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The Right Bra Makes You Look Slimmer

How to actually do it: Obviously, you want to show off what you’re proud of—toned arms or a slim waist. It’s the downplaying of less beloved parts that’s tricky. One tactic? Add opposite volume, like wearing wide-leg trousers to offset a heavier upper half that’s wearing something fitted. “The object is to even yourself out,” explains designer Nicole Miller. “So avoid anything too oversize or you’ll look bigger.” Another idea: Distraction. If you’re pear shaped, wear forgettable black pants, then bring the focus upward with a bold scarf, says Louise Roe, the author of the style-advice book Front Roe.

Wear trends in an age-appropriate way, How to actually do it: Odds are, there’s a grown-up version of the style du jour. Take crop tops: To avoid revealing skin, pair a shirt that hits at the navel with a high-waisted skirt—or a longer top with a crop top over it. “It gives you a similar look,” promises designer Rebecca Minkoff. Bottom line: “You never want to seem like you’re uncomfortable with your age and trying to look younger,” says Lilliana Vazquez, a style expert and the editor of TheLVGuide.com.

How to actually do it: “Where your breasts sit on your chest makes a big difference in how clothes fit,” says Vazquez. In other words, if you’re wearing a bra that fits properly, there will be no sagging or bulging—and that means your silhouette will look trimmer from every angle. The target is midway between your elbows and shoulders. You’ve scored a match when “the front center panel of the bra lays flat, there’s no wrinkling or gapping in the cups, and the bra is not hiking up or creating bulges,” says Kristen Supulski, the director of merchandising for Vanity Fair Brands lingerie. “If you can squeeze just two fingers under the band and it still feels snug, that’s the perfect fit.”

Don’t be too matchy matchy, How to actually do it: Strive to wear colors that enhance one another rather than “match” in the traditional sense. For an easy hack, says Minkoff, “look at a simple color wheel. The colors that are opposite each other on the wheel complement each other.” (Think non-obvious but fetching combos, like orange and navy or purple and saffron.) Diversifying your accessories, in both color and texture, is another do. (A beloved trio from the vault of Betty Halbreich, a personal shopper at New York City’s Bergdorf Goodman and the author of the style memoir I’ll Drink to That: “A black dress, navy shoes, and a burgundy handbag.”) And under no circumstances should you ever rock a suite of jewelry. Says Vazquez, ” Anything that was sold together as a set looks really dated.”

Show skin selectively, How to actually do it: “Don’t give people too many things to look at all at once,” says Halbreich. “If you’re wearing a low-cut dress, focus on the cleavage—you don’t also need bare arms and legs.” The concept applies to fit as well: A body-hugging dress is better with a more sensible neckline and hem, whereas a skirt that hits a few inches above the knee won’t raise eyebrows if it’s flared rather than tight.

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