How to Dress to Look Slimmer

How to Dress to Look Slimmer

    I am an advocate of body positivity and embracing your body shape, but I get that sometimes you may just want to feel a little slimmer - this isn’t a bad thing and there are some simple things you can do to dress to look slimmer.

    In this guide, I explain how to dress to look slimmer including discussing body types, different fabrics and colors and how they affect your silhouette, and things like using patterns and tailored clothing to your benefit.

    Identifying Your Body Shape

    The first thing you have to do to dress to look slimmer is identify your body shape. Regardless of what size you are, your body type or shape is the defining factor and it’s surprising how many women don’t know their body type or dress for the wrong body shape. The following are the four common women’s body shapes:

    • Hourglass
    • Pear
    • Straight
    • Apple


    The hourglass shape means that you have symmetry with your top and bottom halves with a defined waist. Typically your body tapers in at the waist and extends out at the shoulders and hips. The key here is to play into that symmetrical shape and emphasize your waist.

    If you have a pear body shape your hips and thighs will usually be wider while you have a defined waist and smaller shoulders and chest. You want to utilize fabrics and colors that downplay the emphasis on your bottom half while wearing things like womens button ups that accentuate your top half to improve balance and symmetry.

    The straight body shape means that everything is relatively in proportion with your shoulders, hips, and waist all roughly being the same width. You may not have a defined waist which is why you want to wear clothing that helps give that definition or add accessories such as a belt to cinch your waist.

    Lastly, the apple body type means your top half is typically more proportioned with wider shoulders and a full chest - it’s essentially the opposite of a pear shape. Here, you want to emphasize your legs and waist to create balance.

    Fabrics that Create a Streamlined Look

    Certain fabrics such as shiny materials should be avoided as they reflect light and can enhance your body in the wrong way. Instead, there is a range of slimming fabrics that do wonders for your body shape and confidence:

    • Structured
    • Matte
    • Textured
    • Stretchy


    Structured fabrics are those that hold their shape and create straight lines as opposed to highlighting curves and bulges in the wrong places. They help create an even and streamlined look and are great for any body type.

    While shiny fabrics are a no-go, matte fabrics work fantastically as they absorb light and help conceal curves and bumps.

    Utilizing textures in your wardrobe is also a great option as they help draw attention away from areas of your body that you may not be as confident in.

    Lastly, fabrics that stretch can fit around your body shape better and accentuate your curves in the right places depending on your body shape.

    Slimming Effect of Dark Colors

    women choosing and talking about a dark colored shirt

    Darker colors are known to have a slimming effect with black being the prime candidate. However, I get that not everyone wants to wear black all the time! Other dark colors such as purple, navy blue, dark green, and burgundy have a desirable slimming effect.

    A simple tip regarding colors is to try a monochromatic outfit. For example, you could wear a single-color dress with neutral accessories. This helps bring your body shape together and you can then use the accessories such as a belt to emphasize the parts of your body you want.

    Lighter colors are not known for their slimming qualities, but as with most of these tips, the key is understanding your body type and using colors and fabrics logically.

    Strategic Use of Patterns and Prints

    One of the simplest tips that has been used for generations is that vertical strips are slimming, while horizontal patterns add the illusion of unnecessary weight and volume.

    That doesn’t mean that you can’t wear clothes with horizontal lines but you have to be strategic and use them where they won’t emphasize your body shape unnecessarily. For example, if you have a pear body shape, you probably wouldn’t want to wear a skirt with horizontal lines as this would only emphasize your hips and thighs more.

    Confidence and Body Positivity

    As you can see there are some simple things you can do to dress to look slimmer. Darker colors work wonders, and certain fabrics are preferable too, while understanding your body shape is imperative.

    The other thing I want you to take away from this article is to not be ashamed of your body. It can take time but try to have confidence in yourself and try a little body positivity. While you work on this, learning how to dress to look slimmer can help greatly.