great tool to achieve shapely legs and an arched posture. Don’t go to high or too low on the heel, as it can sometimes ruin the symmetry of your outfit. If you’re not comfortable with heels, go for pointy or open-toed ballerinas. Avoid strappy sandals and completely flat footwear, like flip-flops, as they can take away from the lean look you want to achieve. Men can go for pointy shoes in colours like black and brown for a professional appeal, or soft suede shoes for a relaxed day.
When accessorizing your clothes, opt for thin belts with a little bling, and stay away from thick chunky ones. Use sassy jewellery for your ears and neck, ensuring that the colours are bold and mono-toned. Scarves can also work wonders on single colour outfits.
6. Hair and Make Up
Draw attention to your face with the help of light, dewy make up that enhances your eyes and cheekbones. When using a blush for your cheeks, be sure to sweep the colour upward, to highlight and lengthen your jaw and cheekbones. Style your hair high, so your neck can add to the overall elongated look. If you’re looking for a haircut, a short bob cut can give you a semi-permanent lean look, and will save you the hassle of styling your hair every time you step out. Use a bronzer or shimmer on your best facial features to attract attention only to those aspects.
Quite frankly, the key to a skinnier look is not to hide your flaws, but to use them to complement your overall look. If you choose styles that accentuate your positive features, the supposed flaws will automatically take a back seat. Use your wardrobe as your secret weapon, using accessories and different clothing styles to complete your look. Not only will this give you a thin appearance, but will give you a fresh, new outfit set every day.
It’s been said repeatedly, but loving yourself and your body is extremely important to looking and feeling good. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, sleep well and exercise daily. Step out that door with your head (and heels!) high, chin up, back straight and a flashy smile, and watch yourself achieve the skinny look in no time!
Visual Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhammza/