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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.


• 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,
MICHAEL Michael Kors pencil skirt, $70,
Galian zipper detail clutch, $70,


• 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,
White House Black Market sequin tank, $89,
Steve Madden black stretch riding pants, $48,
Nine West booties, $98,
Glitter clutch, vintage


• Belts should cinch your natural waist
• Thin horizontal strips are flattering
• Dramatic details de-emphasize problems

Sara's oversized, long cardigan and shapeless jeans (in her "before" pic) actually appear to add pounds, so we gave her a brand new jeans and sweater look!

Skinny Solution: Belts should cinch your natural waist -- Never underestimate the power of a belt. Sara is a 12 on top and a size 14 on the bottom, but this belt is an instant waist-maker and creates the illusion that Sara whittled away inches from her waistline. Be sure that the belt hits at your natural waist. Any higher (like an empire waist) will actually make you look bigger.

Skinny Solution: Thin horizontal strips are flattering -- Yes you CAN wear horizontal stripes, just make sure they're thin and delicate. The lines, if thin like on Sara's top, can act as a nice detail and optical illusion making you appear thinner.

Skinny Solution: Dramatic details de-emphasize problems - A detail -- like this flower -- at the neckline also creates interest and draws eyes to the face -- exactly where you want them. The jeans you choose can also make a major difference. Look for jeans that nip in at the knees, and choose jeans a bit longer than usual and wear them with heels to create a long, lean look. These bootcut jeans from NYDJ are the perfect shape, plus have lifting and sculpting fibers woven into the denim.

Shopping Details

Gracia striped cardigan, $60,
Kate Spade stripe floral detail blouse, $229,
Forever21 patent leather belt, $10,
NYDJ trouser jean, $108,
Kenneth Cole NY East West clutch, $148,
Type Z suede pump, $56,


• Avoid all-over busy or colorful patterns
• Choose for smart silhouettes
• Match your tights & shoes

The length and cut of Alicia's red dress (in the "before" shot) do nothing to enhance her figure. Instead, we chose a sleek, body-skimming dress that hugs in all the right places but isn't skin tight.

Skinny Solution: Avoid all-over busy or colorful patterns -- Look for patterns in muted tones rather than those that are loud or bold. It may seem counterintuitive for a night out, but do not pile on layers of color, shine or volume. All of those things will actually make you look heavier.

Skinny Solution: Choose for smart silhouettes -- this Jessica Simpson dress not only has longer sleeves that can camouflage not-quite-toned arms, but it also has a subtle gathered ruching detail right on the waistline. This touch of gathering in just the right spot allows some forgiveness for your tummy area, and also creates the look of a narrower waist. The stretch beautifully accentuates Alicia's curve. Plus a one piece item (like this dress) will make your whole silhouette look longer and leaner.

Skinny Solution: Match your tights & shoes - We finished the look with black opaque tights and a dark charcoal pump -- matching your tights to your shoes in dark shades slims the legs and gives you a longer, leaner look from head to toe.

Jessica Simpson floral dress, $83,
Apt 9 metallic stretch belt, $24,
JC Penney silver pyramid bracelet, $12,
Steve Madden platform flannel pump, $90,