If you’re carrying around a few extra pounds, trips to the mall can be a challenge. Like everyone else, you’re looking for a flattering wardrobe that highlights your strongest features. Learn to spot the styles, fabrics and colors that help you hide your love handles. Ideally, you’ll take steps to trim the extra weight, but for now, the right clothing can give your waistline a leaner and more sculpted appearance.
Buy the Right Cut
Both men and women should opt for longer-cut tops — including blazers, jackets, cardigans and blouses — that conceal the midsection. Shorter-cut tops tend to draw the eye to your waist. For your bottom half, reach for boot-cut pants, skirts or dresses that flare outward at the bottom. The extra width further down shifts the focus away from your middle. Low-risers — shorts, pants and skirts that start at your hips rather than your waist — work against you, exposing excess flesh and drawing attention to the area you want to hide. Instead, reach for high-waisted pants or skirts that cover or compress tummy bulge.
Wear a Bodyshaper
Compression clothing can give you a slimmer and more curvy or chiseled look. Both men and women have a range of tummy-slimming options, including t-shirts, tank tops and high-waisted shorts that are designed to keep excess waist pooch tucked away and hidden from view. These items feature double-knitted areas around the waist to flatten the belly and cinch the sides. Depending on the style, they can also give you a tighter appearance in your chest, thighs or buttocks.
Choose Slimming Fabrics
Certain fabrics tend to be more flattering for love handles. Stick with heavier and stiffer materials, such as denim. Lightweight fabrics — including jersey knit — tend to cling to the skin and emphasize a thicker waist. When shopping for tops and swimsuits, reach for solid blocks of color, bold geometric patterns and crisscross designs that trick the eye, creating an illusion of a slimmer waist. Wear colors that match your eyes to draw attention away from your middle and toward your eyes. Or wear black, which can have a remarkable slimming effect. Look for tops, dresses and swimwear with gathered folds of fabric at the waistline. These folds — called ruching — create a more cinched look.
Add Accessories and Layers
The right accessories can redirect attention away from your middle. Shift your audience’s attention away from your tummy and toward an eye-catching hat, earrings, glasses, scarf, handbag or shoes. On the other hand, be careful with belts, which draw the eye to your trouble area and can push the tummy up and out. Finally, layering is often effective. For example, wearing a long cardigan or tunic over a blouse, t-shirt, tank top or swimming suit can be remarkably slimming.
References and ResourcesHarvard Health Publications: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It
Good Housekeeping: How to Look Slimmer -- Instantly!
You Look Fab: 10 Ways to Conceal Muffin Top
ABC News: Mirdles -- Making Men Thinner in Seconds
Cosmopolitan: 6 Swim Looks That Will Make Absolutely Every Woman Look Freaking Hot
NYTimes.com: The Claim: Eye Color Can Be Affected by the Color of Clothing