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Trim Your Top Half
Visually pare arms and chest with these upside tips:
— Live in V-necks — camis, tees, cardigans, anything and everything. The downward diamond shape elongates you. Just be sure to stop short of major cleavage; it looks tacky at any size.
— Wear a minimizer bra. Seek out styles that dip low in front to go with your V-necks. (If you've never been professionally fitted, do it ASAP at your local department store.)
— To cover less-than-toned arms, pick three-quarter-length sleeves. Check that the body of the shirt or sweater is tapered — you don't want an allover blousy effect.
Top and jeans, Banana Republic. Ring, Jewelry Television. Bracelet, Prismera Design.
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Manage Your Middle
To slim your tummy, Charla suggests a one-two punch: compression and diversion.
— Buy a pair of high-waisted, supercontrolling shaper shorts, such as Spanx Hide and Sleek Hi-Rise panty.
— Go for jackets with feminine details to draw the eye upward. The best silhouette is fitted at the shoulders and bust and hits at the top of the hip.
— Opt for monochromatic dresses. Styles like a simple sheath or an A-line with no natural break in the center can whittle your waist.
Blazer and pin, Anthropologie. Tank, Express.
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Downsize Hips and Thighs
Make over this region with Charla's below-the-belt fashion regimen.
— Choose skirt styles that flatter, such as straight, pencil, and trumpet. Get extra "slim" points for finding fabrics with a Lycra blend that offer some support.
— Look for wide- or straight-leg trousers and jeans with built-in panels to smooth bulges. Avoid pleats, pockets, and buckles whenever possible — they're fattening!
Cardigan and cami, Express. Skirt, Ann Taylor. Shoes, AK Anne Klein. Earrings, Ann Taylor. Belt, Apt. 9. Ring, Jewelry Television.
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Refine Your Rearview
Smart fashion choices can defy the scale and get rid of the junk in your trunk.
— For a smooth line from top to bottom, wear a shapewear camisole. C-cups and above, look for control camis with a built-in underwire like TC Even More Molded Camisole for the Fuller Figure. For stores, go to cupidintimates.com.
— Eliminate the dreaded "muffin top" with longer tees and sweaters that are draped or ruched.
— Never, ever wear hip-hugging anything.
— Reject jeans with distracting details like contrast stitching, grommets, buttons, or rhinestones. Go for dark denim with a mid-low rise (9 inches from waistband to crotch). Back pockets should be relatively large, close together, and ride high on the seat.
Top, Michael Stars. Jeans, model's own. Belt, J.Crew.
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Lengthen Your Legs
Looking leggy at any height comes down to a savvy mix of visual tricks.
— Streamline with straight, A-line, or pencil skirts and dresses that hover at the knee for the most flattering look.
— In spring or summer go barelegged. Keep it monochromatic by matching your shoes to your skin tone for a leaner line.
— Pumps that are an inch or higher will take your legs to the max. Just be sure the heel isn't needle-thin or the contrast will accentuate thickness of the lower legs.
— Wearing skin-tight pants will only highlight bumps and bulges, so choose clothes that skim, like flared or boot-cut jeans. If you're not petite, a long sarong or flowy skirt works wonders too.
Dress, Michael Kors. Shoes, BCBGeneration. Earrings, Viv & Ingrid. Bracelet, Artisan Gem Collection.
Originally published in the April 1, 2010, issue of Family Circle magazine.
This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings, and styles are subject to change.