Easy styling tricks and nutrition tweaks that will have you looking like you've spent four weeks at the gym. For more body-slimming inspiration, check out our Virtual Weight-Loss Simulator.
1. Add Pops of Color
If you have wide hips and thighs, wear a black pencil skirt on the bottom and a bright color like fuchsia on top. (Or, reverse it if you're self-conscious about your upper body area.) By sporting darker colors on your "problem areas", you'll bring attention to the asset that you feel best about.
2. Buy a New Bra
The one thing every woman can do right now to look thinner in her clothes is to buy a new bra, says Charla Krupp, author of How to Never Look Fat Again. "Eighty-five percent of women are walking around in the wrong bra, and it makes their breasts look lower than they should be." The goal is to create as much space as possible between your waist and chest so your torso appears longer and leaner, she advises. The trick is to have an expert measure you instead of automatically buying the same size you always do. Head to the lingerie department at a fine department store or a specialty shop like the Intimacy boutique to get hooked up (no pun intended).
3. Choose V-Neck Tops
When it comes to dressing thinner, Krupp swears by V-neck tops. "The downward diamond shape optically elongates and narrows so you don't have a cutoff point where the actual neck stops, which gives the illusion of extra inches." There's just one caveat to living in V's: You must take care of the skin on your body, especially your neck and chest. Krupp recommends starting in the shower with Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Advanced Anti-Aging Body Wash, which helps improve elasticity, dryness, dullness, and the appearance of fine lines, then following up with an anti-aging body moisturizer such as Olay Regenerist Regenerating Body Lotion.
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4. Invest in Shapewear
By now you're probably very familiar with the miracle known as Spanx. Krupp is a huge fan of the shapewear line, but acknowledges that these pieces can feel like sausage casing sometimes. The solution: Skinny Britches, a new line of ultra-sheer shapewear from Spanx that can be layered depending on how much compression you need. "The pieces are actually very feminine and pretty so it's okay if they peek out," says Krupp.
5. Clean Out Your Closet
Purge your wardrobe of what Krupp calls "High Fat" clothing and accessories. Some of the worst offenders include oversized T-shirts, sleeveless shirts (if you have arm flab), any shoe that cuts you off at the ankle, and shiny satin skirts as they accentuate every bulge.
6. Get Waisted
"Adding a belt to highlight your waist can instantly make you look 5lbs thinner," says Romy Fazeli, beauty and health expert from Kymaro. "Creating curves can often draw the attention to the waistline creating a slimmer and sexier style."
7. Show Some Skin
When dressing up, it's key to follow one rule: Don't let your outfit cover you up too much. Bare arms and a little décolleté help elongate the body, not to mention add a sexy, but appropriate, touch.
8. Look Better in Photos
"When posing in pictures, keep your head up and your shoulders back," says Jennifer Miller, Cosmopolitan's Photo Director who handles the magazine's cover shoots. "Keep your posture tall to slim yourself instantly. Turn your body three quarters to make yourself look thinner and more natural. Shift your weight to the back leg to give shape and sass to your look. To combat arm flab, put your hand on the hip facing the camera, which will immediately make your arm look trim."
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9. Become a Contouring Pro
"Bring out the angles in your face," suggests celebrity makeup artist Brigitte Reiss-Andersen. How? By highlighting the "high points" of your face (cheek and brow bones) using iridescent powder. Tip: Use your regular blush and eye colors in the areas that recede, like the hollows of your cheeks and the creases of your eyes, to exaggerate the effects.
Beware of ill-fitting jeans since they can really ruin your look. One surefire sign? There's bunching, wrinkles, or sagging in the crotch area. "You shouldn't have excess material in your crotch," say Shatonia Amee, a New York-based wardrobe stylist. "Your jeans should be able to come all the way up and lie flat in that area. If not, your jeans may be too big, or your inseam may be too long." The solution? A lower-rise jean.
Another thing to look out for: If your jeans are pulling and creasing in the crotch. "This means your jeans are too tight," says Amee. "You may want to try a fabric with more stretch. Don't be afraid to go up in size, either - remember, your main goal is comfort!" Get more tips on finding the right pair of denim here.
11. Nix Muffin Top
"There are a few reasons this may be happening," Shatonia says. "One reason could be that your jeans are too tight. Again, don't be afraid to go up in size - it's only a number! You want to be comfortable and look good. Another reason could be that you need a higher rise - your jeans should lie flat on your hips and waistline. When a pair of jeans is too tight or low, they can create that unwanted spillage, or muffin top, on anyone, regardless of size.
12. Get Some Sleep
Sleepless nights mean stressful days, which can lead to emotional-eating binges. What's more, researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center tracked 12 healthy males and found that those who got only four hours of rest at night had a 23 percent increase in appetite. So strive for at least seven hours of sleep a night. (by Good Housekeeping)
Your dinner could to blame for your lack of sleep. Check out the 10 foods that keep you up at night.
13. Practice Good Posture
Standing and sitting tall not only slim down your body, but also helps decrease wear and tear on your joints, neck, and back. Improve your posture while waiting in line during your holiday shopping with these tips:
1. Imagine a straight line along the side of your body from your ear through your shoulder, hip, and knee down to the middle of your ankle.
2. Pretend you have a string pulling just your head up to the ceiling; keep your shoulders pushed back and down.
3. Tuck in your stomach and pelvis.
4. Let your hands hang behind the side seams on your pants.
5. Distribute your weight evenly along the full length of both of your feet.
14. Chew Slowly
If you always rush through meals, watch out. A study from the University of Rhode Island showed that women who raced through a pasta lunch in nine minutes ate 646 calories. Those who took their time (about half an hour) consumed almost 70 fewer calories. And not only did they eat less - they felt fuller. (by Good Housekeeping)
15. Drink More Water
You've heard it again and again - H2O, at zero calories, is the best diet drink. But if you're still hooked on high-cal beverages, check out these numbers: Researchers who tracked 240 overweight women found that those who replaced sweetened drinks with water lost five more pounds, on average, than those who didn't. Why these sips add up: A can of Coke is 146 calories; a cup of grape juice, 154 calories. (by Good Housekeeping)
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.