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Fundamentals of Figure Flattery

By Anne Morgan, Volunteer.

There is actually a science to dressing to your advantage. The essential guidelines for your best clothing style choices follow a logic that is easy to understand and remember. Choose basic silhouettes that are shaped the way you are.

If your waist is small relative to your hips, highlight it with a fitted or semi-fitted style. On the other hand, if you have little or no waist, a straighter cut will fit better, be more comfortable, and not draw attention to that area. Remember that the eye follows a line.

There are many ways to create lines, including stripes, seams, pleats, zippers, the contrast between clothing of different colors. Vertical lines will draw the eye up and down the figure, creating an illusion of length and slimness. Horizontal lines hold the eye at that level and can add width. Diagonals do a little of both, depending on how they are angled, but generally are more flattering than horizontals and more interesting than verticals. Light colors advance, look closer and bigger.

Other things that add volume: large patterns, shine, and heavy texture. Use them where you are proportionally smaller to create balance. In the same way, dark colors (not just black) recede, look further away and smaller. Perfect fit helps to minimize size.

If this is your goal, fabric should smoothly glide over the figure. Extra fabric adds bulk, but you also want to avoid the sausage effect of a too tight fit. Use the art of distraction.

If you don’t want people to look at a particular feature, make them look somewhere else. Create a focal point at a more flattering part of yourself, perhaps your face, using eye-catching color, detail, or accessories.

Don’t forget a final check in the mirror.

With these tips in mind, it should be easy to recognize anything that needs to be tweaked and make the appropriate adjustments. Then you can face the day with confidence in how you look!

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About Anne Morgan:

Anne Morgan is a SFC volunteer, an independent image consultant, and owner of Color and Image Insight in Fairfax, Virginia. She was certified in the individualized Color Alliance system of color analysis in 1990 and is now affiliated with Color Me Beautiful. She has helped hundreds of clients with color and image advice, has spoken before a wide variety of professional and social groups, and taught for many years with Fairfax County Adult Education. Previous experience includes several years creating costumes for the entertainment industry in Hollywood, California. She is a graduate of Cornell University.


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