The long and the short of it – the simplest slimming trick in the book

By Rosemary | October 5 2012 | 10 Comments

Y’know how they say that horizontal stripes make you look bigger? Well, they – whoever “they” are – ain’t merely shooting the breeze. Horizontal stripes make you look bigger by creating an illusion of width. The eye is drawn across rather than down the body. So how do you combat this? Easy! Create an illusion of length.

And the easiest way to do this is with a blazer or open jacket – this baby is from Zara‘s latest TRF range (you know, where the teenage lines with the Hello Kitty-esque prints hide, down the back of the store). See how your eye is drawn down, rather than across, the moddle’s body?

Other ways of achieving this effect are – duh! – with vertical stripes, long scarves, long necklaces and panels. Except, y’know, not like the one Britney tried out while filming the X Factor. Tack-o-rama.

These vertical striped trousers, via Refinery29, won’t be to everyone’s taste, but see how they (plus the obligatory-for-street-style Louboutins) make Elyse’s legs look 10 miles long? You can buy a different take on the trend on Asos, with these amazing sequined Sass & Bide trousers, below (a steal at €410.04).

If you fancy a long scarf, I spotted this number just last weekend in Zara in Newbridge’s WhiteWater Shopping Centre. It’s €22.95, a dead ringer for Isabel Marant and available online here. [As a relative aside, I’m a real sucker for scarves in winter time. The fashion gods would have you believe each winter season warrants investment in a new coat, but you can wear the same ol’ black coat for weeks if you mix it up with various coloured scarves.]

If you fancy trying the aul’ side-panel trick – y’know, like that Stella McCartney dress we were all yammering on about last season – check out Warehouse and Oasis, both of which have some really great choices.

This dress on the left is really cute, super-flattering on most figures (especially on an apple shape as the tapered panels give the illusion of an itty-bitty waist and the black will totally distract from your mid-section) and reduced from €63 to €30. Bargain. Our right-hand dress is a little more on the bodycon side (and one that I, personally, could not pull off) but great if you have a flat tummy and are a little bigger on the hips. It’d also look fab over a black shirt with a pair of black tights for a more formal look.

This Oasis dress takes the biscuit for me in terms of panelled simplicity – I used it on an Xposé shoot the other day on a woman in her sixties, paired with a peplum jacket, dark tights and ankle boots, and she looked stunning. It’s a great dress in the flesh and the crinkle effect really skims over any lumps and bumps. Plus, I’m not too mad at the £50 sterling to €62 exchange. Good work, Oasis!

In short, anything that creates a long vertical line is going to make you look longer and, by proxy, slimmer! If, however, you are the long-n-slim type and want to be the short-n-squat type, check back next week for a special on horizontal stripes, cropped boxy jackets and pedal pushers.

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10 Replies to "The long and the short of it – the simplest slimming trick in the book"

  • LauraLou says:

    I got a leather dress from Penneys very similar ti the last one. Steal at only €19 :)

  • Sarah says:

    I have to say fashion has become very inelegant with how to make a frame look smaller. It so much more available where as you had to look up on ways to make your self look thiner instead all you do is go into a shop and its right in front of you!
    yay Fashion!
    I really hope the stick thin trend of the 00’s stays away for good….no one can pull that look off not even the stick thin girls from back in the day!

  • rio says:

    Great post, I need that jacket in my life!

  • OtherMary says:

    The striped trousers that Elyse is wearing remind me of the striped leggings that many a young wan has been seen sporting in warmer times. Many questions have been raised: does there exist a more universally unflattering legging? Does anyone wear these with a top long enough to cover her arse? Has anyone been hypnotised by the jiggle of said unflattered arse in the optical illusion print?

    I have the Louboutins that Elyse has on her feet and they are not uncomfortable. Biancas are like the Simple with a platform. The toebox is normal width and the pitch is only 4 inches.

  • LoCo says:

    Oh oh I’m wearing a black dress today which has little thin cream horizontal stripes. I probably look MAAASSSSIIIVVVVEEEe, ha ha ha.
    I love horizontal stripes, I’m all about the breton tops :( ;)

    Also love scarves always buy some nice new ones each year and the longer the better.
    I don’t buy new coat each year( too expensive) get my coat dry cleaned before I put it away and then mix and match with new scarves.

  • *Aisling* says:

    I’m with Emma on this one: Rosemary when can we arrange a personal shopping experience?

  • Rosemary says:

    Emma, Aisling, you can arrange an appointment whenever you choose. My fee? Lunch and a Ladurée macaroon.

    Sarah, eh, what?

    OtherMary, I KNOW! Those striped leggings are truly horrendous, perhaps second in terribleness only to that more recent trend – skin-colour leggings. No idea why anyone goes for it; at best, it makes you look naked; at worst, as if you’re covered in a layer of puckered cellulite. Yuck.

    LoCo, if you must go for horizontal stripes, be assured that narrow are better than wide! And Breton tops are really cute and you can break up the wide aspect by layering them under a cardi or blazer, or wearing them with a long scarf!

  • I am in love with the warehouse dress (the lace one with side panels)… but I’m from the other end of the spectrum, and it might make me look skinnier than I already am (don’t laugh, do you know how difficult it is to dress nicely when you have the frame of a 12 years old boy?!)

  • salsera says:

    Sigh..I am so sick of the ‘vertical stripes are slimming’ nonsense. Vertical, correctly shaped *panels* are slimming.

    It is a false conclusion, based on the fact that thin girls look thinner in vertical stripes. This is mainly because the stripe doesn’t bend, and therefore elongates the look.

    The obverse is not true.

    Researchers in England recently proved that curvy girls actually look fatter in horizontal stripes, because the curves make the stripes bend. Cleverly cut chevrons are very slimming; close together stripes on arses make the stripe curve around one’s legs, and as for on a big bust, forget it.

    I have a big bust and I look much better in horizontal striped panels,when I have a dark panel covering most of my bust and the other ones cleverly placed to distract the eye from my boobs.

    If you don’t believe me, google Kelly Brook and stripes.

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