Celebrate Guilty Pleasures: The Holiday Slim-Down
By: Sharon Mosley
Does the thought of your Mom’s homemade pumpkin pie make your thighs giggle? Or Aunt Sally’s rum banana pudding make those belly rolls do an extra flip flop? If so, then join the season when we all think we have a little (or a lot) of something to hide. And forget the Santa suits. We have to wear real clothes to offices and parties and family dinners.
So, how do you minimize the damage of those few extra pounds that are bound to appear at this time of year? Here are a few tips that I’ve personally found to slim down a holiday wardrobe and maximize celebrating a few guilty pleasures at the same time:
— Rule No. 1: Monochromatic dressing. OK, this is a no-brainer: Wear one color from head to toe. Whether it’s classic black or a rich ruby red is always going to make you look slimmer. It’s an instant way to dress elegantly in your favorite jersey dress or a menswear-tailored pantsuit. This season, I’d go for wearing one strong color or blend one color in different shades — lighter and darker. I find this works particularly well with various values of charcoal and silver. And remember to keep the lighter shades on top.
— Rule No. 2: Yes, dark colors do make you look slimmer and can be sophisticated and glamorous. But at holiday time, I don’t know about you, but I want to have a little bit more fun. For more drama, I like to perk up my basic blacks with some interesting “sparklers” — bold jeweled necklaces, big cocktail rings, dangling chandelier earrings (my mom’s rhinestone “earrings” from the ’50s are some of my favorites), and some sequined tanks and fringed sheer scarves.
— Rule No. 3: Stick to vertical lines. We’re not just talking about horizontal stripes here — we all know those can make us look as big as a boat dock — but think about proportions. Long and lean is key. Look at yourself in the mirror when you get dressed. This has stopped me cold a few times. What about that breezy, printed chiffon poncho top over wide-legged pants? Hmmm … not so good.
See how your eyes skim your overall silhouette. If it stops mid-thigh — that is the widest part of your body — then you need to rethink things. That’s exactly where everyone else’s eyes will stop when you waltz in the door with your poinsettia martini. I love the long knit or fur vests that skim right over the top of the hips … a great jacket or tunic top can do the same thing.
— Rule No. 4: Opposites attract. This has always been a good rule of thumb for me — just think balance. We’re talking fuller tunics and tops over skinny pants or slimmer jackets and tops over fuller skirts and pants. Keep cuts simple and fabrics rich.
— Rule No. 5: I’m a big fan of what I call the “one unique art piece,” and this often happens to be a shawl or scarf or jacket for me. I don’t really call them “cover-ups,” but I do tend to collect interesting, one-of-a-kind fashion items that I wear for years and years. I scour antique shops, vintage stores and have even been known to cozy up in a mohair throw from one of my favorite “home decor” stores.
There is definitely a trick to layering: Keep fabrics lightweight and keep the first layer tight (I love camisoles). The other outer layers should skim the body, not hug it. So think outside the box when it comes to “layering” it on for the holidays. You’ll be surprised at how creative you can get, and you won’t look like anyone else at the party!
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association. To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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