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Flattering Fashions to Help You Look Slim

There's an old saying that, "It's all in the packaging."

Well, how you dress can make you look heavier or lighter.

And on "The Early Show" Friday, style contributor Katrina Szish spotlighted fashions to help you look as much as 20 pounds slimmer - "skinny solutions" that "minimize"!

Katrina had "real people" - not professional models -- in before-and-after outfits.

"Shapewear," she says, has been incredibly popular choice. In fact, Americans spent $848.3 million on shapewear last year (according to The NPD Group, a market research firm), but there are also amazing new fabrics like Lycra 2.0 and garments with built-in slimmers.

But those aren't the the only solution. You shouldn't discount how much illusion is involved in making someone appear slimmer. That visual magic doesn't necessarily require a special garment or new technology or a lot of expense. So today, we're not focusing on price points or designers, but tips for every shape and size. These are "skinny solutions" everyone can use.

COLOR-BLOCKING

• Choose color blocking to disguise your shape
• Skirts should be knee-length
• Don't put a clutch under your arm

Rather than opting for a shapeless blouse and boxy pants, like Aimee is wearing in her "before" picture, look for pieces with colorblocking.

Skinny Solution: Choose color blocking to disguise your shape -- Color blocking manipulates the eyes, making it look as though certain areas of the body are larger and/or smaller. Smart colorblocking visually redefines your silhouette. Eyes are drawn towards the brighter colors, and the darker shades create negative space, making fuller areas appear instantly streamlined. Our model Aimee is the co-founder of MadisonPlus, the go-to style site for plus-size women, and she's wearing a ShapeFx Hold-You-In jacket made from fabric with built-in slimming technology -- extra spandex provides extra stretch and support, and the princess seams emphasize long, lean lines. Aimee is a size 14 on bottom and 16 on top and looks long and lean in this outfit.

Skinny Solution: Skirts should be knee-length - A slim black pencil skirt is universally slimming, as long as it doesn't hug across the hips. We chose a skirt that hits just a touch below the knee to show off the slim curve of the leg -- anything too long (mid-calf or long) can makes you look shorter and highlights the widest part of your lower leg. Going too short can make will make you look top-heavy.

Skinny Solution: Don't put a clutch under your arm - This might sound odd when first hearing, it but when you think about it, it makes sense. A tiny clutch will flatten out your arm and will add bulk to your midsection! Instead, carry your bad in your hand at your side. We added a slim clutch with a vertical zipper detail from Galian.

Shopping Details:
Shape FX Hold-You-In Sculpting Power-Ponte jacket, $89, www.spiegel.com
MICHAEL Michael Kors pencil skirt, $70, www.zappos.com
Galian zipper detail clutch, $70, www.galianonline.com

SLEEK MONOCHROME

• Black isn't always slimming. Shape & proportion are key
• Structured tops create hourglass shape
• Avoid patent leather and patterned shoes

We're disproving the that an all-black or dark outfit mean it's slimming. In fact, all the black pieces Lisa is wearing in her "before" picture make her look boxy and heavy. That's because the silhouette and cuts are all wrong for her.

Skinny Solution - Black isn't always slimming. Shape & proportion is key -- We went for more flattering silhouettes while still sticking to a monochromatic palette, which when done right, can have immediate slimming and lengthening results.

Skinny Solution - Structured tops create hourglass - The straight lines of a tailored, structured blazer with a nipped-in waist counteract excess curves with a crisp shape. This is especially good for new mom - Lisa. Covering her tummy may still be important. And..add a top with some sparkle or shine for contrast, and choose slim, fitted black pants -- with lots of stretch and support. Baggy or wide trousers can add too much bulk. But, make sure the blazer and top cover your derriere! A high-heeled ankle boot in a matte finish -- like suede or flannel -- keeps the eye from going straight down to your shoe and blends seamlessly with a fitted pant.

Skinny Solution - Avoid patent leather and patterned shoes -- Here's another tip that might sound unusual when you hear it, but it really does make a difference. The shine of a patent leather shoe, or any shoe with eye-catching pattern, will do just that, catch your eye. The key is not to break up the clean line of your leg. That way, you'll elongate your legs - making you appear long and lean. What lady wouldn't want that?

Shopping Details:

LC Lauren Conrad satin trim blazer,$50, www.kohls.com
White House Black Market sequin tank, $89, www.whitehouseblackmarket.com
Steve Madden black stretch riding pants, $48, www.zappos.com
Nine West booties, $98, www.ninewest.com
Glitter clutch, vintage