Have you ever had one of those mornings where you need to lose 10 lbs by tomorrow? I know I have! Whether you have an important presentation at work, a television appearance, or a wedding to attend, I can teach you how to fake a slimmer figure through the magic of fashion.
#1 Vamp it up in V-Necks
Classic v necklines are universally flattering. The space at the top elongates the body, creating a taller (and therefore slimmer) appearance. The flash of skin also brings the eye up to one's face and away from any bulges below.
#2 Wear Low Vamp Heels
The vamp of a shoe is where the top of the shoe ends on your foot. A lower vamp that exposes more foot area gives the illusion that your legs are longer. A heel adds height. Of course, not everyone can or chooses to wear heels. In this case, a flat with a low vamp and pointed toe will do. Either way, bonus points if the shoe matches the tone of your legs or pants.
#3 Sport a Low-contrast Outfit
Similar to my first two suggestions, a low contrast look creates a taller silhouette. It doesn't have to be the same exact color from head to toe. Hues and tones that are similar work just as well. It is important that your shoes match the tone of your pants (or legs if wearing a skirt) to create an effective monochromatic look.
#4 Define Your Waist
This tip may go against your instincts when you're feeling a little fluffier than usual. In my experience, most women run to leggings and flowy tops in an attempt to "hide" any problem areas. Do not do this. I repeat, do not do this. You won't find "pair black pants with an oversized schmatta and call it a day" anywhere on this list. Any hint of shape is lost and you end up looking larger than you really are. A top or dress with a defined waist will show off the smallest part of you, giving you a leaner appearance. The top does not have to be tight, but it needs to have a shape. Adding a blazer with a nipped in waist also creates a slimming effect.
#5 Enjoy Scallop Hems
Scallop hemlines on dresses, shorts, and skirts can be extremely flattering. Since the wave-like pattern flows more softly than a straight line, it doesn't break up the body quite as much.
#6 Find Full Length Pants
While ankle and capri pants are all the rage (and sometimes all you can find), you are essentially giving up that height below the ankle when you wear them. Pants and jeans that go all the way down to the ankle are more flattering. If you are petite like me, you can save a trip to the tailor by purchasing the cropped or ankle version of straight size pants. They will be full length on us. If you are under 140 pounds, you can also try shopping the children’s department. You’ll be surprised to find you can wear a child’s L or XL most of the time.
#7 Embrace a Maxi Dress
If you're tall enough (5'6" or above), a maxi dress can be a wonderful, slimming garment. Keep in mind you want a dress with a shape that is more like a column than a tent. If you're wearing a maxi skirt, follow the low-contrast rule and pair the skirt with something similar on top.
#8 Make that Denim High Rise
I'm a huge fan of high rise jeans. The higher, the better. They lock in my tummy and when they inevitably slide down during the day, I'm not exposing anything. For the most flattering jeans, go for a plain, dark wash. Avoid whiskers, flap pockets, or embellishments. If you are larger in the middle, you might find high rise jeans don't fit well. If this is the case for you, I suggest going with mid rise jeans. Avoid low cut jeans at all costs.
#9 Rock a Heavy Pendant Necklace
Long pendant necklaces serve two purposes. Like many other suggestions on this list, the long line of the necklace elongates the lines of the body. Second, a heavy necklace will indent light fabric, which can be especially useful when wearing a loose top. It creates shape.
#10 Play with Patterns and Prints
This tip is especially useful if you are hiding lumps and bumps in the tummy and back areas. Prints and patterns confuse the eye, so the focus is off those trouble areas and on to a pretty face, long legs, or whichever area you choose to highlight.
If you're overwhelmed with an onslaught of information and don't know where to start, or you don't have the time to track down the most flattering clothing, I am here for you! I offer one on one personal styling services in San Diego and Orange County. Even if you're not local, I can style you virtually.
In most working women's closets, you will find a pencil skirt. This wardrobe basic remains a staple because it is flattering on most and appropriate for both formal and casual work environments. Like so many wardrobe basics, it can also get a bit stale over time. Some might even say boring. When I worked in a corporate office, I work a black pencil skirt and a button-down shirt 4 days out of 5. I am falling asleep just thinking about it. To avoid this wardrobe tedium, liven up your black pencil skirt by wearing it in a new way.
#1 Wear a sleek turtleneck and vest.
Photo Credit: Front Door Fashion via Google Images
A turtleneck and a pencil skirt alone can be a chic, powerful look. Adding a vest to the ensemble allows those who are self-conscious of their tummy areas to enjoy the bold, sleek lines of such an outfit. I used to think vests were the most pointless of articles of clothing. Now, I realize that vests provide the concealing qualities of a structured blazer, without the arm restriction.
#2: Wake up your cardigan with a necklace.
Photo Credit: Petite Style Script via Google Images
The ever popular Nic & Zoe 4-Way Cardigan is elevated to business casual when paired with a simple tee, statement necklace, and pencil skirt. It's important to get the proportions correct when pairing a cardigan with a pencil skirt. You want something that is hip length, or a bit shorter. If that cardigan covers your bottom, that is going to create an unflattering, widening effect. I prefer tees to tanks when dealing with office wear, because if you get too warm, you can remove the cardigan and still have your shoulders covered.
#3: Add some edge with a leather jacket.
Photo Credit: Lookastic via Pinterest
Perhaps you'd like to take your pencil skirt out for a night on the town, or you're heading from the office straight to happy hour. In that case, you can easily swap out your cardigan for a leather jacket. A cropped, shorter jacket will look the most proportional with pencil skirts. Add a pair of statement earrings to ensure your look is more "cocktails" than "cubicle".
#4: Skip tucking with a peplum top.
Image Credit: Black Girl with Long Hair via Bloglovin'
Like a vest or one-button blazer, peplum tops conceal tummies. A shorter peplum tee works well with pencil skirts because they can be worn un-tucked without a layering piece, making this look ideal for warmer temperatures.
#5: Wear your color on top.
Image Credit: Look and Love with Lolo via Pinterest
With a black basic worn on bottom, nearly any color blazer can look fantastic. Why not try an ultraviolet jacket this season? Olive is another sophisticated option for those who prefer autumnal hues. As with the other tops, you want a blazer that hits you at the hip or above.
#6: Get ready for the weekend in a chambray shirt.
Photo Credit: Boden USA via Pinterest
If you want to wear your pencil skirt on the weekends, try pairing it with a super casual top, like a chambray shirt. Adding a leopard scarf will also help ensure the piece looks more weekend than workday. While heels that are at least 2" will always look best with a pencil skirt, a pointed-toe flat is a great option for those who don't wear heels.
#7: For the bold, try a maxi cardigan.
Image Credit: One Little Momma via Pinterest
Our last look works best on those who are on the tall side and slimmer on the bottom. A long-line cardigan worn over a simple pencil skirt and blouse, paired with ankle boots is the cool-girl office look dreams are made of.
How do you like to wear your pencil skirts? Let me know in the comments.
Classic and work appropriate, a button down blouse is a wardrobe staple for many women. However, finding this top can be a challenge. Some tops are too wide and boxy, obscuring a feminine figure. Others are so tight they leave no room for the bust, leading to the gaping effect. And even more are so sheer they are inappropriate for an office setting. Having test driven these tops on a variety of body types, I can say with confidence these button down tops are the best around.
Hugo Boss Bashina Top, $195
The Bashina top from Hugo Boss is my all-time favorite for three reasons. First, it has a faux placket so those with larger busts can enjoy this top. Second, it has side zippers for a flattering, feminine sillhouette. And finally, it is machine washable. It is a slim fit top, so while it runs true to size, some prefer sizing up in this one.
Burberry Stretch Poplin Shirt, $250
Honestly, it would be irresponsible to talk classic wardrobe pieces without bringing a little Burberry into the mix. Their stretch poplin shirt is flattering, machine washable, and long enough for taller ladies. The collar is lined with Burberry plaid, which does peek out a bit when you wear it. Some love this element, but if obvious branding bothers you, skip this one. It runs slightly large. I recommend trying both your normal size and one down to see which you prefer.
J. Crew Perfect Shirt, $69.50
J. Crew is home to wardrobe basics, and their "Perfect Shirt" is a must-have for the athletically shaped woman. I find their button down tops work best on women who are A- C cups. It is machine washable with a hint of stretch. This top runs true to size.
Theory Tenia Stretch Cotton Top, $245
Like J. Crew, Theory's button downs lend themselves best to women with A-C cup sizes. Their Tenia Cotton Blend blouse is prized for its relaxed styling and lowkey sexy neckline. The way it opens makes this blouse perfect for showcasing your favorite necklaces. This top runs true to size. If you want a more of a boy-ish fit, order one size up.
Ann Taylor Perfect Shirt, $69.50
Another great brand for workwear basics, Ann Taylor does not disappoint with its own version of a "Perfect Shirt". Machine washable, breathable, and fitted, this is a true closet staple. It looks best tucked into work pants and skirts. It is available in petites and runs true to size.
NJDJ Pleat Back Button Down, $88
For a more casual option, NYDJ's Pleat Back Button Down is both flattering and comfortable. It can be worn untucked with ponte pants or skinny jeans. It also looks very polished tucked into a pencil skirt. The lighter colors are very sheer, so avoid those if you don't like the look of an obvious cami. Available in petite sizes too, I recommend sizing down for this one.
Lauren Classic Non-Iron Shirt, $69.50
The Lauren by Ralph Lauren Aaron Classic Non-Iron Shirt is also machine washable, while being incredibly affordable. It works as well with a pair of jeans as it does under a suit. This top runs large, try one size down.
Speaking of affordability, this flounce sleeve top from Talbot's is practically free. It is available in plus, petite, and plus petite. Have I confessed my love for Talbot's yet? It's a great store for basics and the occasional piece with a hint of flair, like this top.
While these tops are among the best you'll find, they are still mass produced and will not fit everyone. If you have a cup size larger than E, or a large discrepancy in the proportions of your waist and chest, you will probably still need to visit the tailor to get that perfect fit. Buy the top in the size that fits your largest part, and tailor it down everywhere else. I always tell my clients, "no one can see the size on your tag; everyone can see how great you look."
I'm Jaquelyn Wahidi. I'm a personal fashion stylist, writer, and entrepreneur in San Diego. I help women organize their closets, define their style, and shop with intention. My style blog features practical fashion advice for women everywhere. Addicted to blazers since 2004.