by Rae Smith.


The Timeless Beauty of a Basic Black Dress

* As a Plus Size Woman myself, I have always found a simple black dress to

be essential to my wardrobe because it is so versatile. A clean, basic

design may not be memorable in and of itself but can be very slimming in

look and accessorized without many limitations. A black dress can be dressed

up or down to suit almost any occasion. In my opinion a simple dark dress

makes life easier. You know that whenever you wear it, it will look perfect.


*You should consider off-black or even black hose with black pumps you're

your black dress because they will slim and lengthen the legs as well as pull together the total look.


* Colorful or attention-getting accessories in the face and neck area to

draw the eye up and further slim the body. A fabulous scarf draped across

the upper body, a terrific pin or a wonderful necklace will draw the

attention to the accessory and away from the body. A light hair color can also work to your advantage.


* Although I am partial to black, wearing a black dress is not set in stone.

Navy Blue, Blue Black, Brown Black, Dark Grey and Deep Burgundy can do the

job nicely as well. I suggest you hold up various dark shades to your face

while looking in the mirror and see what best complements your natural skin

tone and hair color. Notice whether cool or warm shades work best for you.

Lighter neutrals do not slim as much as darker ones do. If you want to look

slimmer, but can't go dark, go cool and dull.

Dressing Tips for a Slimmer You

* Even those considered thin are interested in dressing to look even thinner.

Below are some basic tips that will help you enhance your look.


1. Solid fabrics are more slimming than those with patterns. That does not

mean you cannot wear patterns. Just make sure they are not large

patterns... The more a pattern looks like a solid, the less it will enlarge.

A small hounds tooth check or a glen plaid may be great for you with their

negligible pattern properties. You can always offset any ill effect with

accessories that draw the eye away from that area. But remember, beware of splashy, all-over prints that enlarge.


2. Bulky fabrics will add inches to the silhouette. They work much better

for accessories or trim than for head-to-toe dressing. Stiff fabric--especially if

done up in styles that stand away from the body--will add inches. If you love them, use them for trim.


3. The longer the vertical "line" of the total look, the more slimming. This

means one color--or close to it--from head to toe. The lower the contrast

between shoes, hose (or slacks), skirt and top (or dress) and hair (or hat)

the more slimming the outfit. Years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting

Geoffrey Holder, the famous dancer and choreographer at Studio 54. He was a

charming man and told me to always dress in one color, given my height and

weight. He meant it in a very dear way and was not trying to insult me. He

said "Stand Tall and Look Tall". Geoffrey, by the way, is 6'6" and he always

dressed in a monochromatic style. He always looked enormous but had an

unmistakable air of confidence about him. That experience has always stayed with me.


4. Try and wear the highest heels you can. They will make you appear taller

and therefore slimmer; assuming you can wear them comfortably. And they do wonders for making a woman feel sexy, too.


5. Be aware of your focal points. Check yourself in a full-length mirror.

Close your eyes. Open them. What do you see first? This is your focal point.

Your focal points will generally be high and/or on the inside: above the

fullest line of bust and/or down the entire length of the garment usually in

the center-front position. You can attract "the eye of the beholder" where

you want it to be by accessorizing appropriately or wearing lighter or brighter colors to accentuate those areas.


6. Try not to make high value contrast mistakes. Sometimes, unfortunately,

you might see very light bare arms because they are adjacent to a very dark,

sleeveless top. (If you are going sleeveless, always think about value

contrast.) The same holds true for very dark shorts. They create high value

contrast and will appear to shorten the legs. Swimsuits that are dark will

not shorten the leg, especially if they are high cut, but be careful here,

because , high cuts designs can draw attention to thigh bulges. And

remember, a high contrast between the top and bottom of an outfit will "cut

the body in half"; -making you look shorter and therefore wider.

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