5 Tips on Dressing to Look Thinner

The word ‘thinner’ is one I hear all the time as an image consultant. To me, looking thinner actually means looking more put together and feeling great about your look.

In my world, thinner has absolutely nothing to do with your size. Whether you’re a size double zero or a size 24+, thinner means the same: dressing for your shape and not the number on your clothing tags.

Your body is a beautiful shape. Maybe your hips are wider than your shoulders, or you have small shoulders with a larger midsection and hips. I want you to feel confident matching the shape of your body with the shape of the clothes you wear. Doing that will make you look put together, whether you’re dressing for our dramatic Toronto weather or something a little milder.

I’m the first to admit that there are a ton of articles that talk about being thinner. They often carry a false veneer of body positivity, but the real content in the article is always about not accepting the body you have. It’s incredibly frustrating and leaves us all feeling dissatisfied with our bodies.

Tip #1: Be You

You cannot change the basic proportions of your body. You can’t lengthen your waist, shorten your arms, or grow a few inches! I hope that encourages you to realize your wonderful body is here to serve you, and you don’t need to try to force your shape to be something different.

Everyone fluctuates in size throughout their lives. Aging, pregnancy, mental health, and even where you live can impact your size. But your basic body proportions remain the same. It’s understanding your proportions and learning to dress them properly that will make you feel more put together every day.

Tip #2: Wear Clothes Your Size

I see a lot of clients who believe that wearing clothes a size too small or too big will make them look slimmer. Please toss this myth for good.

Bulky clothing makes you look bigger than you are, and clothes that are too small tend to draw attention to areas you don’t want to highlight.

Who cares what the numbers on your tags say? I sure don’t! And since clothes with the same ‘number’ will fit differently between different brands and styles, that number is—at most—a general guide. Find the clothes that fit your body well, no matter what the numbers say.

Tip #3: Your Proportions Determine the Shape of Your Clothes

Understanding your proportions is super important for dressing your shape and not your size. For the most part, the proportions between your waist, shoulders, and hips dictate the best clothing shapes for your body. However, height plays a role as well. Look for clothes that give your shape great balance.

If you’re a full size in your bust and hips, clothes that pull in your waist will provide balance. If you’re quite tall, a waist-length cardigan will provide a more balanced shape. Trousers with pleats will provide some balance if you have a narrow bottom.

Tip #4: Choose Your Prints, Patterns, and Solids

A solid coloured outfit tends to create a slimming look, and people often rely solely on this look. If this is you, consider mixing things up a bit with some prints and patterns. A print can camouflage body parts that you don’t want to highlight. You can create balance by wearing a print on a smaller part of your body and a solid on the larger part. And smaller prints are a good choice for a smaller look.

But don’t forget about colour! Yes, I know you can walk down many streets in Greater Toronto and see a lot of all-black outfits, but there’s more to life and style than black! Try wearing a flowy red blouse or a fitted red wrap-around top and see how it makes you feel. Men are often surprised to learn that they love wearing bright colours, too (and not just in their tie, although that’s a great place to start).

Tip #5: A Great Foundation

Regardless of your proportions, always wear well-made and professionally fitted underclothes. If you love wearing shapewear, find the size that’s right for you and wear it whenever and wherever you want—there are no rules about when and where!

But don’t put things on to please others or hide who you are. As long as your undergarments fit well and feel comfortable, that’s what really matters. If your body has been through some changes (or it’s been years since you were sized for underwear), take yourself to get sized again. You’ll have trouble dressing to your shape if you’re dressing for a shape that’s no longer you!

Feeling fantastic isn’t about squeezing into a certain size. It’s about how clothes fit and feel on you. And when you feel great, it shows!

With Style,

Michelle Gallant