Does it surprise you to learn that shoes can help you look thinner? We all know they can make you look taller by wearing high heels, but there is more to it than that.
Many of today’s popular shoes don’t stop at the top of the foot. Some come up to the ankle with lacing or straps. Some boots even go over the top of the knee.
- An important consideration when choosing the right shoe for an outfit is the length of the skirt, dress, or pants to be worn with it. If the hemline falls to the knee, a higher rise of the shoe or boot on the foot works.
But if the hemline falls mid-calf, it is best to keep the top of the shoe as close to the toes as possible. Or wear a boot that rises above the hemline. This gives the appearance of more leg.
However, ankle pants can be worn with a shoe that laces or straps up to the ankle. The effect is that of showing off the shoe without seeming to have cut off the leg.
- Another consideration is color. To make your legs seem longer, choose a nude color shoe. Dark colors stop the eye.
A case to illustrate both of these considerations is a woman who wore a dark dress to an event. The dress length was mid-calf. The dress was beautiful and fit her slightly overweight figure well. The problem was the length of the dress and her shoes. The hemline of the dress stopped at the widest part of her leg. As we’ve previously discussed, this was not the best option for her. The shoes she chose matched the color of the dress and laced up to just above her ankle. Her fair skin against the dark colors of the dress and shoes made her legs look stubby. This was not the effect she wanted.
She could have still worn the dress if she had chosen a nude pump for the shoe. Or, she could have worn the shoes if the dress was either shorter, at knee length, or longer, at ankle length.
The next time you get dressed, pay attention to your shoes. You want your legs to look long and sleek. Do your shoes help create this effect?
Accessories are not only fun, they can help us with our strategic dressing, too.
Once again, we are working to direct the eye. This means we need to think about each type of accessory, its shape, color, and where we wear it.
- Earrings are worn in what we call the “impact zone.” This is near the face, where most people look first when they see us. Did you know that the right earring can take pounds off of your face? There was a time when I questioned this statement, so I stood in front of a mirror and tried on different styles. I saw the truth of it staring back at me.
Large, round earrings can look a bit like dinner plates hanging on the side of your face. As you can imagine, the effect is a wide, round face.
Longer, drop earrings give a more lean look. They create a straight vertical line on either side of your face. We discussed the importance of vertical lines in Part 3. The principle works for accessories as well as clothes.
Large, round hoop earrings hang so that what is seen in front is a vertical line. These can be flattering on any face.
- Necklaces also lie in the impact zone. To draw the eye up toward your eyes, wear a necklace that rests near your collarbone. You can wear a statement necklace if the color contrast of the materials is subtle. High contrast colors will work the same as high contract colors in patterns and present an eye-stopping jolt.
Long chains create a vertical line for the eye to travel. Thin chains, rather than bulky, large beads work like thin vertical stripes. Wearing a Y-necklace also is flattering.
- Scarves can be an important accessory. Just keep in mind the color and pattern lessons we’ve covered in previous posts. They work for scarf fabric, too.
Also, pay attention to the way a scarf is styled. An infinity scarf will accent the upper part of your body and make it appear more bulky. A small scarf tied like a choker necklace will accent the width of your neck. A long, bulky scarf will make all of your body seem bulkier. A more sheer, or thin fabric scarf tied so long strands hang straight down will be the most flattering style.
- Bracelets are worn on one of the thinnest parts of the body. Accent this area with stacks of bracelets.
- Rings also show off slender fingers. If your fingers are shorter, go with an elongated style. Just be sure to keep the length of the ring solidly between two knuckles. Otherwise it can overwhelm your finger and make your hand appear smaller and your fingers a bit stubby.
- A Broach can be a nice way to add interest around your face. Place one on the lapel of a solid color jacket for instant glamour. You can even wear a broach on a long chain as a necklace. Just thread the chain under the pin bar. This only works if the broach does not have a right-side-up and and upside-down. Or use a broach to secure a small scarf to the shoulder of a dress. Again, this provides interest in the impact zone.
Experiment with your accessories. They can provide glam and shape to an otherwise boring outfit.
All Photos: Pixabay
Stripes get a post all their own. This is one area of strategic dressing we all think we understand. But do we? My observations suggest we don’t.
Just as pattern is affected by bold color contrast vs subtle color contrast, so are stripes.
- Skinny Stripes can be either positive or negative, depending on the level of color contrast and the direction they run on the piece of clothing. The ideal for minimizing is to utilize low contrast, thin vertical stripes.
- Wide Stripes will accent whatever wardrobe piece on which they appear. They will also accent whatever direction in which they travel. Even subtle, vertical wide stripes make one seem wider.
- Zig-zag Stripes might seem a fun way to fool the eye. They do fool the eye–right into thinking the fabric is large. The more often the eye must stop or change direction, the more wide the appearance. Horizontal zig-zag stripes are the worst offenders.
- Diagonal Stripes can be your friend, even in a high contrast color combination. This is especially true if the diagonal stops at the center of your body, with a matching diagonal on the opposite side. This creates a center vertical line, with the eye traveling downward.
Now you may see stripes in a whole new light. Hopefully, you’ll have some fun searching for just the right stripes to add pizzazz to your wardrobe.
Color changes everything.
Just as the dominant color of an outfit and the points on your body where color changes are important, so too is the pattern of the colors.
Pattern may be one of the most overlooked elements of strategic dressing. Maybe that’s because most women don’t know how to make pattern work for them. Or maybe women don’t realize the positive potential of pattern–or the potential disaster of pattern.
- Bold Patterns might seem synonymous with large patterns. But when I say “bold” I mean “high contrast”. A mini-print can be bold if the colors are high contrast. These are the prints you want to avoid if your goal is to minimize your size. A bold pattern causes the eye to roam around, searching for a place to land. Larger eye movements in any direction other than up and down create width.
- Subtle Patterns are those with low color contrast. They can be as simple as a sheen on a matte fabric, or one shade deeper or lighter than the background fabric. They can also be varying colors, as long as the intensity of the colors is even. A pastel pink pattern on a soft lavender fabric, or even a pale blue pattern on a blush pink fabric can be considered subtle. The colors are equal intensity and read as similar to the eye. A subtle pattern will allow the eye to rest, thus not moving in a wide pattern.
- Mini-Prints can be either bold or subtle. It is not the mini-print that makes you seem slim. It is the subtle color contrast. Yes, you can wear a mini-print. Just be aware of the colors.
- Large Patterns can also be either bold or subtle. The same rule applies as with mini-prints. Take into consideration the color contrast in the pattern. A barely-there large pattern is a safe choice.
Are you beginning to get the hang of dressing to look your best? All the points interplay with each other. We must take into consideration all aspects from cut to color and all of color’s influences each time we put an outfit together. But when we do–wowee! The effect can be dramatic.
So hang in there. You can do this.
Color is a very important consideration in dressing to look thinner. But today, and in the next couple of posts, we will discuss different aspects of wearing colors.
Color Breaks can make or break an outfit. A color break is any place one color ends and another begins. Think of a top and where it ends over pants or a skirt. If the items are different colors, this is a color break.
A color break can happen in several different ways.
- A contrast color belt creates two color breaks–one where it touches your outfit at its top, and another where it touches your outfit at its bottom. Above the belt is one color, the belt is another color, and below the belt is different from the belt. There are thus two places where the color changes.
- Stripes also create color breaks. I’ll dedicate an entire post to stripes, but for now, let’s assume these are horizontal stripes. Each one is a separate color break.
- A short jacket over a long top, over pants or a skirt creates two color breaks. If you choose a skirt, the hemline of the skirt creates another color break.
Color breaks can be your friends. But they can also be your enemies. The thing to remember is that you are in control. You get to decide where color breaks happen.
Remember from Part 2 of this series that we talked about directing the eye of those who look at you. You can do that with color breaks. If you want to emphasize your waist, put a color break there. If you want to minimize your hips, make sure no color breaks happen there. Also, if you want to appear to have a larger bust, choose a top with a single stripe across that area.
If you want to appear taller, keep color breaks to a minimum. Each time color changes, the viewer’s eye stops. The more times the eye stops, the shorter you seem.
Each time a color break happens, the eye also travels side-to-side. This makes you appear wider in that spot. Choose your color breaks accordingly.
Doesn’t it feel good to know how to take charge of your own image?