Fashion Mistakes That Make You Look Heavier Than You Are
Experts reveal the most common slipups they see—and how to fix them, so you look (and feel!) great.
You're Hiding Out
If you're trying to cover up your hips, arms or stomach underneath an oversize blazer, you're actually making yourself look larger and shapeless, says Anita Kealey, a Custom Tailor & Designers Association master. Instead, opt for a well-cut jacket that nips in at the waist and is shorter in length (a general rule of thumb is for the hem to skim your hip bone); it will showcase the most flattering parts of your figure and create a smooth line down your torso.
You've Got Your Bra on the Wrong Hook
"The wrong-size bra makes you look shorter, older and heavier," says Linda "the Bra Lady" Becker, owner of Linda's Bra Salons. One that's too small can pinch, creating rolls on your sides on back; and one that's too big (i.e., past its prime and outstretched) won't give you a lift. The clasp should be on the loosest hook to begin with and made tighter as the bra stretches over time. "When it is on the tightest hook—that's when you know you need a new bra," says Becker. Since breast size fluctuates—due to weight gain, weight loss and hormonal changes—Becker suggests going for a fitting once a year and buying a new bra every six to eight months.
Your Jeans Have Too Much Stretch
Stretch denim is a gift to women who want both comfort and style, but erring on the side of too much comfort can lead to lumpiness. "It's best to look for jeans with 2 percent elastic fiber," says Lauren Rothman, the founder of StyleAuteur.com. On the care label, you'll see Lycra, spandex or elastane. The right jeans will follow your silhouette, have enough stretch so that your legs won't look as if they're fighting to break free from your pants and, unlike denim with 4 percent or more elastic fiber, won't sag at the tush.
You're Wearing Jersey Fabric
"Jersey fabric doesn't create the best shape," says Marjon Carlos, an online personal stylist for Saks.com—in part because it's as clingy as it is comfortable. If you're really set on jersey, though, go for a draped or ruched option that grazes your curves and strategically hides any bulges. Another option: double-knitted jersey, which is a denser quality fabric that still has a bit of stretch for comfort. Or choose a slightly more tailored piece, like a sheath dress, which gives the illusion of structure but is a forgiving cut for most women.
You Save Shapewear for Weddings and New Year's Eve
Slimming garments can smooth out lumps and bumps—and needn't be reserved for special occasions. Heather Thomson, founder of the shapewear brand Yummie by Heather Thomson, says that while your shapewear should fit snugly, it's important that it's not too tight, to avoid certain health concerns. "Sizing down will not make you look thinner; it will only make you more miserable—I can't stress this enough," says Thomson. "You know you have the right fit when you can breathe and you're not standing in the corner unable to move at a party."
You're Heaviest Below the Knees
Chunky heels and platform shoes may add height—but they can also add unnecessary heaviness to the bottom portion of your body. For a more flattering style, "look for something more sleek and slim," says Rothman. Stilettos are her choice, though she suggests kitten heels for the more walking-inclined among us. Either way, she says, you can't go wrong with a pointed toe.