Monday, September 27, 2010

Runway To Reality - Making Fall's Fashion Trends Work For Your Body

The fashion trends for Fall 2010 are filled with ruffles, jewel tones, animal print, gold, feathers and faux fur, mixed prints, leather jackets and chunky knits.

On The Runway, designers show you how to wear the trends if you are model thin. These options often add volume to your body and make you look bigger. You don't have to sacrifice your body for fashion. Everybody can wear every trend; however, the way you can wear it depends on your body type. Click here for a post on our TV Resources page about ways to wear them if you petite, plus size, or anything in between.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Size Isn't The Size

Somehow a woman’s value as a human being got all confused with the size of her clothing. Women feel terrible about themselves if they wear the “wrong” size…whatever that is. The horrible practical joke is that the actual size of a size can vary dramatically by brand, fabric and style. A size 10 in one garment can fit the same as an 8 or 14 in another. A size can be bigger or smaller than you think it is…it’s all an illusion. That’s pretty shaky ground to stake your worth on.

The most important element of a great looking body is great fitting clothes. Clothing that is too big or loose makes you appear to be too small and frail. Clothing that is too small or tight makes you look like you are bursting out of your clothes actually makes you look too big (i.e. “fat”), even if you aren’t.

Clothing that fits well – skims the body without pulling or gaping – makes your body look leaner and slimmer. Great fitting clothing puts a smile on your face, spring in your step, and empowerment in your spirit.

So how do you find the “right” size? It might not be what you expect. Here’s a guide to navigating all the Missy, Junior, Women, Petite and Tall sizing to find the one that’s perfect for you.

Finding The Right Size

The first step in finding clothing that fits well is to use the size on the tag as a reference point for that particular garment. Choose a Missy or Woman size you think you might be, try it on to see how it fits and then choose another size until you find the garment that fits you the right way. When you get the right fit, you will always look smaller even if the “size” is “bigger”.

Missy Sizes – These are the most common sizes in ladies clothing stores/departments. Sizes are even numbers ranging from 0 to 18 or XS (0-2), S (4-6), M (8-10), L (10-12) or XL (12-16).

Junior Sizes – These sizes are in the most common sizes for teens and young women. Sizes are odd numbers ranging from 1 to 13. Junior sizes are cut more slimly than Missy sizes. If a Missy garment fits you too loosely, try it in a Junior size.

Woman Sizes – These sizes are the most common sizes in “Big Girls’” clothing stores/departments. Women’s sizes are larger and cut fuller than Missy sizes. Sizes are even numbers 12W to 28W and up or OX (12-14), 1X (16-18), 2X (20-22), 3X (22-28) and up. Some brands that specialize in Woman sizes use sizes 0 to 3 where 0 equates to a 0X, 1 is a 1X etc. If a Missy size fits most parts of you but is too tight in one area, try the Women’s size. For example, if the Missy size 12 is too tight in the waist/tummy, try a Women size 12W or OX to get a similar size with more room in the waist.

Petite Sizes – These sizes are designed for ladies who are 5’4” inches tall or less, so they are cut shorter in some areas than Missy sizes. Sizes range from 0P to 28P and up. Click here for a summary of the difference between Missy and Petite proportions/sizing. Petite sizes also work well for women who are more than 5’4” tall with short waists, short arms, or short legs. For example, if a Missy size 6 fits well except the waist is too low, try a Petite size 6P. Or if a Women’s size 22 fits well except the legs and rise are too long, try a 22P.

Tall Sizes (sometimes these sizes are called “Long”) – These sizes are designed for ladies who are 5’8” inches tall or more, so they are cut longer in some areas than Missy sizes. Sizes range from 0T to 28T and up. Click here for a summary of the difference between Missy and Tall proportions/sizing. Tall sizes also work well for women who are less than 5’8” tall with long waists, long arms, or long legs. For example, if a Missy size 6 fits well except the waist is too high, try a Tall size 6T. Or if a Women’s size 22 fits well except the leg and rise are too short, try a 22T.

Your Size

The moral of this story is that one woman can be many sizes. You can be a size 8, 10 and 6P all on the same day. It just depends on the particular garment. Sometimes it even takes a “bigger” size to make you look smaller. The tag has nothing to do with what you look like or who you are.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dressing Skinny With Chloe Dao!

Project Runway Season 2 winner and Houston's home-town designer Chloe Dao presented her pre-fall collection last week and wow, wow, wow!! It's pure Chloe - fun, clean, lady-like with beautiful details - and oh-so flattering!! Here are three Dress Yourself Skinny styles that work for so many figures.

Teal dress: This dress is great if you have big breasts, wide hips, a tummy, a short waist, a long waist or wobbly upper arms. If the revealing back gives you too much exposure, Chloe suggests wearing a cami underneath. Choose a contrasting color (ie purple, burgundy, chocolate) to retain the fun of the cut-out without showing any skin. ($178)

Black Necee dress: This style is great if you have big breasts, wide hips or wobbly upper arms. The sheer shoulders and back give you sex-appeal without revealing any skin. If the sheer back is too revealing, wear a black cami underneath and you're good to go ($328).

Arnette Color-block dress: The color blocking of this dress makes your sides disappear and makes you look 2 sizer slimmer. It's great for big breasts, thick waist, short waist, long waist and tummy ($228).

The collection is available at Chloe's boutique, Lot 8, in sizes 0-10. Other sizes are available by special order for a small additional fee.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cleavage Coverage

Plunging necklines are definitely on the Dress Yourself Skinny “Do” list. This style is flatting and makes you look thinner and taller. However, it doesn’t work for business settings or modest sensibilities.

Cleavage coverage can be added to make plunging necklines work for all occasions. The traditional solution is to wear a thin camisole as an under-layer to cover exposed lingerie and skin. The downside to the extra layer – it adds bulk to your torso, a second set of straps to manage and can be uncomfortable in summer months.

The Chickie is a new alternative that gives you the coverage without the bulk. Think of it as an updated version of the “dickie” from the 1970s. It’s a panel of fabric worn over the bra like a tube-top just to cover the décolleté area. It is secured to the bra straps to keep it in place.

Regardless of the underpinning you choose, opt for a color that contrasts with your plunging neckline to retain the dressing skinny benefits. Choose a dark color to minimize the bust area or a light color to make “the girls” more prominent.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What's Your Body Type?

Many fashion magazines and online shopping websites now offer clothing suggestions based on your body type. Once you know how to describe your body using their terminology, a whole new world of flattering choices opens up to you.

The first step in dressing thinner is knowing your body type. The terminology to describe women’s figures used by the fashion industry isn’t always easy to understand. Here’s an explanation of the typical descriptions so you can figure out what body type you have.

Western society has chosen an hourglass as the ideal shape for a woman’s body. That breaks down as shoulders, bust and hips having about the same width and the waist having about 75% of that width. The descriptions of all the other body types are based on comparisons to the hourglass figure.

In Dress Yourself Skinny, figures are broken down into 13 body types that are described in the way women talk about their bodies: big breasts, small breasts, wide shoulders, narrow shoulders, thick waist/tummy, short torso, long torso, wide hips, narrow hips, tall, short, straight figure and skinny. In the rest of the fashion world, women’s body types are divided into 3 or four categories.

Some stylists use the fruits for comparison: apple, pear and banana. Others use geometric polygons: triangles, circles and rectangles.

Apple/Oval/Circle – This woman has a thicker waist and tummy.
Pear/Triangle – This body type has wide hips or narrow shoulders.
Banana/Rectangle – This woman has a straight figure or thicker waist. Her waist, shoulders, bust and hips are all about the same width.
Inverted triangle – This woman has broad shoulders or narrow hips.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Maximize With Crush Prints

Crush prints are garments that are printed after they are made. When the pattern is added to the clothing this way, wrinkled areas in the piece will naturally go unprinted. These variations in printing add to the fun and artsy nature of the clothing.

Crush prints make the garment look like it’s stretching. The print gives the impression that the underlying body part is so big that it’s stretching the clothing to its capacity. This style is perfect for making small body parts look bigger.

If you want to make your breasts look bigger, choose a print with wrinkles in the bust area. Wear the wrinkles across your hips if you want to make your body appear curvier below the waist. This style works well if you want to make a skinny body appear fuller and curvier all over.

The degree of size increase dependes on the degree of contrast between the color of the base fabric and the color of the printing. Dark printing on a light piece will give more maximization than dark printing on dark fabric. Beware, crush prints can make your tummy and entire body look bigger. Avoid styles with wrinkles in areas that are already the “right size” or “too big” for you. Avoid crush prints all together if you feel "too big" all over.

Due to the nature of the printing process, each and every piece is unique. If one doesn't have the wrinkling in the right place for you, another piece in the exact same style may have been printed in a more flattering way. Notice how the wrinkling on this dress makes the bust look saggy. Leave this one on the rack and look for another on in the same style with flattering printing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fat Clothes

Many women wear boxy, oversized clothing in the effort to camouflage imperfections. These styles do cover the rolls and they also add volume to your body, making you look 10, 20 or even 30 pounds heavier than you are.

Here are some common styles that make you look bigger than you are. Avoid them at all costs!

• Tops, jackets and sweaters that are longer than three inches below your hipbones look like they will camouflage your hips and bottom. However, these styles actually make those areas look wider.

• Pants with pleats at the waists or hips are supposed to camouflage your tummy area. Actually, this style adds bulk to the hips and tummy and makes these areas look bigger.

• “Skinny jeans,” leggings and bike shorts fit tightly across the hips, butt, thighs and calves. These styles of pants turn your hourglass figure into a diamond shape, with the widest part across your hips and bottom. In this case, a diamond is NOT a girl’s best friend. Yes, those pants do make your butt look big!

No matter your size or figure “flaws,” flattering clothing does exist! Here are some styles that will work way better.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spanx Skinny Britches

Skinny Britches – a new line of lite shapers from Spanx – are whisper thin and can be layered to customize the level of compression that’s perfect for you. They come in hipsters (briefs) and shorts (bike shorts) styles. Wear one for smoothing, layer two for shaping or three for super-power!

The Imagine testers tried the shapers to see how they performed. Skinny Britches worked best for smoothing and shaping in the butt, hip and thigh areas.

Our butt/hip/thigh tester found that they fit well in the waist, tightened up the butt area and smoothed out giggles and imperfections in the hips and thighs. She loved the fit under jeans. A single layer did a great job smoothing problems below the waist.

Our tummy tester found the Britches tight in the waist, rolled down from the waist after wearing them for a couple hours and squeezed rolls out the top creating a more lumpy figure. She couldn’t recommend them for smoothing or control in the waist and torso. Rumors are that Skinny Britches will be offered in a high-waist style for smoothing the tummy and waist. Fingers crossed!!

Skinny Britches come in beautiful colors so you can spice things up and have some fun! Wear grape, red, hot pink or teal under black and darker clothing or lilac, jade or haze under lighter clothing. Here's a link for more info.

Shorts, Hipster, Shorts Layered Over Hipster

The Slimming Rainbow

Black is slimming. And there is a rainbow of other colors that give you the same effect - any deep color will give you the same slimming result as black. Any of the colors of the outer ring of the color wheel below will work.

Monochromatic Dressing

Monochromatic dressing is wearing the same color from head to toe. This strategy works with any color and creates a long lean look. The deeper the color, the thinner you will look. Try this strategy with chocolate brow, navy blue, eggplant, burgundy, olive green, etc. This technique also works when wearing clothing all in the same color as your skin tone.

Monotone Dressing

Monotone dressing is wearing a mix of colors with the same depth. Meaning, all the colors used have the same lightness or darkness. Mix black, chocolate brow, navy blue, eggplant, burgundy, charcoal gray, etc. All the deep colors look great together, so you can be as traditional or creative in your color combinations as your comfort level allows.

For the most slimming results, skip shinny fabrics like satin, solid sequins, lame, vinyl. Stick to matte fabrics (materials that don’t reflect light) such as suede, knits and twill to look your thinnest.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Get Taller To Be Thinner

Looking taller automatically makes you look thinner by stretching your size over a longer area. For example, a 145 pound woman who is 5'9" tall looks thinner than a woman who weighs the same amount but is 5' 1" tall. Here are some ways to get taller:

• Wear shoes with heels or platform soles, even ½ inch makes a difference. High or low heels, wedges, chunky or delicate heels, thick or slim platform soles are all great options. Choose styles that you like and are comfortable for you.

• Lengthen pants so the hems are about 1-inch above the floor behind your heel. This will make your legs look a lot longer. Note, you may need to have different pants for high and low heeled shoes.

• Avoid horizontal stripes at all costs! Choose fabrics with vertical or diagonal stripes. Anything from subtle pin stripes to wide bold stripes to can be flattering. Even patterns with vertical elements can work.

Just these three tips can make you appear to be 3 to 4 inches taller than you really are. That translates into making you look about one size smaller. What other ways do you have to look taller? Please share what worked for you!

Want A Thinner Waist? Get A Better Bra!

A great-fitting bra is critical to creating the illusion of a smaller waist. When your breasts droop, they make your waist look wider than it really is.

The right bra may introduce you to new letters of the alphabet. You may think you are a B, C or D and find out that you really are a AA, DD, E, F, etc. Most of the bra’s support comes from the band, so the fit of the band is just as important as the fit of the cups. The straps don't provide support, they just keep the cups closer to your body. Here's how a bra should fit:

− The cup should cover your entire breast, except for push-up styles. No breast tissue should poke out the sides or top of the cup.
− If you wear underwires, the wires should lay around your breasts, against the edges of your breast tissue (not on your ribs).
− The bra band should be level with the floor around your whole body and snug around your ribcage so it doesn’t move up or down when you move.
− The front of the bra band should sit directly under the breast tissue and flat against your body, especially when raising your arms.
Bra fitting is more art than a science. Help from a bra professional is the only way to get a bra that really fits because they understand how variances in brands, styles, materials and fabrication affect the way a bra fits. Beware of the bra fitter who uses a measuring tape. The best fitters use their instincts and experience to find the right bra.

For more bra fitting advice, check out the Boobologist.

Thank you Katie Dylewski for the bra illustrations!