It was a nice holiday season, wasn’t it? Fun times with family, parties with great friends, relaxing down time and good food. Okay, maybe a little too much good food. And since you gave yourself permission to indulge over the holidays, you may be entering the new year slightly bigger than you left the old one. And you are not alone!
We all indulge a bit and then realize that waistbands are a little tight, previously loose clothes are a little snug and we’re feeling a little uncomfortable in some of our wardrobe workhorses. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to still feel great about how you look even if you’re a few pounds over your usual weight, so that you’re entering the new year in style, no matter your size.
FOCUS ON FIT
The last thing you may want to do right now is take stock of what currently fits your body - but it’s actually key in being kind to yourself, and not beating yourself up every morning for carrying a few extra pounds. Here are some simple steps:
Try on your go-to’s. Take some time to try on the key styles in your closet – the ones that you go for on a regular basis (especially pants!). Keep the ones that fit readily accessible, and move anything that’s feeling tight, constricting or uncomfortable away from where you get dressed every day (relegate it to under-bed boxes, the corner of the closet, or into unused luggage). This way, even if it’s a much smaller selection, what you have left will be what you feel good in right now, and you’ll avoid the daily torture of looking at styles that don’t currently fit.
Default to stretch. Styles that give are much more comfortable to wear when you need extra room – so now is the time to grab them. Knits, sweaters and anything with stretch will be much easier to wear than stiffer fabrics that don’t move with you.
It’s okay if it doesn’t close. It’s okay to wear jackets and other third pieces that may not completely close, as long as they look like they fit overall. If you have styles that aren’t actually meant to close (drape front jackets, open cardigans, etc.), this is when to put them in your regular rotation.
And if your current weight necessitates buying sizes other than what’s in your closet, that’s okay! You deserve to feel great about how you look no matter your size, and trying to fit into too small clothes will only make you feel worse. If you need to shop for select pieces, find versatile items that coordinate with what currently fits from your closet, and remember – no one knows the size on the tag.
PLAY UP YOUR ASSETS
I always tell clients to play up their assets and their favorite features - but there’s no time that it’s more important than when you’re feeling heavier. If you like your legs, wear skirts and dresses to show them off. If you love your curves, wear body-skimming styles that highlight your shape. Draw attention to your shoulders with off-the-shoulder sweaters. Wear tops in colors that make your eyes sparkle. Whatever your focus, select styles that accentuate your favorite parts of you.
USE COLUMNS OF COLOR
Color is an amazing tool in looking longer and leaner, which may be just what the doctor ordered when you’re carrying a few extra pounds. Wear similar shades on top and bottom to visually elongate your frame - I refer to this as ‘columns of color’ (click here for more details). Here are a few ways to do it:
Dresses naturally create a column. Since they’re the same color on top and bottom, dresses do a great job of creating a long and lean line. And you can intensify the effect with your shoes, too. Bare legs and nude heels or dark tights and booties keep your legs long and lean as well.
Same shade top & bottom. Wearing a shirt and pants in the same color is essentially the definition of a column of color. And then your jacket or cardigan can be in any shade you like.
Same shade jacket & bottom. A jacket/cardigan and pants in similar color tones do the same thing as a top and bottom (as long as you have the jacket on). And don’t think that you need to default to dark colors for this – it’s about the long line that’s created with similar shades, not about hiding in black.
BODY-SKIMMING VS HIDING
Your first instinct when you’re carrying extra weight may be to wear big clothes – voluminous tops and cardigans that hide your shape underneath. But by doing this, you’re actually adding volume to your frame, as opposed to camouflaging it - so you’ll look bigger than you actually are.
I consistently advise clients (regardless of their weight) to wear styles that skim your body, so you show your shape without wearing anything tight and clingy (that appears too small), or anything large and floaty (that appears too big).
KEEP IT IN PROPORTION
Dressing your shape (no matter what shape you are) is all about proportions, and the main idea behind proportion is balance. An essential way to keep your frame in balance is by highlighting the smallest part of your torso, which is usually your waist or just under your bust.
Let’s first talk about what not to do: I have many clients who default to long/shapeless tunic tops with leggings when they’ve gained a few pounds. But when your top is oversized and ends around your thighs, you’ve visually shortened your legs, which makes your overall frame look shorter. And you’ve also added volume to your entire upper half, which, when paired with a skinny bottom, can throw your proportions out of whack.
An easy method to get back in balance is by calling out your waist in some way. Tuck in your top and add a belt. It tucking is scary, do a front tuck and still add a belt. If both of those are scary, choose tops and third pieces that call out your waist through their shape – with a body skimming silhouette, drawstring at the waist, or similar. Or simply choose tops that end just below your waist. No matter how you do it – when we see where your waist sits, that visually appears to be where your legs start, and you body looks longer overall.
So, now that you’re armed with a few tools to feel great about the body you have right now, you can enter the new year feeling stylish at any size. And remember – if you want to lose some weight, go for it! But it’s also okay to be content with the body you have now, and worry about losing weight at another time.