Of course you could eat less and exercise more to lose 10 pounds, but you can take a shortcut to at least look like you weigh less--even if you really don't.
All you have to do is wear the right clothes. And by "right" we mean using fashion tricks to cleverly cover up jiggly bellies or chubby hips to show off your best assets and disguise your worst.
First, don't wear big, bulky clothes. All that excess fabric just makes you look even bigger. Instead of hiding under your clothes, use them to portray a thinner, more svelte you.
10 ways to look 10 pounds thinner from top to bottom:
1. Make your face look thinner.
Pull your hair up and away from your shoulders. If you have long hair, put it in a high ponytail and your face will look much thinner. If your hair is shorter, style it in loose curls and waves for a slimming effect. Also, wispy bangs will soften a round face. For that curly look, apply mousse to wet hair for lift and extra hold. After blow-drying, use a three-quarter-inch curling iron in a downward backward motion. Finish with a medium-hold hairspray.
2. Look less top-heavy.
Avoid empire-cut waists, as well as colors and patterns that draw attention to your chest. Remember vertical stripes make you look thinner, while a V-neck and scoop-neck shirts make your top appear smaller. Also, an A-line skirt will balance out your top, putting the focus on your waist and lower legs. Make sure you wear a bra that really fits you to instantly look five pounds thinner.
3. Make your arms look smaller.
Wear slightly draped cap sleeves or three-quarter length sleeves to make big arms look smaller and call attention to your waistline instead of your arms.
4. Make a big tummy look thinner.
Wear a fitted jacket that is drawn in at the sides. This creates clean lines, but doesn't look bulky. In addition, wrap-around shirts and dresses with rouching in the front will disguise extra tummy fat. Be sure to avoid stiff or shiny fabrics.
5. Make wide hips look smaller.
Choose boot-cut pants with a slight flare at the bottom to balance out your hips. This look creates a long, lean vertical line. Here's a great tip: Women of normal height should choose long or tall jeans or pants to create the illusion of a slim, tall leg.
6. Make a big derriere look smaller.
Don't opt for high-waist jeans or pants since they'll make your bottom look too big. Instead, choose pants that sit lower on your hips--but not so low that you have a muffin-top spilling out! Go for a looser-fitting style.
7. Make your legs look thinner.
A slimming skirt that stops just above the knee or below the calf will show off your legs so they look their best. Full skirts should be worn long--even to your ankle. If you prefer tighter skirts, choose one that has a slit on the side--not the front or back. Side slits make walking look fluid, and they're very comfortable; front and back slits are uncomfortable and unflattering. Unless you're super skinny, avoid pencil skirts. Also, avoid argyle tights, fishnets and patterned or brightly colored tights since they'll make your legs look heavier.
8. Look thinner all over.
Meet your new favorite color: black. Black is the most slimming color--be it that little black dress or black pants matched with a dark-colored shirt, such as purple, brown or navy blue. Here's a trick to slim down any outfit of any color: Pair it with a cute little black sweater.
9. Add some bling.
Black may be thinning, but it can also be boring. Glam it up with jewelry. Stick with silver or gold and choose a necklace with a long chain to make you look taller and thinner.
10. Look thinner and taller--instantly.
Stand up straight! Your mother was right. By standing up straight, pulling your shoulders back and sucking in your tummy, you can look two to three inches taller and 10 pounds slimmer--instantly.
(Sources: LifeScript.com, Associated Content, About.com and AARP)
--Edited by Cathryn Conroy