Traveling through midlife can be a wonderful experience, but it also presents some challenges to all of us. We are not exempt from the wrinkles, thinning skin that wants to sag, the weight gain as our metabolism slows, and the belly fat that naturally gathers around our middle.
I don’t know about you, but I am not going to sit back and say, “whatever…I’ll have another donut and watch a movie”. No, I fight the aging battle every day, approaching it from a healthy and natural perspective, but fight it nonetheless.
One of the ways we can ‘fight back’ is to learn how to dress to look slimmer. Our bodies may ultimately do their thing to some extent no matter how we battle it, but we absolutely can create a look that shows us at our best.
So here are 10 simple and practical tips to consider when putting an outfit together, to help you look thinner.
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10 Tips: Dress to Look Slimmer
When your goal is to dress to look slimmer and trimmer, maybe even a little bit more youthful, it involves more than selecting the right combination of garments.
So our handy list of tips is going to begin with four fundamentals that can make all the difference in how you look and feel in an outfit, whether it’s a casual or more formal style.
1 | What’s Under it All
The most beautiful outfit that drapes well and fits perfectly will look less than hoped-for if the undergarments are baggy, saggy, droopy, or otherwise don’t bring anything positive to the overall look.
A proper fitting bra can make a world of difference, particularly if you are well endowed or find that the girls are sagging more than they used to. We tend to be creatures of habit and our buying decision can reflect that. Just because a particular brand, or size, worked well for you 10 years ago, it might not be the best decision for you today.
Keep an open mind when shopping for undergarments as far as size, support, and if you are on the slow fashion train, sustainability. Here are a few suggestions as a starting point:
ThirdLove.com – including to tips to tell if you bra fits properly
Nordstrom.com – including a helpful video on How to Find a Bra That Fits
Spanx.com – find the right bra + shapewear to help the problem areas with certain fabrics and garments
OrganicBasics.com – for sustainable fashion, including intimates
2 | Understand Your Body Shape
It would be so very simple to say that if you do these three things…1-2-3…everything you put on your body will look fabulous.
But we know better. We are all unique, with unique body shapes and sizes, skin tones, hair color, height and weight…you get the idea.
All that said, there are some fundamental body shapes that most of us fit into, at least a combination of two if not one specific body shape. It’s important to understand what your particular body shape is, so that when you’re purchasing garments and putting outfits together you’ll know what to pay attention to, and what to avoid.
There are four main body shapes: apple, pear, rectangle (banana), and hourglass.
You’ll find all the details, outfit suggestions, shopping info, etc. in this post:
3 | Posture Counts
Yep. There are many benefits to maintaining good posture, and one of them is looking slimmer.
When we stand straight and tall we can appear 3 to 5 pounds thinner, and, our clothes will look better, too.
Think about it. Do you know someone who has a habit of slouching, or perhaps is unable to stand straight? The slumped shoulders cause the rest of our body to stand a little bit awkwardly, and one of the results is that we look heavier.
So, stand up straight, sit straight, and look slimmer.
4 | The Fit is So Important
Well-fitting clothes are always a plus, but particularly as we get older and are searching for answer to the question of how to look slimmer.
Some women think that by wearing baggy clothes they’ll look slimmer. Not.
Some women wear clingy, tight-fitting outfits in the hope that they’ll look slimmer. They won’t.
And, it can be a challenge to find the right balance of a garment that fits well, is not too tight, not overly loose, and (depending on the fabric and garment), drapes well.
Here is my own example. I have been fortunate to stay within the same relative weight for many years, and as a result I have not had to change my pant size for a long time.
That all changed for me this year, at age 65. The changing body shape and the settling of the belly fat combined to create a little more around the middle than would fit comfortably into most of my shorts, capris, and pants.
It was hard to size up after all these years, but I finally made the decision. I honestly don’t know why it should have been so difficult, but I managed to turn it into a big deal (in my head, anyway).
And you know what? My new bottoms…shorts, capris, jeans…look so much better. Sizing up gave me ample room, the fabric doesn’t cling to closely to my midlife body, and I actually look slimmer.
The moral of my little story is this: Proper Fit trumps Size. It may take a few try-ons to get the right fit for you, but it is definitely worth the time and effort.
5 | The Top Half
When dressing to look slimmer, keep this tips in mind for the top half of the outfit:
- remember the fit…be comfortable, but bigger isn’t necessarily better
- longer length tops, blazers, and sweaters worn on the outside work well with most outfits.
- with fitted trousers, tuck in your shirt unless your middle is a problem area.
- avoid large cowl necks or overly bulky turtlenecks
- round necklines and V-necklines are most flattering
- leave a button or two open near the neck area
- don’t let the sleeves of your top/jacket/sweater hang down over your hands; it pulls the eye and attention downward. Push them up or hold them up with sleeve bands
- highlight your beautiful face to minimize body fullness. Fluff the hair, add some statement earrings, brighten the makeup a little bit.
A well-draping fabric that is not clingy, but also doesn’t hang like it’s 3 sizes too big is the goal. I have found success with the Micro-Model collection from Covered Perfectly. The fabric is heavenly in terms of comfort and draping, and because all of the garments are created with a woman’s midlife body in mind, they are kinder to our figures where it really matters.
6 | The Bottom Half
When it comes to selecting the right pants, there are some choices we can make that will help us look slimmer:
- wear long pants that reach the ankles or slightly below
- neutral, darker colors are best
- a little bit of stretch in the fabric is good, coupled with the appropriate size for your body
- avoid pleating at the waist
- for jeans, look for a slim fit with a high rise (as opposed to the jeans that sit lower on the hips)
Here are some suggestions for you that I curated , to give you a starting point:
7 | Dresses
When we’re choosing a dress and want to to look slimmer, there are a few things to keep in mind.
A dress that has color-blocking, as shown on the left, can do wonders for an overall slimming look. Just pay attention to the colors and make sure that the combination is indeed slimming.
In this example, the majority of fabric is black, with white on each side. A simple sleeve and length just to the knee can result in a stunning look.
The wrap dress is a look that can be very flattering and slimming for most body shapes. Look for a soft, drapey fabric in a solid or small pattern, like these examples:
8 | Skirts
When your goal is to look slimmer in a skirt, it is pretty simple.
A knee-length pencil skirt is most universally flattering. Stay with a darker neutral color and you’ll look great.
A simple A-line skirt is another flattering look, so keep that in mind when wearing separates.
9 | Finishing Touches
Any time we’re putting an outfit together it’s the finishing touches that can really make the statement. And we want our statement to be slimming, right? So, here are a few suggestions:
- Jewelry: necklaces that aren’t bulky couple with small earrings are a good choice
- Belts: if you wear one, make it a skinny belt, not chunky
- Shoes: when pairing with a dress or skirt, shoes that are similar to your skin color can make your legs look longer and your body slimmer. Avoid ankle straps
- Shoes with pants or jeans: short heels, ankle boots or pointy flats
- Scarves: wear loosely around the neck, not tied tight
10 | Putting the Outfit Together
Here are a few final tips for you in your quest to dress to look slimmer:
- Layering with separates that fit properly can give your body definition, not make you look larger
- Wear a classic blazer or jacket, worn open, to create a long, slim line down the center of your body
- All black can work well for most women
- In general, wear lighter colors on top and darker colors on the bottom
- Small patterned fabrics can also be slimming
All of these tips can be useful at one time or another, so utilize them as the occasion requires. And know that although none of us are perfect…our bodies may be changing as we age…we are all beautiful! 💗