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How to Dress Your Body to Look Slimmer: Insider Tips for Looking Like You Dropped Two Dresses Sizes Instantly

Donna is a retired Certified Image Consultant with experience in women's fashions and cosmetics. She loves sharing insider fashion tips.

Example of Illusion Dressing to Look Slimmer

Learn how to dress to your body to look slimmer and sexier.

Learn how to dress to your body to look slimmer and sexier.

Style is more a matter of illusion, balance and symmetry than a dress size, designer label or trend. You don't need to hire an image consultant or spend thousands of dollars on a new wardrobe to project a slimmer profile. Use these tried and true tips to look sleeker and slimmer instantly.

Just the Facts!

The key to learning how to look slimmer instantly is to know and to appreciate your body type. There are four basic body types, although they are referred to by many different names. For our purposes, let's discuss the pear, apple, round and hourglass figure.

Dressing Pear Shaped Bodies

Pear shaped women have small bosoms, large hips, and neatly defined waistlines.

The trick to dressing the pear shape is to work with styles that enhance and balance the upper body but minimize the lower body.

A-line, sheath, shift, empire waist and baby-doll styles, just to mention a few, reduce the visual girth of the lower body and show off your curves.

Strapless, one shoulder, sweetheart, princess and V-necklines draw the eye up toward the bust and disguise the hips.

Strategically placed shoulder pads add height and balance the upper torso. However, beware of overly large shoulder pads that make you look like you are ready to hit the football field as their width will draw the eyes to the shoulder and throw off the symmetry of the overall image.

In the image above, notice how the high heels and knee-kissing hemline elongate the look of the leg.

The tiny self-fabric belt emphasizes the waist without calling undo attention to the midriff.

This look can go from a resort wear casual look to dressy in a flash by adding a shrug or peplum-style jacket and pearl jewelry.

Look slimmer whether exercising or lounging around the house.

Look slimmer whether exercising or lounging around the house.

How to Dress Apple Shaped Bodies

Apple shaped bodies are similar to pear shapes in that their bosoms are larger than their hips. However, typically, the apple shape has less waist definition.

Learning how to dress to look slimmer when you have an apple shaped body means becoming an illusionist – creating the image of a trim midriff is critical – and learning to shift some focus to the lower half of the body to balance the upper half.

V-necklines and wrap style dresses and tops all create the appearance of a slim silhouette in a flash for apple shapes. However, it’s important to choose styles with small or no shoulder pads because you want to create an illusion of the body curving in from the shoulders and then flowing out gently to the hips.

Apple shapes tend to be broad through the shoulders so it’s important not to add any width or bulk to this area. Balance the look by using fullness in the hip area like gathered or gored skirts and wide leg pants.

In the picture above, the necessary slimming vertical line is created with a partial zipped jacket, which creates a V-neckline, and vertical striping on the slacks. The jacket is layered over a long tee that cleverly disguises the hips.

Even though there is horizontal striping on the jacket, the look works because the striping is below the shoulder line and there are no shoulder pads in the jacket to make the shoulders look wider. This is a great look for running errands, meeting friends for exercise or shopping, or just relaxing.

Simple details like contrast borders and color blocking create slimming vertical details.

Simple details like contrast borders and color blocking create slimming vertical details.

Scroll to Continue

How to Dress Hourglass Shaped Bodies

It’s hard not to be green with envy when contemplating the hourglass shapes with their perceived perfect figures. The key here, as with the others, is balance and symmetry.

For instance, a buxom hourglass figure will look better accessorizing with a skinny belt that accents the waistline than in a wide belt that may make the bust and hips look disproportionate.

Typically, hourglass figures can wear most of the same design shapes as the pear with the exception of the empire waist and baby doll, which could over-emphasize a well-endowed bosom.

In this picture, notice how the simple addition of contrast labels creates a slimming V-neck illusion for an outstanding look that can go from desk to boardroom in a snap.

Use hats, necklines, and jewelry to create linear details that draw the eye and elongate the figure.

Use hats, necklines, and jewelry to create linear details that draw the eye and elongate the figure.

How to Dress Round Body Shapes

Those with round body shapes face the biggest challenge when dressing to look slimmer because their bodies tend to be about the same size on the top and bottom with no defined waist.

You must create the appearance of a curvaceous figure with a well-defined waistline so use V-necks and scoop necks or princess and sweetheart necklines to neckline interest and draw the eye up. Dropped waistlines and low, slung belts create a waist, while long, sleek styles are the most flattering.

Check out the picture below and note how the open, softly flowing edges of the sweater combined with the V-neck of the top project a long, lean look of slimness.

How to Dress to Look Slimmer: Twist Dress Video

Deviate from the ubiquitous little black dress with an eye-catching vertical print that slims the body.

Deviate from the ubiquitous little black dress with an eye-catching vertical print that slims the body.

Universally Flattering Styles and Tips

There are several universal styles that any figure type can use to their advantage to dress to look slimmer.

Vertical prints and stripes, like the one pictured, conceal figure imperfections but look sophisticated and sexy.

V-necklines are the quickest, least expensive way to look two dress size smaller for any figure or body type.

Wrap dresses caresses your curves and slim your entire midriff without the need of lifting weights or running a mile. The value of using this technique is illustrated in the picture.

No matter what your age, life stage, or attitude, you can learn how to dress your body to look slimmer.

Experiment with a variety of different styles, fabrics and hemlines until you find a look (or looks) that flatter your figure and feel fabulous.

Fashion Tips on Dressing to Look Slimmer

Buy Slimming Plus Size Clothes

Whether you are looking for a formal gown or some flattering casual wear, you can save time and effort by shopping online. For some great outfits that will make you look two sizes slimmer, browse through the inventory at merchants like these:

  • Sydney's Closet: A-line dresses are universally flattering for any body shape. Choose from a wide variety of styles and colors in sizes 14 to 44.
  • Casual Plus: Shop here with confidence because all purchases are backed by a 100 per guarantee. From casual wear to business clothes, you can take care of all your wardrobe needs here.
  • Lane Bryant: Find the perfect career attire here or shop for any of your other full-sized clothing needs because Lane Bryant is well known for catering to the special requirements of the full-figured woman.
  • Catherine's: From shorts to slacks, Catherine's is bound to have just what you want at prices you will love.

While shopping online is quick and convenient, it's not always the best way to get the perfect fit. Stores like Lane Bryant and Catherine's typically have brick-and-mortar stores where you can try on clothing to make sure that the garments you pick fit you to perfection.

Be True to Yourself

Learning how to dress to look slimmer is a broad topic, and there are many great books that have been written on this subject. Some major areas have been covered in this article, but you may want to do more research on your own. The public library is a great place to start, and here are some suggested titles to get you started:

  • How to Never Look Fat Again: Over 1000 Ways to Dress Thinner - Without Dieting!, Charla Krupp
  • What to Wear for the Rest of Your Life: Ageless Secrets of Style, Kim Johnson Gross
  • Does This Make Me Look Fat?: The Definitive Rules for Dressing Thin for Every Height, Size, and Shape, Leah Feldon

Style is more a matter of your mindset than a size, label, or trend. Celebrate your uniqueness and choose styles you really love. Feel free to play with a variety of different looks until you find the one (or ones) that make you feel as great as you look.

Ditch the idea that dressing in black or monochromatic color schemes is the only way to look slimmer. Try some of the looks pictured here or create your own using the tips and techniques.

References and Source Material

 "6 Secrets to Dressing Slim," Goodhousekeeping (online)

Author's own experience as a Certified Image Consultant and clothier

How to Dress Your Body to Look Slimmer? Share Your Tips!

Sanaak on April 12, 2017:

This guide is all you need to help you dress right, plus-size way:

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on March 19, 2012:

Thanks Tonipet, for reading and commenting. I'd be flattered to have you link to this hub, and I'd be glad to do a reciprocal link for you.

You are right about style - it is more an attitude than anything else. I always tell my clients to ignore the size labels and just pick clothes that look and feel great. Labels are really for the manufacturer's convenience in marketing as there are no industry sizing standards for women's garments as there are for men's.

Tonette Fornillos from The City of Generals on March 18, 2012:

Donna, I love this hub! I definitely believe style is more a matter of the mindset than size. I don't have that shapely body as I'm thin but wearing clothes that give a good fit makes me feel good about my body and I feel sexy! It makes me feel great whenever people tells me I look beautiful! :-)

Thank you for this Donna. I'm sharing and would love to link this hub to my "Flair in Fashion." Many women would thank you for the tips on how to dress to look slimmer and how different styles of dressing can make one look like. Fabulous photos too! Awesome and voted up!

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on March 15, 2012:

Thanks for reading and commenting, Doreen! I've yet to find many women who really have perfect figures. Most of us are doing some creative camouflage somewhere:)

DMartelonline on March 13, 2012:

Great hub Donna. I stick to A Lines and "princess" because of my weird shape which is larger waist than hips. I am too self aware for strapless dresses though ;)

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on March 13, 2012:

Thank you for your kind comments, Dr.Ope. I hope these tips are helpful for you!

Olive Ellis on March 13, 2012:

Great hub DonnaCosmato. I need to follow some of your tips as I have a problem with my bulging middle. Thanks for the tip and advice. All the best to you.

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on February 07, 2012:

Thanks for reading and commenting, Millionaire Tips:) I hope you find these useful when you are shopping for that new outfit!

Shasta Matova from USA on February 07, 2012:

These are great tips for dressing slimmer. I am going to have to make sure I check for these things the next time I go shopping. Voted up.

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on December 28, 2011:

Great! I'm glad you found the fabric and dressmaker as there is enough stress involved in wedding planning without worrying about what you'll wear:) Thanks for the support of my writing, I really appreciate you.

LadyLyell from George, South Africa on December 27, 2011:

Now there is an idea for a hubpage, where to find beautiful, quality fabrics. The only problem is I DON'T KNOW MYSELF! Anyway I did find fabric I just love so hope the dressmaker doesn't let me down. A lady in the area travels the world seeking different fabrics and sells them from home, good on her!

Your reply to my comment has been appreciated.

I am off now to read some of your informative hubs, thanks!

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on December 27, 2011:

Hi LadyLyell, and thank you for the kind words! Fashion is a passion for me, but like most, I don't have the perfect figure either. I'm always on the look-out for another clever way to disguise or conceal, lol.

I do hope you can find some pleasing fabric soon for the wedding. I haven't sewn for years, but my mum is always complaining about the poor selections. Maybe you could write a hub about how to find nice fabrics? I'll bet people would appreciate it :)

LadyLyell from George, South Africa on December 27, 2011:

You have written an article on my pet subject.

I APPEAR to have a nice neat figure but that could not be further from the truth. I am out of proportion and SELDOM able to buy a dress to fit. Therefore I have been going to dressmakers for over twenty years and that's fine as I do get the right fit and the style covers up all but how hard it is to have to walk past those beautiful clothes in the shop windows!

If I don't end off here I will be writing a hub myself.

With my son's wedding coming up I have almost lost it

looking for a beautiful fabric amongst all the gastly fabrics available. Tired out I am now off to the dressmaker and hope for success.

Have a nice day!

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on December 14, 2011:

Hi, everytide! I'm glad you found this hub about tips on dressing slimmer to be useful and I appreciate your taking the time to leave a comment.

everytide from Beijing,CN on December 13, 2011:

very helpful information~

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on November 27, 2011:

Thank you for stopping in and commenting, KoffeeKlatch Gals. Writing about fashion is an outlet for my inner shopper as I can write about and use illustrations for the kind of garments I'd love to own but can't always afford. I'm glad you liked the selections here.

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on November 27, 2011:

Wonderful tips and advice. I like the style you chose.

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on October 22, 2011:

Thank you for the nice compliments, everyone:)

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on October 22, 2011:

This is a great hub with great info and tips.

Thank you

skalicia from Jacksonville, Florida on April 02, 2011:

Great hub!

Dexi from New England on April 02, 2011:

Great information, Donna!.....and try, try, try different styles on. What looks horrible on the rack sometimes looks beautiful on the body.

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