Updated on September 6, 2022 by Sarina

Welcome to the world of reality where not everyone is build like Miley Cyrus or Jennifer Lawrence. Thunder thighs, pot bellies, fat rolls in the back, large saggy breasts, muffin tops – all issues which greatly perturb us  – far more than maybe global warming and terrorism.

Accepting our body for what it is and what it will be and going ahead choosing the best for it,  seems to be the right way out of this problem – the persistent feeling that “I am not thin enough”. Some tips ( common sense ones which you already know ) can go a long way in letting go of that awkward feeling.

Related post : How important is body positivity today; Dressing tips to hide a big belly.

Tips to smart dressing that make you look thin

Similar colors for top and bottom

Choose same coloured fabric for the upper and lower part of the body – Different colours will divide the body and make it look stocky and big.

how to dress for slimness

Prints that make you look slimmer

Too loud prints can make you look bigger. A pattern less, print less fabric is best for a slimming look but if you definitely want print choose smaller prints or limit prints on problem areas of your body. 

You should go for small and vertical patterns that make you look slimmer.

Fabrics that make you look slimmer

Lightweight and thin fabrics are always the best choice. Checkout this post on the names for lightweight fabrics

Choose flowy drapey fabrics like chiffon to sew your clothes. Light weight soft cotton is great as well. Especially if you are on the heavier side, fabrics that skim over your prominent areas will camouflage them , but ensure the fabric is not clingy.

For eg. a thin knit fabric will cling on all the wrong places emphasizing the flaws.

So are there fabrics that make you look fat? In a way, yes. Thick and heavyweight fabrics like denim, corduroy, fleece, fake fur, leather and stiff fabrics can make you look heavier, because they create a thicker silhouette.

Straight lined silhouette is slimming

Choose straight lines for skirts/ pants / trousers and jeans to make you look taller and thinner.

Do not go for boxy jackets. Choose one which is slightly Fitted at the waist for giving you shape

A beltless fitting one-piece dress in a single colour can make you look slimmer.

Necklines for slim look

V necks are the best slimming neckline; it gives a leaner longer silhouette which we want; But if you have big breasts watch out for too much plunging v neck. I like the look of sweetheart necklines as well.

It is better to avoid high necklines like polo necks if you are top heavy (unless you wear them with long thin necklaces). A scoop neck neck can work well for a hip heavy figure.

Choose best sleeves

Say no to puffed sleeves or cape sleeves – both will make your arms bigger than they are.Long straight sleeves and Raglan sleeves can have a slimming effect.

If you have a big bust and you want attention away from it, never choose  sleeve ending near your bust line; same way for the waist and the stomach.

If you have a protruding stomach and your sleeve ends near it, the eyes will be drawn to your stomach naturally.

A long bell sleeve may look good on a girl with big bust and thin waist but not on someone with big waist; Short sleeves  that end near bust level can look good on a pear shaped figure

how to dress to look thin

Avoid round shapes

Avoid rounded collars, rounded pockets on your clothes.

Avoid textured fabric.

Choose clothes made of light to medium weight fabrics – they will make you look thinner ; Heavily textured fabrics ( like embossed velvet or cut work) look good but they are not exactly slimming.

Choose well fitting underwear under your clothes

Bulging of breasts near the armholes and rolls above  panty lines can look fattening.

Underwire bras give good support to sagging breasts so choose the one that fits you, to avoid looking sloppy. An upright looking bra will give you a slimmer look but take care that it is not awkwardly up.

Checkout this post on how to choose your bra size

Choose best slimming colors

Light coloured clothes are fattening and Dark colours are slimming – but that doesnot mean you should go full on monochrome in blacks, browns and navy blues only; there are more interesting dark colours like emerald green, maroon, indigo blue (Denim).

Learn more about the color combinations based on the color wheel here.

Choose to wear dark colours in your problem areas ; or wear different shades of the same colour layering them for some  interest to the monochromatic look.

Look of the fabric

Avoid shiny fabric if you want to look slimmer. Shiny fabric brings attention to the problem area. Fine textured/ matt fabric is best for making you look thin.

Choose vertical lines

Vertical lines in the patterns of your fabric will elongate your body and make you look slimmer. Avoid horizontal lines like the breton stripes in the picture.

Add vertical lines to the garment with trims or added fabric bands to elongate the look.

Vertical stripes are always a favourite.

Create vertical seam lines

Princess line will work like a vertical line across your dress. This will elongate your silhouette

Narrow standing collars, Narrow panels or gores, Narrow belts – all these create slender lines and thins you.

Choose accessories that elongate

Compliment your clothes with the right accessories that elongate like high heels , long earrings, long necklaces, thin bracelets.

Wear a Long scarf

A scarf or shawl which is printed, worn down the body can bring a good contrast especially worn with a single coloured dress. Wearing the long scarf around your neck  will bring attention away from the body and give an illusion of length. Learn different ways to wear a scarf here


Types of tops

Avoid empire line tops if you are full breasted – they can make the bust area look even more full. Avoid cropped tops as well

Advantage of bias cut

Choose dresses which are cut on the bias. Fabric falls beautifully when it is cut on the bias and skim over your body making it look slimmer

Avoid too many pockets /pleats

When selecting pants choose ones with side zippers / fly ; definitely without any pleats on the front or too many pockets. If there are pockets which causes unnecessary bulges in your silhouette, You can always take it away with your seam ripper

Avoid too tight clothes

Leggings and stretch jeans are unforgiving to a too full body. Ok to wear under long tunics but on their own, under small tops, they are a disaster.

Do not wear too tight skirts / tops. The resultant bulges are very unforgiving. The audience will notice the bulge first before any other part of you. Be ruthless in culling them from your wardrobe – if they are there you will feel like wearing them and maybe feel regret and unhappiness at what you are. 

Never wear too tight button-down tops. Button down tops which gape in the front because it is too tight can look fattening

But no too loose clothes too

Do not wear oversized sweaters/t-shirts/ dresses just because you are not thin. These shapeless clothes can make you look oversized and frumpy.

When wearing very loose clothes wear a belt to give some shape ; too much loose clothes would make you look floppy and shabby. A belt will give definition to your figure.

Check out the 20 different types of belts you can choose from

Fit of pants for slim look

Low waist pants/ jeans can cause bulges ( the infamous  muffin tops ) where you don’t want them. High waisted pants / trousers are best ; They elongate the body as well as contain the extra fat.

Correct length for pants

Choose to wear the correct length pants/trousers / jeans. The best length for  a trouser is for it to be 2 cm from the floor when you are wearing shoes.

Remember that pants will shrink in wash. So wait till the first wash before you are altering a too long pants ; you may end up with too short pants if you alter before this and this will make you look stocky.

Avoid fullness in the pattern lines

This means no ruching or gathers or frills or shirring or smocking near problem areas.

No shoulder pads

Wearing dresses / tops with shoulder pads ( not too heavy ) can make you look thinner at the hips if you are pear shaped. The shoulder pads will give a balance to the upper and lower parts of the body

Ensure that the problem area in your body do not have any special embellishment or decorations. Like a sequined appliqued patch on your jeans near your thighs when that is the last place you want others’ eyes to linger.

Avoid too many embellishments

Long coats/ jackets ( hip length ) sleeveless vests, cardigans all can make you look leaner so long as the coat itself is not too voluminous or with too many pockets and other decorations .

Heavily embroidered fabric worn on the problem area (like a mirror worked blouse for an apple body shape) is definitely out of question; If you really like that fabric choose to make a bag with it or stitch it as a patch which lies vertically in your dress. 

Shape wear -your saviour

A body slimmer / shape wear can be your savior – these are specially meant to make you look compact in your clothes, hide all your flaws and make you look good.

Go to a lingerie shop and choose the best one for you. You will wish you had worn this earlier.

Would you be having some more dressing tips that slim – comment below.

Reference : Getting gorgeous , Clare Maxfield

Related posts: Different styles in women’s clothing

how to dress for a body shape

how to read a tape measure   DRESS silhouettes 

How to look slimmer fast?

Wear all black clothes which are fitting and do contour make up on the face. If you do not like black go for other neutral colors in dark shades.

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