How to Never Look Fat Again: Over 1000 Ways to Dress

How to Never Look Fat Again: Over 1000 Ways to Dress
How to Never Look Fat Again
Over 1,000 Ways to Dress Thinner—
New York Times Bestselling
Author of How Not to Look Old
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Table of Contents
Copyright Page
Raise your hand if you think you look fat. You’re not alone. Almost every woman I know thinks
she does—even those who exercise every day, eat nothing but salads and salmon, and wear a size six or
—Charla Krupp, from the Introduction
All women want to look thinner and chicer, but are constantly sabotaged by their clothes. Style
expert Charla Krupp, bestselling author of How Not to Look Old, knows: It’s not you, it’s your clothes! If
you stop wearing things that make you look heavier than you actually are, you can look thinner by
tonight—without starving, exercising, or doing anything crazy.
In HOW TO NEVER LOOK FAT AGAIN, Charla has devised a fresh, fast, and simple way to
determine whether a piece of clothing is going to pack on the pounds. All you have to do is think about
each item you wear in terms of how fattening it is. Simply steer clear of high fat clothes—those
guaranteed to make you look flabby and frumpy—and wear no-fat as often as you can. How simple is
You’ll never get dressed the same way again once you discover:
smart, easy ways to hide arm flap, a big bust, a muffin top, back fat, a Buddha belly, a big booty,
wide hips, thunder thighs, heavy calves—and that’s only half the book!
which fabrics, colors, and styles make you look fat—and which ones make the pounds drop
clever solutions for special situations—workout gear, evening wear, and even swimsuits!
Charla’s “Brilliant Buys”: the brands, fashions, and services that really deliver—and a list of
which products to avoid
the top ten tips for every body issue that will make you look thinner by tonight!
Finally, you can stop asking your husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, sister, brother, mother,
coworker: “Does this make me look fat?” Now the answer will always be “No!”
CHARLA KRUPP is a nationally known style expert who appeared for ten years on the Today
show and on more than thirty national TV shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, The Tyra
Banks Show, The Early Show, Entertainment Tonight, and Access Hollywood. Krupp is a contributing
editor to People: Style Watch and was formerly beauty director at Glamour, a senior editor at InStyle,
and a fashion columnist at More. She has written for the New York Times, TIME, and many fashion
magazines and websites. She lives in New York City and Sagaponack, New York, with her husband,
Richard Zoglin.
My husband, Richard Zoglin, who never gains a pound.
Over 100 products under $25!
→ So how are those high-fat and no-fat looks going? After my tour of twenty-one cities showing
women all over this country how easy it is to look THINNER BY DINNER(!), I settled in for a few months
testing well over 400 beauty and body products, shapewear, bras, and workout gear along with my
beauty-savvy magazine editor friend, Brette Polin. I needed to see if the newer versions of all the
original brilliant buys in the hardcover edition of How to Never Look Fat Again were in fact better than
all the products that have launched since that book hit the printer. As a result of all that dabbing and
schmearing and inspecting my face and body for results, I’m introducing you to over 125 new products
in this updated edition of How to Never Look Fat Again. I’m thrilled to tell you that in the new version
you’re holding, there are over 100 products under $25!
Why? Because in this economy, finding a beauty product that performs miracles for over $100
isn’t as exciting as finding one that will do the same for less. I don’t care how much money you have,
every woman I know wants to pay less and get more. So, in judging these brilliant buys, price mattered.
If two products were equally as effective, the less expensive one was the winner. But, of course, the
ultimate winner in all this is you! If you already own the hardcover, you are going to save money by
picking up this paperback, too!
The new message in this updated edition of How to Never Look Fat Again is: Don’t be loyal to
products. Loyalty to people is a virtue; loyalty to beauty products and fashion items can make you look
old—and fat! Your personal style is constantly evolving, and your products need to evolve, too. Say your
favorite lipstick is discontinued. Are you one of those women who chase down whatever remaining
tubes are left on the planet? If so, better to save your precious energy and just embrace the change as a
signal from the universe to move on to another shade. In the world of beauty, newness most of the time
benefits you as it’s usually an upgrade in efficacy, ingredients, formulations, or delivery system. Unless,
of course, it’s the same old product with an upgraded price tag!
I still believe that a change of makeup and skin-care products can make a difference. I’ve seen it
firsthand. My sister, Lora, who lives a very casual lifestyle in California, came to New York City to visit me
and we spent a lot of time testing new beauty products. When she got on the plane to go home, she
looked so radiant, as if she had done something much more dramatic than try out new exfoliators,
moisturizers, serums, foundations, blush, eyeliner, brow filler, mascara, and lipstick. When she got
home, her friends demanded that she tell them what she did at my New York derm, to get her skin so
glowing. No one could really believe that it was simply a change of products! So have fun checking out
these new brilliant buys with your sister, friends, book club group… It’s all about sharing the wealth with
women you love. Let me know what new products you are obsessed with at Here’s to
everyone looking younger, sexier, thinner, better by tonight!
Raise Your Hand If You Think You Look Fat
Almost every woman I know thinks she looks fat—even women who exercise every day, eat
nothing but salads and salmon, and wear a size 6 or less!
The truth is, I think I’m fat, too. I can’t stand that I’ve gained weight. In this past year, I have
weighed many more pounds than I’d like to. As women, I think that we all carry three different weight
numbers around in our head: the number of pounds we would love to weigh (in our dreams), the
number we can live with comfortably, and then the number that makes us feel like we are fat. I’m sure
you know what I mean. I know my numbers; you know yours. And even though the number that makes
me feel fat is still within the normal healthy range for a person of my height (five feet), those extra
pounds make a huge difference in how I feel, how I approach the world, and I how I dress that day.
→ What’s worse—it’s getting harder and harder for me to keep my weight down than it was a
few years ago. I’m trying—really, I am—because this creeping poundage cannot continue with every
passing year. At least that’s what I tell myself.
The good news is that even though I think I’m fat, most other people don’t. They don’t see the
way my middle now divides into three sections. They would never know that my favorite jeans hardly zip
up anymore—or that when I do try to zip them, a bulge squeezes out over the waistband. They don’t
know that I’ve had to increase my cup size; or that my upper arms, when not under wraps, jiggle; or that
cellulite lurks beneath that high-waist, long-legged piece of shapewear.
If you don’t see all that, it’s because I’ve become an expert at hiding the fat. Not by dieting and
exercise—though I’m a fervent believer in both—but by wearing the right clothes in flattering fabrics,
colors, and shapes and styling them with distracting accessories; by having the best supportive bra that
lifts me up and gives me a couple extra inches of torso; by wearing the highest heels I can comfortably
stand in; and by holding my head high, my shoulders back, and being aware of my posture. I’ve gathered
more than a thousand tips like these that go way beyond curating a closetful of black—which is not only
depressing but fools no one.
I knew some of this from thirty-plus years of editing fashion magazines (Glamour, InStyle,
People: StyleWatch, Shop Etc.), directing the beauty coverage for Glamour, and running the beauty Web
site; writing about style for publications like the New York Times, Time, and More magazine;
and serving as a TV style expert for Today, Oprah, CBS Early Show, Entertainment Tonight, Access
Hollywood, and others. But I wanted to take this book beyond my own experience, so I went out and
interviewed every expert I knew—fashion stylists, beauty talents, shoe designers, bra specialists,
retailers, cosmetic dentists, dermatologists, podiatrists, plastic surgeons, wardrobe advisers, eyewear
pros, nutritionists, fitness gurus, etc.—to help me put together the ultimate master class on Hiding the
Fat. Because we all need to have an easy-to-reference book on this subject sitting on our nightstands,
right now.
Just as my first book, How Not to Look Old, helped women around the world learn fast and
effortless ways not to look old, this is the essential book that pulls together all the latest information on
what you need to do not to look fat.
The question that every woman I know asks herself before she walks out of the house is not,
“Do I look chic?” or even, “Do I look good?” but rather, “Do I look fat?” Don’t blame yourself for not
knowing the answer. Obviously, a lot of us don’t, because if we did, we wouldn’t be walking around in
the clothes we’re currently walking around in. No woman wants to look fat or has said to herself at the
time of purchase: “I realize that this dress will actually make me look ten pounds heavier, but I’m good
with that.” Every woman believes that she’s making a wise buy. So how come we often get it so wrong?
No, I’m not padded. This is how I look in a print that is just too busy for me—without
shapewear, a super supportive bra, or heels. Plus, two heavy accessories is two too many. See my No Fat
look here, please!
The body-shape approach toward what to wear—forever discussed in style books, fashion
magazines, and on TV style segments—isn’t working. Many women are still baffled by those body-shape
paradigms—pear shape, apple shape, etc.—and have difficulty identifying with the model they’re
supposed to resemble because of all the variables: height, frame, muscle tone, age, where you live,
what kind of work you do, and where you shop.
Nor am I a fan of those style books that try to reduce looking good to mathematical equations.
Personally, I don’t enjoy doing math. So please don’t ask me to get out a tape measure and take my own
measurements, then whip out a calculator and do a series of calculations to match them with a chart
that determines my shape and fashion category.
And what about those style guides that ask us to identify with a celebrity and take her fashion
cues? Oh, please! I’m not interested in channeling my inner Audrey or Jackie. Grown-up women don’t
feel the need to copy anyone else, be it a dead style icon or current Hollywood star. For me, the
problem with so many of these style guides for women is that they’re written by men. What I don’t
think many male style gurus realize is that most of us are proud of the women we have become. We are
comfortable with who we are and what we have achieved; we love and appreciate our bodies for what
they have done for us. It’s just that our bodies sometimes don’t reflect the real woman inside, for a
whole host of reasons, some of which are beyond our control! We have strong opinions about fashion
and know how we want to look. Maybe it’s romantic one day, classic the next, boho the day after that.
This is why I also don’t go for style manuals that insist that we categorize our style personalities—sexy,
preppie, ladylike—and stick with it; they don’t allow us the freedom to be whoever we want to be on
any given day.
As for books and magazines and TV shows predicated on looking good naked—they’re
unrealistic. While it would be a dream to look good without clothes, I think that’s raising the bar too
high. At this stage, I will happily settle for looking good dressed—the way I look in my normal everyday
life. Are you with me?
That’s why I’ve come up with a fast and simple way to determine whether a piece of clothing is
going to pack on the pounds. It’s the “No Fat Clothes” Diet. All you have to do is think about each piece
of clothing in terms of how fattening it is for you. Assess whether a particular item is high fat or no fat.
Simply steer clear of high-fat clothes, those guaranteed to make you look fatter than you are. Wear no
fat as often as you can. How easy is that?
For speed, the first part of How to Never Look Fat Again is organized by body parts. You know
what your personal issues are better than anyone else, so if you’re time crunched, you can read about
just that specific part. Or, if you only want to focus on how you look when you’re at the gym or on
special occasions, go to the chapters that zero in on tricky purchases such as swimwear, workout gear,
and evening dresses.
My message in How Not to Look Old, where I talked about all the tricks I’ve learned to help you
hide your age, was that it’s not just a matter of vanity. Looking young is essential today to your personal
survival in a competitive work world and a youth-obsessed culture. I feel exactly the same way about
not looking fat. Just as looking old is a stigma in the workplace, so is showing the extra pounds. Even if
we don’t like it, that’s the way it is.
It’s not news that being overweight is a stumbling block to success in America and that
overweight people are often subjected to discrimination at work. Ten years ago, Mark Roehling, then a
professor of management in the business school at Western Michigan University, analyzed twenty-nine
weight-loss studies in addition to his own and concluded that weight discrimination in the workplace is
worse for women than men. “Women who are even slightly overweight suffer a wage penalty,” Roehling
said. “In contrast, men who are slightly overweight experience a wage bonus. They actually earn a little
bit more.” Weight discrimination, he concluded, is an acceptable bias in America, because people he
spoke with didn’t feel the need to hold back their anti-fat prejudices. (“Weight-Based Discrimination in
Employment: Psychological and Legal Aspects,” Personnel Psychology, 1999).
Employers can get away with such prejudices because, unlike other minority groups, overweight
people aren’t protected by anti-discrimination laws. “If you have three people applying for two jobs and
they all have the same objective qualifications, but one is an ex-felon, one is an ex-mental patient, and
one is overweight, the one person who won’t get a job is the overweight person,” Roehling said.
Shocking, isn’t it?
According to the Obesity Society, inequities for the overweight in “employment settings, health
care facilities and educational institutions” were due to “widespread negative stereotypes that
overweight and obese people are lazy, unmotivated, lacking in self-discipline, less competent,
noncompliant and sloppy.” In fact, weight discrimination was actually found to be more prevalent than
race discrimination; it ranked third in discrimination, behind gender and age. (“Perceptions of Weight
Discrimination: Prevalence and Comparison to Race and Gender Discrimination in America.”
International Journal of Obesity, 2008).
As for books and magazines and TV shows predicated on looking good naked—they’re
unrealistic. While it would be a dream to look good without clothes, I think that’s raising the bar too
high. At this stage, I will happily settle for looking good dressed—the way I look in my normal everyday
life. Are you with me?
In another study, participants were asked to rate normal-weight and obese job candidates on
leadership potential, predicted success, likelihood of selection and starting salary. Normal-weight
candidates scored 16 percent higher on the starting salary ranking, and were 14.7 percent more likely to
be chosen as the right person for the job (“Do Antifat Attitudes Predict Antifat Behaviors?” Obesity,
You’d think that with all the attention on weight in our culture, people would stop ordering
those cheeseburgers with a side of fries, a milk shake, and apple pie. But the latest statistics show that
the number of overweight Americans is growing—and the number of those actually obese is growing
even faster. If you fall in that obese group—defined as people who are more than a hundred pounds
overweight—you really need to do something about it before you can get the full benefit of my book.
Dr. Pamela Peeke—the fitness and nutri-shrink guru who tells it like it is in such books as Fight Fat After
Forty, Body for Life for Women, Fit to Live—says that women who are more than fifty pounds
overweight are especially in need of addressing the psychological issues underlying their excess weight.
“At fifty pounds overweight, there are neon signs flashing,” she explains.
A checklist to see if you have the problem in question.
Clothing and accessories are analyzed for their potential fat-making content. These are the lists
to take with you when you go shopping.
Newer ways to hide fat. How to exchange dated pieces for the current fashion solution, so that
you look neither fat nor frumpy.
Tips that address the styling of outfits.
Fierce, fast ways to drop a dress size in seconds.
The bottom line on beauty bull and fashion hype.
Special call-outs for the majority of women in the United States, who are under five-foot-four.
Special call-outs for women who have been challenged to find cool clothes in their sizes.
Cosmetic surgery, dermatological treatments, and new-age solutions to body issue dilemmas.
Even if you aren’t in the market, you want to be in the loop about what’s out there and whether it really
Specific recommendations for the products that really work—brands, style numbers, prices,
retailers, and shopping Web sites.
Promises to make to yourself to keep from dressing high fat.
Just one last thing that even your best friend might not tell you.
But there’s a big difference between being obese and simply being overweight—the category
that most of us fall into. Although the slimming strategies in this book can be useful to everyone, they
will have the most dramatic effect on women who are in the healthy weight range but still have a bit
more they’d like to lose.
There was a time in my life when I was as much as thirty pounds overweight (you’ll hear more
about that here). But even the extra pounds that I’m currently carrying around are getting harder and
harder to take off. It’s difficult to believe now, but I used to brag about my ability to lose weight fast. I
would pop into a Weight Watchers meeting, have a quick weigh-in, limit myself to 18 points a day, work
out a couple of times a week, and—voila!—the weight would always fall off. I felt very confident and in
control knowing that I had this fail-safe method that I could always turn to whenever I went off-track.
That plan now falls into the category of things I used to believe in that I can no longer rely on—like the
stock market and my 401(k). The old tricks for shedding pounds just aren’t working anymore. I’m sure
I’m not the only woman who feels this way.
Over the past year, in my effort to lose those extra pounds, I tried the South Beach Diet. I reupped at Weight Watchers, even registered for I boosted my spinning classes from
three days a week to six. I invested in a personal trainer for weight lifting. I bought all the hot new diet
books. And as Oprah suggested on her show, I even had my thyroid checked. (Too much information, I’m
sure, but yes, I did have an underactive thyroid. Unfortunately, taking medication to keep it in check did
not help move the needle on my scale.) Nothing seemed to work.
Finally, my doctor told me that with menopause, women gain an average of six pounds. (I wish
that was all that I gained!) Six pounds is perfectly normal; the weight just doesn’t come off so easily
anymore, and that’s why women keep putting on pounds as they age. I don’t know how I missed the email about the need to cut back your calories and ramp up your exercise after menopause, but it
probably went to spam along with the messages for acai berry cleanse, amazing diet tea, and lose
weight with PomClear!
So I decided that I couldn’t do this on my own any longer. I needed professional help. I went to
see a nutritionist upon the urging of my friend Andrea Sachs, who was also an experienced Weight
Watcher. Dietician and nutritionist Jennifer Andrus was the first to tell me that 18 points a day on
Weight Watchers (my old benchmark) was too much food for me. Jen calculated the amount of calories I
should consume per day to lose weight; I found out that I was taking in hundreds more calories a day
than she figured I should be. What I’ve discovered is that I can’t eat the same as I did ten years ago. No
woman can.
The other thing I’ve learned in the past few months is… I don’t have time for all this! At this
particular moment in my crazy-busy life, with the reality of my schedule, my deadlines, my travel, and
my priorities, I simply can’t indulge in an all-out, all-consuming body and weight-loss obsession. It would
be nice to work out seven times a week, but these days I can barely manage three. I wish I could make
healthy nutritious meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but it’s hard to find time to food shop, let
alone cook. And I don’t even have kids!
Why spend all that time and money going overboard to try to replicate the body of Malibu
Fitness Barbie? There are so many other things you can do to shed those pounds—or to make it appear
that you’ve shed them.
As I’m writing this, I’m reading in W magazine about the Tracy Anderson gym that is opening up
in New York City’s Tribeca. Tracy (who you’ll be hearing from later, in chapter 14) is offering up the
workout plan of her famous clients like Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow to mere mortals like us. First,
you have to get to her studio, then it’s 90 minutes of a grueling workout a day, six days a week. The cost:
about a thousand dollar initiation fee plus nine hundred dollar a month dues. She warned W editor
Jamie Rosen that if you stop her program, your rear end (never mind your investment) will fall flat and
back to its original position after two weeks. Plus there’s a strict dietary component: gallons of green
veggie juice, no dairy, no oil, brown rice is the devil, etc. Tracy says she’s almost fully booked, but how
many busy women in the real world can not only afford, but realistically commit to this? And for the rest
of their lives?
Even if we had the time, money, and discipline of celebrities who make their living on the red
carpet and whose cellulite is regularly hunted down by paparazzi to be front and center on magazine
covers, is this what we really want to spend our time and our money doing? As evolved as women are
right now, isn’t it a throwback to be slaves to an unattainable, unsustainable, unrealistic body image?
There is so much important work to be done on a global level and a personal level, isn’t it just a little
ridiculous to let the pursuit of the perfect body consume our lives?
Do we really need to have the thighs of Gwyneth? The arms of Madonna or Kelly Ripa? Jessica
Simpson gained a few pounds, wore the wrong belt, and suddenly—hello!—she looked like every other
American woman at Costco. But her weight gain was national news—the lead story on the
entertainment shows, the cover of celebrity magazines, the front page of newspapers across the
country. And Valerie Bertinelli? No one had seen her in years, but she became a hot commodity again by
revealing her body on national TV (her bikini photos were one of People magazine’s bestselling covers of
the year) and was rewarded with her own syndicated TV show—all because she lost fifty pounds! Kirstie
Alley, on the other hand, gained back all the weight she once so proudly lost—and her Fat Actress reality
show is no longer a reality. She’s onto her second show about weight called Kirstie Alley’s Big Life. And,
if you turn on the TV right now, you’ll find at least ten shows about weight loss, from The Biggest Loser
to Ruby.
With this book, I’m asking you to give yourself a break! Yes, you should diet. Yes, you should
exercise. But you should also realize that even if you dedicated your days to making those few pounds
go away, you probably still won’t look as thin as the twentysomething super-skinny celebs who appear
in the weekly tabloids and the sixteen-year-old models you see in fashion magazines. (For one thing, no
one is airbrushing your rear end and thighs for any dimples of cellulite!) More important, you wouldn’t
necessarily be any healthier, either. I know what weight I can go up to and still, according to the
physicians’ charts, be considered healthy. I’m not going to go there, partly because I would have a
closetful of clothes that I wouldn’t be able to wear. But aside from that, I would just feel fat, not fit. For
me to feel confident, happy, and well, I need to look and feel fit, not fat. That’s the goal here.
My point is that if those few extra pounds aren’t unhealthy but simply a matter of looking
good—to yourself and to others—why beat yourself up over them? Throughout history, women have
manipulated their bodies to conform to the fashionable shape of the time. Only in the last century has
the ideal figure become, as Joan Rivers so aptly describes it, an ironing board with big boobs. Why spend
all that time and money going overboard to try to replicate the body of Malibu Fitness Barbie? There are
so many other things you can do to shed those pounds—or to make it appear that you’ve shed them.
And now you have the book that tells you exactly what you need to do.
The bottom line? I don’t have time for a body and weight-loss obsession. And probably, neither
do you. Six pounds overweight? Twelve pounds overweight? I say, big deal. I’m not going to kill myself to
get rid of them. I’m going to take the easy way out, and I’m inviting you to join me. Now, turn the page,
and let’s get you looking thinner by tonight! •
Are Your Clothes Making You Look Fat?
How else do you explain why on some days you look your thinnest and on other days, not so
much—when you weigh exactly the same?
→ There are high-fat clothes and no-fat clothes and those (low-fat) in-between. Most of us have
all three categories—high fat, low fat, and no fat—hanging in our closets and filling our drawers.
As weight-conscious women, we are aware of calories as well as fat grams. We are constantly
monitoring what we put in our mouths. If you have an entire pizza for dinner, you are not likely to top it
off with a rich dessert. Because pizza alone is going to max out your calories and fat intake, pretty much
no matter what diet you’re on. Now if you stayed no-fat all day, when the dessert cart rolls up, you may
feel like you can indulge in one perfect chocolate chip cookie. This daily internal negotiation that we
have with food—“I’ll eat this, I won’t eat that”—is the same principle we need to apply to clothes: “I’ll
buy this, I won’t buy that.” Just like you wouldn’t keep Mallomars in the kitchen if you were trying to
lose weight, you shouldn’t store fattening choices in your closet if you want to look slim. Same concept.
Making strategic clothing choices for your specific body issues is the secret to dressing Fit Not
Fat! Of course, you can (and should) diet and exercise, but neither of those are going to get you looking
ten pounds thinner, ten years younger, and ten times sexier by tonight.
Here’s how to look Fit Not Fat in a super-fattening big floral-print full skirt: Don’t top it off with
an equally fattening oversized white cotton blouson top with full sleeves. Instead, keep your top half
(and everything else on your body) slim because you have maxed out your fat allowance with the skirt.
So you choose a stretchy V-neck top that hugs your body and fabulously shows off your toned upper
half—neck, shoulders, décolletage, waist, and arms. You don’t have a fabulous upper body to
compensate for the super-fattening skirt? No problem—don’t wear the skirt. Instead, go head to toe in a
monochromatic dress or pants look. Which, as you will find out in the pages to come, doesn’t have to be
black and doesn’t need to be boring.
Let’s face it, stressing out about “What can I wear and not look fat?” consumes too much of our
time—trying on clothes, looking in the mirror, figuring out if we look fat—and then we are forever
returning our miscalculations.
You don’t want to wear more than one piece of high-fat cloth-ing per outfit. Ideally, you want all
your clothes to be zero fat. Fashion designers, stylists, tailors, and good personal shoppers all know what
pieces make you look Fit Not Fat. Now you will, too, because in each chapter you’ll find various pieces of
clothing categorized into high-fat and no-fat lists. Please note that the same piece can be high fat for one
body issue and no fat for another. So no angry letters, please! Once you have the list for your body issue,
you will be able to assess how fattening that piece of clothing on the rack will be on your body, before
you waste time bringing it into the dressing room. Why is this important? Of course, it’s best if you can
actually try everything on, but really, who has the time? If you can size up the fat factor in a nanosecond,
you’ll have more time to do all those other more important things in life. (And you’ll look Fit Not Fat
doing them, too.)
This book is dedicated to fast-tracking your “Do I look fat?” quandaries. Once we collectively nail
this fat issue, we will move on with the self-assuredness of a woman who knows that she looks Fit Not
Fat and therefore is in control. One great role model is Michelle Obama, who is not a size 2 but always
looks strong and confident and pleased with herself, in whatever she wears.
Four basic ingredients pretty much determine whether a garment or accessory is fattening:
shape, fabric, color, and fit. To assess the fat content of a piece of clothing or accessory in the abstract,
we have to massively generalize. So please cut me some slack if you do indeed find a Pucci print puffer
coat that makes you look ten pounds thinner! Fit is the wild card here. Only you and your three-way
mirror can figure it out. A good tailor can help ensure a great fit, but sometimes a tailor will convince
you to salvage a piece that is simply not worth salvaging. (Just like a sales associate in a department
store will tell you that something looks fabulous when you know it doesn’t. It’s called being on
commission.) Reject a piece sooner rather than later, and you won’t be throwing good money after bad.
Here’s to not having any more miscalculations, which are probably those clothes in your closet with the
hangtags still on. •
It’s time to break the habit of wearing clothes that are better in theory… An outfit either creates
a good impression of you or it doesn’t.
HIGH-FAT pieces are oversized or have excessive amounts of fabric. As in, a super-sized
boyfriend sweater, a sailor pant, a baby doll dress, a pleated skirt, a dirndl skirt, a balloon skirt, a fiftiesstyle ball gown, a ruffled peasant skirt, overalls, harem pants, sweatpants, and an espadrille shoe that
ties up on the leg. On the flip side, pieces that are too small to cover your frame leave too much exposed
and are also high-fat. Stay clear of tube tops, hot pants, cut-off jeans, shorts suits, micro-minis, bikinis,
bustiers, cutout dresses, and slit-up-to-there skirts, too.
LOW-FAT pieces provide coverage, but not much else. (I am not going to concentrate on this
category of clothes in this book, as I assume you will want to look as slim as possible, but I’ll explain this
category here, so you can assess your current wardrobe.) Many of these are boring classics that just sit
there on your body and don’t particularly flatter it. Often, it’s a tweed blazer, twin sweater set, a
sweater dress, a mid-calf skirt, pants with side pockets, a denim jacket, loafers, flannel shirts, white
shirts, cotton tees, or plain black pumps.
NO-FAT pieces are the hardest workers. Well-constructed shapers, they enhance your figure,
create a svelte silhouette, hide the fat, and slurp you up in all the right places. They make you look
better than you would look naked. Stock up on trim V-neck sweaters with three-quarter sleeves, a pencil
skirt, boot-cut jeans, an A-line shift dress, a wrap dress, flat-front trousers, a full-coverage bra, a
shapewear bike short, high-waist opaque stockings, a control camisole, a knee-length heeled boot, and a
pair of nude high heels.
HIGH-FAT fabrics are, unfortunately, the most alluring, heavy on shine and texture. Be wary of
wide-whale corduroy, crushed velvet, metallic, leather, patent leather, suede, down, mohair, angora,
brocade, taffeta, bouclé, sequins, satin, beading, quilting, embroidery, tulle, fringe, flannel, terry cloth,
toile, fur (real or faux), chiffon, horizontal stripes, and big prints—houndstooth, floral, plaids, Pucciesque.
LOW-FAT fabrics are those that are comfortable and wearable but don’t particularly go out of
their way to enhance your shape. The most popular include cotton, denim, plain velvet, silk, lace, wool
crepe, and wool gabardine.
NO-FAT fabrics have a little something extra that helps mold, shape, and hug your curves. You
can’t have enough jersey, cashmere, fine cotton, spandex, fine ribs, flat knits, matte crepe silk, wool
rayon, or vertical pinstripes.
HIGH FAT: neons, brights, primary colors, pastels, white.
LOW FAT: darker hues—navy, brown, charcoal, olive, burgundy, gray.
NO FAT: black, but a closetful of black clothes is so depressing. Try to limit your black purchases
to anywhere you have body issues.
HIGH FAT: too big or too tight.
LOW FAT: passable, not amazing.
NO FAT: perfect fit—like it was made for you.
How do trends play into the fat equation? When I look at a fashion runway, I’m always rooting
for those trends that I can wear without looking like a blob. I love a show if it has dresses, suits, jackets,
and pants I will not look fat in. Military—yes! It’s generally dark, slimming, and fitted. Safari—yes! Most
women find smallish leopard prints flattering. Transparency—no! Not for those with serious flab. Pretty
baby—no! Little girl dresses and puffed sleeves make everyone look pregnant. Honestly, most of the
trends only look good on stick-thin models stalking the runway, teenage girls trolling the mall, or the
twenty-something-year-old assistants at fashion magazines. You know that curating a personal style by
what looks good on someone else leaves you with a closetful of pieces you don’t feel good wearing. But
once you start looking at the fat content of clothes, you’ll be outing fat clothes on the spot. The goal is
to become a very picky, or shall we say discerning, fashion editor. I know you can do this.
Here’s the bottom line: If you have to ask the question “Does this make me look fat?” you
already know the answer. But chances are, you’re still tempted to wear the piece in question because of
how you want it to look, because you love the designer, because you love the fabric or color, because of
where you bought it, because it’s on trend, because you paid too much for it, because, because,
Sorry, but we don’t walk around with a letter of explanation pinned to our cropped jackets
defending our choice of this garment. It’s time to break the habit of wearing clothes that are better in
theory—and see yourself in the same bright light that others see you. That outfit either creates a good
impression of you or it doesn’t. And, if it doesn’t, summon up the courage to banish the offending
garment to the giveaway bag.
What’s lurking in your closet that’s packing on the pounds? You’ll have a better fix on those
sartorial calorie-adding culprits after you take this quiz. •
Here’s the bottom line: If you have to ask the question, “Does this make me look fat?” you
already know the answer.
A. A metallic silver puffer that hits mid-calf
B. A short black puffer that’s belted at the waist
C. A navy single-breasted wool or cashmere three-quarter-length coat
A. A denim mini
B. A boho-chic maxi
C. A black pencil that grazes the knees
A. Bright hues and bold patterns
B. Solid colors
C. Black
A. Satin
B. Cashmere
C. Jersey
A. Platform wedges
B. Kitten heels
C. Knee-high black suede boots with a heel
A. Skinny jeans that taper at the ankle
B. Five-pocket with straight legs
C. Dark denim boot cut with a bit of stretch
A. Relaxed fit with elastic waist
B. Wide legged with cuffs
C. Slim cut in a Lycra® blend
A. High-waisted
B. Stretch cotton capris
C. Flat-front trousers
A. An oversized T-shirt and sweats
B. A Juicy Couture velour tracksuit
C. Yoga pants and a tank top
A. Patterned stockings and colored tights
B. Nude hose
C. Black tights
A. A bikini
B. A tankini
C. A solid color one-piece
A. Cotton boy shorts
B. A barely there thong
C. A seamless bike short with control
A. Lacy black push-up bra
B. Comfy white T-shirt bra
C. Supportive, full-coverage nude
A. Camisole
B. Bike short
C. Body suit
A. Boxers and an oversized T-shirt
B. Cotton nightgown
C. Tank top and pajama bottoms
MOSTLY A’S: You may be up on the fashion trends, but unless you are built like Brazilian
supermodel Gisele Bundchen (and if you are, please don’t stand near me) you risk looking fatter and
frumpier than you actually are because the colors, fabrics, textures, and shapes you gravitate to are
super-fattening. Think of your closet as the equivalent of a high-fat fridge crammed with cake, cookies,
chocolate sauce, and [insert your favorite forbidden food here]. You need to quit those high-caloric
pieces, so you won’t be tempted when getting dressed. Don’t worry about what you wore in the past.
You’re in the fat-free zone now. Promise yourself: No more fat clothes. Once you go chapter by chapter,
you’ll see a huge difference—not only in how you look, but how you feel. You’ll be happier with yourself
for taking action and switching to no-fat clothes from this day forward.
MOSTLY B’S: Your closet is packed with solid low-fat choices, and you have the right idea about
what looks right, but your look could be even sleeker if you traded some of those low-fat pieces for nofat pieces. Sometimes you may be tempted by a dress, a sweater, or a skirt even though you intuitively
know it’s not going to do you 100 percent justice. Next time that happens while you’re shopping, try a
little self-control. Ask the sales associate to hold the piece in question while you shop around. In the
next five minutes, picture yourself showing up at work or a party in that piece, looking ten pounds
heavier than you actually are. Do you still want it? Summon up the willpower to tell yourself, and the
sales associate, that it wasn’t meant to be. Welcome to your first day of No-Fat Dressing. From now on,
only buy no-fat. Once you see how much thinner you look, it won’t be hard to say no next time.
MOSTLY C’S: Congrats! You’re an extremely fashion-savvy woman whose closet is packed with
lean, no-fat choices. You not only know what’s hot, you know your bod—and what flatters it best. You
probably look as thin as possible day in, day out. But if you still feel that you look fat, maybe there’s
something that’s just a little bit off. Maybe you’re not seeing yourself the way others see you. Then
again, it could be the styling or the fit, but don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.
You’ll discover how subtle little styling tricks can make you look thinner, taller, and sexier. From
now on you’ll be able to tweak your own outfits to perfection like a pro.
Who among us does not want to walk out of the house every day looking like we dropped a
dress size or two? From now on, wear only no-fat clothes and you’ll look Fit Not Fat every day, all year
round, winter and even in summer, too.
Let’s start at the top and work our way down.
Wide Face
You haven’t seen cheekbones since the Reagan administration… You can barely see your eyes
when you smile… Photos make you look like you’re storing away nuts for the winter… You have more
than one chin.
→ When it comes to looking plump, a fat face is not the worst thing you can have. In fact, at this
very moment, imagine the pileup of fashionable women cooling their Manolo Blahniks in doctors’
reception rooms from New York to L.A., waiting to get fat injected into their faces to plump up their lips,
cheeks, temples, smile lines, nasolabial folds, etc. Today having a fat face is preferable to having a long,
drawn, thin, gaunt face, especially as you reach the higher ground of birthdays. But you don’t want to
appear roly-poly with multiple chins! No way! Not when the facial aesthetic of the moment is full, juicy,
and heart shaped, with sculpted cheekbones and a clean jaw line. How do we know this?
chipmunk cheeks, chubby cheeks, moon face, pumpkin face, pudgy punim, Humpty Dumpty
Ask a plastic surgeon what women want. New York City’s David Rosenberg, MD, PLLC, in
demand for his more modern face-lifts, describes the most requested facial features at the moment as
“a natural appearance of robustness on the apples of the cheek and a very defined jaw line. Whether it
be natural or surgically created, a jaw line and neck complex that shows the underlying bone structure is
very aesthetic. A chubby face,” he says, “is unappealing because you can’t see any architecture.” So
there you have it: Pudgy cheeks, a slack jaw line, and a blubbery shapelessness are what you don’t want.
But are we all going to line up to see Dr. Rosenberg? Of course not. A fat face is not the reason
to get a face-lift, and you don’t want to resculpt your face so that you look like a completely different
person. Do you? You just want to give yourself more definition by playing up or playing down certain
facial features. The most talented hairdressers and makeup artists know how to fake the face of the
moment to make you look more sculpted, baby! You’ve seen the photos of celebrities without makeup.
When they’re getting their Starbucks in the morning, they don’t look any better than you or me. But in
the hands of their glam squads, they are transformed and made to look positively chiseled, showing a
little bone atop the cheeks and under the jaw line. How do they do it? By the end of this chapter, you’ll
know what they know. •
for a Wide Face
→ BECAUSE YOUR FACE IS A RELATIVELY small space, every feature must be considered and
possibly tweaked to make you look slimmer, sexier, and more attractive. If it’s not working for you, it’s
working against you. Is it your hair that’s making you look fat? Your hair color? Makeup? Brows?
Eyewear? Nose? Teeth? Let’s take a look, feature by feature.
Hair is your most powerful transformational tool. Style, length, texture, color, shine, volume,
health… you want all these factors working in sync to up your attractiveness. Say you have a pretty
good-looking face shape and not an excessive amount of facial width. If you frame it with high-fat hair,
you’re going to look fat. So you want to flaunt a mane that doesn’t add inches to your face. Here are
some strategies to get your hair and face to complement each other in the most slenderizing way
Highlights or lowlights? Choose one or the other because the last thing you want is a single block
of the same color covering your entire head. Brad Johns, one of the top hair colorists on the planet,
lightens up the look of celebrities and real women (like me) at the Brad Johns Studio in the Red Door Spa
at Elizabeth Arden in Manhattan. He offers up this advice to take to your colorist wherever you live:
“Heavy hair is solid one-color hair. Whether you’re a redhead, a brunette, or a blonde—if your hair is all
the same shade, it’s going to make you look heavy.” If you love dark, dramatic hair and want a face
that’s long and lean, frame the face in shades of caramel highlights. If you’re blonde and you want to
narrow your face, frame it in bright, light-colored highlights—and add a few to the top, too. To give
blonde hair natural-looking dimension, the hair underneath should be darker than what’s on top, not
the same exact blonde. Brad admits, “If someone has a round face, you need to do a little bit of magic
with hair color.” Unless you have a talent for hair color, this kind of magic is not something easily done
solo at the bathroom sink with a box of home hair color. If you can splurge on just one beauty treatment
done by a professional, hair color is it. It’s worth paying for that magic, the way your colorist can frame
the face with various shades that will emphasize some features and deemphasize others. One way to get
around the high cost of hair color is to extend the time between visits by touching up your roots yourself
with an at-home touch-up kit. Another way is to talk to your colorist about how best to minimize your
beauty bill without sacrificing your look. He/she might have a less expensive way to create the magic, or
an assistant wiling to follow instruction at a fraction of the cost!
If you remember just one thing about hair, remember that your hair needs to be in proportion
to the rest of you.
PS: If you’re younger and have the urge to put a pink streak in your hair, thinking that it will
distract everyone’s attention away from your size, don’t. It always backfires and makes you look like
you’re trying too hard to be cool. The Manic Panic only works on Halloween or if you’re still in high
Working it
MADONNA—A face that’s juicy and plumped in all the right places.
Unless you’re playing Nikki Blonsky in a remake of Hairspray, big fat hair will only get you a “big
hair, big girl” look.
If you remember just one thing about hair, remember that your hair needs to be in proportion
to the rest of you. So don’t do small hair if you have a big body, and don’t do big hair on a small body.
This is something that a lot of women get wrong. Just think about it: If you have a wide face, a supershort haircut can make your face and neck look even wider. But hair that’s too long on a heavy face is
not flattering, either; it’s the equivalent of having two heavy vertical lines on the sides of your face
pulling you downward. Extremely long, straight hair that extends beyond the chest doesn’t work
because it can totally eliminate the neck—aka the squat mushroom effect.
Working it
JANET JACKSON Taking inches off the face with hair color and texture.
JENNIFER HUDSON A severe blunt bob draws attention to a double chin. But longer hair with
layers can be a beautiful distraction.
Your best bet? One of the most universally flattering lengths is two to three inches below the
collarbone because it brings the eye away from the widest part of the face, past the neck, down below
the shoulders. Longish layers that curve around the neck are a sexy way to whittle width off, too. If you
have a short, chunky neck but a strong jaw, you may look awesome with a medium-length choppy shag,
shorter in front to flaunt the jaw line, longer in the back pieces to hug (and obscure) the neck.
What you don’t want to do is get a blunt cut, ever again. Making a face appear less like a
chipmunk and more like a swan is a matter of adding layers. Hairstylist Oscar Blandi, who has tousled
the tresses on such glamorous stars as Jessica Biel and Jennifer Garner, at the Oscar Blandi Salon in New
York City, advises, “Stay away from all one-length hair, because it’s just a solid block that frames the face
and neck, accentuating a double chin. If you have a heavier face, you don’t have defined cheekbones, so
you want a haircut that creates those concave angles for you.” Sculpting the face with framing layers is
the solution. “The softer, more wispy and tousled, the better you’re going to look,” says Brad Johns.
“And the more severe your haircut is, the heavier you’re going to look.” Buh-bye to those one-length
bobs with blunt ends that can make a wide head look wider and out of proportion with the rest of the
body. Blunt cuts are for the tall and skinny, like the iconic Anna Wintour.
Side-swept bangs are very flattering, while full blunt bangs will shorten and widen your face.
Another strategic way to shave inches off your face is to hide some of it behind bangs, if your
hair isn’t curly or cowlicky. How they fall makes a huge difference. Side-swept bangs are preferable to
full blunt bangs which will shorten and widen your face. “Low bangs plastered on your forehead are
going to make you look heavy because it looks like your face is squeezing out of the hair,” says Brad.
Please do yourself a favor and don’t cut your own bangs—they are way too critical to your look!
Brad Johns and Oscar Blandi are so expert at framing faces, their tips for slimming facial features
can be daunting. But if this list seems overwhelming, you don’t have to change everything at once…
instead, give yourself some time to digest and put some of these on your WIMP (When I’m Mentally
Prepared) list! Here goes:
Ditch the middle part. It emphasizes the roundness of your face. Try a side part or high side part
Don’t be a stiff. Stiff hair is fat hair. Hair that moves freely backward, forward, and side to side is
not. Swap high-hold sprays for soft-hold sprays. Choose soft gel over hard gel. No more heavy-duty
sculpting wax or heavy-duty anything for that matter. Always start with just a tiny bit of product… you
can always add more.
Control the frizz. Uncontrollable fluff is fattening. Use anti-frizz serums and shampoos and
conditioners made specifically for frizzy hair types. The cool button on your dryer will lock the
straightness in place. Blandi does a combo of hot then cold with each piece while blow-drying to set the
Don’t be cutesy. No Heidi-like braids or any kind of pigtails. They only add width.
Don’t be a flat head. Volumizing products will help provide a little lift to hair that’s plastered to
your face, which Brad refers to as the “cake-batter effect.” As if someone were to dump cake batter on
your head and the heavy mixture made your hair cling to your face and weigh you down. Very fattening
Lose the hair accessories that look as though they belong on a Christmas tree. We’re talking
the equivalent of wearing a holiday sweater in your hair—bells, green and red bows, reindeer
headbands. When it comes to headbands, go thinner rather than thicker. Also don’t engage more than
one hair accessory at a time. And if something has claws—banana clips, etc.—toss it. Not only does it
weigh you down, but it kills your look.
Go for the blow. There’s nothing like an expert blowout to make you look and feel lighter. My
mother and her generation still have weekly appointments at the “beauty shop” with their “beauty
operators.” If you have the time and the cash, it’s not a bad idea to get blown out weekly. (There are
women in Houston who see the hair guru Ceron three times a week!) In an ideal world, nicely priced
quickie blowouts would be offered on every street corner and in every mall, but until they are, you
might want to take a lesson from your stylist on how to blow it out yourself. To guarantee best results,
invest in a professional quality blow-dryer and buy the exact same styling products they use at the salon.
If you are among those women who can slim down a round face with the right cut and color,
consider yourself fortunate. Growing numbers of us don’t have the luxury of hiding behind that security
blanket. Some can now see patches of their bare scalps, no thanks to menopause; others lose their hair
with chemotherapy. This is tough stuff to deal with, and it certainly puts the fat issue into perspective.
But the good news is that there are more courses of action for women experiencing hair loss beyond
getting a good wig. Eric S. Schweiger, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist who specializes in the treatment of
hair loss for women at the Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration in Manhattan, recommends
the following:
See a doctor if your hair is not as full as it was once, because there might be other medical
reasons at play.
Ask a doctor if a prescription for Rogaine is right for you. The generic version is Minoxidil and
“women’s strength” is 2 percent. You could see results in six months.
Fake it with Toppik ( Like makeup for your scalp, these protein fiber particles cover
and color bare scalp, making your hair look thicker. It’s the secret weapon of many balding TV
Consider a hair transplant. “Thinning scalp hair, especially along the frontal hairline and top of
the scalp, can definitely contribute to a patient looking heavier,” says Dr. Schweiger. “After hair
transplants, patients often are told by friends and family that they look younger, healthier, and thinner.
Redistributing hair to the front has the effect of squaring off and framing the face to make it appear less
round, creating the illusion of a thinner face.” This surgery is definitely not just for men anymore.
Skinny brows won’t make you look skinny—in fact, they’ll do just the opposite, make you look
fat. “Thin brows make a heavy face seem even heavier,” says Eugenia Weston, brow star of Beverly Hills,
founder of Senna Cosmetics, and favorite makeup artist of Bette Midler, Sela Ward, and Ashlee Simpson.
“A thicker brow makes a fuller face appear thinner and more proportioned, because it helps fill in all the
open areas of a heavier face.” If you have a large, round face, you are committing a major sin by
skimping out on your brows. A pencil-thin line is not for you as you want a very soft, full arch with a
longer tail at the outer edge.
How to get that full brow if your brow hairs are few and far between? New York dermatologist
Debra Jaliman prescribes Men’s Rogaine and tells her patients to apply a cotton tip of it to the brows
once a day, to see new growth in three months.
One size does not fit all when it comes to brows, because they always need to be in proportion
to the size of your face, your other features, and your facial architecture. A small face will be
overwhelmed by a heavy brow.
There’s a big payoff here if you get the brow right: You will be rewarded with an instant lift,
which is why brows are sometimes called “the fifteen minute face-lift.” A brow done well starts directly
above your tear ducts, and the peak of the arch should line up with the outer edge of the colored iris at
the three o’clock position. A shortcut to the well-shaped brow is Senna’s Form-a-Brow stencil kit, which
Eugenia created and which I have been using since I learned about it as Glamour’s beauty director.
Imitators abound, but in all these years, none have bested it.
If you don’t need to watch your beauty bill, leave your arches in the hands of a pro! Make an
appointment with the best brow artist in town. PS: Your eyebrow color should always be a shade darker
than your hair color.
Choose Blunt bob Layered bob Circular eyewear Rectangular
eyewear Hair up Hair down Heavy frames Contact lenses Flat hair Volumized
hair Middle part Side part No bangs Side-swept bangs Round collars V-necks
With a fuller face shape, you want a frame that makes your face seem longer and thinner. Circle
frames are the trend of the moment, but who needs them? Perfect rounds and squares will only
exaggerate a plump mug. If you have a round face, you need a slightly angled-upward rectangular
frame. Why? Because “softer, angled-up edges give you an instant face-lift,” says Eden Wexler,
spokeswoman for Safilo USA, whose luxe designer eyewear brands include Marc Jacobs, Gucci, and Dior.
When it comes to fit, you don’t want frames that come up too high over the brows or too low, where
they are resting on your cheeks. “On a round face, some wider glasses wrap around and hug the face,
which is not desirable,” says Eden. As for color, dark heavy frames and all those crazy brights and loud
animal prints can be fattening.
try a side part rather than a straight down the middle one. Cut long, wispy bangs and you’ll hide an
expanse of forehead. Pump up the volume with styling product. Grow out a chin-length bob or fake it
with hair extensions. (Really, who can even tell?)
The circular specs, large button earrings, and round collar neckline are proof positive that wide
circles contribute to an overall chunkiness, accentuating a plump face.
× Bare forehead
× Flat hair
× Middle part
× Rounded eyewear
× Severe bobs
What a difference!
Can this really be the same woman? A change of neckline, earrings, makeup, and hair makes a
slimmer, more angular face.
Eye-grazing bangs, longish layered hair with lift, vertical earrings, a V-neck sweater, extended
eyeliner, flirty faux lashes, and contoured cheekbones… a sexy, sculpted look.
Hair with body
Light, bright highlights around the face
Shaped, groomed brows
White, strong, vertical teeth
Wispy bangs
If you can’t remember the last time you had a makeup lesson from a pro, take an hour out of
your life to change it. You may need a makeup face-lift. Find the best makeup artist in town, plunk
yourself at the counter, and take notes. The dirty little secret of the beauty biz is that technique is just as
important as product. You can ring up your credit card and purchase every single Brilliant Buy in the
book, but if you don’t know what to do with it once you get home, what’s the point?
Below, you’ll find directions that will take the weight off your face and make you look thinner,
lighter, softer, more radiant, and sexier! I know that there are those of you who can’t bear reading
through directions of any kind, whether it’s your iPhone, GPS, exercise, or makeup. Same here. So take
this book to the counter, show it to the pro, and let him or her demo the techniques for you on one half
of your face while you do the other. Unless you’re really great with a brush, trust me, it’s the only way.
Below, you’ll find directions that will take the weight off your face and make you look thinner,
lighter, softer, more radiant, and sexier!
Let me introduce you to two of the most talented makeup pros in the business. I had the
amazing Stella Mikhail, who did my makeup for my most recent appearance on Oprah, meet me at the
Laura Mercier counter at Neiman Marcus in Northbrook Court the last time I was in Chicago. If you live
in the area, book her! It’s not easy to hire star makeup artist Mally Roncal, who has her own line of
makeup, as she’s often making up Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez and appears as part of the Tyra show’s
glam squad, which is where we did some makeovers together. But now you’re going to learn how to
make your face look thinner from the best.
Puffy pockets under the eyes and droopy, overhanging lids can make you look fat. First, let’s
deal with the fat pads. Before you start the makeup, you need to reduce the puffiness (and conceal any
crinkles) with a hydrating eye cream. Every makeup artist has a favorite, and it doesn’t have to be pricey.
Stella loves Natura Bissé Diamond Drops and Laura Mercier’s Flawless Skin Eye Serum. For special
occasions, Stella applies an eye treatment (Natura Bissé Ice-Lift) on top of the eye cream for enhanced
moisturizing. Next she paints Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightener under the eye area to bounce light off
the dark shadows. She follows this with concealer—either Laura Mercier’s or Clé de Peau’s. “Layering
concealer is important,” she says. “You have to start really high up on the inner corners of the eyes
where the eye meets the bridge of the nose.” She paints the concealer on with a thin concealer brush,
so it’s evenly layered. She then smoothes it in with a damp sponge. “Mist your makeup sponge with a
water bottle and blend down toward your cheek. Water helps the product hug the skin. Don’t use a dry
sponge or a dry finger—it will pucker the concealer up. And it won’t look like skin anymore.”
For puffy lids, de-puff first with soothing cucumber, chamomile tea bags, or a gel-based eye
cream (again, Stella likes Natura Bissé Ice-Lift). After you bring the puffiness down, apply an eye shadow
base that will hold and grab the shadow you’re about to put on your lid. (I love the eye shadow bases
from Laura Mercier and Trish McEvoy… they cover up discoloration and feel cool on lids.) Then, you’re
ready for shadow. “Start with a light neutral shadow and pat it in with an angle brush from your lash line
to your brow bone. Then, with the angle brush, use a very deep shade of brown or gray and pat that on
the lid. Finish by using a soft medium shade in the crease to contour and lift,” Stella says. Another trick
of hers is the signature Laura Mercier tight eyeline, where you line the root of the upper lash under the
lid so that it creates a dark band at the lash line, making lashes look fuller—and false. She then lines the
eye with a straightedge brush and cake liner that’s water activated in blue, black, or brown. Don’t just
wet a shadow and use as liner, she warns. It will flake into the eye. Curl your lashes. Apply mascara and
your eyes are good to go.
The modern way to minimize a full-moon face is by highlighting. “Gone are the days we would
use brown or taupe eye shadow for contouring,” says Mally Roncal. “The number-one trick to thinning
out your face is highlighting.” To make smile lines disappear, Roncal first applies a primer all over the
face. Then, she dabs a creamy concealer in the crease of the lines. “The deeper your laugh lines, the
more the cheek around them looks full,” she says. If you highlight the laugh lines, the lines look pulled
forward.” It’s a way of diminishing them and making them look less pronounced. Roncal uses skin-toned
powder and softly brushes it on the cheekbone, hairline, chin, and cupid’s bow of the lip to finish.
If your nose has extra pudge or is missing a defined bridge, no one has to know it. Makeup artist
Stella Mikhail creates a more angular face by contouring, with three different shades of highly
pigmented stick foundation (she likes Laura Mercier’s) and blending them with a damp makeup sponge.
“If you don’t have a bone on the bridge of your nose, for example, then you have to create one,” she
says. Here is how she shades the bridge of the nose with stick foundation.
1). All over your face, use the middle shade of stick foundation, and blend to perfection with a
makeup sponge.
2) Then pick up the lightest shade of the three foundations (it should be a shade or two lighter
than the one you would wear all over your face) and draw a vertical line down the center of the nose,
and then with the same shade, draw lines under each eye.
3). Using the darkest of the stick foundations, draw a vertical line on each side of the nose. “This
thins out the nose and makes the nose and the nostrils look slender,” she says.
4). If your nose has a too-wide tip, draw a line with the darker stick foundation across the tip of
the nose and the nostrils. Remember, darker always makes lines recede, while lighter highlights them
and brings them forward.
5). Your face should now look like war paint, so carefully blend all lines with a makeup sponge,
but not so much that it all comes off!
Stella’s same contouring sticks can help minimize the look of a double chin. Take the darkest
shade of foundation, and apply it at the edge of the chin bone, working your way down the neck,
blending over the double chin. After blending the product in with a makeup sponge, she sweeps it all
over the chin area with a pressed powder in matte bronze (from Laura Mercier) to blend. •
Thinner by Tonight!
Pull your hair into a high ponytail then lightly tease at crown. It will bring out your bone
structure and make your face look leaner.
Dust your T-zone with compressed translucent powder to cut down any shine.
Shape your brows. Use a stencil kit to make it goof-proof.
Apply a plumping lip gloss in a shade of pink.
Get sleek with a blowout or give yourself one.
Do the blush face-lift. Apply pink or peach cream blush about an inch under the middle of the
eye. Blend it out so it spreads over the tops of the apples of your cheeks. It pulls everything up!
Switch your eyewear to a light-colored plastic frame, in a rectangular shape.
Going to Extremes: Facial Features
TEETH. If you think that I’m going tell you that the shape of your teeth can make a difference in
how your face looks, well, I don’t want to hold out on you! Remember that every facial feature has the
potential to either add or subtract visual inches. “By manipulating the shape and position of the teeth,
you can actually make the face look narrower,” says New York cosmetic dentist Jeff Golub-Evans, DDS,
who designs smiles on famous faces. Back in the ’80s, supermodels seeking a heart-shaped face (high
cheekbones on top of sunken, hollowed-out cheeks) actually asked their dentists to yank out their upper
back molars! There’s a kinder, gentler way to achieve that same lean look today. Dr. Golub-Evans reveals
that he “angles inward” the upper back upper molars using clear braces like Invisalign (which still falls
under the category Extreme).
NOSE. Next time you look at celebrity transformation photos, zoom in on the nose. Getting a
nose job is common in Hollywood circles; getting a good one, for some reason, is not. Whether the nose
in question is humpy, wide, or bulbous, traditional rhinoplasty was the fourth most popular cosmetic
plastic surgery in 2008 with 152,434 served, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic
Because your nose sits in the middle of your face, if it is too big, too bumpy, too wide, or too fat,
everyone takes notice. If your nose becomes a nonissue, the eye goes elsewhere. A pretty nose can set
the agenda for the face—as in, slender nose, slender face. But you might be interested in the newer
ways to get a better-looking nose. The non-surgical nose job uses an injectible filler, such as Restylane or
Radiesse, to reshape the nose and even out the profile. This fifteen-minute nose job, as it’s referred to,
does not solve the problem of too large a nose, only nasal abnormalities such as bumps and bulges.
Downside: It only lasts as long as the filler lasts, so you would need to redo in eight months or so. The
cost over time may not be worth it.
Working it
Long, lean, toothy smiles… only their dentists know for sure.
For a bulbous nose, instead of traditional rhinoplasty in which the bone is broken, Dr. Rosenberg
nips the tip and cuts the fat out. “I hear the words ‘the tip of my nose is fat’ all the time,” he says. “A
defined nasal tip is angular and gives the impression that the rest of the face has more structure.” He
narrows the base of the nose by stitching the two pieces of cartilage closer together. “The face looks
considerably thinner after surgery,” he says. No swelling and bruising makes this a more appealing
option than rhinoplasty as usual. •
Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Long Wear Gel Liner, $8.99; Target.
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Eye Pencil, $19; Macy’s,
Neutrogena Nourishing Eyeliner, $8.49; mass retailers,
Laura Mercier Eye Liner, $22; Sephora,
Maybelline New York Lasting Drama gel liner, $9.99; mass retailers,
L’Oréal Paris Extra-Intense Liquid Pencil Eyeliner, $8.49; mass retailers,
Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer, $20; Sephora.
Laura Mercier Eye Basics, $24; Bloomingdale’s,
BeneFit Cosmetics Stay Don’t Stray, $24; Sephora.
Trish McEvoy Eye Base Essentials, $25;
Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils, $30; Sephora.
Dior Diorshow Unlimited, $24; Bloomingdale’s,
Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara, $24.50; Bloomingdale’s,
Laura Mercier Eyelash Curler, $16;
Visine Total Eye Soothing Wipes, $5.99;
Aveeno Active Naturals Nourish + Condition Leave-In Treatment, $6.49; mass retailers,
L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care Moisture Shampoo, $6.99; mass retailers,
Garnier Fructis 3-Minute Undo Dryness Reversal Treatment, $5.99; mass retailers,
Living Proof Full Thickening Cream, $14;
Kerastase Resistance Ciment Thermique Heat-Activated Reconstructor Milk for Weakened Hair,
Maybelline New York Color Sensational Lipcolor in 005 Pink Sand and 045 Pink Me Up, $7.49;
Neutrogena MoistureShine Lipstick SPF 20 in 200, Anything Rose, $9.49; mass retailers,
Guerlain Rouge G de Guerlain in Gemma 64, $46; Saks Fifth Avenue, In an elegant
silver case.
Laura Mercier Crème Lip Colour in Rose, $22; Bloomingdale’s,
Laura Mercier Shimmer Lip Colour in Pink Mist, $22; Bloomingdale’s,
Sonia Kashuk Velvety Matte Lip Crayon in Pinky Nude, $7.99;
Dior Sérum De Rouge Luminous Color Lip Treatment, Dior SPF 20 in Radiant Pink 560 and Pearly
Pink 470, $32;
Sonia Kashuk Super Sheer Liquid Tint, $9.99; Target.
Topshop Makeup cream blush in Nutmeg, $12; Topshop,
BeneFit Cosmetics Coralista, powder blush, $28; Bloomingdale’s,
CoverGirl & Olay Simply Ageless Sculpting Blush, $10.99; mass retailers.
CoverGirl & Olay Simply Ageless Eye Concealer, $10.99; mass retailers.
Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Concealer, SPF 20, $13.99; mass retailers.
Laura Mercier Secret Concealer, $22; Bloomingdale’s,
Maybelline New York Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation, $9.79; CVS/pharmacy,
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, $59; Saks Fifth Avenue,
CoverGirl & Olay Simply Ageless Foundation SPF 22, $13.99; mass retailers.
CoverGirl & Olay Simply Ageless Serum Primer, $13.99; mass retailers,
L’Oréal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base, $12.95; mass retailers.
Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer UVA/UVB SPF 15 or Photo Finish Bronzing, $42;
Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Skin Tint SPF 20, $39;
Sephora Perfecting Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 Oil-Free, $21;
Olay Definity Color Recapture, $24.99; mass retailers.
Top Shop Skin Tint, $20;
Olay Professional Pro-X Intensive Firming Treatment Kit, $62; mass retailers.
DDF Revolve 400X Micro-Polishing System, $95; Sephora,
Aveeno Ageless Vitality Elasticity Recharging System, $39.99; mass retailers,
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum, $24.99; mass retailers,
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Face Advanced Anti-aging Serum, $155; Bloomingdale’s,
Philosophy Miracle Work Miraculous Anti-aging Retinoid Pads and Solution, $70; Sephora.
Patricia Wexler M.D.
Dermatology Intensive Deep Wrinkle Treatment with MMPi-20 and Retinol, $60; Bath & Body
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex, $47.50; Bloomingdale’s.
Expensive, high-tech facials that promise instant face-lifts, plumping, or skin tightening. Galvanic
facials, oxygen facials, electro-stimulating facials—call them whatever you want, but there is no science
that proves that they can deliver the same results or even similar results as a dermatologist or plastic
surgeon. The words “without injections” and “without surgery” are all we seem to hear. We want to
believe that a series of facials can do more than just cleanse, exfoliate, extract blackheads, and pamper,
but don’t let anyone tell you that the results of a facial will last just as long as Botox or your average
facial filler. Or that you need a series of these expensive facials and that there is a cumulative effect.
Look, massaging the skin manually will cause minor swelling, and stimulating the facial muscles
underneath will give you a lift for a day or two. But do the math. Biting the bullet and going to a
dermatologist for wrinkle removal and exfoliation (doctors administer higher dose glycolic peels) will
probably be more cost effective, less time-consuming, and deliver more tangible results. Some fillers last
up to nine months.
There are plenty of reasons to book a facial, if you have a big event such as a wedding or a
reunion and want that extra glow, it’s a delicious splurge. But the glow doesn’t last very long.
Vows for the Face
I WILL NOT part my hair in the center.
I WILL NOT dye my hair black.
I WILL NOT wear lipstick that is darker than my natural lip color.
I WILL control my frizz with hair serum.
I WILL NOT wear John Lennon–style round eyewear.
I WILL NOT take a scissors to my own bangs.
I WILL NOT wear hoop earrings the size of bracelets.
I WILL NOT wear a thick headband or anything in my hair that has teeth, claws, or looks like
it belongs on a Christmas tree.
I WILL NOT get a perm.
Over-tweeze your brows.
Thick Neck + Broad Shoulders
Choker necklaces choke… You look like you’re wearing shoulder pads when you’re not… Sharp,
structured shouldered jackets make you look ready for takeoff…. Your neck and face are about the same
width… Your chin knocks your chest when you nod yes… A collarbone necklace fits like a choker… Necks
on most turtlenecks are too long.
→ If you want to know what’s happening in fashion right now, look to the White House. Today,
more American women take their fashion cues from Michelle Obama than Agyness Deyn, Gemma Ward,
or any of the hot models strutting the world’s runways. The tipping point for the one-shoulder dress?
Before Kate Winslet and Marisa Tomei at the Oscars, it was Michelle Obama at the Inaugural Ball in her
beaded and appliquéd winter white gown by Jason Wu that inspired big-shouldered women to
confidently expose those shoulders. The First Lady has ushered in a fresh way of looking at the female
body, one that recognizes athletic, toned shoulders and arms as a source of strength and pride and as a
new empowerment zone. Her bare shoulders seem to be sending the message, “I take time out for
myself to work on my body, and you don’t mess with shoulders like these.”
swimmer’s shoulders, NFL shoulders, bulldog neck, no-neck, hulk-neck, fire-hydrant neck, fat
If you, too, possess “swimmer’s shoulders,” as they were once called, the modern way is not to
hide them but to flaunt them, making the statement that you’re healthy, fit, and confident. Another
reason to embrace strong shoulders is that they help balance out wide hips. If that is also a concern,
having your upper and lower halves in proportion helps create that va-va-va-voom hourglass shape.
However, if your shoulders are big, broad, but not exactly toned like Michelle’s, you may feel more
comfortable dodging high-fat details that add padding where you don’t need it. You’ll find those details
later in this chapter.
And if you feel bad about your neck, don’t, because you can fake a longer, more elegant neck,
even if yours is short, wide, and sits on your shoulders like a bobble-head doll’s. By making no-fat
fashion choices, you can optically stretch your neck to look more Penelope Cruz, less Incredible Hulk.
Creating a neck where there wasn’t one, you’ll also be gaining an erogenous zone… ideal for kissing,
dabbing a divine fragrance, and hanging fabulous jewelry. You may know that a short, wide neck—like
short wide legs, fat ankles, and stubby hands—is genetic, but it’s not worth assigning blame, not when
you can just as easily pick up tricks to dress around it. And, if a thick neck is not your issue, but a turkey
neck is, some of the same strategies suggested here will apply. •
for a Thick Neck + Broad Shoulders
→ THE CONCEPT IS SIMPLE: the longer the neck, the thinner you look. So, if you have a short,
wide neck, your mission is to do everything possible to create the illusion of more length from chin to
chest. (Not a lot of room to work with, for sure.) You want to open up the area with necklines that dip
below the collarbone, so skip necklines that close you in. The more skin displayed between chin and
chest, the more elegant your proportions will appear—no matter what else is going on below. The road
to an elongated neck starts with the neckline you need to wear from this day forward: the deep V.
Living in V-necks will simplify your life and make it easier for you to look your best, fast. The
downward diamond optically elongates and narrows so you don’t have a cutoff point where the actual
neck stops, which gives the illusion of extra inches. You can collect V’s in everything—camisoles, tanks,
tees, sweaters, cardigans, dresses, and jackets. From shallow little mid-chest V’s to deep just-above-thebra dips, V’s make sleeveless dresses, as well as wrap tops or dresses, flattering. Stop short of showing
cleavage crack, as that just looks trashy. Look for bras that dip low in front so you don’t have to be
checking to see if your bra is showing. Modify V’s that are too low by sliding a V camisole just a hint
higher beneath. Unbutton shirts, shirtdresses, blouses, polos, and henleys and spread the necklines
open to form a V. After the V, your next best necklines are scoops and some cowls because they, too,
will reveal your nice neck zone.
Relinquishing the turtle is imperative to have this nice expanse of skin showing. Women love to
hide out in them, but slip on a turtle and your neck disappears. Remember the movie Something’s Gotta
Give in which Jack Nicholson’s character teased Diane Keaton’s about her penchant for wearing
turtlenecks even in the heat of summer? She ultimately realized the error of her ways, and by the end of
the movie, she was wearing V-necks and showing a sexy stretch of skin at the throat. If only getting a
guy as appealing as Jack Nicholson in your sixties were that easy! It’s certainly worth a try.
Working it
They don’t feel bad about their necks—or shoulders.
You’ve lucked out. The Fashion Gods are with you; we’re experiencing a strong shoulder season.
Women with substantial shoulders are flaunting them; women with smaller shoulders are wearing
sculptural shoulder-padded jackets and dresses to ramp them up. If your shoulders are big, broad, and
toned, bare them in halter necklines, strappy necklines, asymmetrical one-shoulder tops, and strapless
gowns. (The diagonal of the one strap will cut a more flattering and provocative line than a full-on
horizontal strapless gown.) If your shoulders are big, broad, and flabby, you can conceal them in capes,
ponchos, shawls, and cardigans (see Chapter 4 for newer arm covers). Just realize that anything that
adds another layer has the potential to be fattening.
You probably don’t want to hear this, but your best course of action is to keep buff the oldfashioned way: taking the time to work out (Michelle Obama does, at least four times a week), so you
can flaunt sculpted shoulders all year long. How does Michelle do it? Read on.
You probably don’t want to hear this, but your best course of action is to keep buff the oldfashioned way: taking the time to work out (Michelle Obama does, at least four times a week), so you
can flaunt sculpted shoulders all year long.
Every woman wants Michelle Obama’s buff shoulders and arms. Sure, they’re defined and
chiseled but not to the extreme. Women’s Health magazine reports that Michelle works out about four
times a week with a trainer, and gets up at 5:30 a.m. to do it. Her workout includes one minute of
hammercurls with dumbbells in alternating motions. And tricep pushdowns, 15–20 repetitions with 10–
15-pound weights. Sounds doable. •
Choose Boat necks Scoop
necks Choker necklaces Long chains Crew-neck sweaters Fine-gauge V-necks Jackets with mandarin
collars Jackets with shawl collars Mufflers, wrapped high Long scarf draped loosely Wide and dangly
earrings Stud earrings
I recently had Janet Wood and Kathy McFadden visit my closet to demonstrate the brilliance of
their Fashion Fit Formula, a business based on the fact that one size does not fit all. They figure out your
most flattering lengths for skirts, pants, sleeves, jackets, tops, and necklaces; all in all, a dozen
measurements, to the eighth of an inch, that they call “pivotal points.” If you get your clothes tailored to
their specifications, you will look ten (or more) pounds thinner. Worked for me.
They believe that whatever clothes you own can be customized to hit those exact places where
your body will look its slimmest. Sign up for their program, and they will tell you how to measure
yourself. Then send them the measurements and they’ll do the calculations for your twelve pivotal
points. When you have your specific lengths, share these with your tailor, and you will forever take the
guesswork out of alterations. No matter how much weight you gain or lose, these pivotal points remain
the same because they’re based on your bone structure, which doesn’t change no matter how much
weight you gain. Love that. For your customized pivotal points, see their Web site,
Thick Neck + Broad Shoulders
1. Elizabethan ruffles and high collars of any kind. Unless you’re Cate Blanchett playing Queen
Elizabeth I or in the priesthood, avoid them!
2. An über-short cropped haircut or hair pulled back. This look only works if you are an Olympic
swimmer with a killer body. Avoid very long flat hair, too, as it can have the reverse effect, aka the squat
mushroom look.
3. Schlumping around, head down makes you look frumpy and hides your neck altogether. Walk
around instead with your head up and shoulder blades so far back they’re almost kissing.
4. Silk scarves wrapped and knotted around the neck, like Camp Fire Girls. If it’s Hermès, wear
the scarf as a belt or tie it on your bag… so much chicer.
5. Epaulettes. On military-inspired jackets, they’re designed to make the upper body look more
commanding—exactly what you don’t need. Skip safari jackets for the same reason.
6. Boatneck tops with horizontal stripes. Both fattening on their own, together this double
whammy cuts you off at the blades and packs on pounds.
7. The sweater-over-the-shoulder look. It once made you Ivy League cool. Now all it does is
squish down your neck with another layer of heavy fabric.
8. Pashminas and shawls. Like ketchup on fries, these last-minute add-ons are very fattening,
bringing bulk to where you need it least. Substitute long, loose scarves for the fashion look, cardigans to
ward off the chill.
9. Backpacks and bulky shoulder bags. If you’re hiking, okay, but for daily explorations in the
urban jungle, you’re unnecessarily packing pounds onto your frame. Haul daily essentials in a handheld
tote instead.
10. Texting or sending e-mails on your iPhone or BlackBerry. Your head is down, tripling your
chins and squashing your neck into your chest. Not a pretty sight.
When you are wearing a choker or any short necklace, you are in effect taking a yellow
highlighter and drawing a circle around the circumference of your neck. Who needs that?
HEIMLICH MANEUVER. Just a few minutes removing all chokers from your jewelry drawer will do it. A
choker necklace is your jewelry nightmare because anything that disrupts the space between chin and
collarbone will make your neck look stumpy. When you are wearing a choker or any short necklace, you
are in effect taking a yellow highlighter and drawing a circle around the circumference of your neck.
Who needs that?
And if your jewelry collection contains any type of collar necklace with matching earrings, break
up the set and give away the collar. Worn together, those sets are so frumpy, and therefore lethal to
your Fit Not Fat look.
The look in jewelry right now is piling on strands of chain, pearls, long beads, or diamonds by the
yard! If they’re a tangled mess, so much the better. Or, you can simplify and go solo with a single long
standout pendant. The V-shape created by these necklaces will redirect the eye lower and read visually
as a low neckline even if you wear a crewneck sweater. Skip the long earrings with this look.
Speaking of earrings, do yourself a favor and fall out of love with long earrings—dangly
chandeliers, linear shoulder dusters, or oversized hoops—as they visually shorten that gap of space
you’re trying to create between earlobe and shoulder. Shorten your dangly earrings to no more than an
WHAT SHOULD REMAIN IN YOUR STASH: medium-large hoop earrings, small teardrops, studs,
and necklaces that hit mid-chest or longer. If you don’t have them in your personal repertoire already,
pendants, bibs, lariats, long chains of pearls, or dangling strands of (real or faux) diamonds will
beautifully draw the eye down, down, down to where you want it. Need an excuse to buy yourself
jewelry? You got it. •
Good things to keep in your jewelry box.
A delicate collarbone chain with charm, locket, or pendant that drops to a V
A collection of adjustable link necklaces that can be lengthened to mid-chest
A lariat necklace to loop where you want
A bib with multiple beads or strands coming off a single necklace
A waterfall, graduated, or cascade single necklace with strands of beads or semi-precious
Tie-neck pearls
Long strands of linked chains, ropes, or beads of similar length and type worn together
A pendant necklace, cord, or chain, with an amulet or big charm
Studs earrings small to large post earrings in real or faux diamonds or pearls
Medium-large hoop earrings not too tiny, not oversized
Teardrops earrings with a small wire drop
→ Everyone sees your neck and shoulders… Elongate your neckline visually so that it appears
more Penelope Cruz, less Incredible Hulk! Fight the urge to hide it behind a thick super-fattening
turtleneck sweater (you’re not fooling anyone). Instead, reveal it in a slenderizing deep-V.
Ban the turtleneck and shoulder pads from your wardrobe. Pulling your hair back—or wearing a
super short cut—only accentuates the problem.
× Chunky cabled sweaters
× Collarless boxy jackets
× Epaulettes
× Short puff-sleeve blouses
× Shoulder pads
× Turtlenecks
What a difference!
From football hero to slim and sexy shoulders; from no neck to vampire-bait.
Open up the area with deep-V necklines. A chic tangle of necklaces draws the eye to the
smallest part of your torso.
Deep square-neck top or tank
Deep V-neck sweater
Hand-carried tote bags and satchels
One-shoulder asymmetrical dress
Scoop-neck dress with jeweled neckline (no necklace needed!)
Wrap dress with V neckline
Thinner by Tonight!
Snip out those shoulder pads! You don’t need them—not even little bitty ones. Do this to every
jacket and sweater you own—and if there is excess fabric, have the tailor make the alteration. Pads are
for women who don’t have enough shoulders. Best to recycle them as shoe shapers.
Create a crisp new frame. Throw a black, tailored, fitted jacket, open, over a white, bright, or
light-colored V-neck tee. The dark, angular cut of the jacket reduces body weight at the shoulders, while
the contrasting V-neck creates the illusion of a longer neck.
Break up your twinsets. They can really look frumpy, so substitute a sexy camisole or tank for
that matching crew or turtleneck shell.
Unbutton everything! Button-front shirts, blouses, and shirtdresses to above your bra, and pull
the neckline open to form a V. Raise the collar up in the back to help keep the neck open.
Pin a pretty jeweled brooch at bra level to anchor partially unbuttoned shirts and cardigans to a
V. The weight of the brooch will help keep the neckline open.
Loosen up. Take yoga, Pilates, or stretch class. Or pick up a DVD on yoga, Pilates, or stretching
next time you’re in Costco. Your body will be more aware of what it feels like to stand upright. Your
posture will be improved. You’ll look like you’ve grown an inch or two.
Tilt your head slightly in conversation, but especially when taking pictures. Press the top of
your tongue to the roof of your mouth, too, as you smile to pull up chin dangle. The greatest portrait
photographers in the world tell their subjects that before clicking.
you don’t have to add yet another piece.
• CHOOSE STRETCH FABRICS with a little Lycra® or spandex to ensure better fit when dealing
with lower necklines.
Get rid of scrunch-down turtles and boxy crews that overwhelm smaller proportions and make you look
shorter and wider.
• BEWARE OF ORIGAMI FOLDS. A long torso is required to pull these off.
• WATCH THE KEYHOLE NECK. Keyhole necklines are an open slit, circle, or oval shape on the
neckline, usually topped with a button or hook closure. Often the size of the keyhole is too deep on a
petite and reveals too much.
• BUY SWEATERS IN BLACK, GRAY, NAVY, OR CHOCOLATE. You’ll look ten pounds heavier in a
sweater that is light or bright.
• PLAY WITH DRAMATIC NECKLINES—you can handle it. Portrait collar jackets with a rich retro
look, deep square necklines, crisp white notch-collar shirts, and wide-strap beaded neck scoops are
waiting for you.
you a fashion edge.
• BRING SEXY BACK. Structured fitted dresses with scoop necks or shape-hugging tops with
stretch will beautifully accentuate your curves.
• STUDY PHOTOS OF QUEEN LATIFAH. More often than not, the Queen nails it.
WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO THANK witty Nora Ephron for creating buzz around this previously
ignored body part with her delicious collection of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck. Compared to
breasts and butts, the neck never got its share of press, until Nora wrote so amusingly about aging.
While this chapter is not about old necks but fat necks, a neck with folds of excess skin due to aging is
fattening. So you want to preventatively take care of your neck to delay the aging process, and if it’s too
late—i.e., you indeed have rolls of neck—there are extreme measures that can be taken at the
dermatologist’s and plastic surgeon’s office.
We lavish attention on faces and bodies, but necks get no respect. This is probably because we
leave them out when we’re cleansing and moisturizing our faces every morning and evening, and when
we’re in the shower or bath, we don’t want to spend a lot of time around the neck because it will ruin
our blown-dry hair under the shower cap.
Should the neck be treated as part of our face? Or body? Start by treating your neck as an
extension of your face, says San Francisco dermatologist Dr. Seth Matarasso, who suggests “cleansing,
moisturizing, and wearing a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen daily on the front and back of your
neck from chest up to hairline.” (Don’t feel bad about not doing the back of the neck. Who knew?)
“Before bed, Retin-A (by prescription) will eliminate sun damage on the neck, especially around the
sides, where most women scrimp on sunscreen.”
The neck is the most flexible, supple part of the spine, but as we age, extreme bone loss in the
form of osteoporosis can result in a shorter, hunched neck and shoulder silhouette. This can begin as
early as your late fifties!
Estrogen deficiency is the usual cause of bone loss, and women can lose as much as 20 percent
of their bone mass in the five years following menopause. A bone density test plus a medical evaluation
to determine the degree of bone loss can determine your best course of action, but a high intake of
calcium plus vitamin D (which facilitates the absorption of calcium) and bumping up your weight-bearing
exercise at least five times a week can help. Pump iron to keep your bones strong and healthy. No one
wants osteopenia—or worse, the shrinking hunched-over camel-hump that signals degeneration. •
Going to Extremes: Neck Work
Do your face and neck look like they belong to two different people? The neck often ages faster
than the face, says New York plastic surgeon Alan Matarasso, MD, FACS. “A lot of women who began
using a sunscreen on their faces as early as a decade or two ago continued to tan their neck and bodies,
and the contrast between neck and face is incredible!” The skin on your neck is thin, fragile, and
susceptible to UVA/UVB rays and, no, the overhanging ledge of your chin does not protect you. Your
neck has had nearly as much sun exposure as your face and, in most cases, more—having gone
defenseless for so long. Don’t feel bad about your neck… at least you have options.
FOR SUBTLE NECK TIGHTENING. If your problem is slack, not fat, Manhattan dermatologist
Gervaise Gerstner, MD, says that she has seen wonderful results with the new and improved Fraxel laser
for neck and chest. Numbing cream is required to ease the pain of a hot light passing over your skin as it
resurfaces it (in other words, as it burns off a few layers). “It addresses slack neck texture, chicken skin,
creped skin, and fine lines but does require five visits a month apart for results to show,” she says. After
Fraxel, you may not want to go out on the town that evening, as you may still be red and swollen. Unlike
most injectibles, Fraxel’s results are permanent. If you have a big event like a reunion or wedding, it will
provide the appearance of a tighter neck and jaw without major surgery.
Dr. Seth Matarasso doesn’t think so. Neither does a dear friend of mine, who is responsible for
creating a hugely successful skin-care line, yet admits that neck creams are just a way to get you to buy
another product.
But anyone in the beauty biz who has a special neck cream in his or her line will try to convince
you that the skin on the neck is so much different than the skin on your face! Listen, if spending $80 or
more is the only thing that will compel you to care for your neck, go for it. Most of us don’t want
another beauty product out on the counter when something that we already own will do the same trick.
Neck products essentially use the same ingredients as facial treatments. Using your face cream
on your neck, too, is fine when neck and face have the same skin quality. Sometimes neck treatments
are more occlusive than face treatments because you don’t wear makeup over them. You might want to
consider a different product for face and neck when the skin on your neck and face don’t match. Say
your neck skin is very dehydrated, lined, or crepey and your facial skin is not. In that case, a thicker
cream with a higher concentration of barrier ingredients might be good to slather on your neck. High up
on the label should be ingredients that prevent moisture loss, such as mineral oil, silicones, petrolatum,
shea butter, or natural oils like almond or jojoba.
FOR A SCRAWNY SAGGY NECK AND DROOPY JAW. The Botox neck-lift is another treatment
option if fat is not an issue. Why? Botox will relax the platysma bands of muscle under the skin of your
neck. It’s good for that little dribble of fat under the chin and obvious cords. Botox injections from the
chin to the clavicle will lift neck skin and fat pads as the platysma muscle is relaxed. This injectible
muscle freezer has a cumulative effect; the more you do, the longer it lasts. It does take a few days for
the full effect to kick in, and it’s not permanent, so expect to go back every three or four months. “Easy
and great,” Dr. Gerstner calls it. “Just injections. No risk. Worst case—when you eat a giant piece of
steak, it could be a little tight to swallow.” Gulp.
Ann Taylor; Ann Taylor,
Chico’s; Chico’s,
J.Crew; J.Crew,
Aqua; Bloomingdale’s,
Kenneth Jay Lane; Blooming-dale’s;
RJ Graziano; Bloomingdale’s;
Sequin; Nordstrom,
Lisa Stein;
Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Serum for Neck and Décolletage, $75; Sephora,
Vichy Laboratoires Neovadiol Gf Day, $48; CVS,
Aveeno SPF 30 Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer, $14.99; mass retailers,
Olay Complete SPF 30 Defense Daily UV Moisturizer—Sensitive Skin, $14.99; mass retailers,
Neutrogena Anti-Oxidant Age Reverse Day Lotion SPF 20, $19.99; mass retailers,
TO REMOVE NECK FAT. Traditional tumescent lipo can remove excess fat. “Lipo is an option for
youngish necks with fat and no sag,” says Dr. Matarasso. “It requires a small incision under the chin, the
fat is suctioned out, and you’re done.” You go home with your face in an elastic sling and you can expect
swelling and bruising for about two weeks, with final results in a month.
FOR TIGHTENING, FAT REMOVAL, AND DROOP. A neck-lift, often done on women in their fifties
and sixties who have saggy skin, fat, and loss of firmness and definition, addresses all three concerns as
it tightens and not only removes fat but excess skin. The fat pad under the platysma muscle is removed,
the platysma muscle tightened and (in some cases) shortened, while hanging skin is trimmed. Dr.
Matarasso always does a neck-lift at the same time as a face-lift but, “If you have such great facial
architecture that all you have is a saggy neck, we now do a neck-lift or platysmaplasty on its own to
refresh things,” he says, describing it as “a three-level operation. We make an incision, vacuum out the
fat between the skin and the muscle, tighten the muscle or maybe even remove a little of it, and trim
the excess skin before suturing up behind the ears.” The reason that lipo on its own isn’t enough on an
older neck is because when fat is sucked out, the underlying muscle bands, hanging glands, and loose
skin can show up even worse after the fatty cushion is removed with lipo. •
I WILL make the V-neck my neckline of choice.
I WILL give away all my turtlenecks.
I WILL donate my big, dangly chandelier earrings.
I WILL show some love to my neck and treat it as well as I treat my face.
I WILL show off my shoulders in asymmetrical dresses and tops.
I WILL get up and take a walk after sitting at the computer for hours to counteract the
effects of forward schlumping.
I WILL stand up straight and try to walk with shoulders back, summoning up my inner
Wear a high-neck puffer coat in the winter.
Your neck will disappear. Remember the Michelin Man!
Arm Flap
You refuse to play tennis or volleyball… You wear a jacket or sweater in 90-degree heat… You do
the Queen Elizabeth royal wave from elbow to wrist… When you raise your arm to signal a taxi, you
hope you don’t see anyone you know… You look like you’re wearing a dolman sweater when nude…
→ How many me s have you passed up a totally cute dress on the rack because you need, want,
have to have sleeves? I wish more designers would realize that most women, especially those of us over
forty, are either always cold or not happy with our upper arms.
batwings, arm dangle, flab flaps, porkchop arms, lambchops, grandma flab, bingo wings,
mozzarella arms, arm waggle, big guns, flabbies, teacher arms
Maybe designers do realize this; they just want us to buy that second piece for arm cover. On a
recent shopping trip, I fell in love with a sleeveless purple print silk shift. The dress was not outrageously
priced, but the wet-look patent leather cropped motorcycle jacket that I needed for arm cover was more
than double the price of the dress! Granted, the addition of the jacket gave the outfit an edgier look, but
would I have preferred to buy just one piece that day and save myself a hefty credit card charge? What
do you think? So not only is arm dangle a shopping challenge, it’s expensive. Think of all the wraps,
shawls, scarves, shrugs, cardis, boleros, pashminas, capelets, capes, ponchos, blouses, jackets, and coats
you’ve invested in over the years—just because of that jiggle! Which is all the more reason to make
those bat wings fly away.
Unlike other body issues covered in this book, arm flap doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re
overweight. In fact, arm flap can happen to any grown woman who thinks that she can get away with
not working her triceps (that used to be me). Or, it can happen to those who have shed an excessive
amount of weight and is quite common after gastric bypass surgery. It’s what happens when loose
skin—without the fat to cling to anymore—is just left flapping in the wind. You don’t have to be fat to be
flabby (or flappy, for that matter). Think of flapping arms, and you picture an older woman—a
schoolteacher from the 1950s writing on a chalkboard or an old-fashioned granny in a housedress.
Unlike other body issues covered in this book, arm flap doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re
overweight. In fact, arm flap can happen to any grown woman who thinks that she can get away with
not working her triceps (that used to be me).
Today, more women are weight lifting, and workplace dress codes are more casual than ever, so
everyone who can makes it a point to flaunt her tight, toned arms in body-skimming T-shirts, sleeveless
shifts and sweaters, or cute little embellished tank tops year-round. Arm role models like Kelly Ripa
without a ripple or drip of flesh go sleeveless as much as possible, even in winter. This right to not only
bare arms but to flaunt them has become a status symbol of the fit, but instead of being frustrated at
having to look at Kelly’s arms in the middle of a February blizzard, we can choose to be inspired.
I know that you didn’t pick up this book to learn about exercise, and that you already know this,
but I do have to say that the best (and cheapest) way to rid yourself of arm flap is working your triceps
(see What Else You Can Do About the Flappies, here). And the good news is that arms are relatively easy
to tone up, as they really respond to a little attention. Weight-bearing exercises, such as picking up a
dumbbell, are so much better for your muscle mass, your metabolism, your strength, and your posture
than any surgical alternative. An arm lift, for example, leaves a seam of scarring down the inner arm, so
you’re back to where you started, still needing arm cover to hide the seam (see Going to Extremes,
If you are a lawyer, a banker, or an executive in a conservative business, you’ll want to cover
your arms in the office, as it’s more professional. You rarely see a news anchor, such as Katie Couric,
Diane Sawyer, Meredith Vieira, or Leslie Stahl, go sleeveless on-air. The same dress code goes for power
politicos such as Hillary Clinton. They have an endless supply of jackets and coats that convey authority,
conveniently taking the issue of arm dangle off the table. Still, some jackets—make that sleeves—are
better than others at hiding the evidence.
But first, you have to ask yourself, should you—or shouldn’t you—go sleeveless? •
Working it
Women who aren’t afraid to pick up a dumbbell.
This chapter is about arm flap, but most of the advice will also apply to heavy arms, if that better
describes your upper arm issue. Either way, think about how you feel about going sleeveless in public.
Carrie Fisher says in her one-woman show Wishful Drinking, “I haven’t been naked in thirteen years,
sleeveless in twenty.” Maybe this is a moot point and you cover your arms anyway because you’re
always cold, even in summer in overly air-conditioned buildings, stores, restaurants, and movie theaters.
Maybe your comfort level is occasion driven. How self-conscious are you? After all, you know best how
much flapping you have going on!
If you’re confident enough to say that a little arm bounce-back is no big deal, good for you, skip
this chapter. I’m certainly not okay about flaunting my flap when I know that people are really looking at
me. When I’m on TV or giving a speech, I want to be covered. But there are exceptions. When I spoke at
the Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix, Arizona, and the temperature hit 100 degrees, off went the jacket!
I revealed my arms for all to see in a print silk top because wearing a leather jacket over it in that heat
would only call attention to the situation—as in, Is she nuts? What is she trying to hide? Now, if I’m just
running around the neighborhood doing errands and it’s broiling hot out, I will go sleeveless rather than
sweat it out over a little flab.
Please don’t feel that you absolutely must always keep your arms covered. Maybe the only one
who notices your arm flab is you. But, on the other hand, who’s more important than you? If you feel
more comfortable covered, you need a strategy.
for Arm Flap
→ WHETHER THE ARM IN QUESTION IS as mushy as a ball of fresh mozzarella or bigger and
more muscular than you’d like, you want to wear fabrics that don’t amplify the upper arm but instead
those that gently skim the skin and go with the flow—soft matte jerseys, rayons, crepes, and washed
At the same time, you want to divert attention downward, to the part of your arm that is firmer,
smaller, bonier—from your elbow to your wrist.
FIRST, LOOK THROUGH THE LIST OF HIGH-FAT ARM COVERS (see here) and weed out all the
offenders hanging in your closet. While you’re at it, toss every sleeve that makes you feel like it’s cutting
off your circulation. You don’t need that kind of pressure!
PAY ATTENTION TO SLEEVE SHAPE AND SLEEVE LENGTH like you never have before. With laserlike focus, hunt down the universally flattering three-quarter-length sleeve (which hits midway between
elbow and wrist). Also flattering is a bracelet sleeve (slightly longer than the three-quarter, it stops right
above the wrist), and an elbow-length diagonal sleeve where the high part of the sleeve hits the outer
arm. Ask your tailor to customize your sleeves so that they angle at your exact slimming proportions and
see what a big difference this little adjustment can make.
Play magician, with a bag of tricks to divert all eyes to your wrist and hands. Now you have a
new excuse to bejewel yourself with glamorous wrist candy. Knock yourself out shopping for fabulous
bangles, bracelets, cuffs, statement watches, and cocktail rings. And don’t stop there. If you have
beautiful hands, draw attention to them with manicured nails and dramatic dark polish. This strategy for
drawing attention away from the upper arms works for every woman with arm flap—size 2 or 22. And
now, a crash course on sleeves. •
A boxy blazer
A cropped jacket A classic twinset A short embellished cardi A crocheted shawl A sequined scarf A denim
jacket A leather motocross jacket A puffed sleeve A billowy sleeve A traditional suit A matching coat and
Your most dependable arm-slimmer will always be the three-quarter sleeve, but high-drama
fuller sleeves are now the height of fashion. If you’re tall, don’t miss out on these airy, fuller sleeves. If
you’re petite, you probably know that the fuller sleeves might overwhelm you. But whatever your size,
the trick is to make sure the billowy sleeve is attached to a slim-fitting jacket, top, blouse, sweater,
dress, or coat, as you don’t want to be billowing all over. On the right piece, these new full sleeves can
be better camouflage than a humongous sweatshirt or oversized sweater, which will just make you look
shapeless all over and wider than you really are. As you are well aware, fuller arms need sleeves that fit
comfortably. The higher-set the sleeve, the tighter it will be. The iconic Chanel tweed jacket, known for
its snug sleeves, is often a deal breaker for those with muscular or otherwise bulky upper arms—as in,
“Oh, forget it. I can’t even get my arms in there!” Petites, on the other hand, love the close fit.
Big, billowy sleeve
Fitted sleeve that flares toward elbow or wrist
Long sleeve fitted on top, fuller at bottom, ending in a cuff
Cropped two or three inches above wrist
Dolman or batwing
Very deep, wide armhole narrows at wrist
An elongated half sleeve to the elbow
Ruffled or wavy-edged loose short sleeve
Deep armhole, square, structured sleeve
Fitted to mid–upper arm then widens in a lampshade shape
Fitted sleeve that dramatically flares or ruffles at forearm
Seam extends toward neck in a curve for moveability
Tailored pinstriped long-sleeve
In French or contrast cuffs, a crisp shirt with attention-getting wrist treatment
Below the elbow at mid-forearm
After forty, every woman needs to do a few simple, easy exercises to work her triceps. It’s not
only about buff, enviable arms, but about arm strength.
Why does the skin underneath our arms get so loosey-goosey? I asked Dr. Pamela Peeke, MD,
author of New York Times bestsellers Fight Fat After Forty, Body for Life for Women, and Fit to Live. Dr.
Peeke has been called a nutri-shrink, because she’s a medical doc who deals with both the mind and the
body as she looks at the mental and physical fitness of the whole woman. “A lot of the reason these
flappies happen has to do with disuse because lifting overhead is something that most women don’t do
on a regular basis,” she says. We lift bags of groceries, we lift babies up to a point. But when does a
woman push over her head, unless we’re in an airplane or reaching on a store shelf?” Another reason is
hormonal. “It’s a postmenopausal elasticity issue associated with estrogen withdrawal. You can take
some of the punch out of it with hormones, but hormones are not going to do it on their own.”
After forty, every woman needs to do a few simple, easy exercises to work her triceps. Do your
arms get tired blow-drying your hair or reading the newspaper? Amp up your arm strength. “If you stay
on top of it, the amount of skin hang will be minimized,” Dr. Peeke promises. Here are her no-brainers
(you’ll find more exercises—such as my favorite tricep kickbacks—in her Body for Life for Women).
“LEARN TO DO A SIMPLE BENT-KNEE PUSH-UP. You’re going to be hitting triceps, biceps, chest,
shoulder, abdomen, and butt—six muscles. You can do it anywhere. Start with one or two—in good
“DO A DIP. Grab a stable chair—not one with wheels. Put your palms on each side of the chair,
take your behind off the chair, bend the knees, put feet flat on the ground and hoist your behind up and
“THERE’S ONE I CALL BRUSHING YOUR HAIR. Use one of those three-ounce tubes that look like
jump ropes. With one foot on the rope, bring the arm straight above the head in front of the body.”
PUNCHING BAG, OR SWIMMING THE BUTTERFLY STROKE? It doesn’t matter what you do, just as long
as you do something consistently. Health-wise, you’ll increase your muscle mass so that you’ll burn
more calories every day and help speed up your metabolism. You don’t need to look as sinewy as
Madonna; just tone your arms enough so you can see what lies beneath. Every woman looks better with
a little muscle definition. Just do it. •
Working it
Armfuls of fun! Piling on the wrist candy, the more the better.
Arm Flap
1. Second skin fabrics that reveal all
2. Shiny, thick, stiff fabrics that magnify arms
3. Layering more than one sleeve on top of another
4. Compressing the flesh by crossing arms on top of each other
5. Holding your hands straight down at your sides
6. A banded sleeve that draws a virtual line across your arm
7. Short sleeves with pockets, tab closures, zippers, logos and other attention-getting doodads
8. A puffer coat with a horizontal seam across the upper arm
9. An upper-arm bracelet or tattoo
10. A furry arm—bleach it, wax it, or laser off the fuzz
→ You don’t have to be fat to have arm flap. It happens to skinny minnies, too. If reverberaons
of loose flab doesn’t motivate you to make regular dates with a dumbbell, you will wake one day and
find yourself gravitating toward clothes with sleeves—the longer, more billowy, the better.
A peasant is not so pleasant when its banded puff sleeve hits you across the widest part of your
arm, especially in a contrasting color.
× Cap or puff sleeves
× Knit suit jackets
× Sequin muscle tees
× Shrunken “baby” tees
× Sleeveless or strapless dresses
× Tube tops
What a difference!
Hide a thick or wobbly arm under a dramatic balloon sleeve.
If you’re tall, balance long, loose sleeves with a torso-hugging style that shows off your shape.
Petites: You do better in a slim-fitting jacket or cardigan.
Billowy jersey full sleeves
Shrugs and capes
Slouchy sweaters and tees with V or scoop necks
Tailored dress/cardigan combos
Three-quarter sleeves
Tunics with straight, roomy sleeves
Thinner by Tonight!
Hands on hips, Batgirl-style or at least one hand on a hip, elongates the arms and makes the
most of your muscle definition. Models and actresses know that this creates maximal space between
your arm and torso.
Compress the jiggle in a Tres Sleek De Quart Sleeve (see Brilliant Buys, here).
Slightly faux-tan your arms. The glow will appear to reduce your arm size, wipe out little white
bumps on elbows, and even out age spots. Do face and legs, too, so you’re fully blended.
Slip on an off-the-shoulder top that plays up your shoulders and neck while covering up upper
Throw on a long scarf, a mass of necklaces, a brooch, a zipper sweater, or a ruffled blouse…
Front and center details draw the eye front and center, away from your outer silhouette.
Fake three-quarter sleeves with a band that holds sleeves in place (see Brilliant Buys, here).
Pile on the wrist candy: cuffs, thick bangles, stacks of silver and gold bracelets, a big watch.
Slip on gloves: driving gloves in warmer weather, cold weather gloves in winter.
Work your triceps minutes before you leave the house. This really does work. Try it.
Going to Extremes: Arm Work
If you’re beginning to think that a family of bats somehow is hidden in your genealogical past,
you do have other options. For serious skin hang, as a result of a fifty-plus-pound weight loss, there is
lipo and plastic surgery. These are not substitutes for exercise, and every surgery (even lipo) is risky. No
one wants her obit to read: cause of death—surgery for arm flab. But here is what dermatologists and
plastic surgeons offer.
AT THE DERM’S OFFICE. Dr. Deborah Sarnoff, whose practice is in Greenvale, New York, says
LaserLipo is excellent for flappy arms because “there is no cutting, no ugly scars. The loose skin contracts
and tightens; it’s not just a matter of melting fat. If all you did was melt fat, the air would be let out of
the balloon so to speak, and the skin would still hang, actually even more than before.” Downtime:
Normal activity can be resumed in a couple days; strenuous activity, about a month. You need to wear a
compression garment (think sports bra with three-quarter-length sleeves) to reduce swelling.
• STICK TO A SLIM-STRUCTURED SLEEVE on a jacket, shirt, or shirtdress.
• SIMPLE SCULPTED TOPS AND DRESSES in soft, pretty solids will make you look thinner.
BUTTONS—they’re just fattening sauces that pack on pounds.
• STEER CLEAR OF EXTREME DOLMAN AND KIMONO SLEEVES or you’ll look like you’re about to
take flight. Look for modified versions on tops and dresses that really nip in at the waist.
someone five-foot-seven will likely be a long sleeve on you.
much fabric, pattern, accessories.
• START A TUNIC COLLECTION. The easy-fitting sleeve looks Fit Not Fat over slim pants, capris, or
jeans. Check out Tory Burch, Tibi, Chico’s, or Talbots.
• EXPERIMENT WITH SLEEVES: dolman, bishop, raglan, bell, kimono, flutter.
• THROW ON A CAPE, especially if you’re on the tall side.
High contrast between your upper and lower body is high fat.
If your issue is just fat and not hanging drapey skin, standard arm lipo in which excess fat is
suctioned out may be enough. Joan Rivers, who writes about having this done in her book Men Are
Stupid… And They Like Big Boobs, recommends it for younger women who still have elasticity.
Downtime: You’ll wear the compression garment from one to two weeks.
Yet to be FDA-approved (at press time), says Dr. Sarnoff, is Bodytite by Invasix, a form of radiofrequency-assisted lipo, which also melts fat and tightens skin via heat. One probe is inserted under the
skin to melt fat and a second probe is placed on the surface of the skin for tightening.
AT THE PLASTIC SURGEON’S. An arm-lift, which is called a brachioplasty, may be necessary after
massive weight loss and is a common follow-up to gastric bypass surgery as it can remove an extreme
amount of excess skin, says New York plastic surgeon Dr. Alan Matarasso. While he’s doing a
brachioplasty, he adds liposuction to remove any remaining excess fat. And that little puffy piece of flab
between your boobs and armpit, called an “arm scallop,” can also be excised. Yes, this “enables women
to wear skinny sleeve tops, jackets, and sweaters without a stuffed-sausage look,” according to Dr.
Matarasso, but not without a trace. “This surgery leaves big, grotesque scars from elbow to armpit, six
to ten inches in length,” he warns. For moderate excess skin, he can do a shorter incision in the armpit.
Downtime: at least two weeks. PS: I have a friend who lost more than a hundred pounds on gastric
bypass and had this surgery (not from Dr. Matarasso). She describes the downtime and aftermath as
“nasty… your arms are drained, and you have to constantly wrap them in gauzy material. It’s been three
years and I still have thick red scars from my elbow to armpit. I lost feeling in my arms and have nerve
damage, so I’m still seeing an acupuncturist. Having someone touch my arms is painful. This wreaks
havoc on your sex life.” Dumbbells, anyone? •
Working it
Strike a pose. The hand on hip trick is an award-winning move. And every star knows it.
Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Advanced Anti-Aging Body Wash, $5.99; mass retailers,
Aveeno Positively Ageless Firming Body Lotion, $8.99; mass retailers,
Fashion Fit Formula Arm Bands, $10; Stretchy bands in silver, black, or
gold hide in the folds of your sleeves and keep them in place.
Spanx On Top and In Control Draped V Long Sleeve, $98;
Slimpressions The Haves or The Have-Nots, sleevage control top with or without cleavage
compression, $72;
Tres Sleek De Quart Arm Shaper Sleeve elbow length, $21; A form-fitting set of
black stretchy sleeves that controls arm flap.
SPRI Xertube® Resistance Band, Door Attachment, and Exercise Chart, $9.99;
Bliss High Intensity Hand Cream To Go, $8; Sephora,
Burt’s Bees Aloe and Witch Hazel Hand Sanitizer, $4.99; mass retailers,
Essie Nail Polish Spaghetti Strap, Miss Matched, High Maintenance, Starter Wife, Room with a
View, My Way, $8 each; Ulta,
OPI Nail Lacquers It’s a Girl, Isn’t That Precious, $8.50 each; Ulta,
Vows for Arms
I WILL NOT wear sleeves that are so tight that they hurt.
I WILL only wear lightweight, sleeveless pieces under jackets and cardigans.
I WILL buy three-quarter-length sweaters in multiples.
I WILL donate all my short-sleeve polo shirts to charity.
I WILL say that I’m “a little chilly” when asked to remove my coat/jacket/sweater rather
than mention arm flap.
I WILL put the old pashmina out to pasture.
I WILL swap the denim jacket for a shrug.
I WILL freshen up my summer look with a flattering tunic.
I WILL NEVER wear a sleeveless dress with elbow-length gloves like they show on the
I WILL remove the tattoo from my upper arm.
Go sleeveless when wearing pants or jeans. When baring arms, it’s always better to wear a skirt
or dress. That way, everyone will be looking at your bare legs or thighs. It’s the fastest way to switch the
focus to your legs, which may be more shapely than your upper arms.
Big Bust
You wear an empire top and everyone assumes you’re pregnant… You look down and can’t see
your feet… You can keep a cell phone in your cleavage… Your dream is to go braless in tank tops… Men
seem to glance at your chest before your face.
→ This is the one chapter in which I have to admit up front that I took the “extreme” route to
looking Fit Not Fat. I had breast-reduction surgery. My only regret is that I didn’t do it earlier in my life,
as soon as I was emotionally prepared, back in my college days. But until my cousin Lisa told me that she
read about it in a magazine, I wasn’t even aware that the surgery existed! When you are five feet tall,
wearing a triple D, you can minimize your bust a bit, but you can’t hide it. I often felt that when
someone looked at me, all they could see was chest. And, with breasts that big, I never looked thin.
Because I wasn’t thin! I was top-heavy, plus I gained a lot of weight in my lower half because it’s hard to
get motivated to diet and exercise when you have to shoulder all that excess weight. I didn’t realize that
the reason I seemed allergic to physical fitness (I never once entered the gym during four years at
college) was that I couldn’t run or do aerobics without discomfort. Even doubling up on sports bras,
jogging was painful. I took golf lessons one summer until the pro pulled me aside to tell me that he
thought this was never going to be my game because I got in the way of myself with every swing. For a
high school kid taking lessons with all her friends, this was very embarrassing! I avoided swimming
because swimwear was impossible to fit. Back then, you couldn’t buy different-sized tops and bottoms,
so every suit that would accommodate my bosom was ginormous elsewhere.
saggy boobs, girlfriends, bazooms, the twins, puppies, the girls, mammaries, maracas, jugs,
melons, headlights, knockers, tatas
The reason I’m telling you all this is because there are big breasts, and then there are breasts so
out of proportion to your body that, for some of us, they can restrict our quality of life. If you’re in the
latter category like I was, you’ll want to read the section Going to Extremes (see here). For everyone
else, lifting your breasts to the proper position will make you look ten pounds thinner, and it’s as quick
and as easy as slipping on the right bra. And once you’ve found The One, know what your no-fat clothes
options are so you can flaunt your assets in the most Fit Not Fat way possible. •
for a Big Bust
→ SO IT STARTS WITH THE RIGHT BRA. Then, it’s all about learning how to choose clothes that
show off your shape without exaggerating your size. I know you’ve heard this a zillion times before, but
the last report I saw said that 85 percent of us are walking around in the wrong bra. And did you know
that the average woman wears six or seven different bra sizes in her lifetime? (I know at least one
woman who has seven different bra sizes in her drawer right now due to yo-yo dieting.) I promised you
fast and easy ways to look thinner without dieting, and I can’t think of an easier way to look like you’ve
dropped down a size or two than this: Get yourself to a store where you can get bra-fitted today.
Whether you’re closest to a major department store such as Bloomingdale’s or Nordstrom or a specialty
shop like the Intimacy boutique, you usually don’t need an appointment to get fitted. (Stop in the
lingerie department first so you can do your other shopping instead of wasting time if they tell you to
come back in a half hour.) If you’ve gained or lost five to ten pounds, been pregnant, changed your
fitness regimen, had breast surgery (including implants), or haven’t been fitted since high school, a new
size bra may be all you need to look Fit Not Fat, which is why every “Look Ten Years Younger” TV
makeover I do starts off with a new bra!
The dress-thinner strategy here involves creating as much space as possible between your waist
and chest. I must repeat this here and highlight it.
The dress-thinner strategy here involves creating as much space as possible between your waist
and chest.
Why? Because a longer torso will make you look leaner. Got it? You need a bra that can lift your
breasts up and off the rib cage. If you hoist your bust up, you’ll be exposing the space beneath your bra
band, elongating your midriff, and showing off a few extra inches of upper torso. Just think about it: If
your boobs are resting on top of your belly button, you’ll miss out on having this thin spot on your body.
How far up do they need to be? You’re up enough if (in your bra) your nipples are equidistant
from the top of your shoulder to your elbow, no lower. Keep in mind: You want a full-coverage bra here,
one that covers your entire breast—no demis, no pushups. They’ll do nothing to help you and will only
make you look chestier and saggier than you are. You have to be demanding here—not all full-coverage
bras are created equal, and some that are soft and stretchy won’t provide all the leverage and control
you need. Case in point: the Spanx Bra-llelujah! I love this bra for wearing around the house, but does it
provide the absolute best lift-off when I need to be up, up, up? No, no, no. That’s why you need a
wardrobe of bras for different situations. And don’t settle when you’re looking for uplift.
Working it
Join this support group. They know from great bras.
Some of us are so independent that we take pride in trying to figure out everything on our own.
A very admirable trait, but not when it includes Googling “how to determine bra size.” Don’t bother
whipping out a tape measure and calculator, because those tables are not reliable, and this isn’t
something you can afford to guess at. A professional bra-fitter can best determine whether you, like
most women, are wearing a band too big and cups too small. Try a bra first on the loosest hook—not the
tightest—because you want the flexibility to tighten the bra at a later date when everyday wear causes
it to stretch. It’s a smart way to extend the shelf life of your investment.
Larger-size women are finally starting to get the assortment they deserve from brands such as
Wacoal, Fantasie, Panache, and Chantelle, who offer gorgeous bras lavished with lace, color, and details
every bit as feminine and sexy as size A’s. Some brands now go up to KK and L.
Don’t get hung up on a letter. Did you know that, unfortunately, there is no standardization of
cup sizes? Not between countries, not between brands within the same country, and not even in styles
within the same brand. You might be a DD in one style and an E in another from the same manufacturer!
So if you order bras internationally online, you have to look at the size charts, because a US 34DDD is a
UK 34E and a French 90F.
If you have a healthy, full bust, rather than treat it as a curse, appreciate it! It’s why all those
women, who have made breast augmentation the most popular plastic surgery (in 2008, according to
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery), go under the knife. Your best everyday bra will be a fullcoverage bra. Whether you choose molded or seamed depends on your size; for larger sizes, the fit is
better in a seamed bra, says Susan Nethero, owner of the Intimacy boutiques.
A molded bra. I’m crazy about these seamless, preformed, heat-molded cups because you can
get a high, firm, rounded shape and great separation without a stiff feeling. Even though it’s been
around a while, I still love Le Mystere Dream Tisha Bra, because it gives extra support under fitted
clothes and light fabrics (without feeling like you’re wearing a mattress). If your current molded bras
leave your breasts squished, create a uni-boob, or make your bosom spill over at the sides, you need to
up the cup. A molded bra can provide the lift and separation you need to avoid a uni-boob look. (When
you have time on your hands, walking down the street or at the airport, see how many uni-boobs you
can spot. You won’t have enough fingers to count!)
A seamed bra that’s contoured, cut, and sewn for engineered lift. This is best for very big and
saggy breasts. By directing breast tissue toward the center of the bra, a seamed bra provides extra
coverage and shaping and gives maximum compression and lift. Wacoal’s Romantic Encounters style is
an example of a seamed bra. Don’t let wide back bands deter you. More heavy lifting is done in the band
than in the straps. In fact, your bra should stay up and in place without the help of straps pulling to the
max. If you get red indentations on your shoulders, you’re asking too much of your straps. The bra
should sit snugly around your rib cage and not creep up, creating rolls of skin.
It may surprise you to know that the most popular bra size sold in the United States by Wacoal
has ballooned from 34B to 36DD in ten years—and it’s not due to implants, according to Liz Smith,
director of retail services at Wacoal America. “Yes, the average size ten years ago was a 34B, but who
knows how accurate that was, since most women didn’t get fitted and just wore the same size year after
year, probably the same bra size since high school,” says Smith. “Part of it is we’re getting bigger, we’re
gaining weight, and bigger breasts are part of the package.” To accommodate our growth spurt, brafitting boutique Intimacy, which has stores across the country, now stocks up to a size K!
With as little as a five-pound weight gain, our breasts, which consist mostly of fat, can get fatter.
With menopause, women who were small-busted are happy to spring serious breasts, while women
who were already endowed don’t welcome being super-sized. Call this phenomenon part of nature’s Fat
Redistribution Program! That’s the best explanation I’ve heard on the subject, and it comes from Dr.
Pamela Peeke: “Fat gets redistributed as we age, and it causes many women, even slender women, to
go up a cup. A lot of fat settles in the breast and below the bra line,” she tells us, referring to back fat.
And then there’s sag: Sag is going to get most of us sooner or later, as it’s not easy to defy
gravity. Ligaments stretch, the skin loses elasticity, and if you lose weight in your breasts, that deflation
could result in longer breasts that droop like post-party balloons. (What? You thought you were the only
one?) If your breasts are heading south toward your waistline, the right bra, as I’ve said before, is your
low-maintenance breast-lift. You may feel more comfortable going braless in your own home, but you’re
only going to encourage the fried-egg look with increased loss of elasticity. Better you should find a bra
so super-comfy that you’ll want to sleep in it! (See Brilliant Buys, Spanx Bra-llelujah!, here).
What you can do about it: Eat healthy food and exercise, of course, but what else is new?
Health advocates concerned about America’s obesity are constantly telling us to reduce the amount of
artificial additives in our foods. Dr. Peeke agrees: “If you don’t watch what you eat, your breasts will
suffer the impact of poor nutrition, and that will be exacerbated by lack of exercise.” The cold, hard
truth is that if you choose to eat healthy foods instead of a lot of processed junk food, and remove
excess weight through diet and exercise, your breasts will downsize maybe a cup size or two, which can
make a huge difference in how your clothes fit. Of course, if you start serious weight training, your braband size might increase as the muscles lying under the breast firm up. Ideally, you want to lose volume
in the breast and develop your chest muscles to firm up support beneath the breast, so you keep those
babies up there.
→ A big bosom adds width to the upper body and, frankly, it’s easier to handle if you’re tall and
busty. But many women with big chests are short and buxom and are fighting the tendency to look boxy
in their clothes. When it comes to jackets, for example, the less frou-frou front and center the better.
A too-wide belt chops you up in two pieces. A tight, safari jacket with patch pockets that pull
across the bust makes you look all-chest.
× Baby doll dresses
× Bustiers
× Double-breasted jackets, coats
× Long necklaces and pendants that dangle near the boobs
× Patch pocket shirts, jackets
× Strapless dresses
× Wide belts at the waist
What a difference!
Too-small bras neither lift nor shape. A bra that boosts you midway between elbow and shoulder
is a miracle bra!
A tailored jacket that’s nipped in at the waist over a long V-neck top with lengthy pendants
draws attention south of the bustline.
Fitted single-breasted suits with hip-length jackets
Hip belts
One-shoulder dresses
Ruched and draped jersey tops
Sheath dresses with V-necks
Tunics with split neckline and decorative beading
V-neck sweaters and cardigans
Big Bust
1. Patch pockets over the breasts add extra padding and provide a target for attention just
where you don’t need it. Patch flap pockets with buttons are disastrous. This includes safari jackets,
which we love but don’t love us back.
2. Tucking in tops is one of the worst things you can do. It shortens your torso and makes a big
chest look bigger than it has to. But you already know that. If you’re short waisted to start, tucking in
leaves you with no midriff at all. Remember that it’s all about elongating the midriff.
3. Long necklaces that end below the bust and dangle mid-air like rock climbers emphasize the
ledge of your bosom and have an old-fashioned granny look. Ditto: An eyeglass chain resting on your
chest is not a slimming look since it invariably loops itself around a boob. Stick your glasses on your head
or nose.
4. Tightness across the chest. In fitted sweaters, buy the next size. Ditto, buttoned-up shirts or
cardigans that crease horizontally and gape at buttonholes to reveal your bra.
5. Turtlenecks, because they close you in and call attention to the widest, fullest area between
your chin and waist—your chest.
6. Excessive cleavage, pushed-together boobs. Skip bustiers, pushup, and balcony bras.
7. Tight T-shirts. White ones magnify your chest size. Shirts that express statements expand like
a billboard.
8. Strapless gowns, tops and swimsuits (more in Chapter 12). They can leave you droopy and
tugging upward for more support.
9. Across-the-body messenger or shoulder bag. The strap emphasizes breasts and traps them in
a frame.
10. Bulky jackets and sweaters. Tough leather motorcycle jackets, blousons, bombers, stiffpocketed jean jackets, and big fisherman’s sweaters all make you look broader, tougher, and bigger.
A minimizer bra would seem like a no-brainer for someone who wants to look smaller. But while
a minimizer can be useful when you don’t want to worry about pulling and gaps between the buttons on
buttoned-up shirts, jackets, and cardigans, be aware that you are trading shape for compression. For
years, I wore minimizers because I cared more about being smaller than about the fact that I was
mashing myself into a mass that looked like four breasts. Yes, I looked flatter, but I also had an overall
weird, chunky look, particularly since I had a huge chest and short torso. Think about it: If the flesh isn’t
going up and out, it has to go somewhere, and where it’s going is out to the sides and down. Susan
Nethero of Intimacy doesn’t believe in minimizers and doesn’t even buy them for her boutiques. “They
tend to spread the breast across the body and make a person look thicker and wide,” she says. Who
wants that? “Compression is a poor way to provide support and it will cause you to lose firmness. The
best technique for minimizing a full bust is to find bra styles that bring the bust line within the body
frame and give additional lift, which will make you look thinner in a minute.”
Look around at any party and there are always women who play the breast card, exposing too
much bosom, especially at a black-tie business affair. They always make every other woman feel
uncomfortable. Men, too, feel awkward because they don’t know where to look. Why would you want
everyone staring at your chest when they could be staring at your face? If you want to play it sultry for
the evening, body-hugging—not flesh-revealing—is the classier way to go. If you can’t help yourself, and
decide to take the plunge for a black-tie event, make sure the neckline of your gown is a V no deeper
than your usual bra dip, covering three-quarters of your breasts. You always want to look elegant, not
desperate, no matter what your size.
Your bra has to work with your body and your outfit, and the wrong bra can make you look
bustier—and heavier. For example, a sexy lace pushup bra is not going to help you if you’re a 36E and
wearing a silky blouse. The lace will show through and buttons will pull as your bosom is pushed up and
out. Choose a bra for support first, eye appeal second. Fancy bras can leave lumps, bumps, and bulges
under thin knits, tees, sweaters and light fabrics and make you look sloppy when you need to look
totally pulled together and Fit Not Fat. Granted, supportive bras are not as pretty, but a seamless T-shirt
bra with a molded cup will prevent show-thru on light fabrics, matte jerseys, tees, and fine-knit
Obviously, everyone’s lifestyle doesn’t require every type of bra. One of the makeovers I did on
the Oprah show was on a busy mom who only owned one bra—a sports bra. I felt so badly for her!
Needless to say, the first order of business was getting her fitted for a basic everyday T-shirt bra,
because you don’t have to sacrifice shape for comfort. But if the goal is to look fit, firm, and fashionable,
you want to be prepared and have the right type of bra sitting in your drawer, so when getting dressed
for a party, interview, wedding, whatever, there is no need for last-minute panic if your clothing requires
a special bra. So choose what you need from this list at left. And, once you find your perfect everyday
bra, you may want to buy three—two nudes and a black or two blacks and one nude, depending on your
wardrobe. You don’t need a white bra, nude looks better under white than white.
• A T-shirt bra should be seamless, and is often molded, to give you smooth lift and coverage
under fitted, light clothing.
• A structured bra with seams works well under tailored shirts and jackets. It shapes you, but it
won’t give you a pointy retro look.
• A racerback bra is for halter-style sleeveless tops and dresses that cut in at the neck and
• A strapless bra is what you need for those stylish off-the shoulder, one-shoulder, and strapless
tops and dresses.
• A deep V-bra lets you take the dive you need without showing your bra in V-neck sweaters,
dresses, and wraps.
• A sports bra keeps your breasts close to your body under stretchy nylon workout tops. Your
ligaments and tissue need a supportive frame. You want to avoid stretch marks, commonly a result of
heavy breasts dealing with motion and gravity.
• A fancy sexy bra should be considered only for intimate moments, as they usually don’t offer
enough support under clothes… then again, you may not be wearing it under clothes.
Now that you know everything about finding the right bra, how best to dress it? I’m not going to
tell you to wear black and only black. Why? Because you already know that black optically diminishes
size better than any other color. And because an exclusively black wardrobe is depressing… chic, but
depressing. But underneath jackets and cardigans, you need a wardrobe of dark tees, camisoles, tanks,
and sweaters as standard layering pieces.
Many of us get in a rut and only think black, but anything that’s dark will be slimmer than light.
So consider layering pieces in navy, charcoal, brown, eggplant, forest green, and burgundy, too. They
should be pieces that you look and feel great in, because you will depend on them and wear them often.
Tailored fitted jackets and blazers are the next style sanctuary for women with generous chests. Their
sharp lines add welcome angularity to a rounded upper body. Stay classic and wear them over fitted
tees or a camisole or trend them up with draped or layered pieces. And because you’re big busted, you
need to know that overexposing your breasts and showing cleavage in deep dip necklines is tacky—even
if you’re getting an Oscar! •
If the goal is to look fit, firm, and fashionable, you want to be prepared and have the right type
of bra sitting in your drawer, so when getting dressed for a party, interview, wedding, whatever, there is
no need for last-minute panic if your clothing requires a special bra.
Thinner by Tonight!
Put on your brand-new, perfect-fitting bra. Your chest just got a makeover.
Show a bit of skin (not deep cleavage) with a V neckline. The open inverted triangle creates a
higher horizontal focal point up and away from the one your boobs naturally create and gives you a
longer, slimmer upper body.
Create a slim zone just beneath your bosom with a raised waist or empire top that defines the
slimmer rib cage just under your bra. Large, shapeless tops just make you look big and bulky all over.
Slip on a slimming jacket. The straight lines, narrow V, and slim lapels of a blazer counteract
excess curves with a crisp shape.
Layer your way slim. Sandwich long body-skimming tanks or shaper camisoles between your bra
and relaxed A-shape tees or sweaters. The buffer layer prevents clothes from sticking to curves and
looks stylishly hip.
Lower your waist to create more midriff space by wearing a belt lower on the top of the hip. Try
this on tops worn out over jeans or sheath dresses and shifts. Your boobs will seem to float higher.
Wear heels. Adding inches to your legs evens out your body proportions. Trust me, it will make
your chest appear more in proportion and less prominent.
Keep skirts around knee-length give or take an inch. Going too short makes you look top-heavy.
Leave the micro-minis to ballerina bodies and teens.
De-emphasize your bosom with reversed color strategy. Switch the usual tactic and wear dark
on top, light on bottom. A black tee and white jeans might be your new dress-slim weekend uniform.
This is a trick from my friends in Miami who live in white pants!
Take a yoga or Pilates class or stretch or get a massage to lose the hunched-over look. Ease the
tension in the shoulders and neck that can make busty women look caved-in and inches shorter. Yes, a
heavy load on your chest can cause muscle strain, so be kind to yourself, and get rid of the rock-hard
tension. Just keep your shoulders back, and you will immediately look leaner!
you don’t have much room between the neck and waist, so pieces crunch your midriff space. Dresses
help stretch your torso and body visually while they de-emphasize the top.
• KEEP BELTS LOW ON THE WAIST (loose rather than snug) so they dip in front, and blouse your
dress by pulling it out a bit to soften the shape. If your dress comes with a belt, remove the loops. Watch
belt size: too wide and it will be resting on your boobs. (If your belts need another hole or two, bring
them to a shoemaker or a hammer/nail will do. If your belts need shortening, bring them in also as
excess belt length looped around is fattening.)
that is unbuttoned to a low V works; a shallow scoop-neck sweater over a shallow scoop-neck tank
works, too.
• If you’re busty and short with a wide derriere, SKIP CROPPED JACKETS BECAUSE THEY’LL ONLY
EXAGGERATE YOUR WIDTH, and pass up long jackets because they’ll make your legs seem super-short.
Choose semi-fitted mid-hip jackets.
• Hourglass figures with full tops and bottoms can look great in the GRACEFUL FOLDS OF A SOFT
JERSEY WRAP DRESS that plays up a narrow waist and creates definition between the two more
generous body zones.
the bust; cropped jackets are not best for you.
• KEEP NECKLINES SIMPLE AND FREE OF FRILLS. The broader and bigger your chest and overall
proportions, the less fussy your necklines should be. Skip the frou-frou fancy collars. Abby Z., a New York
City stylist and designer for larger sizes, says, “Make all your tops as V-neck as possible; it’s the most
flattering neckline for a large bust.”
shirt under a ribbed and cabled cotton sweater will add pounds; a soft silk blouse under a flat-knit finegauge sweater subtracts them.
• KEEP JACKET DETAILS ON THE QUIET SIDE. Be sure buttons are small and color toned to the
garment. Watch the width of lapels; oversized is fattening. Nothing should scream out at you.
Going to Extremes: Breast Surgery
If you are financially and emotionally prepared, and feel that your breasts are truly out of sync
with the rest of your body, surgery is an option. When bra shopping is a nightmare, you can’t wear the
clothes you want, you feel inhibited with your significant other, and doing sports or appearing in a
swimsuit makes you self-conscious, a breast reduction or lift could really change your life.
BREAST-REDUCTION SURGERY. If your breasts are so heavy you can’t remember a time when
your bra straps weren’t digging into your shoulders and leaving big red grooves, a reduction could
relieve the strain of carrying around that extra four pounds (about two pounds a breast). A lift is a
standard part of a reduction because you’re dealing with removal of tissue, fat, and skin, both size and
sag. Your bra band size may not change at all; it’s your cup that sees the difference. This is serious
surgery and not to be taken lightly, as complications can arise.
A BREAST LIFT. A breast lift will reposition saggy nipples that have drooped downward pointing
to your waist, but the breasts themselves stay the same size. If your nipples have sagged below the
breast crease, and your boobs look long and tubular, the nipple can be lifted and the breast reshaped
with a mastopexy. Implants alone will not raise your nipples higher; they just increase the size of your
breasts. If you have a generous C cup that’s hanging, an implant could, in fact, increase the sag! Very
large nipples that protrude over the areola are sometimes a result of breast-feeding, and these can be
trimmed down, too, at the same time. You may experience loss of feeling or change of color in the
BREAST IMPLANTS. Augmentation surpassed liposuction for the first time in 2008 as the most
popular cosmetic surgery, though it’s not on the rise. According to the American Society of Aesthetic
Plastic Surgery, there were 355,671 breast implants in 2008, down from 399,440 in 2007. Why discuss
implants in a chapter about already-too-big breasts? There are women who opt for breast implants to
balance weight gain in the lower body—fuzzy logic, to be sure, as the overall goal is to look smaller, not
bigger. Women who get implants will undoubtedly find fashion as challenging as it is for their naturally
large sisters, as the same big-bust rules apply. •
A shallow scoop, think leotard, looks elegant and classic.
Bares neck and gracefully camouflages
Faux Wrap
Pre-styled crossover for subtle camouflage and shaping
A high-neck/back shell with deeply cutaway armholes
Round neck, button placket tee worn open reveals skin
Classic collar and button placket worn open makes a small V
A scoop or ballet neck with gathered fabric
Sculpts and bares collarbones; good for boobs with no sag
Refocuses attention above breasts and spares cleavage
Tied low or high grabs attention away from bosom
Inverts the bustline-to-neck triangle to rebalance proportions
Le Mystere Tech Fit Bra, style 954, 32–38 B–E, $69; Bloomingdale’s,
Lightweight, well-designed to cover the entire breast so it doesn’t leave you with major boob spillage,
a.k.a. four boobs.
MySkins T-shirt Bra, 32A–38D, $60; Pretty, scalloped, seamless bra that comes in
20 skin tones.
Le Mystere Baroque Tisha Bra, style 9966, 32–42, C–G, $76; A prettier T-shirt bra
that supports full cups.
Le Mystere Dream Minimizer Bra, style 311, 32–42, C–G, $62; Dillard’s,
Super soft and comfortable while still supportive.
Wacoal SlimLine Seamless Minimizer, style 85154, 34C–40DDD, $65; Nordstrom, Reduces your bust up to one full inch.
Lilyette Plunge Into Comfort Minimizer Bra, style 904, $32; A cushioned
underwire, a contemporary bare look, and a wide plunge neck so it’s great for V-necklines.
Spanx Bra-llelujah! Underwire Contour Bra, style 216, 32–36 A, 32–38 B–D, 40–42 C–D, 32–42
DD, $62; Bloomingdale’s, It’s super comfortable and has more support for bigger busts than
the original all-hosiery, wireless Bra-llelujah. Also available in non-padded and racerback styles.
Assets Brilliant Bra, up to 38D, $32; Target, A back fat–busting bra that fastens in
the front, much like the Bra-llelujah! from Spanx
Shapeez Unbelievabra The Shortee, XS A–1XDD, $75; Van Mauer,
Bust-firming treatments that claim to lift your bosom with natural firmers like wheat proteins
and horse chestnut extract. You might get silkier skin, but it takes more than a topical cream to get your
boobs back to perky. Better to spend the cash on a good supportive bra.
Vows for the Big Busted
I WILL get bra-fitted once a year.
I WILL rid my lingerie drawer of old stretched out bras and remember that bras don’t retain
shape forever—only 100 washings!
I WILL treat my new bras with TLC—and wash by hand, not throw them into the washing
machine, and worse, the dryer.
I WILL look through my closet and figure out the kinds of bras I need—and go shopping
before I need them.
I WILL NOT dangle necklaces off the cliff of my chest.
I WILL wear a camisole under wrap dresses and not reveal excessive cleavage.
I WILL NOT flaunt big saggy boobs with low-cut cleavage at parties.
I WILL ease shoulder tension and back strain with a massage treat at a day spa or stretching
Exercise braless. It’s an open invitation to sag!
Muffin Top + Back Fat
Your flesh balloons over the waistband of your jeans… You can pinch way more than an inch all
around your middle… You wear a jacket or cardigan for protection… You avoid friendly hugs… You’re
embarrassed to get a massage… Your bras feel better on the last hook… Stretch tees with Lycra ® make
you worry.
→ Remember when jeans and a tee were the easiest, most comfortable things to wear? But as
jeans dipped to super-low-rise at the same time the tight short top became fashion, women of a certain
age discovered two new unwelcome body parts: muffin top and back fat. Something tells me that if
you’re reading this, you don’t need definitions, but it’s fun to know that “muffin top” was first used as
Aussie slang in 2003 and then popularized on Kath and Kim, a hit show on Australian TV (which
obviously lost something in its U.S. translation!). In 2006, it was named new word of the year in
Aussieland and has become part of the lexicon as the perfect descriptor for the flesh that blobs over our
waistbands, so reminiscent of a muffin spilling out of its paper cup. In an episode of 30 Rock, Jane
Krakowski’s Jenna Maroney records a song called “Muffin Top,” which becomes a chart topper in Israel
and Belgium!
love handles, mushroom effect, spare tire, tummy overhang, stomach spillage, midriff bulge,
split muffin, back boobs, bra roll, sofa-back, dolphin-back
Working it
Watching their own backs.
“Back fat,” those fleshy cutlets popping out above and below the back of the bra, which look like
you’ve sprouted back boobs, is an expression that has also come into its own, with a bra dedicated to
eradicating those unsightly bumps and bulges (Spanx Bra-llelujah!). Some also call muffin top from the
rear view back fat. So that we’re crystal clear here, back fat is only the roll that pops out of the bra band
in the back, and muffin top from the rear view is muffin top from the rear view. (I don’t really love the
term “split muffin,” which is used to describe a muffin top when you’re bending down in low-rise jeans,
do you?) And, since no one has yet coined a word for the fleshy upper roll that seeps out from under the
bra band in front—the roll above the stomach that used to be called Midriff Bulge before we started
getting really specific and naming our rolls—let’s refer to it as the opposite of back fat: front fat.
As women, we joke among ourselves about these extra bulges encircling our middle, but trying
to dress them is where the laughter stops and the frustration begins.
Muffin tops are democratic. You can wear a size 27 jean and have muffin top. They tend to crop
up most often in midlife. According to Dr. Pamela Peeke, “Even women who are in great shape look in
the mirror with shock and horror, realizing that they now have four breasts, and one is popping out
under each armpit. It’s a redistribution of fat, and it begins to happen to the mass majority of women
between the ages of forty-five and fifty-two. During that time, two extra breasts, belly fat, and back fat
will occur in a lot of women. Make sure you’re getting appropriate cardio along with excellent nutrition.
It will minimize any back issue that you have.”
Now that we know what we’re talking about, let’s divide and conquer. •
Stop eating so much! You can ab crunch, you can oblique twist, you can row, you can work your
core. But you have to cut your daily intake of calories, too, because you need to eliminate that layer of
fat that covers your abdominal muscles. This is something we don’t want to hear, but hear it we must, as
our health, too, is at risk. “Women are just plain eating too much,” says Dr. Pamela Peeke. “At fifty-two,
you can’t eat the way you did at thirty and at forty, you can’t eat like you did in college at twenty
cramming for exams. You keep eating like you’re twenty and you’re going to pay for it.
“As you age,” she continues, “you have to eat less and eat smarter, too, and occasionally treat
yourself to something wonderful.” Dr. Peeke treats herself to one gourmet oatmeal raisin cookie, not an
entire sleeve of Oreos as she once did in college. “Just like you have to put thought into what you wear,
you have to put thought and value into what you eat,” she says. Woman who do that, look like it. “The
quality of your food is reflected in how you look. Women say to me all the time, ‘But I never had to pay
attention to what I ate before’ and I say, ‘You were never forty-five before, either. The game has
changed, and you are a different biological specimen and have different needs. Honor your body, and be
good to yourself.’ ” Amen.
for a Muffin top
→ SQUEEZING INTO CLOTHES that are too small makes you look sloppy and heavy, even if your
weight is handily within reach. That roll of fat has to go somewhere! Best strategies for muffin top: Bring
it up and flatten it out with high-waist shapewear and stockings or eliminate its very existence with
smart tops, sweaters, dresses, and jackets that strategically dress the issue. From now on, when we’re in
a restaurant and want to get up from the table, we want to avoid having to constantly hike up our jeans
by the belt loops and tug down skimpy sweaters and tops in order to not expose a roll. Neither do we
want to have to stand at a party with arms folded, hoping to hide front fat.
High-waist shapewear—bike shorts, tights footless pantyhose plus control camisoles and
bodysuits that fully contain the fleshy area will flatten out your ripple-y midriff with compression and
smooth out those bulges so that you feel in control. The key here is high waist, not waist high. Waisthigh undergarments will get you into muffin trouble, so only buy high-waist bike shorts, tights, and
footless pantyhose from now on. You want coverage from where your bra band ends on down. How far
down depends on where else you need coverage and what you’re wearing. If your thighs are not fat,
congrats, you don’t need shapewear with legs. If they are fat, under skirts and dresses, wear high-waist
bike shorts; under pants, wear shapewear that extends to capri-length, because you don’t want VSL
(visible shaper line) across your thigh. Unfortunately, the hosiery industry is not as supportive as it needs
to be. “High waist” is not yet available in all styles of stockings from all brands. Spanx, for example, does
not offer their fabulous control-top fishnets in high-waist… though the request is in!
Bring it up and flatten it out with high-waist shapewear and stockings or eliminate its very
exsistence with smart tops, sweaters, dresses, and jackets that strategically dress the issue.
New jeans. Jeans that squish and shove your middle up to a mass of flab gotta go! You have
three choices: go up a size, wear a slightly higher rise, or both. But don’t you dare choose a jean so highwaisted, pleated, and shapeless that you have the dreaded “mom jeans” look. On a grown-up woman,
super-low-rise jeans are the equivalent of a “you’re trying too hard” bustier. At a certain age, you have
to say buh-bye, been there, done that. Even Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson, and Claudia Schiffer don’t
wear super-lows anymore! You don’t want to risk a muffin top in the back that shows a whale tale
(thong) or tattoo.
When buying jeans, look for jeans with a nine-inch rise and a waistband that sits comfortably on
or just below your waist. (See jean-buying details in the Big Booty chapter, here.) Higher-waisted jeans
come in all styles, from boot cut to skinnies. Make sure you choose a pair that does not pinch or bind
and does not have tricky details like a super-wide waist, tunnel loops, or giant bell flares that will make
them look dated. Brands to try are Citizens of Humanity, CJ Cookie Johnson, Habitual, Not Your
Daughter’s Jeans, and Lee.
New tops. All those cropped tops that barely make it to your belly button? Unless you can layer
a bodysuit, or a longer tee or tank in a lightweight fabric underneath, give them away to someone who
doesn’t yet know about muffin top. Same with tops that are just too tight and pucker across your
Make A-shapes and empire waists your number one choice for tees, sweaters, dresses, and
jackets. These can range from modified A’s with subtle width at the hem to clear-cut A-shapes that fit
snug in the bust and then gently flare away from the body.
Longer tops that are draped or ruched are a stylist’s best secret for disguising midsection flab,
because no one will be the wiser: Is that a fold in the fabric or a fleshy roll? Can’t tell!
Strategically designed swirling prints and fashion-y details are making it easier for us to hide our
rolls. You can usually find flattering choices for hiding muffin tops in the following brands: Rebecca
Beeson, T-bags, Design History, C & C California, and Free People. •
for Back Fat
→ WHETHER YOU’RE A SIZE 2 OR 22, a lumpy roll under your bra band makes buying simple Tshirts a nightmare. Some women with small frames and narrow rib cages are saddled with a wide fleshy
back. Others, with the kind of athletic body and shoulders you see on Venus Williams, are also bugged
by the same persistent ballooning of flesh beneath their J. Crew Perfect-Fit Tees. The old strategy of
hiding out under shapeless tops won’t do… you don’t want to demote your body to sexless status. The
good news is that the war against back fat is winnable, and there are new weapons of mass reduction.
Your best shot for eradicating the problem altogether is the right bra. Your backup is a compression
camisole. Or, dodge the issue with body-skimming pieces that aren’t too tight yet aren’t too baggy.
Here’s your plan of attack.
New bras. Could you make your back fat banish with a different bra? One that sits low on your
back? “Most women are wearing their bras two to four inches too high with a band that’s too wide and
too big around,” says Susan Nethero of Intimacy. Many women are hiking up their bras straps too high
to get lift, which causes the band to ride up the back, creating a ripple effect. Or, if your band size is too
large, it causes the bra to creep up and accentuate bulges. “A bra is a lot like a seesaw,” she says. “When
the back rides up, the front falls down. Ninety percent of the bra’s support comes from the band being
firm around the body and level across the bodice from side to side.”
The easiest way around back fat is to go to a dressing room and try on some new bras. Make
sure they’re the right size and that you’re positioning them low enough on the back. Now slip on your
tightest tee. Is your back suddenly smooth? Ideally, you’ve solved your back-fat issue. If the lumpiness is
still there, see if a professional bra-fitter can make it go away with the right bra.
At home, do your back a favor and pitch bras that are not your correct size. Yes, it’s hard to part
with fancy ones that you splurged on—ten years ago. But unless they’re the right size across the back,
the divine front view won’t matter.
A control camisole. If you don’t own one of these yet, here’s a five-star tip that is worth the
price of this book: Switch to shapewear camisoles instead of regular bras if you are small busted (say, an
A or B) and don’t need a bra for lift. This modern version of a fifties-style long-line bra will help you
bypass the bulge created by bra bands and straps and could be your new go-to bra. Smaller-busted
women love these and find them very liberating!
Back fat is part of nature’s over-forty fat redistribution program… The good news is that the war
on backfat is winnable, as we have new weapons of mass reduction.
Those who are C cup and beyond can try the styles that feature the built-in underwire bra.
Personally, I have never found the built-in bras to be as good as a regular bra, so my suggestion for
those who are big busted is that you may want to layer the control camisole over your regular bra, so
that the cami becomes your new “undershirt.” Although these camisoles are designed to compress and
flatten that roll to the point where it’s invisible, some are cleverly disguised to look like outerwear, and
pretty enough—with lacy edging—to peek out of a V-neck top, sweater, or jacket. They are available in a
range of colors and styles, from unstructured tanks to those with underwires. (See Brilliant Buys, here.)
New tops. The tricky part is that you don’t want tops too tight (so that you see every line) or too
baggy (so that you are rendered shapeless). Graceful draping, pleats, shirring, or tiers can provide terrific
coverage for rolls, but keep the overall shape of the top or dress itself body skimming. Some of the
favorite tops for muffin top will also work for back fat. •
Our Ten Favorite Tops
A-shape top
Fitted thru the shoulder and bosom, then gently flared
This top sits at the hip, where it is defined with a band.
Ruched jersey top
Pleated in tiny gathers to blur the silhouette
Empire top
Defined under the bosom, then falls straight and loose
Raised waist V-neck
Flares from a firm rib cage-defining band, an inch or two beneath the bust
Tiered tank
Horizontal layers of mini ruffles
Decorative cardigan
With beading, embellishment
Crisp tunic
With contrast neckline and beading
Layered tees
Doubled up for opacity and camouflage
Dolman top
Cut deep at the armhole, skipping the issue
… Muffin Top
1. Short tops worn with low-rise pants. We cannot repeat it enough: This is the worst combo
platter in your closet.
2. Baggy clothes. Stay in the fashion game and skip sloppy oversized pieces. An XL tee over
skinny jeans or leggings will not make you look thinner.
3. Wearing boxy jackets that expand the torso horizontally. A boxy jacket just makes you look
big all over. Even double-breasted jackets aren’t doing you any favors since they call attention to the
4. Dresses with a waistband, and belts that sit at your real waist. Belting tops at your real waist
forces fat to squiggle at the sides. Instead, fake a higher waist to highlight the firm area just under the
bosom with empire tops or raised-waist dresses that skim in a subtle A-shape right past the problem.
5. Breaking up the body at the waist with color. A white shirt and black skirt will focus attention
to where they meet in the middle and upward. Better to go monochromatic with matching tops and
… Back Fat
1. Backless dresses. Beware of the ripple effect. Dresses that feature open backs framed in
ruffles, pleats, gathers, and undulating fabrics make clothes more visually exciting but also more
fattening for victims of back fat.
2. Too-tight and super-fitted tees and sweaters show your bra line and bulges beneath it. Slide
a control cami as a first layer to make it work, or throw on a jacket. Body-hugging knit or matte jersey
wrap dresses will make that squiggle hot spot obvious. Opt for crisp, sleek shift dresses in cotton or wool
3. A tattoo on your back may tempt you to display it and blow your whole fashion strategy. A
teensy little rainbow will bloat to the size of a Peter Max mural if you gain weight.
4. Tucking a tiny clutch under your arm is like drawing an arrow directly to the problem zone.
Ditto, slinging a shoulder bag across the body. Carry a top-handle tote or an oversized bag. (See Hiding
Fat with Your Bag in Chapter 8, here.)
5. Little puff-sleeve tops and dresses. This Cinderella-like style makes even eight-year-olds look
like they need time at the gym.
→ A short, snug T-shirt paired with low-slung pants is a recipe for a high fat look. Jeans should
be slightly higher rise, nine inches is perfect, not so high as to be “mom jeans” and not as deep-dipping
as teen jeans. Say good-bye to tight cropped tops unless you wear a visible bodysuit underneath. At
right, a control-camisole smoothes away back fat and bra bunching.
This light colored T-shirt is so tight that it’s bunching up, creating back fat, VVB (Visible Bra
Band) and muffin top. No woman wants this kind of exposure.
Muffin Top
× Body-hugging knits
× Bolero jackets
× Cropped tees
× Hipster pants
Back Fat
× Clingy, fine-gauge sweaters
× Flimsy slip dresses
× Horizontal-stripe anything on top
× Strapless dresses, tops
What a difference!
The High Fat look shows both back fat and muffin top. The No Fat not only keeps everything
under control, but is ultimately more elegant.
This is the same T-shirt in a darker color and larger size! The longer T is tucked into higherwaisted jeans and safely secured with a belt.
Muffin Top
Blouson blouses
Crisp cotton tunics
Print tops and dresses
Structured sheath dresses
Back Fat
A-shape tees and tops
Cardigans, from classic to grandpa
Classic-fit cashmeres in V-necks, boats, and wide scoops
Draped or shirred tops
Thinner by Tonight!
Wear a dress. The simplest solution is to avoid separate tops and bottoms. But of course make
that dress a raised-waist or empire V-neck or a structured sheath, not a tight knit!
Add a boyfriend cardigan or fitted jacket as a top layer to camouflage visible love handles at the
sides. It cleans up your contours instantly for a lean, trim look.
Show your arms. If you have toned arms, go sleeveless in a dark, loose top. The illusion of an
athletic upper body, shoulder to waist, is what will register.
Wear a silky blouse that slides and skims elegantly over curves, rather than clinging to them like
a sweater.
Add a vest. Man-tailored vests over a crisp, white shirt and pants makes for a cool downtown
look, while a fur or faux fur vest looks Aspen-y.
Choose a print in a swirling pattern, dots, floral, or paisley to camouflage. Skip geometrics that
tend to highlight the difference between flat and rounded body spots.
Sit up straight, like your mother told you to. When you slouch or relax into a C-curve, your
midriff compresses and flab practically ripples. Get in the habit when you’re at the computer and it will
become second nature in public.
Wear a camisole with an attention-getting necklace or a ruffle-front tuxedo shirt under an open
blazer. All focus will be on the center of your body.
A lace-trimmed silk or satin camisole under a potentially bulge-making top, sweater, or dress.
This stylist trick from Abby Z. works especially well when a peek of the lace shows. The slippery fabric
will prevent the top from sticking to your skin.
Sling a jeweled or sequin cardigan over all your dresses and pants for evenings. Chicer than a
shawl, and newer than a pashmina, it will frame and discreetly conceal the sides of your body. Check out
thrift shops, flea markets, and consignment shops for vintage finds, but contemporary designers
Nanette Lepore, lisli, and Rebecca Taylor do versions of these nearly every season.
Wear a shirt open as a jacket over a same-color base of tee or tank and pants—a very St. Tropez
look. Or, an open leather motocross jacket can add an edgy look to all your clothes.
Show skin where you’re thin, but keep the flab under wraps. Visible collarbones, long and slim
neck, arms, and legs all make ideal focal points to divert the eye away from your middle. This is exactly
why scoop necklines were invented and why you need those new Barbie-pink patent leather heels!
Muffin Top Solutions
• COLLECT CARDIGANS OF VARIOUS COLORS AND FABRICS. Add an open cardigan to camouflage
the sides of your body.
• WEAR HEELS WITH PANTS, SKIRTS, AND JEANS. You always need the extra length.
Back Fat Solutions
• GO UP A SIZE IN TOPS. Even a quarter inch more fabric can make a difference.
look, this duo has a jet-set glamour. The black top can be anything from a black cashmere sweater to a
plain Gap tee.
go crazy with wild, brightly colored florals and splashy, modern Pucci-like designs. Just stick to
structured A-line dresses and sheaths like those by Milly, Tory Burch, Shoshanna, and Diane von
Muffin Top Solutions
• CHOOSE LIGHTWEIGHT COATS AS JACKETS and look for dress/coat ensembles instead of suits
and separates.
• SHIFT YOUR WAISTLINE UP TOWARD YOUR BOSOM. Raised-waist dresses and tops and empire
necklines are your best choices.
• CONSIDER A CONTROL BODYSUIT for your everyday underwear to minimize layers.
Back Fat Solutions
beautiful sari or a salwar kameez—loose tunic with slits on the side and pants—can be discreet and
distinctive evening wear.
example, a deep-violet velvet jacket and purple matte jersey top with draped neckline.
• INSTEAD OF HEAVY CABLE-KNIT SWEATERS, invest in thin long-knit scarves to wrap around
your neck over loose, fine-gauge sweaters. Same cozy feel, minus the fattening effect.
Going to Extremes: Lipo and Plastic Surgery
LIPO ON MUFFIN TOP AND BACK FAT. Even if you’ve dieted and exercised like a maniac and
have a healthy weight, unwanted fat deposits and bulges can still make you cringe when you look in the
mirror. Lipo can vacuum out stubborn pockets of fat such as muffin tops and back fat, but be
forewarned, whether SmartLipo or standard lipo, this isn’t something to be taken lightly. It’s a rather
rough procedure that involves significant oozing and bruising. What you need to know in this chapter is
that different areas of the body react differently to lipo. If your skin is thin and loose, it can fail to
tighten after lipo and look baggy. For a muffin top, the doctor has to be careful to avoid ripples, puckers,
dimpling, and contour irregularities so the midriff looks balanced after the healing process, otherwise
you’ll have dents. The best time to do this is after you have dieted and exercised to get as close as
possible to your body ideal. Some women complain that after lipo, they get fat in new areas. No one can
predict where new fat will go if you gain weight again after lipo.
PLASTIC SURGERY FOR BACK FAT. Women who have removed a massive amount of weight
might be encouraged to know that there is a surgery to eliminate all that sagging skin on their back. It
does leave a tell-tale scar, which is why this is not an ideal option for women who want to get rid of back
fat just to wear backless dresses. •
Spanx Skinny Britches High-Waist Short, style 930, $46; This is what to wear when
it’s hot out. Super lightweight microfiber; comes in colors.
Wacoal Shaping Up Long Leg Shaper, style 805161, $55; Neiman Marcus,
With an open crotch.
TC Fine Intimates Extra Firm or Even More Hi-Waist Bike Pant, style 499, $69;
Flexees Instant Slimmer Firm Control Singlet, style 2556, $55; Bike short
body suit with added compression in the back. Wear your own bar.
Spanx Slimplicity Open-Bust Camisole, style 309, $44; Bloomingdale’s, Wear your
own bra.
TC Fine Intimates Even More Torsette, style 4043, $56; Bloomingdale’s,
Wear your own bra.
Flexees Fat-Free Dressing Tank Top, style 3266, $38; Macy’s,
Maidenform Control It Convertible Halter Camisole, style 12404, $36;
Assets Fantastic Firmers Adjustable Strap Cami, style 207, $20; Target,, Super soft, nice price.
Sometimes offered at medi-spas, this is a cocktail injected under the skin that promises to “melt
fat away.” Three things you need to know: There is no scientific evidence that it is safe. There is no
scientific evidence that it works. These under-the-skin injections for fat removal have many brand
names (such as Lipodissolve) but none have been FDA-approved (as of yet). So save your money.
Vows for Muffin Top + Back Fat
I WILL NOT wear hip-hugging anything.
I WILL NOT try to squeeze into jeans that have shrunk.
I WILL NOT put my jeans in the dryer.
I WILL NOT wear a backless dress.
I WILL wear control camis to hide the back fat.
I WILL toss tops so tight that they cut and pinch.
Continue to wear super-low-riding jeans. There’s nothing cute about a whale-tale thong hanging
Buddha Belly
You can’t suck it in even when you try… Lately you prefer the missionary position… Sales
associates have asked when the baby is due… Your stomach blocks your thong when you look down… In
profile your tummy protrudes more than your chest.
→ Stand straight and pinch your skin from your belly buo n to wh er e bi ki ni under we ar wo ul d
start. If you can grab a roll of flab, you have a belly. Join the club. It doesn’t matter if you’re size 4, 14, or
20, whether you’re on a diet, or whether you work out—if you’re a woman of a certain age, chances are
you don’t have the flat tummy you once did… or thought was just a few crunches away!
jelly belly, belly fat, pot belly, belly rolls, menopot, girly gut, breadbasket, spare tire, thick
middle, post-baby belly, pooch
A prominent pooch gets in the way of fashion because it’s smack in the middle of your body and
affects what you wear on top and bottom equally. The reason for that belly can be any number of things
but is probably a combo of these: 1) It popped out after a pregnancy or a C-section that left you with
flaccid muscles, 2) hormonal changes due to menopause have shifted fat to the tummy, 3) you’re so
busy working or taking care of everyone else (or both) that you haven’t take the time to exercise, 4) you
haven’t cut back on your calorie consumption in recent years, or 5) you’re a woman in midlife. I have
friends who do everything right, including crunches daily, and they still complain about the menopot.
(Credit for this word to describe menopausal belly bulge goes to Dr. Pamela Peeke, who coined it in her
book, Body for Life for Women.)
So what can you do about it? Thanks to control undergarments, compression is one way to
minimize the menopot; and, in fact, living in bike shorts is your easiest way to drop a size fast. For best
results, you’ll want to add some secret camouflage into the mix, which we’ll detail throughout this
chapter. Of course, losing the belly fat through weight training, crunches, aerobics, and by reducing your
caloric intake is ideal. But let’s be honest, it takes forever, and removing it completely, through surgery,
is a major big deal. So let’s do what we can to fake it, right here, right now, with clothes that practically
manage your middle for you by compressing the flesh and camouflaging the evidence. And away we go.
for a Buddha Belly
→ FOR STARTERS, YOU HAVE TO WEAR shapewear instead of regular underwear, but shapewear
is just the foundation. Realize that you can’t continue to dress the way you always have. Once you reach
a certain age, baring the belly in low-rise jeans and cropped tops is no longer adorable. There really is no
point to exposing excess flesh unless you’re under thirty, a model, a dancer, or nine months pregnant
posing for your pre-baby portrait. Even former belly flashers like Madonna and Cindy Crawford have
adopted a more sophisticated fashion mantra. When you have a belly, you need to make your stomach
recede visually by shifting proportions and tweaking details in fit, fabric, and color. Don’t get nuts about
this. It’s just one more thing that we as women have to deal with. Ready to deal? We can do this.
If you don’t already own super-controlling bike shorts, one-piece shapers, footless panty hose,
and opaque stockings, you need to stock up (see Brilliant Buys, here). I have a separate drawer for bike
shorts, and almost every day I wrestle into a pair of high-waist bike shorts by Spanx, Lipo in a Box, TC,
Wacoal, or Donna Karan. Granted, thrashing around getting these on is not a pretty sight, but the ability
to lose ten pounds in one minute is well worth the struggle. I have friends who remove them only for
bathing and bed. One just told me that she wishes she could sleep in them!
Your waist is so front and center that you want to avoid making it an attention-getting target.
Some fashion trends, no matter how tempting they look on celebrities, will only make you look fat. On
the short list: tight knits, drawstring pants, pleated skirts.
Because there is no break at the center to attract your eye, a dress will immediately give your
shape a sleeker line through the middle. A key strategy going forward is to buy dresses, not separates.
The beauty of a dress is that there is nothing easier to slip into. You don’t have to worry about what
goes with what and whether or not to tuck. Not all dresses are created equal, however. The dresses that
will not make you look fat are the only ones we care about.
Working it
Six-pack abs or just good stylists?
This trendy silhouette creates a higher waistline under your bust, which is probably thinner than
your tummy, which it skims and hides. Because it’s a fuller top, you want to keep your bottom half
narrow in lean jeans, slim pants, or a pencil skirt. Find a top that isn’t super voluminous, as you don’t
want to appear pregnant!
Don’t follow them off a cliff to fashion disaster. A thick waist-cinching belt is a hot accessory, but
you know that it will only accentuate a tummy. So customize the trend for you: Choose narrower belts
that add definition but won’t make your tummy bulge more than necessary.
Michael Kors, Donna Karan, and Oscar de la Renta are all geniuses when it comes to hiding a
tummy and creating the illusion of slimness. Study their collections on fashion Web sites, such as, for styling tips. Print out photos, and take them shopping with you for inspiration.
Why limit yourself to shapewear in nude, black and brown when you can wear Vellum Blue, Teal
Gauze, Lipstick Pink and Lilac? Spanx’s new line of super thin bike shorts, called Skinny Britches, come in
fifteen fashion shades so it’s not so bad if you flash your Spanx when you’re getting out of a car. Because
these are so sheer, there are colored thongs to wear under them, which can be mixed or matched.
Nothing wrong with double-Spanxing. •
You’d be a genetic freak if you had a six-pack at forty without working out and dieting. My
doctor says that six pounds is the average weight gain of a woman going through menopause. Six
pounds! That may not sound like a lot, but on a petite, it’s a dress size. Dr. Pamela Peeke says that there
are two distinctly different types of belly fat. Menopot fat is the result of changes in estrogen levels and
it encircles the waist on top of the abdomen. Doing five hundred crunches a day won’t get rid of it, but
limiting your caloric intake and burning the extra fat with aerobics and weight training will.
Unfortunately, Peeke says, you’ll always have a little roundness that you will just have to suck up!
(That’s why we have shapewear.) The other kind of fat, toxic fat as she calls it, lies beneath the
abdominal wall and surrounds vital organs making it potentially dangerous, putting you at risk for
diabetes and heart disease. A high fat diet and low activity are responsible, but genetics can play a role
here, too. How to tell what kind of fat you have? Take this test: Peeke says that if you lie on your side,
the menopot fat will fall to the side but the toxic fat will stay raised and firm.
Buddha Belly
1. Showing belly in short tops and low-rise pants or jeans. Cross this off your list forever.
2. Cinching the waist with a wide belt makes your belly look rounder and puffier from the side
view. Either move wide belts down to navel level where they can act as camouflage or skip them.
3. Belts at belly central. Cut the loops off dresses or jackets that have them so you can relocate
the waist slightly higher or lower instead of at the widest, fullest part of your belly.
4. Tucking in tops, even with tailored suits, means adding an extra layer of fabric that’s
guaranteed to bunch up around the tum. A snap-crotch bodysuit like those by Wolford is the only way to
make a tuck-in work, since it creates a smooth line that stays in place and allows you to wear the jacket
5. Wearing long fitted tees that cover your stomach isn’t the answer. Light fabrics and a taut fit
only emphasize the bulge. You need to wear a loose top layer over long tees for adequate camouflage,
or switch to relaxed-fit tops with strategic draping.
6. Bathrobe-style coats and knits. Those long cabled sweaters that look so cozy belted over
turtles in catalogs make you look doughy and dumpy. Ditto, thick wool wrap overcoats.
7. High-waist skirts and pants. These breeze in and out of fashion, but they are worth noting
because they’re back now. They leave the tummy totally exposed and visible because you don’t layer
over a high waist. What would be the point?
8. Heavy-duty layering. Too many fabrics and colors stacked one on top of another like
pancakes will just add pounds across your middle. Keep layers light and fluid, skimming over the body.
9. Tight sequined tops and dresses. So tempting, but so packed with fashion calories, and the
shine factor doesn’t help.
10. Wearing waist-high rather than high-waist pantyhose, tights, shapers, briefs.
Don’t you just love jackets? No other piece provides that kind of security like an extra layer of
fabric buttoned up to cover your belly. They polish-up a work look or date look and free you to move
and sit without worrying about your tummy or fiddling with your clothes. But, of course, there are good
jackets and bad jackets when it comes to disguising the Buddha belly.
Get rid of those oversized, big-shouldered, manly looking jackets you’ve been hanging onto
since the ’80s. They not only date you, but give you a baggy, bulky shape. Even if they make a comeback,
they will never make you look Fit Not Fat, so who needs them? Not you. Rather than buy a whole new
wardrobe, sometimes just eliminating the bad choices in your existing wardrobe is all you need to do
not to look fat! That’s easy.
The jacket category has exploded with variations on classics and lots of feminine styles with
collar and sleeve details that help divert the eye from the tummy. If you love the traditional navy or
black blazer, it has morphed into more contemporary styles—from long and tailored boyfriend jackets to
preppy shrunken crested blazers cropped at the top of the hip, which fit so close to the body that they
can almost be worn without anything underneath. J. Crew, Theory, and Isaac Mizrahi for Liz Claiborne
usually offer cute jackets in a range of fabrics and colors. Others, such as those by Nanette Lepore, Diane
von Furstenberg, and Marc by Marc Jacobs, usually have a subtle retro feel, featuring flared peplums or
A-shapes with fashion-y details such as bigger buttons and piping.
If you’re job hunting and considering a new skirt or pantsuit, it’s more modern now to buy a
“wow” jacket separately and pair it with a sheath dress or a classic skirt. If only a traditional suit will do,
make sure the jacket is a piece that you can wear over dresses, jeans, pants, and skirts already in your
closet. The current crop of jackets in-store:
A-shape jacket
Fitted at shoulders and bosom then flared to an A
Classic notch–collar lapels, single- or double-breasted
Sporty blouson with front zip, knit bands at wrist and hem
Boyfriend blazer
Slim, elongated version to top of thigh
Cadet jacket
Military-inspired fitted jacket with stand-up collar
Cropped trench
An abbreviated trench coat cut to jacket length
Evening jacket
A dressy metallic, brocade, silk or satin
Sleeveless tailored blazer
Ladylike jacket
Straight square collarless jacket falling to the hip or just above, often seen in couture collections,
in pastel tweeds and boucles
Motocross jacket
Fitted leather jacket with zip front, band collar
Pea jacket
Ladylike adaptation of the double-breasted sailor coat
Peplum jacket
Fitted to the waist with a flare to the hip
Safari jacket
Belted, patch-pocketed, with epaulettes
Short-sleeve jacket
Fitted, tailored with above-the-elbow sleeves
Shrunken blazer
Top of hip, closer-to-the-body fit
Sweater jacket
Thick, double-knit jacket/cardigan often with piping in single- or double-breasted styles
Vintage-look jacket
Cropped with three-fourth sleeves, feminine details
Unconstructed jacket
No lining, just a relaxed, tailored shape
Thank you designers, for making jackets. With this kind of camouflage, who knows what lies
→ If you’re trying to disguise a belly, you’ll be most successful with a well-constructed dress
designed to compress you in all the right places in a better, more forgiving fabric.
The thin fabric of this stretchy T-shirt dress cradles every curve, outlining the belly and pulling
across the body. The short length exposes fleshy thigh, too.
× Belted coats in thick, stiff fabrics
× Bolero and other above-the-waist jackets
× Elastic or drawstring-waist pants, skirts
× Tight light-colored dresses
× Tucked-in tops
× Unstitched box-pleat or knife-pleat skirts
What a difference!
A black sheath has it all over a tight dress in a bright color. It’s an iced coffee in a tall skinny
This sleek yet sturdier fabric skims past the tummy without clinging. The slim belt above the
actual waistline does a good job of middle management.
Black A-line or sheath dresses
Empire and raised-waist dresses
Medium-width belts
Pencil skirts
Ruched tops
Tailored single-breasted jackets
Thinner by Tonight!
Throw a jacket over dark jeans. No matter what you’re wearing under it, you’ll have instant
camouflage and feel more confident. A contemporary blazer looks slim over tanks and camisoles with
dark-wash jeans.
Slip a bright jacket over a dark sheath dress. You’re adding drama to a background of slimness.
Wear a high-waist body shaper with extra-firm tummy control. You can look flatter and firmer
under everything from sleeveless shifts to pencil skirts.
Add a long, loose tank under your sweater as a layering piece to cover any gaps between jeans
and tops.
Move your waist up or down, experiment with belts to find your best (thinnest) waistline. Try
it! Take some photos—you’ll be amazed.
Get immediate camouflage with draping, crossover details, tiers, or shirring that provide extra
coverage without the need to layer at all. Ella Moss, Velvet, C & C California, and James Perse have the
best tops.
Keep the top small and bottom voluminous… or keep the top voluminous and the bottom
small. Fool the eye with a full drapey top and lean skirt or slimming jeans. Or, wear a fitted top with a
drop-waist full skirt or wide, slouchy pants. Just choose one lane and stay in it.
Wear a dress with a deep-V neckline and a raised waist that skims past the problem. Lisa Perry
comes out with this dress in hot fashion colors every season.
Go up a pant size so your flat-fronts or jeans sit slightly lower on the waist. This goes for
cropped pants, too.
Slide a loose, skinny belt over a long, thin sweater to drop the attention below the waist. Slide
a belt under an open cardigan or jacket for subtle waist definition. Keep the belt low on the waist, a
notch looser.
Get a terrific LBD (little black dress) and wear an amazing necklace or…
Buy a straight or A-shaped dress with an embellished neckline. The ultimate diversionary
wardrobe piece, you draw all attention away from your middle and up to your face. You need nothing
Hold your bag in front of your stomach, a tried-and-true celebrity trick. A big clutch works.
Small dogs and babies do, too. Look for this trick in the celebrity weeklies!
• WEAR A FITTED BLACK DRESS with a fancy open cardigan to bring all the attention above the
waist and toward the outer silhouette. Think sequins, beads, embroidery on the cardi.
• LOOK FOR COLOR-BLOCKED DRESSES with strategically placed dark panels below the bosom or
down the front of the dress to optically whittle your middle. Think Michelle Obama’s election-night
• SHOW YOUR ARMS AND LEGS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE in sleeveless dresses to avoid looking too
apple-y in shape. The contrast of thinner arms and legs will help deflate a tummy. If your arms really
aren’t that bad, get over not showing them. Really.
• WEAR A HIP-LENGTH TUNIC OVER A SLIM SHORT SKIRT, a great winter uniform with heeled
boots; heeled sandals in summer.
• WEAR STRAIGHT-LEG JEANS, not skinny jeans, tapered jeans or leggings, with your blousy
loose tops to avoid the dreaded ice cream cone shape.
• LOOK FOR DRESSES THAT HAVE STRUCTURE—A-lines and straight shifts offer controlled
volume and a crisp shape.
V-neck over chocolate flat-front pants.
• LOOK FOR JACKETS CUT TO CONTOUR AND FLOW. Such as unconstructed jackets without
linings, raglan sleeve jackets, or dolman jackets with deeper armholes instead of styles with a straight
shoulder line.
• JUST SAY NO to the bathrobe-style winter coat.
Going to Extremes: Middle Management
LIPO. Lipo is a popular way to suck the fat out of a tummy, but as with any surgery, it is not
without risk. Are three or four pounds of fat worth it? Up to you. But even Dr. Peeke isn’t opposed to
“finishing up with lipo” for women who have been exercising and eating right and still are left with a
belly. Don’t think that lipo is the magic bullet of weight loss, because a safe lipo, says Dr. Peeke, only
removes three to four pounds of fat. She suggests that you time it right and wait till you’re done losing
weight through good nutrition and regular physical activity. “Don’t refuse to workout and think lipo will
jump start weight loss,” she says. “If you drop five pounds with lipo and still have fifteen leftover to
work on, that’s not optimal. What do you think your stomach will look like when you’re done losing? Or
within five pounds of your goal?”
If you are considering lipo, do your research first. On the Web site, sponsored by the
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, they issue advice, news, and warnings. Just know that
there is a lot of hype out there, especially on Web sites offering the latest, greatest breakthrough
treatment. The medical companies know what patients want to hear—“minimal trauma, no downtime,
easy breezy.” Once a doctor has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into this new technology,
don’t you think that he’s going to try to sell you on it the best he can? Currently, there are three kinds of
lipo technologies available in the United States. Water-assisted lipo uses Jacuzzi-like nozzles. “I don’t see
any advantage to the water,” says New York plastic surgeon Michael Kane. SmartLipo has been well
marketed. Who wouldn’t prefer a laser magic wand to just melt the fat away? Tumescent lipo, which is
the standard lipo, is the gold standard according to Dr. Kane and other well-respected doctors, although
he has high hopes for LipoSonix, which has not been approved for the United States at press time. (For
more on it, see here).
Assets Open Bust Cami, $26; Target, Allows you to wear any style neckline. Wear
your own bra.
TC Fine Intimates Strapless Bra Slip, style 4555, $66; Bloomingdale’s, It
offers double coverage with a compression panty under the slip.
Flexees Fat Free Dressing Firm Control Tank Top, style 2866, $38; Macy’s, A tummytoning tank.
L’eggs Profiles Waist Smoother, mid-thigh, firm control, style 93444; $8.99, Wal-Mart,
Can’t beat the price of this high-waist bike short.
Wacoal Get In Shape Moderate Control Hi-Waist Long Leg Shaper, style 808123, $68;
Lipo in a Box High-Waist Brief with Legs, style 46822 (open gusset), $42; or
Spanx Slim Cognito Shape-Suit with removable underwire, style 345, $98;
Spanx Hide & Sleek Slip-Suit style 114, $84; Bloomingdale’s,
TUMMY TUCKS. Lipo gets rid of fat cells but doesn’t tighten droopy skin. With gastric bypass
surgery or good old-fashioned dieting, if you drop a massive amount of weight, your whole body sags
with excess skin. Dr. Peeke says, “If you’ve worked so hard to get rid of excess weight, why should you
have to live with loose, drapey skin if you have the money for plastic surgery?” A tummy tuck
(abdominoplasty) might be the solution. After their final pregnancy, some women choose to have the
tummy tuck done right after delivery, with a plastic surgeon, of course. One caveat: Dr. Pamela Peeke
says women who have had successive C-sections, or more than one pregnancy and at least one Csection, can have same belly-jelly issues even after a tummy tuck. Another reason to own shapewear.
Downside: This is major surgery and may require three days in the hospital. •
Vows for Buddha Belly
I WILL learn to love shapewear bike shorts.
I WILL buy a dress instead of a skirt or pants next time I need something to wear for a
special occasion.
I WILL get over the number and go up a size if it looks better.
I WILL replace my short tees and tanks with longer versions.
I WILL NOT blame my belly on my pregnancy now that my kid is ten.
I WILL lighten up on myself, knowing that every woman gains an average of six pounds with
menopause. Big deal.
Cinch a four-inch belt around your waist in a tight knit. Your belly will look like it’s popping out
under it.
Wide Hips + Thighs
Oh, let’s face it, this one you just know you have… Your thighs rub together when you walk…
There’s no space between your thighs when your knees are together… Pants always look like they’re
pulling around the crotch… You’re a hula hoop champ… You’re thinking of taking up Hawaiian dancing.
→ Raise your hand if “pear shape” is the silhouette that best describes your hips and thighs. I
hear you—and my hand is up there, too. While Beyoncé is working overtime trying to bring hourglassshaped sexy back, it’s not back yet; and those of us who have ample hips and thighs know too well that
Marilyn Monroe’s kind of va-va-va-voom is not such a glamorous asset when you’re trying on dresses,
skirts, and pants today. If you have hips, you have hips, and there is not that much you can do about
your actual bone structure. So let’s stop denigrating our bodies and blaming ourselves. Only you can
answer this question: Is it my fat that’s making me look fat or is it my clothes that are making me look
fat? On me, it’s a little of both. So, until that day comes when I reach my ideal body weight, I’m going to
follow the advice in this chapter and stop buying all those fattening clothes that only give a shout-out to
my hips and thighs. Like that beaded and sequin snakeskin Dolce & Gabbana skirt—what was I
Thunder thighs, drumstick legs, kissing thighs, saddlebags, ham hocks, birthing hips, bottom
heavy, poulkes, lightbulb legs
for Wide Hips + Thighs
You’ve heard the expression, there’s more than one way to get downtown? Well, to get Fit Not
Fat hips and thighs, you have your choice of several routes.
If you’re a classic pear shape, your hips and thighs are larger than your shoulders and your bust.
So, your mission is to create a sense of balance between your upper and lower halves. You can
accomplish this in one of two ways: 1) By increasing the width of your upper half so it’s as wide as your
bottom half or 2) by compressing your lower half so it’s as trim as your top half. The way to go really
depends on your size. If you’re tiny on top, go ahead and bulk up your shoulders and bust with shoulder
pads, a padded bra, or shoulder accoutrements, like epaulettes—you need it. If you’re already big on
top, don’t throw on a moo-moo and call it a day—it will just make you look big and shapeless all over.
You do want to shrink your bottom half, as you want to look smaller overall and minimize the
hips/thighs. The fastest way to take inches off is to trade up from panties as usual to shapewear bike
shorts under skirts and dresses, and a capri-length shaper under pants and jeans.
This girl is working overtime to bring hourglass-shaped sexy back! It can’t happen soon enough.
If you want to make your heavy bottom half disappear from sight, you don’t have to be David
Copperfield, but you do need to create a waist-up world for yourself, one in which you give others
absolutely no reason to look at you below the belt. How? By keeping your bottom half unimportant.
That means no boy shorts, shorts of any kind, hot pants, micro-minis, poufs, ruffles, tiers, loud prints,
floral prints, animal prints, cargo pants, white pants, harem pants, leather pants, crushed velvet pants,
fancy pants, screaming neon colors, or balloon hemlines. Save the party for your top half—that’s where
you will seduce, dazzle, and entertain the latest trends.
As you get dressed each morning, remember that you are in control of where you want others
to focus. You need to redirect everyone’s attention from the extra poundage down there, but to where?
To your body part that is most delicate, feminine, and bony. Don’t say you don’t have one! If you have
great shoulders, how about an off-the-shoulder sweater, one-shoulder dress, or a halter top? If you
have good arms and a nice neckline, collarbone, and décolletage, wear strapless tops, V-necks, scoop
necks, and boat necks. If you have a great bust, long-chain necklaces, gorgeous beads, charms on a cord,
or vintage-inspired medallions will do the trick. If you have small waist, cinch it! Wear a belt over pants,
jeans, skirts, dresses, and cardigans. If you’re petite, stick to delicate, ladylike one- or two-inch belts. Big,
chunky belts dripping with chains require a long enough torso to handle three to five inches of leather.
You can also cinch your waist with a form-fitting jacket, blazer, or top. And if you’re thinnest right under
your bra band, go for a trendy empire-waist dress or top (no pregnancy required). •
Wide Hips + Thighs
1. Skinny jeans tucked into boots
2. Tight boot-leg jeans
3. Wrap sweaters or sarongs tied around the hips
4. Boyfriend sweaters with big bulky pockets
5. Tops that gather at the widest part of your thighs
6. Whiskers across the crotch on pants, skirts
7. Jackets, sweaters, vests that hit mid-thigh
8. Cargo pockets on the thigh
9. A peasant skirt that tiers across the hips
10. Micro-minis and shorts
Wide-leg and straight-leg jeans and trousers are best for skimming thighs and hips. Conversely,
anything that hugs and tapers at the ankles will turn your legs into two chicken drumsticks. Pants that
are too tight on the upper leg will make your thighs look like sausages desperately trying to break free
from their casing, so stay away from boot-cut jeans, liquid jeans or second-skin leathers—not a good
Look for flat-front pants with wide legs and a natural waistline. Your best pants will fall straight
down from the waist so there are no lumps, bumps, or bulges sticking out at the thigh. So sell all your
old clothes at a yard sale and plan to spend some of the profits on a new pair of pants! Here’s your
shopping checklist:
LOOK FOR A MEDIUM RISE. It will lengthen the torso and minimize full hips and thighs. They
should fit easily and comfortably over the hips.
AND FLY—a major fashion faux pas. Sit down on a chair in the dressing room or in the store to make
sure they don’t crinkle up right there.
you need is one precise, razor-sharp crease down the front and back of your pants to elongate and slim
your thighs. If the pants don’t have a crease, iron one in or get them pressed at the dry cleaner. (But not
on jeans, please.)
NO POCKETS! If you fall in love with pants that have bulky side pockets, you can have your tailor
remove the pocket bags and sew them closed. Some angled side pockets can be flattering but no
pockets are better.
Instead of
Go for
animal print skirt An animal print top A boyfriend blazer Cropped, curvy jacket Flats Heels A mid-thigh
cardi Short cardi A scarf as a belt A belt as a belt Short shorts Knee-length skirts Tapered pants Wide-leg
pants A printed peasant skirt A straight skirt in a dark solid
What you don’t want from now on are compliments on your skirt. They don’t mean that your
skirt is flattering, but rather that your hips/thighs are not going unnoticed. Let’s go to the closet. See any
skirts that have ruching, beading, pleating, tiers, ruffles, lace, or eyelet? How about anything black
leather, hot pink silk, tie-dyed, sequined, tulle, or glittery? Stuff them into a shopping bag and call the
nearest charity for pickup. Sorry, but you want to look thinner, don’t you?
Now let’s look at the volume of the rest of your skirts. Fuller skirts like peasant skirts and dirndls
may make you feel comfortable because they are more forgiving, but let’s be real; you can hide a small
animal under there and no one would be the wiser! They are loaded with calories. A full skirt can make
you look fuller and a pouf skirt can make you look, well, pouffy. We don’t need any more volume; we’re
trying to play down the lower half.
Only ballerinas and four-year-olds can look slim in a skirt this fattening. Yummy, but too many
Don’t even think about miniskirts or skirts and dresses with a high slit; you don’t want to offer
the world a peep show of your kissing thighs. As for hemlines, don’t go more than two inches above the
knee or you’ll be entering a flab zone. At-the-knee hemlines may be your most flattering.
Be wary of the A-line skirt. It may seem like a logical, safe choice, but if it is a severe A-line, it will
create a triangle effect from your hips to your knees. The A-line not only adds girth, it can also look
dowdy. If you have any A-lines that need to become straight skirts, bring them to your tailor for this
simple alteration. Straight skirts will give you a sexy shape, so will pencil skirts if they’re not too tight. Fit
and flare skirts as well as trumpet and tulip-shaped skirts in fabrics with a Lycra® blend will also contain
and shape your thighs. Make sure to wear compression shapewear underneath these shapely skirts to
suck it all in!
These women have no problem admitting that they wear Spanx; in fact, some even admit to
Bye-Bye, Briefs!
Time to say good-bye to underwear as we know it. See ya later, thongs! Hasta la vista, bikinis!
Most panties hit in all the wrong places if you have generous hips and thighs. Who needs that bulge
where the elastic meets the flesh? “I wear Spanx every single day. I’ve given up panties,” Oprah revealed
on her show a few seasons ago. If you want to look Fit Not Fat daily, why not join those who just say no
to unsupportive undies? The bigger (and older) we get, the more help we need from our underwear, so
compression shapewear, here we come! I must have twenty or so pairs of shapewear bike shorts in my
lingerie drawer, from various brands offering different degrees of compression. Some days you need to
be slurped in to the max; others you don’t. Look for bike shorts that will not create a line across your
thighs to wear with skirts and dresses. When you’re wearing jeans or pants, you want the capri-length
shapers that end at the knees or ankles. For the best shapers out now, see Brilliant Buys, here.
→ Stop shopping for trendy skirts. It’s smarter to indulge your upper half in fattening frills, such
as ruffles, bows, poufs, eyelet and the color white. Instead, scour the racks for the perfect black skirt
that shaves off inches without screaming “Look at me. Look at me!”
Could this skirt hit at a worse spot? Aside from being too short, it attracts the eye with fading,
loose-hanging threads and horizontal lines at the hem.
× Cargo pants
× Leggings as pants
× Micro-minis and shorts
× Pleated pants and skirts
× Pouffy skirts
What a difference!
The micro-mini can’t compete with a knee-grazer when you want your thighs to look de-sized.
This shapely pencil skirt fashions the body into a sexy hourglass. Black opaque tights and high
heel pumps create a long, continuous line from hips to toes.
Dark denim jeans
Fifties-style cocktail dresses
Roomy knee-length pencil skirts
Wide-leg pants
Wrap dresses
Objects strategically placed in front of the middle is a paparazzi favorite. JESSICA SIMPSON is a
skilled practitioner.
Don’t want to lose weight? Carry an eye-catching tote, and hide your rolls on the side. “If your
bag is an interesting conversation piece, people are looking at the bag instead of how much weight
you’ve gained,” says Kim Isaacsohn, who knows about hiding fat with bags, as head coachman of the
Clever Carriage Handbag Company. To make this trick work, the size of your bag has to be in proportion
to your size. “Big girl, small clutch and it looks like you’re carrying a lunchbox. Small girl, big bag, you
look like you should be inside the bag.” Kim applies her same theory for blocking bulge to dogs. “If
you’re a big girl, you look fatter carrying a small dog; you need medium-size dog.” Got it.
In the fight against cellulite, women are too willing to try anything. Why waste money on
treatments and products that offer such fleeting results?
ENDERMOLOGIE is a massage machine with rollers and a suction action. If you’ve ever had it
done, it feels like a vacuum cleaner is sucking up your skin… it’s painful. “These machines beat up the
skin, which causes a little swelling, making the skin look smoother for a little while,” says New York
plastic surgeon Michael Kane. “You’re damaging the superficial fat a bit, but then it just goes back to
normal.” That’s a lot of pain for not a lot of gain.
CELLULITE CREAMS, if they worked, they would have removed the dimpled lumps on Kate Moss,
Nicole Kidman, Eva Longoria Parker, Paris Hilton, and all the other celebrities who show up in the
weeklies with cottage cheese thighs. Every time I sit front row at a fashion show, I’m kind of relieved to
see that stick-thin, drop-dead-gorgeous models on the catwalk have cellulite, too. Nothing topical gets
rid of cellulite completely. Yes, some creams may make your cellulite less apparent temporarily—i.e., for
a few hours—but nobody can prove that the creams can penetrate the skin deeply enough to reach fat
cells. If you’re heading to the beach and need a quick fix, a body cream with caffeine will temporarily
smooth skin by reducing water retention, but we’re talking a few hours at best.
ANTI-CELLULITE STOCKINGS, again, fall into the category of, we wish! We wish we could just put
on a pair of stockings and banish cellulite forever. The fine print on one package says that you need to
wear these stockings five days a week for a minimum of eight weeks before any results can be seen, and
even then they promise only to reduce the appearance of cellulite, not eliminate it. That’s a huge
commitment for not a lot of reward.
NEWSFLASH! Dr. Michael Kane and other doctors are optimistic about a new machine called
LipoSonix, which painlessly delivers high-frequency focused ultrasound to the superficial fat and kills the
fat cells. “Once you kill the fat cells, the body digests them and doesn’t produce them anymore—they’re
gone forever,” he explains. “It’s like a nonsurgical, noninvasive liposuction.” At press time, it was still in
clinical trial and had not yet gone for FDA approval, though it’s currently available in Canada and Europe.
If it really does work, you’ll know about it… there will be lines around the block!
WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO Spinning. While it won’t get rid of cellulite (I spin and still have it), it
will take inches off your hips and thighs. I see the difference on myself and on the narrow “boy bodies”
that populate my spin class. “Spinning is one of the most efficient fat burners for your hips and thighs,”
says Ruth Zukerman, co-founder of the spin studio, Soul-Cycle, in New York City. “If there’s a more
efficient way to burn fat in forty-five minutes, I haven’t found it. You work every muscle in your legs up
to your gluts. But it’s not about spot reducing. Spinning is cardio work so you lose fat everywhere.”
L’eggs Profiles Capri, style 93434, $8.99; Wal-Mart, Thigh control at a nice price. Runs
TC Fine Intimates Just Enough High-Waist Bike Pant with Wonderful Edge, style 4019, $38; or for stores, see
Wacoal Get In Shape Moderate Control Long Leg Brief 805123, $55; Nordstrom,
Spanx Slim Cognito Shaping Mid-Thigh Bodysuit, style 067, $72; Bloomingdale’s,
Spanx Hide & Sleek Half Slip, style 054A, $52; Bloomingdale’s,
Donna Karan The Body Perfect Collection, Waist Embrace Capri (Style #A919). It comes a little
below the bust line and is Capri Length. It is retailing for $55.00 at
Vows for Wide Hips + Thighs
I WILL always wear dark on my bottom half.
I WILL choose straight-leg jeans or wide-leg jeans over the boot-cut, which can hug a thick
I WILL stay away from pleats and side pockets because they add extra calories.
I WILL steer clear of drawstring and cargo pants.
I WILL NEVER wear tapered pants.
I WILL NOT wear tops that stop where my hips are fullest.
I WILL NOT wear hip-hugging anything!
Wear a shirtdress that buttons all the way down your body; that dreaded pull on the buttons
around your hips will keep eyes focused on all the wrong places. Instead, go for a wrap dress that will
draw attention to your waist and the upper half of your body.
Big Booty
Pants are tight on the butt, roomy at the waist… You can hold a pencil underneath your butt
cheek… You think that movie theater seats are a bit small… People can identify you from your backside…
Pants have been known to rip at the seams… You feel like your butt leaves the room five minutes after
you do.
→ Booes ar e havi ng thei r m
o me nt . Ever si nce Jenni fer Lopez and Beyoncé br ought boot yl ici ous
into the lexicon, women with prominent posteriors no longer feel they must cover their butts. If you’re
at peace with your assets and want to celebrate this body part, don’t let anyone stop you. Just do the
opposite of all the advice in this chapter!
For those who prefer the no-butt look and are trying to downsize their derrieres, you’ve no
doubt uttered these words at least once in your lifetime: “Does my butt look fat in this?” and thought it
a zillion times. There’s a reason why, when we try something on, the first thing most of us do is spin
around to check out our backside. When your rear end looks good, you look good. And, on the flip side,
when your gluteus maximus looks too pronounced, it kills your overall look. How to disguise an obvious
behind? You need a strategy, because what we forget is that just as many people see us going as
coming—so cramming yourself into a pair of too-tight jeans doesn’t work!
bootylicious, tuchus, junk in the trunk, bubble butt, wide load, bodonkadonk, baby got back,
buns, keister, rump
for a Big Booty
→ THE STRATEGY HERE IS A TWO- parter: First, you want to get your tush under control in the
best shape possible, and then you want to do everything you can to hide it from view. Why would you
do that? The smaller you can get it, the easier it will be for you and everyone else to forget about it.
Smaller! Rounder! Higher! It’s amazing what you can do with shapewear these days to resculpt
your bottom and position it where you want it. While some women lament about a big bum, others
complain of a flat fanny, saggy haunches, or butt cleavage. Fake out your particular issues with
shapewear, but beware of the “bubble butt” or “uni-butt”—that shape you get from an old-fashioned
girdle, which resembles a big, round ball without any cheek definition. “The uni-butt look is a dead
giveaway that you’re wearing shapewear,” says Spanx’s Misty Elliott. “It flattens your backside for a notso natural look.” No reason for that when you can choose from state-of-the-art brands that have
“zoned” compression. Your perfect shaper can do a lot:
1) Take inches off your backside
2) Give your butt a lift
3) Get rid of butt cleavage
4) Stop the jiggling
5) Cover dimpling
6) Separate your cheeks
7) Make you look better than you do naked. If you’re not a shapewear devotee right now, don’t
worry, you’ll be one by the end of this book (for Brilliant Buys, here).
The right clothes are those that are loose enough to easily flow over your entire backside so that
everything’s covered, nothing’s showing, and your butt is a nonissue. The best you can hope for? That
no one takes notice of your behind. Curate a closet full of jackets, coats, coatdresses, sweaters, tunics,
and cardigans that cover your butt. If you are petite, avoid mid-thigh length cover-ups and split the
difference with hip-grazing jackets, cardis, and tops. Your Fit Not Fat tip: Make sure these covering
pieces are structured enough to nip in at the waist and give you an hourglass shape. New York City
fashion coach Susan Sommers of Dresszing, tells clients, “Better if your cover-ups are a thin layer. Fabric
that is too bulky or heavy will add volume. You don’t want to look like solid mass from your shoulders on
down.” Belts are big now, but watch the size, she warns. “Cinching your waist with a thick belt will make
your butt look bigger.”
When people stare at your rump, it generally means that something is off. Too-tight clothes, like
pants that cut up between your butt cheeks or pencil skirts or shift dresses that outline your rear end,
only accentuate an ample behind. You don’t want anything clinging to your rear, ever. So choose a
straight-cut or wide-leg trouser, and the pant will fall straight from your hips. You don’t want any kind of
pants that narrow at the bottom, such as tapered, capris, or harem. You want flat-front pants in weighty
fabrics that fall gently over your curves. No cuffs, side pockets on the seam, or pleats—we don’t need
the extra baggage.
Because you want to redirect the eyes of the world anywhere but your butt, you want to silence
all rear-end hubbub. Keep it quiet back there by rejecting loud details such as contrast stitching,
grommets, rivets, bows, buttons, buckles, gathers, pleats, shine, rhinestones, bleaching, logos—basically
anything that’s not chic, simple, and subdued. In other words, you don’t want to wear pink sweatpants
that say the name of your high school, college, football team, or a logo across the rump for all to read! In
this case, just repeat the mantra: Plain is good. Boring is good!
Working it
A high, rounded, toned derriere can be a bootiful thing. These stars know how to maximize their
Are you wearing elastic-waist pants right now? They’re extremely comfy, but they’re the worst
kind of pants you can wear if you don’t want to look fat. The loosely gathered fabric in the back does
nothing to shape you and only adds more girth to your rear. Another reason to avoid them is that, when
you slip them on day after day, you can’t tell if you’ve gained or lost weight because they always fit (as
opposed to a pair of slacks with a button and zipper). Because they are so easy to hide in, you can easily
disconnect from your body. Dr. Pamela Peeke discourages women from wearing them when they come
to her office. The mind-body connection is so powerful, she wants her patients to be conscious of their
bodies. Big clothes that you can hide out in are not helpful when you’re trying to remove excess
weight—and not look fat.
I know that this is a daunting challenge, especially for those who have been buying nothing but
elastic pants for years. So, wean yourself off them at your own pace. Getting rid of the elastic pants in
your closet might fall into the category WIMP (When I’m Mentally Prepared). You’ll do it, eventually, you
just don’t want to go cold turkey right now… believe me, I get it.
What pants to wear? Flared boot-cut or straight-leg trousers are a godsend for curvy girls
because they create a straight line from butt to feet, so your bottom isn’t the main focus. The higher the
waistband, the more observable the butt, which is why “mom jeans” are so damning. High-waisted
pants only look great on women with elongated, slender torsos. If you’re short waisted—think about
it—your breasts will touch the waistband and hide your torso. On the back of pants, besom pockets
(which look like slits, set into the fabric) are better than patch pockets (which are sewn on and attached)
because they don’t add unnecessary bulk. Pants without pockets can be flattering, too, though jeans
without pockets are not.
If I had to give the Most Flattering award to just a single piece of clothing in my closet, it would
have to be my boot-cut dark denim jeans. Why? They miraculously give me someone else’s tush—and
shape and boost it as well. I know what my rear end looks like… and it pales in comparison to what I see
in the mirror when I’m wearing these jeans! To find your dream jeans, you have to be picky.
You probably never gave much thought to the yoke on a pair of jeans. Yokes are that horizontal
strip of fabric that runs between the pockets and the waist. Yokes that form a V-shape, as opposed to a
straight line, will work exactly like a V-neck top and minimize your behind. It all helps.
Their placement is critical when it comes to showcasing your best bottom line. Go for larger
pockets that ride high on the seat and are close together, rather than those that sit low on the seat and
are spaced far apart. Too low, and they’ll bring your rear down with them. Too teeny, and they’ll make a
wide expanse of rear-end real estate look more significant in comparison. Jeans that have flaps with
buttons with pockets are actually saying, “Look at my butt.” One brand that has perfected the art of
pocket placement is Habitual. “To give the butt a lift, all of our pockets are strategically placed beneath
the yoke,” says Habitual’s brand director Renée Raimondi-Jaco. Stay away from pocketless jeans—
pockets provide visual distraction.
The most flattering silhouettes are boot cut and straight leg. The third choice is a wide-leg jean
that works for work (in a casual office) and is a chic alternative to relaxed-fit jeans. You just have to try
these styles on to see what gives you the best allover proportion. For example, a boot cut can balance
out a heavy midsection but it is not going to flatter a thick thigh. If you are not in proportion, a straight
leg might fit even better.
High-rise jeans are mom jeans—avoid at all costs. Super-low-risers will give you butt cleavage.
Best is a medium-low-rise, which is a nine-inch rise from waistband to crotch. Ample butts may avoid
the too-tight-in-the-crotch issue with jeans that feature a lower rise in front, higher rise in back.
Don’t buy jeans without stretch. Stretch gives jeans a glove-like fit without the diaper-bottom
sag. You want denim with about 2 percent spandex or Lycra®. Contrary to what you may think, stretch
doesn’t mean tight—jeans made with spandex or Lycra® actually have give and will comfortably conform
to your bottom in the most flattering way. A new generation of Lycra ®, XFit Lycra®, is now in some of the
hottest names in jeans, brands such as J Brands, Joe’s Jeans, Serfontaine, True Religion, and AG. Its
“breakthrough” patented cross-weave technology helps slenderize curves.
Go for
panties Thongs or bike shorts Cigarette pants Straight-leg pants Floral print pants Floral
print top Gathered, tight layering tee Empire-waist top High-rise mom jean Mid-low-rise jean
Jeans with a light wash Dark denim jeans Jeans with small pockets Jeans with large back
pockets A leather pencil skirt A leather jacket Opaques, fishnets Control-top opaques,
fishnets Tapered pants Boot-cut pants BE PICKY ABOUT FIT.
Jeans should fit your tush to perfection—they can easily be taken in everywhere else. Never buy
jeans you can’t pull up the zipper on. They should be snug, but not too tight. They’ll stretch a little bit
once you wear them. Try jeans on in front of a three-way mirror to get a good view. May I repeat here?
Try jeans on in front of a three-way mirror to get a great rear view. Bend down like you’re picking
something off the floor—if you see any butt cleavage, toss those jeans to the side. Never buy jeans that
are too small right now, but you plan on fitting in them when you lose those last ten pounds. Those
jeans will sit in your closet, taunting you every time you look at them.
If you’re like most women in America, chances are your rear is swathed in denim most of the
time. Jeans are such a beloved staple of most women’s wardrobes because they have a much longer life
span than dresses, skirts, and pants and can be worn in a range of settings and occasions, depending on
your styling. That is why it’s worth investing in at least one fabulous pair that you can wear with heels at
night (the longer your legs, the thinner you’ll look). According to Women’s Wear Daily, jeans priced
between $10 and $30 account for 53 percent of the overall denim market, with the average price of
jeans coming in at $24.50. If you can find a pair of jeans that makes your butt look amazing for less than
$25, go for it. That means that your booty is shapely on its own and doesn’t need the extra help of a pair
designed for maximum minimizing and lift. Like the model in our No Fat photo, who is wearing her own
jeans from the Gap.
Did you know that women in the United States (according to a 2009 Cotton Inc. survey) own an
average of seven pairs of jeans? If, out of all the jeans you own, you don’t have one pair that makes you
look Fit Not Fat, then I suggest you try a little experiment. First, do the math: Add up how much you’ve
spent on jeans that don’t do much for you. For instance, seven pairs of jeans at $25 a pair is $175. So go
to your nearest department store and try on jeans priced up to $175. Take them home, try them on
again, and compare them to all the jeans in your closet. Have someone take a photo of you from the
back, side, and front in each pair of jeans. If the new jeans are far superior in fit, and make you so happy
you never want to take them off, you might convince yourself to take a fresh approach to shopping: Buy
less, buy better! Do you think that anyone will notice or care that you’re wearing the same jeans you
wore last week? You could have bought multiple pairs of the same jean because it fit so well!
Remember, that at midlife, it’s not about how much we have in our closets but the way each
piece makes us feel when we put it on. And, when you amortize the cost per wear of this one pair of
jeans over the years, you’ll owe them money!
The right pair of jeans is like a bra for your butt… it will shrink, minimize, shape and lift. What
brands create the best bottom line? See Brilliant Buys, here.
If you’re saggy or flat, the right pair of jeans can rescue your rump from going downhill. “Stay
away from a really high rise, because it will flatten you out and give you ’70s mom butt,’ ” says Raimondi
of Habitual. The rise on their Grace jean is nine inches, an inch and half higher than their standard rise,
just enough to cover muffin top (see Chapter 6 for more on that) but not high enough to flatten your
rear. And check out the butt-lifters from Joe’s Jeans (Honey style), Paige Premium Denim (Hollywood
Hills), 7 For All Mankind (High Rise Boot Cut), and J Brand (Scarlett). •
The latest trends that will look amazing–on Kate Moss!
Like everything else in fashion retail, denim sales have been challenged. Because jeans last so
long, we don’t need to buy a new pair every season. So denim brands work their butts off to entice you
with a hot new trend. Unless the trend is flattering on you, don’t succumb. Stick to what works—clean,
simple, dark denim, with a little stretch—and you’ll look Fit Not Fat.
These ’80s flashbacks didn’t look good when we were two sizes smaller. Here’s a general rule
about the ’80s: Don’t go back.
Stay in Vegas. Keep your jeans clean! Stars, designs, or logos spelled in rhinestones are high fat.
Baggy, casual, and worn-looking, they’re too shapeless. Leave these where they belong—in his
The electric company of jeans—from orange to lime green, hot pink and Day-Glo yellow—are
fattening. And in corduroy? Double the calories!
These are glossy black or metallic jeans that make you look like you were poured into them.
Unless you want to dress as Olivia Newton-John in Grease for Halloween, you don’t need your butt
amplified in such a tight, shiny way.
Hard to take a grown woman seriously with holes across her butt or thighs. Say no to holes,
whiskers, abrasions, and distressing; they make you appear shorter and fatter when it’s a long, lean leg
you’re after.
Skinny jeans are for skinny models. They do nothing to accommodate a real woman’s curves.
You need skirts that are longer than they are wide.
Think vertical rectangle as opposed to horizontal square. So that micro-mini skirt is not going to
work. Everyone says that A-lines are the most flattering, but I have to tell you, A-lines can be frumpy. If
you choose an A-line, make sure that it is not an exaggerated A—you don’t want to look like a triangle. If
you have an A-line that fits well in the butt but extends too far at the knee, take it to your tailor and
have it made into a straight skirt by taking it in a few inches. A straight skirt that is not too tight in the
bum is good, as long as it hovers around the knee. You can even wear a moderate pencil if it’s not so
tight that it outlines your tush. There are some skirts you should split with. If you’re not ready yet, just
put them aside at the back of your closet and see if you wear them in a year. If not, good riddance.
Here’s a quick Do Not Wear list (more on skirts, next chapter): ankle length, ballerina, boxy, dirndl, full,
minis, micro-minis, pleated, drop waist, busy prints, peasant, and tutus.
→ The right pair of jeans is like a bra for your bum. Instead of straps and bands, you have
pockets and yokes that can minimize, shape, and bring up the rear. It’s all about mastering the secret
language of pockets, where placement is pretty much everything.
Jeans this flashy shouldn’t even enter the dressing room. Heed the High Fat warning signs:
1. Bold white stitching
2. Low pockets
3. Skinny legs
× Baggy, faded, gray, or high-rise jeans
× Big, bold, plaid, floral, or Pucci prints
× Buttoned flap pockets
× Capri, tapered, or cargo pants
× Micro-minis
× Pouffy, ruffle, or mermaid skirts
Love a clean, dark denim jean: Nothing much to catch the eye—no logos, tags, grommets, or
decorative extras. Higher pockets lift you up where you belong.
× A-line or loose shift dresses
× Black or dark denim straight-leg jeans
× Control-top opaque stockings
× Flared, straight, or tulip skirts
× Long cardigans
× Tunics
What a difference!
Butt makeover: Why look low, wide, and flattened out (High Fat) when you can look higher,
smaller, and rounder (No Fat)?
Thinner by Tonight!
Keep your entire outfit monochrome.
Choose black, brown, navy, or gray over white, yellow, pink, or orange for your bottom.
Wrap solid colors, not florals or Pucci-esque prints, around your rear.
Put on the highest heels you own.
Wear footless pantyhose under a long summer dress.
Select basic, simple, and clean lines—no ruffles, poufs, cuffs, or folds.
Go for dull, flat fabrics—nothing shiny, slippery, sheer, or metallic.
Pull on a pair of dark jeans and high-heeled boots.
Toss on a tunic that reaches the bottom of your behind.
Step into a pair of black opaque tights with compression.
Lose visible panty lines with a thong, G-string, or cheeky.
Slide into a bike short that lifts and separates your booty.
Close the gap at the waist with a belt or a button.
Throw on a bright, cheery, three-quarter trench coat.
Zip into a solid-colored A-line dress.
• DO HAVE A LOOK IN THE PETITE DEPARTMENT. Petite jeans are so in demand that in some
stores, they are the first to go.
• BEWARE OF HIGH WAISTED WIDE-LEG PANT. You might drown in it.
MOST BRANDS ONLY GO TO UP TO 32 IN JEANS. “Women can wear men’s jeans if they are over
size 32,” says Bill Bartlett of E Street Denim in Highland Park, Illinois. “7 For All Mankind’s boot cut is a
great choice—because of all the stretch in it, it won’t make you look like you’re wearing men’s jeans.”
• DON’T CUFF JEANS. Rolled-up cuffs are fattening. Too-long jeans should be shortened at the
tailor, no matter what your size.
Fattening Fabrics
→ Wide-wale corduroy. Putting a thick fabric like this over an already thick butt is not a good
→ San. Shi ne is not your fri end. It reflects off a wi de space (you r rear).
→ Silk. Not on your behind. It clings to your frame and its thinness will reveal any coa ge chees e
dimpling. Thicker silks can be flattering, so use discretion.
→ Velour. Especially in a color that pops.
Slimming Fabrics
→ Cashmere. Light, warm, and terrific layered for coverage.
→ Coo n. Jus t m
a ke sur e it’s a heavi er coon blend
fabrics. Your butt needs structure!
—the key is to stay away from superfine
→ Denim. Jeans can do wonders for ample butts; just follow the rules in this chapter!
→ Gabardine. It’s tough and ght l y wo ven, so it wo n’ t cl ing to your rump .
→ Lycra® blends. Hold your tush in place and help give it shape.
→ Wool and light wool blends. A great fabric for classic trousers. Buy a pair with a hint of stretch
in them for the best fit.
Panty lines on a noticeable butt add insult to injury, so just say no to briefs, bikinis, and girl/boy
shorts. If you’re not willing to toss out all your panties for shapewear just yet, you might want to keep
this challenge on the WIMP (When I’m Mentally Prepared) list. At least toss the ones guaranteed to give
you VPL (visible panty line) or more specifically VTL (visible thigh line). While thongs are the best way to
get a seamless rear view, they’re not the only option. Some other trendy undies to consider are Gstrings, tangas, and cheekies.
• G-strings. If you don’t mind the feel, these are even skimpier than thongs, so you’ll have less
chance for VPL.
• Tangas/cheekies/booty shorts. All these terms are all used interchangeably for sexy panties
that provide a bit more coverage than thongs. They ride high on the rear and reveal a peek of cheek
without the dental-floss aspect of thongs. Better yet when they are seamless. (See Brilliant Buys, here.)
DL1961; Bloomingdale’s,
Tory Burch; Nordstrom,
Adriano Goldschmied (AG); Nordstrom,
CJ Cookie Johnson; Nordstrom,
Citizens of Humanity; Bloomingdale’s,
Gap; Gap,
J Brand (Bombshell Curvy Fit); Nordstrom,
Joe’s Jeans (Visionaire and Honey); Nordstrom,
Habitual; Nordstrom,
Levi’s; Macy’s,
Not Your Daughter’s Jeans; Bloomingdale’s,
Paige Premium Denim (Hollywood Hills); Nordstrom,
Rock & Republic; Nordstrom,
Seven for All Mankind; Neiman Marcus,
Victoria’s Secret; Victoria’s Secret,
DKNY Jeans; Macy’s,
Banana Republic; Banana Republic,
Jag Jeans; Nordstrom,
Old Navy; Old Navy,
Abby Z;
Eileen Fisher; Eileen Fisher,
Paige Jeans; Nordstrom,
Assets Remarkable Results High-Waist Mid-Thigh Shaper, $34; Seamless zoned
compression and specially-designed rear pockets give the booty an added lift.
Spanx In-Power Line Super Power Panties, style 915, $32; Bloomingdale’s, Slims
tummy, thighs, rear.
Lipo in a Box Tank Bodysuit, style 46100, $76;,
Sculptz Tights, $15; Lifts your rear.
Spanx In-Power Line Super High Footless Shaper, style 912, $28;
TC Fine Intimates Edge Microfiber Hipster, style 403, $16;
MySkins Full-Cut Brief, Girl Short, or Thong, $12; In twenty different skin tones.
Commando Tiny Thong, $22, and Low-Rise Thong, $20;
Instant Button for Jeans, $15; Just pierce this removable lookalike
jeans button through the waistband of your jeans and tighten or loosen the fit up to one-and-a-half
InvisiBelt clear belt in naked, $19.95; A thin, flat, lean plastic belt that no one will
know you’re wearing. No buckle bulge. Also comes in black for black jeans.
Vows for Big Booty
I WILL only wear jeans in dark denim, black, or gray.
I WILL NEVER wear skirts or dresses cut on the bias.
I WILL NOT wear pleats of any sort.
I WILL NOT buy into any of the latest denim trends—clean and simple are best for me.
I WILL invest in a great-fitting pair of jeans with stretch.
I WILL donate the tight leather skirts and pants to women with no butts.
I WILL wear pants in non-clingy fabrics that won’t cup my rear end.
I WILL make sure, when I wear a jacket or sweater long enough to cover my bum, that it’s
structurally designed to give me an hourglass figure.
Walk around with a uni-butt! Buy shapewear that lifts, separates, and gives you definition back
Heavy Calves
You avoid skirts and dresses… You can’t zip knee-high boots… It’s tough getting jeans over your
calves… Your skirts are all floor length… Your calves are as thick as your thighs… They measure more
than 15 inches around.
→ This chapter is dedicated to all women whose legs have not appeared in public since junior
high who, every day, try to hide heavy calves (or varicose veins). Okay, so your legs may never be
described as coltish, but is it necessary to condemn yourself to life in pantsuits? Come on. Live a little!
Camouflage is a strategy for sure, but it’s not the only one. Why not mix it up a bit and also try the
strategies of elongation, diversion, and compression? In cold weather, my favorite solution for visually
stretching chunky calves is to pair dark opaque tights with slim-fitting dark high-heeled leather or suede
boots. Instead of pants, you can wear this boots-tights-combo with a simple sheath and a knee-length
coat, or a black dress with a bright-colored structured jacket over it.
This chapter is about exploring your fashion options and breaking out of your particular uniform,
whether it’s pantsuits, that same tired pair of black pants you always pull out when nothing else works,
or even black opaque tights with a slim-fitting black high-heeled boot!
tree trunks, thick stems, stocky legs, hulky legs, radish legs, melon calves, chubstubs, cornbeef
legs, piano legs, fegs, bowling pins
Because the reality is, there is not much you can do about minimizing the size of your calves. As
every woman who can’t zip up her boots knows, compression only gets you so far, and reduction is hard
to do. Unlike ample arms or thick hips and thighs, it’s not about putting in more hours at the gym. It
seems that the more you work out your legs with weights, the bulkier (and more muscular and stronger)
they can become. You can tone them with exercise—be it dancing, running, swimming, spinning, and
stretching—and toned calves are sexy calves, for sure, but the chunkiness won’t go away. Heavy calves
are genetic. Chances are, your mom has them, too. The upside is that we have ways to beat the calf
conundrum that our mothers never had, such as Spanx Under the Heel Tight-End Tights that go all the
way down beyond the ankle, Stuart Weitzman 5050 stretch boots, DuWop Revolotion Tinted Body
Moisturizer and… read on. •
for Heavy Calves
Camouflaging, elongating, diverting, and compressing are all viable strategies for Fit Not Fat
calves. Why not try all?
Time to evict from your closet all those fashion-victim clothes that expose you. Say good-bye to
short shorts, Bermuda shorts, business shorts—make that shorts of any kind. Donate all micro-mini
skirts to your favorite thirteen-year-old. Caged heels, gladiator sandals, and five-inch stilettos are
footwear trends for model gams.
Anything in your closet that hits you mid-calf has got to go, too. Of course, you can shorten
skirts and dresses so that they hit at the sweet spot where we are all our thinnest. And where is that
sweet spot, you ask? At the back of the knee where the thigh connects with the calf and curves inward.
You can alter asymmetrical hemlines so that they are no longer asymmetrical. The list of items that
cannot be altered includes calf-length capris and cargos, as well as mid-shin boots, such as Mukluks and
UGGs. What you want are clothes that cover and skim the issue, making heavy calves a moot point. Hide
them behind chic wide-leg pants, flared pants that almost hit the floor, boot-cut jeans, trouser-style
jeans and, if you’re not petite, long, flowy skirts as well as calf-covering saris and sarongs.
Heavy calves can make even the longest legs look short and squat. You can create the illusion of
a longer, leaner leg by choosing clothes, shoes, and stockings off the no-fat menu in this chapter. No-fat
clothes are leg lengtheners; high-fat clothes are leg shorteners.
The longer and leaner the legs appear, the thinner you’ll look, so the goal is to visually stretch
the space between your knee and your ankle to the max. You want the area as open as possible. A-line
skirts that stop at the knee will not interfere with that space. Ditto, trumpet skirts that are flared at the
knee. Pinstriped pants and pants with creases create skinnifying verticals.
Keep everything below the knee one fade-into-the-background monotone, from your dress/skirt
to your opaque stockings to your knee-high slim-fitting boot or the highest heel you can stand in. Better
if they match exactly. Fading to black, of course, is best, but dark brown, charcoal gray, and inky navy
will work, too. Contrasting colors will color block you and chop you into fattening horizontals—not what
you want.
The following info is something that no woman wants to hear: You need to edit your shoe
collection to get rid of unflattering styles, even if they are designer. If this falls into your WIMP (When
I’m Mentally Prepared) category, start slow, one pair a season. Maybe you can sell them on eBay or at a
yard sale, or give them to someone who doesn’t have this particular issue. I know this is tough, but you’ll
know you’ve arrived when every single pair of shoes in your closet actually flatters you. See the chart on
the right for a list of styles you need to wean yourself away from.
Of course, you can shorten skirts and dresses so that they hit at the sweet spot where we are all
our thinnest. And where is that sweet spot, you ask? At the back of the knee where the thigh connects
with the calf and curves inward.
Bring the party to your upper body. Statement necklaces, embellished necklines, neon brights,
ruffles, portrait collars, sequins, fur collars, origami folds, ruching, brooches, long scarves, pendants,
dangly earrings, diamond strands, cool eyewear, fabulous hair color, and a fresh swingy haircut are all
expert attention-getters. Keep your bottom half so slim, dark, and boring, that no will even bother
taking a look.
If you’re wearing a peep-toe shoe or open-toe sandal, get pedicured—a gorgeous paint job will
distract from your calves every time. No flowers or nail art, please.
Do you own the Spanx Tight-End Tights? And Under the Heel Tight-End Tights? If you don’t,
you’ll want to check them out, as they take inches off your calves. You gain a sense of control knowing
that your calves are as thin as possible. Don’t attempt to compress your calves with outerwear, such as
skin-tight pants or jeans, because they reveal every bulge. Compression works best as innerwear,
something that no one but you sees. You can also wear dark, opaque leggings, but not as a substitute for
pants. •
Ankle straps. I look at photos of myself in ankle straps and they cut across the foot and create a
horizontal line, stumpifying an already short leg! (See for yourself, here.)
Flats. They don’t contribute to the elongation effort—not even an inch. Ballet flats are also bad
for you because they provide no arch support.
Gladiator sandals. Those that buckle up the leg are probably the worst shoes ever invented for
women with husky calves.
Espadrilles that lace up the ankle. The second worst shoe ever invented for husky calves.
Boots that are so tight that they give your calves muffin top.
What can you wear? For a full list of flattering shoes, see the next chapter.
Fashion purists say that leggings are not for the heavy calved and fat ankled, but if they go all
the way down to your ankle—not mid-calf—they beat pasty white legs popping out under a skirt or
dress. Which brings us to…
Bare legs can be the sexiest look of all—as long as you’re committed to keeping them in top
form. If you are going to go au naturel, practice these leg-lifts:
→ SUNLESS TANNING. At this stage, you know how to do this correctly, and when done
correctly, self-tanner is a beautiful thing. If you’re still gun-shy, start slowly with a build-a-tan
→ SPRAY-ON STOCKINGS, or bronzing moisturizers, leave an opaque layer of color on the legs,
hiding scars and spider veins. The better ones won’t transfer onto clothing or come off on your hands.
You can’t leave home without this, especially on summer nights. Buy it in bulk.
→ GETTING HAIR-FREE. Hairy legs are a turnoff no matter what size your calves are. Remove at
your most comfortable price range.
$ The average American woman shaves eleven times per month, according to a study done by
Gillette, which is a time commitment, but the cheapest and easiest way to remove leg hair. Second
cheapest: waxing at home with a kit.
$$ Get your legs waxed at a salon. Both legs may cost $65 every two months. If you can take the
pain, the professional results may be worth it to you.
$$$ If you want to forget about leg hair altogether, laser hair removal in a doctor’s office is the
answer. You’ll need a set of appointments and maybe yearly follow-ups. The average price per one-hour
session is $500; for six sessions, $3,000. Hair freedom, for some women: priceless.
Find the Perfect Pair
Stuffing juicy calves into a tall, stiletto boot, desperately trying to close the zipper while the shoe
sales associate smiles politely, is almost as mortifying as trying on a swimsuit in a communal dressing
room. The horror! Most fashion shoe designers, especially the Europeans, aren’t exactly accommodating
to the chunky calved. Choosing the wrong boot style can make the difference between Fit Not Fat and
Hopelessly Heavy. But sexy, knee-high boots do exist for thick calves, so here’s how to find the right pair
for your skirts and dresses:
THE RIGHT BOOTS COVER UP THE CALVES and make everything look nice and slim—without
cutting off your circulation.
zippers, bows, grommets, and lace-ups add calories. Think of them as sprinkles, hot fudge, and cherry on
the sundae. Do you really need it?
YOU DO NEED A HEEL OF AT LEAST TWO AND A HALF INCHES. Don’t fall in love with motorcycle
boots or flat boots such as equestrian.
WHERE DOES THE TOP OF THE BOOT HIT? Over-the-knee boots look too lady-of-the-evening.
Mid-calf boots and short boots are out of the running, too. Any boot that hits across the widest part of
your calf is not the boot for you; it should hit right under the knee.
that can be pulled on in stretchy leather or suede or with elastic panels. As in Stuart Weitzman’s 5050
boot, the back is made of elastic and the front is made of soft, buttery leather.
STICK TO DULL, SOFT LEATHERS OR SUEDE; patent is a fattening finish.
YOUR LEGS SHOULD BE THE SAME COLOR AS THE BOOTS. That means, for example, no pale
white legs in brown boots. If you have pale white legs, wear brown tights with brown boots. And make
sure that they’re the same shade—chocolate boots and nutmeg tights can be jarring.
Show your boots some love—they are worth the investment. A shoemaker can make boots look
brand new each fall. Get your boots professionally stretched if your legs feel too compressed. You can
have a special elastic panel added to a pair of boots that no longer zip. “So many people just throw
eight-hundred-dollar boots into the closet,” says New York podiatrist Suzanne Levine, DPM. “They spend
so much money on boots, yet they’re cheap when it comes to using boot trees to retain the shape.”
Yes, you can wear skirts and dresses. You don’t have to hide your legs under ankle-length skirts
just because of your calves. Knee-length A-line skirts and dresses may give you the best look, particularly
if you’re petite. Hemlines that hit mid-calf or right above the calf need to be shortened. Skirts that taper
in at the calves, need to be shortened or to go away. Also, get rid of skirts with slits down the back, a
veritable peep show for the back of your calves!
Flared black pants are your most flattering cut and color. Buy two pair so they can be in heavy
rotation. Wide-leg pants elongate the leg. I know it’s hard to wrap your head around, but wide-leg pants
won’t make you look wide. Just as skinny pants won’t make you look skinny if you aren’t. Skinny pants =
fat. Wide pants = thinner. Skinny jeans or tapered pants will cling to thick calves, making them all the
more obvious. Exhume from your closet any and all jeans and pants that taper in below the knees.
It’s more youthful to go without pantyhose in the workplace. That said, for a column I wrote for
More magazine on the subject, I interviewed women in corporate America who deemed nude
pantyhose an absolute essential from nine to five. Not because of a mandatory dress code, but because
it makes them feel more professional, more in control. If you feel more confident wearing pantyhose,
stick with the nude hose, but know that you have options. Black opaque tights are the most universally
flattering hose on everyone. But whatever dark color you wear, make it similar in tone to the dress or
skirt you’re wearing.
Don’t choose hose too thick. Check the dernier on the package (the number that measures
sheerness). The smaller the dernier number, the finer the material is. Ultra-sheer hose, usually dernier
15 or below, is best for evening wear. Dernier 15–30 work for work, 30–40 are semi-opaque, and 40 and
higher are full-on opaque. The higher the dernier number, the thicker the hose will be, so don’t go
above a dernier 40, as it will bulk you up.
When it comes to added extras, such as diamante detail, stay far away from them, as well as any
stockings with seams down the back. Larger-net fishnets can cut into your fleshy calf, making the fat
poke out (not an attractive look!). Fishnets are nonfattening when the netting is very small. You can’t
buy a better pair of fishnets than those by Spanx—small nets, yes! And a control top that gives a nice,
sexy bottom and alleviates grid butt, yeah! To look Fit Not Fat, stick to black, navy, or dark brown nets.
Did you know that professional dancers wear a pair of sheer, thin hose underneath the nets? It makes
the skin underneath look perfect while also preventing your toes from poking through. Just in case you
were thinking of competing in Dancing with the Stars!
The right shoes are all about creating a perfect balance. Dainty shoes when paired with heavier
calves can look disproportionate—like you’re trying to stuff yourself into something made for a doll.
Same goes for ultra-skinny stilettos. A heel of an inch or higher will visually lengthen your legs, but be
careful the heel isn’t too pencil-like—the contrast of a thin heel only accentuates thickness in the calves.
Color counts, too. For summer, when you go barelegged, the must-have is shoes the same color as your
leg: nude for pale legs, tan for darker legs. Some Fit Not Fat shoe guidelines:
Clunky shoes make calves and ankles look clunky. So beware of the wedge heel.
Round and square-toed styles are fattening—they shorten your foot.
Booties so popular these last few seasons, even with skirts, take inches off legs.
A slim pump with a pointed toe is the nonfat shoe of choice. But petites look dwarfed in too
pointy a toe.
Double ankle straps are double fattening—one ankle strap is fattening enough.
Chunky Calves
1. A neon-colored stocking with a shoe bootie—the fashion equivalent of mac and cheese
2. Pasty legs in a chunky platform sandal
3. Calf overhang on a mid-calf boot
4. Dark hairy legs
5. Super-skinny 7-inch stilettos
6. Leggings in any color other than black
7. Standing with your legs kissing; instead of one leg slightly in front of the other, with the front
toe pointed at a 45-degree angle
8. Clam digger pants with ballet slippers
9. Skirts or pants with crazy patterns or in garish colors. Small floral prints, big floral prints, and
busy Lilly Pulitzer and Pucci prints can be fattening.
10. An asymmetrical dress with flip-flops
→ Alright, we stacked the deck a bit, but can anyone look at this and say that shoes and
stockings don’t really matter?!
Gladiator sandals are a recipe for disaster… horizontal straps across the widest part and heels as
flat as pancakes. Make this trend ancient history.
× Calf-length boots; furry après-ski boots
× Capris or harem pants
× Bright or light-colored tights
× High gladiator sandals
× Large windowpane fishnets
× Roll-up cuffs on jeans
What a difference!
High heels and black tights take the same legs from fleshy and stumpy to sizzling and sleek.
Sharing the credit for these shapely gams: A pointy toe and a 3-inch-plus stiletto. A round or
square toe is just not as leg lengthening.
Black opaques with compression
Flared pants and jeans
High heels; fitted high-heel boots
Long, fluid skirts (if you’re not petite)
Maxi dresses (if you’re not petite)
Pants with creases down the front (but not jeans!)
Thinner by Tonight!
Shave your legs.
Shorten your mid-calf skirt to the knee.
Compress the calves with black control tights.
Kiss the Crocs good-bye.
Step into black opaques and knee-high black suede boots.
Self-tan your legs or spray on “stockings.”
Throw on a pair of fabulously sexy pumps or high-heel sandals—they’ll draw eyes to your feet
and away from your calves.
Going to Extremes: Cosmetic leg procedures
Cosmetic leg procedures could easily be mistaken for torture techniques. Calf-reduction and leglengthening surgeries, mostly performed in Asia, are risky and painful and fall under the category of “No
way in hell!” The scary news is that calf-obsessed women are getting Botox injections in their calf
muscles. (Is there nothing that Botox isn’t used for?) The Botox atrophies the calf muscle, which, in turn,
slims it out. The downside: You may experience temporary paralysis in the calf. They better come up
with something else, because this just isn’t worth the risk.
Obvious veins are no fun, and paired with fat calves, they pack a double whammy. But both
spider and varicose veins are common complaints. “By age fifty-five, 50 percent of women will be
affected by varicose or spider veins,” says New York dermatologist Deborah S. Sarnoff. Spider veins are
the tiny magenta bursts of broken blood vessels, while varicose veins are those bulging, ropy looking
things you can feel with your fingers. Genetics are by far the biggest factor on deciding if you’ll be one of
the unlucky 50 percent, but lifestyle plays a part, too. “Pregnancy, bumping your legs a lot, standing for
long periods, and habitually crossing your legs all stack the deck against you,” says Dr. Sarnoff. Wearing
compression stockings, such as those by Jobst (, will improve your circulation
and may prevent additional veins from forming, but what can you do at the doctor’s office to remove
the obvious veins you already have?
1. Sclerotherapy. A tiny needle is used to inject the vein with a chemical agent. The vein
collapses, and over a period of weeks, the body absorbs the now nonfunctioning vessel and clotted
blood, and then they simply disappear. The typical treatment will have several tiny injections that last
about 15 minutes. After the injection, the area is compressed with either support hose or pressured
dressing. There’s little downtime. Rare occurrences are temporary hyperpigmentation and cramping.
2. Laser therapy is used if the vessels are too tiny to get the needle into. The same lasers are
used that treat broken blood vessels on the face. The overlying skin is protected, while the vessels are
zapped through the skin. When the beam of light is delivered, it’s attracted to the hemoglobin, which is
in the blood. The light is converted into heat and seals the vessels and collapses the blood vessel wall
and eventually the body absorbs it again.
1. Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS). A liquid sclerosing agent is mixed with air in
the syringe to make it foamy. The advantage to having it bubbly is that it enhances the duration of
contact with the venous wall and is more likely to stay in the area it’s injected. As with all of these
treatments, compression stockings are worn one to six weeks afterward. The likelihood of serious side
effects depends on the amount of foam injected. You don’t want to exceed more than 10 cc’s per
session. Downside: possible hyperpigmentation.
2. Endovenous laser therapy (EVLT). The area is blown up with anesthesia and then a laser
system is passed through a hollow needle into the vein. Once it’s in the vein, the needle is removed, like
starting an IV. Energy is delivered to the vein in the form of light. After activation the laser is pulled back
continuously. Downside: There’s a possibility of burning the outer layer of skin and a less than 1 percent
risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clot).
3. Radio frequency ablation (RFA) Radiofrequency waves heat up the inside of the vein and
collapse it. Local anesthesia is used, and the doctor feeds a probe inside the vein. Little twitches of pain
in the area of treatment may last for several weeks. There’s also a possibility of skin burns and
inflammation. •
Go for Asymmetrical dress An
A-line dress Clunky platform wedges Pointy-toe mules Cropped pants Wide-legged pants Lacy patterned
tights Solid black opaque tights Leggings as pants Pants as pants Leggings that hit mid-calf Leggings that
hit at the ankle Miniskirts Maxi skirts Neon tights Black, navy, brown, or gray tights Patent leather boots
Soft leather boots Rolled-up jeans Boot-cut jeans Shoe booties Knee-high heel boots Skinny jeans
Trouser-cut jeans Slouchy suede boots Slim-fitting, knee-high heeled boots
Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs (in 5 shades), $9.95; mass retailers,
Laura Mercier Body Bronzing Makeup, $38; Bloomingdale’s, Sephora,
DuWop Revolotion SPF 15 Bronzing Body Moisturizer, $28; Sephora,
Yes to Carrots C the Body Carrot Rich Moisturizing Body Scrub, $9.99; mass retailers,
Neutrogena Energizing Sugar Body Scrub, $9.99; mass retailers,
Yes to Carrots C Through the Dry Spell Deliciously Rich Body Butter, $12.99; mass retailers,
Clinique Deep Comfort Body Butter, $24.50; Bloomingdale’s,
Neutrogena Deep Moisture Butter Body Cream, $8.10;, mass retailers.
Gillette Venus Embrace 5-Blade Disposable Razor for Women, $12.99; mass retailers.
Gillette Venus Bikini Kit (Venus Embrace razor, Venus Bikini trimmer, Olay Bikini lotion), $10.79;
mass retailers.
Lipo in a Box High-Waist Capri, style 46852, $49; Leg shaper with open gusset
for bathroom ease.
TC Fine Intimates Even More Pantliner, style 4317, $56; for stores, see
Smoothes from waist to butt to calf with the Wonderful Edge hem so it won’t ride up under tight pants.
L’eggs Profiles Benefits, waist smoother toner sheer energizing hosiery, style 93763, $8.99; WalMart, Sheer hose on high-waist shapewear.
L’eggs Profiles Opaque Tights, energizing leg, $8.99; Wal-Mart,
Sculptz Shapewear Sheers, $12.50;
Spanx High-Waisted Tight-End Tights, style 167, $28;
Spanx High-Waisted Tight-End Tights—Control-Top Fishnets, $28;
Spanx Tight-End Tights—Convertible Leggings, style 039B, $32;
Spanx High-Waisted Tight-End Tights, $38;
Fit Flop Walkstar III, $58; They claim to help strengthen and tone calves. Whether
they do or not, they are easier to walk in than your ordinary unsupportive flip-flop!
Stuart Weitzman 50/50 boots, $595; These slightly over the knee boots
with a one-inch heel have an elastic panel to ensure a great fit.
Vows for Leggings
I WILL only choose a pair that ends at the thinnest part of my ankles.
I WILL NOT wear leggings in place of pants, with a big top or sweater, even if the said big
top or sweater covers my butt.
I WILL only wear leggings in no-fat colors such as black and brown and navy and gray, not
red, orange, yellow, green or blue.
I WILL NEVER wear leggings in white, cream, or ivory.
I WILL NEVER wear Crocs, clogs, or sneakers (yes, even Keds) with leggings.
I WILL NEVER wear ribbed or lace-edged leggings—too fattening—even if they’re Wolford.
Wear shoe booties or short boots with skirts or dresses, even if you’re wearing black opaques.
It’s like chopping yourself off at the knee.
Wide Feet + Ankles
Ankle bracelets don’t fit, ever… Your calves are the same width at your knees and at your feet…
You have bunions, corns, or hammertoes, and maybe all three… Your mother’s legacy is wide feet, and
yours are starting to look like hers… You wish there was such a thing as beach boots.
→ Remember when we were kids, and we would get our feet measured every me we we nt
shoe shopping? Do you remember putting your foot into that metal sliding device? When was the last
time you had your foot measured? Do they even have a foot-measuring device in your favorite shoe
department? They don’t at Barneys New York, where I have bought many a shoe too small for me. But I
can’t blame Barneys for the fact that I still assume that I’m the same shoe size that I was thirty years
ago. The truth is, our feet flatten (widen) and lengthen with age. If you were a size 6 at twenty, then you
should be in a size 7 at fifty, says Dr. Suzanne Levine, the New York podiatrist who has made it easier for
many famous feet to strut the red carpet. Our feet spread as a result of normal aging, according to Dr.
Levine, but did you know that weight gain can account for a larger shoe size? I always thought that the
reason for our shoe obsession was because no matter how much weight we gained, we would always,
always fit into our shoes! Well, not true! So how can we get our feet to look thinner and smaller?
duck feet, claw foot, club foot, hobbit feet, fat ankles, chubby lower legs, cankles
“You can lose weight in your feet if you lose overall body weight,” says Dr. Levine. “Perfect
example is during pregnancy the feet get wider. After pregnancy, the swelling goes down.” Which is
why, after having a baby, you should get your feet measured again, as you may have gone down a shoe
size. “Obese people have heavy feet,” says Dr. Levine. “A lot of it is just fluid retention. Once you lose
weight, you’re not retaining as much fluid in the feet.”
So, if you have wide feet, you can either lose weight or wear shoes that downplay your feet and
make them less of an issue. And, if you have cankles, which are heavy-looking ankles, you can minimize
their impact on your overall look by camouflaging them in boots or pants and diverting all eyes to your
more fabulous features—eyes, shoulders, neck, cleavage, waist, rear, wherever. •
for Wide Feet + Ankles
Clothes are so voluminous that the Fashion Gods are giving us chunky shoes to balance them
out. Caged heels, shoe booties, ankle-strap platform wedges, sculptured heels, seven-inch heels… topped
with metal, charms, gems, and buckles… If you haven’t bought these shoes yet, don’t.
with a spindly heel will draw attention to a wide foot—and the contrast between the shoe and the foot
will make the foot look fatter. But a wide foot in a thick, clunky platform wedge will make your foot look
chunky. The solution? A moderate shoe, such as a graceful, feminine peep-toe pump, with a thick but
curved heel, would balance out a wide foot and heavy ankle.
At this moment in fashion, because the clothes are so voluminous, the Fashion Gods are giving
us chunky shoes to balance out the big top, the A-line dress, and the sculptured jacket. The edgiest
shoes are the ones that will make chunky feet look their chunkiest. Fashion magazines are filled with
knee-high gladiator sandals, caged heels in neon-bright patents, Oxford-tied shoe booties, ankle-strap
platform wedges, sculptured color-blocked heels, and stacked seven-inch heels. As if these fetish styles
weren’t fattening enough, designers have topped them off with embellishments, such as thick metal
edging, gold logo charms, hardware and grommets, candy-colored jewels, high-shine buckles, ladylike
bows, glitter, tassels, and fringe!
“Simple styles are going to be more elegant and flattering,” says Nancy Boas. “The shoe should
have the elements of bareness, but it should be covered enough to mask some of the imperfections.”
If you haven’t bought any of these shoes yet, don’t. There is no point in buying into a trend that
doesn’t pay off for you. If you have, well, no one wants to throw out shoes that she just bought. Next
season, you’ll edit these styles out of your life, but until then, put them into your get rid of WIMP file.
From now on, only buy comfortable shoes that will make your feet look thinner and smaller. My
friend Nancy Boas, the accessories (shoe) editor at Glamour when I was beauty director, went on to
design shoes for Nine West and is now vice president of design for women’s shoes at Ralph Lauren
Collection. She knows firsthand what styles look best on real (not model) women. “Fashion and
flattering don’t always go hand in hand,” she admits. “At the end of the day, you want your legs to look
sexy and shapely.” According to Nancy, “Most difficult to wear are sandals with multiple, wraparound
straps, such as gladiator sandals—they’re for women with skinny legs. If you don’t have perfect legs, you
need to take into consideration how many straps you have around your ankles. Straps around the ankles
cut off the leg, they make the leg look shorter, and they make your ankles look heavier.” The strategy is
to find shoes that keep the ankle unencumbered as much as possible.
“Simple styles are going to be more elegant and flattering,” says Nancy Boas. “The shoe should
have elements of bareness but covered enough to mask imperfections.” Worth trying: the peep toe,
which is more covered than a sandal, but shows a little toe cleavage, always sexy.
If it’s a bunion that’s making your feet look wide, you need to buy shoes that subtly camouflage
it. Find a shoe as bare and as clean as possible but that covers all the right places. “It needs to have
enough straps that go straight across the bunion. On some strappy sandals with tiny feminine straps, the
bunion will push through. Just make sure that your toes don’t pop out the sides.”
What else works? Actually, there are lots of ways to make your tootsies feel better. On the next
page is the list to take with you next time you’re shoe shopping. •
NOTE: Don’t go shoe shopping in the morning.
I have a friend who loves to be the first in the mall on Saturday. At ten o’clock she practically
opens the place, because she doesn’t like fighting the crowds later in the day. It took her years to catch
on to the fact that when she did buy shoes, it was early in the morning. When she put on the same
shoes in the evening, her feet were swollen, and the new shoes were tight and painful. Learn from her
experience! Buy shoes later in the day when your feet are their biggest.
Let’s think twice before we take these home again.
STRAPS. “Straps around ankles cut off the leg, they make the leg look shorter, and they make your
ankles look heavier,” says Boas.
• PENNY LOAFERS, OXFORDS, DRIVING SHOES. Any shoe that looks like it belongs in a man’s
closet should not be in yours, as it won’t do your foot any favors. Clunky, masculine shoes need to be in
a soft leather and in a delicate shade, like camel. Otherwise, they look too masculine.
• CLOGS. Crocs, which technically are a clog, have replaced Uggs as the new ugly “it” shoe. Don’t
go there. Any kind of clog-like shoe is going to make you look fat and sloppy. You might as well wear a
sign reading, “I’ve given up!” And no, it doesn’t matter how many charms you stick in the holes to jazz
them up.
• FLATS. Save them for times you need to be super-comfy (e.g., running errands, walking around
town). Also, don’t think you’re doing your feet any favors by wearing flats; they offer no support to the
heel and arch and can lead to painful plantar fasciitis, says Dr. Levine.
• BIRKENSTOCKS. No matter how many times these come back in style, take a pass. Doubly
nerdy when worn with socks—ew.
• FLIP-FLOP SANDALS with a wide piece of horizontal fabric over the toes will make your feet
look wider.
whistles onto a foot that doesn’t need any?
• SQUARE OR ROUND TOES. Both extremes shorten and broaden your feet. Moderately round is
better than moderately squared.
• FIVE-INCH (OR MORE) SPIKY HEELS. On a petite, they look like you’re on stilts. On a larger
woman, they look out of proportion; a stacked high heel works better.
• SHOES IN HIGH CONTRAST COLORS AGAINST THE LEG. Black shoes on pale legs look fat!
Brights are more fattening than neutrals.
• WHITE SHOES. Unless you’re a nurse, and even then, see if you can get around this. Neutrals
are so much chicer.
• KITTEN HEELS. These petite, low heels are not ideal for those with heavy ankles or calves. The
proportions may look off as the scale of the kitten heel is tiny.
• SNEAKERS! Traditional clodhopper white lace-up sneakers worn outside of the gym are superfattening. Do you have to wear sneakers on the street? If so, choose a pair that are sleek and cool, more
about style than athletic performance.
And What to Do About It
An informal poll of friends revealed that we are only wearing 10 to 20 percent of the shoes we
own. (Want to see how universal this is? Ask a few of your friends what percentage of their shoes they
are actually wearing. See if you get the same results.) Why aren’t we wearing the other 80 percent?
Some shoes are kept for decoration purposes only, slightly out of style but they add pizzazz to the shoe
collection. Okay, but the rest? They kill us, every time we put them on, in one place or another.
Why do so many really cute shoes hurt? Do this bit of homework, and you’ll see for yourself.
Measure the widest part across your entire foot (it may be from bunion to bunion). Then, round up all
the shoes you aren’t wearing. Measure the toe box across the width of the shoe, the section that
contains the widest part of your foot. Most high-fashion shoes have a three-inch toe box. My foot
measures three and a half inches across. And I wonder why these shoes K-I-L-L. Many women have feet
that measure four inches across, an entire inch bigger than most fashion shoes!
Two truths that keep wider feet from enjoying the cutest shoes: 1) A fit-model for shoes has
perfect feet. If her feet got wider due to pregnancy, age, or weight gain, she would be out of a job!
Bunions, hammertoes, corns, and calluses are her occupational hazards. So if the shoe fits her perfectly,
what is the likelihood that it will fit you? 2) High-fashion shoe designers (such as Manolo Blahnik) tend
to keep their widths very narrow because that’s the aesthetic of the brand—thin and elegant like the
women who wear them.
Now that we know what the problems are, let’s work around them. For starters, you might be
more comfortable in shoes that use a European fit—it’s slightly wider. “Certain companies subscribe to
an American fit, and others go with a European fit. And there’s no real way of knowing who uses what,
so you have to try everything on,” says Nancy. “The standard fit measurement is 6B for American sizes,
and European standard is 37B-C, which generally blends the width between a B and a C.” There are
brands right now that are on the forefront of melding comfort and style. The Italian brand Geox, for
example, does shoes with a 3 inch toe box.
Also, don’t be embarrassed to get measured or to bring your own measuring tape with you.
“Shoes are like bras: They’re so technical and they really have to fit,” says Nancy. “The absolute worst
thing you can do is buy shoes that don’t fit—even if you love them.” Even if they’re on sale. We’ve all
been to shoe sales when the prospect of scoring a pair of Chanels, Choos, Blahniks, or Louboutins for
one-third or more off is just way too tempting to pass up, so we try to cram our feet into bright, shiny
shoes that simply do not fit. If the shoe doesn’t fit in the store, it doesn’t fit. If you remember nothing
else from this chapter, remember that. Why do we believe that once we get them home, something
magical will happen in our shoe closet to make them stretch? Sales associates who think nothing of
egging you on by uttering the lie, “They’ll stretch out,” should be called on the shoe carpet. What
they’re really saying is that your bones and soft tissue, over time, will rub against the leather until it
gives. Ouch! That’s how we get unsightly bunions, corns, blisters, and hammertoes. Thanks a lot.
These styles will keep you standing tall.
d’ Orsay heels
The number one most flattering shoe for women with cankles. This style is open on the sides
and can have either open or closed toes; slingbacks or closed backs. “They don’t break the line of the
leg,” says Nancy. “So the legs look really long.”
Ankle boots
Not to be confused with shoe booties, low-cut ankle boots under jeans and pants, will be more
comfortable than higher ankle boots or knee-high boots. They look very fashion forward worn with dark
opaque tights under skirts and dresses if you have slim calves.
Knee-length boots
Wear under skirts or dresses. The tucking-jeans-into-the-boot trick only looks good on Hannah
Montana and friends. Just make sure your boots have a heel if you want a no-fat look.
Flesh-toned or nude pumps
You can’t have enough flesh-toned shoes in warm weather. Buy these in leather, patent, or
snakeskin. A simple pump with a sexy, elegant line that matches your skin tone is a great way to
elongate your leg.
Peep-toe pumps
A pedicured toe is an easy way to show a little sexiness and draw attention to the toe, away
from the ankle.
Terrific for summer and year-round in warmer climates if the vamp is low and doesn’t cut across
the ankle to make you look fat. A two- to three-inch heel is universally flattering.
Stacked or chunky heels
Good, chunky, curved heels will make your ankles look thin in comparison, but not overwhelm
the foot. Just make sure they’re not on big, fat platforms, which will make you look fat.
Sexy! They keep the ankle clean, which equals skinny. Many women (including me) love the
slingback look but complain about slippage. If this is your problem, too, check out the adhesive strip
from Foot Petals. It’s the answer for this common problem.
An easier way to get taller than wearing heels. If you’ve sworn off skinny heels, do give a
moderate wedge a chance.
If you have short, wide feet, an easy way to deflect unwanted gazes is to keep them neatly
pedicured with a light or sheer polish without a lot of fuss (no crazy colors, no nail art). To save money,
learn to do your own pretty pedicure at home. Dr. Levine does, to ensure her own medical standards of
cleanliness—then she goes to the salon for polish. If you do go to the nail salon, it’s smart to bring your
own nail files, cuticle clippers, orange stick, brushes, or even your own pedicure kit to prevent fungus
and whatever else could be growing there!
Now, About Your Toenails…
→ The length and shape of your toenails will make a difference, says Essie Weingarten,
founder and president of the beloved nail polish line Essie Cosmetics, who recommends that toenails hit
the end of the skin. “If you have a heavier leg, keep toenails more square than rounded and a little bit
on the longer side.”
→ Choose a chic, sophisticated neutral toenail color, such as sheer pink or beige.
→ Dry, cracked heels make a fat foot look worse. In the shower, pick up a pumice stone to
exfoliate the dry skin on your heels.
→ When you come out of the shower, slather on thick moisturizer and slip on cotton socks.
Letting the cream settle in for at least an hour will help smooth and soften dry, cracked heels.
Crocs for evening? Er, no. Even if you look like BROOKE SHIELDS, even if you may be recovering
from foot surgery, footwear doesn’t get any more fattening than a pair of pink crocs.
→ When dressing a cankle, the next best thing to boots is a naked ankle in a classic high heel.
Yes, flats are more comfy, but try to slip on a heel at least when going out, so you won’t look dumpy and
The flatness of this shoe doesn’t help, but wearing an ankle strap is like drawing a circle around
the problem—here, in bright red.
× Ankle straps
× Clogs, Crocs
× Flats of any kind
× Round and square-toe pumps
× Sneakers
What a difference!
The wide ankle isn’t noticeable in the low-vamp pump… can’t say the same about the Mary Jane
Keep the ankle bare in a high heel in the same shade as your leg; by elongating the leg, you’ll
look taller, thinner, better.
d’ Orsay pumps
Flesh-toned heels
Peep-toe pumps
Thinner by Tonight!
Match your shoes to your leg color; not to your skirt or dress. A monotone color all the way
down will lengthen the leg. In winter, wear a black opaque stocking and black pump; in summer, skintoned slingback with bare legs.
Compress cankles with longer-length footless shapewear such as Spanx’s Under the Heel TightEnd Tights, a support hose for women with bloated ankles. The top part extends beyond the ankle to the
top of the foot; the bottom slips under your heel. You don’t want to wear anything that cuts across your
ankle at its widest part.
Slip on a pair of d’Orsay heels (see here). Add cushiony support from a gel pad to make them
Wear a boot-cut jean or wide-leg trouser rather than a harem pant or cropped pant that ends
before the ankle. Pair the slightly flared pant with a stacked heel or wedge instead of ballet flats. The
idea is to keep your cankle under cover.
Give away your foot jewelry; ankle bracelets and toe rings are attention-getters, so who needs
When it comes to shoes, why do we believe that once we get them home from the store,
something magical will happen in our closet to make them stretch?
Wearing uncomfortable shoes that don’t fit you well is a vicious cycle you don’t want to get into.
The more times you wear shoes that don’t fit you properly, the more damage you’ll end up doing to
your feet. Foot surgery is a big deal and should be avoided at all costs. Want to prevent your feet from
getting fat—and ugly—going forward? Treat them like precious jewels, today.
BUNIONS. Beware of a very pointed toe. Pointy-toe shoes make the foot look longer, thinner,
sexier… but too pointy can bring on bunions. Yes, bunions are hereditary, but wearing shoes that are too
tight around the toes can provoke them, according to Dr. Levine, who says, “I never met a bunion that
didn’t have a pointy shoe in its history.” If your mother has bunions, do yourself a favor and start looking
for more moderate pointy-toes from now on. Even if your mother doesn’t have bunions, if you can’t
resist a pointy-toe, try one size up to give yourself more wiggle room.
THE PUMP BUMP. If you trot around town in shoes that don’t fit, you up your chances of
developing other funky foot deformities that will make your feet look bigger, longer, or wider, such as
“pump bump” (aka Haglund’s deformity), hammertoe, corns, calluses, and blisters. Pump bump is a
painful, swollen heel bump from pump-style shoes rubbing against the heel. If you have this, see a
podiatrist. And look for backless shoes such as mules.
HAMMERTOE is a smaller toe that bends down abnormally and may occur when a too-long toe
is continually forced into a cramped toe box. Corns or callouses, which are also brought on by shoes that
are too tight and narrow, can form over the hammertoe joint.
MORTON’S NEUROMA, an enlarged nerve that usually occurs between the third and fourth
toes, is an excruciatingly painful cramp that “freezes” your feet or toes into an uncomfortable position.
It often occurs when you’re lying down, after a day of walking around in a too-tapered toe box or
extreme high heels. It’s your body reminding you that you need a wider toe box and to limit the amount
of time in high heels. In other words, don’t commute to work in them; wear more comfortable shoes for
Why Cankles Aren’t Funny
Everyone’s laughing about cankles. There’s even a jokey Web site, The
word cankle comes from calf + ankle and describes an ankle that has no definition, one that’s almost as
wide as the calf. This chapter is about how to disguise fat ankles, but if your ankles are abnormally
swollen, and you are not pregnant, you really need to see your doctor. Ankle edema could be the result
of weight gain, it could also be too much sodium or signal more serious medical issues. Better to get
checked out.
Going to Extremes: At the Podiatrist
Your podiatrist can custom-make you a pair of orthotics so you can wear heels more
comfortably. These aren’t inexpensive (prices start at $250). There’s a slim chance your health insurance
may cover them. A plaster cast is made of your foot to get the size and the arch just right, then it’s sent
out to be made into a rubber sole that you can slip into your boots, closed shoes, or peep-toes. You
can’t wear them in open-toe sandals because they’ll show. And some shoes might be too small to
accommodate them. But when they work, they’re great.
As we age, the fat padding that cushions our soles begins to diminish, making the wearing of
stilettos even more painful than before. If money is not an issue, you may want to consider getting a
syringe of Juvederm or Sculptra injected into the bottom of the feet to restore volume. This is high
maintenance, for sure, but women who stand on their feet all day, such as flight attendants, are doing it.
TKees (T-keys) Flip-Flops to match your skin tone, $44; Bloomingdale’s, If you have
to wear flats, these—in leather or suede—will at least make your legs appear longer.
AirPlus for Her;
Dr. Rosenberg’s Instant Arches;
Dr. Scholl’s for Her; mass retailers or
Foot Petals;
Udderly Smooth Foot Cream with Shea Butter, $6.49; mass retailers,
Heel Magic, $12.95;
Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Crème, $9; mass retailers,
Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $5.99; mass retailers,
Essie in Petal Pink, Pop Art Pink, Knockout Pout, Playa del Platinum, Jazz, $8 each; Ulta,
OPI Nail Lacquers in I Pink I Love You, I’ll Take the Cake, Passion, Makes Men Blush, At First
Sight, Rosy Future, Rumple’s Wiggin’, $8.50 each; Ulta.
Miss Oops Pedicure in a Bottle, $18;
PedEgg, $10;
Tweezerman Pedicure Solutions 7-piece pedicure tool kit, $50;
Tweezerman Pedicure Ceramic File-Ice, $20;
Vows for Wide feet
I WILL NOT wear shoes with ankle straps.
I WILL carry a pair of comfier (yet still chic) shoes with me when wearing stilettos.
I WILL NOT get a French pedicure or sport any sort of toenail art.
I WILL NEVER wear open-toe shoes without a pedicure.
I WILL NOT show toe cleavage that looks like the flesh is spilling over the shoe.
I WILL NOT wear sandals with straps that pinch and strangle my toes.
I WILL NOT let peds show.
I WILL NEVER wear sneakers with a skirt.
Settle for ugly comfort shoes when you can find stylish ones that feel just as good.
You don’t own a swimsuit… You do own a swimsuit but can’t remember the last time you wore
it… Sundresses and shorts scare you as much as the words “bring a swimsuit”… You decline invites to
beach and pool parties that sound like fun… Nothing would make you set foot in the swim department
of any store… Regardless of the heat, you always wear a jacket and pants for maximum coverage… You
can’t wait till Labor Day when summer is pretty much over.
→ If there’s one season that strikes fear into grown women, it’s summer. Because if you’re not
happy with your body, you’re not happy from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Of course, if you live in the
Sun Belt, you experience the hell of summer all year long. When the temperature soars, you want to
strip down to nothing, but you can’t. You can’t let everyone see you half naked. Well, it’s not that you
can’t—you won’t. Because it’s too humiliating. You would rather suffer in hot cover-ups than reveal your
body in public. I hear you. I have been there. It may make you feel a teensy bit better to know that
almost everyone reading this has been there! Why do you think that January is the biggest month for
diet and exercise? Because we’re all trying to look better by the deadline—Memorial Day, the unofficial
start of Show Your Body Season. For those of us who live in colder parts, where it’s sometimes still chilly
at the end of May, we have a little cushion of time, say, until July 4th, when everyone begins to notice
that we are not baring our arms and legs like everybody else.
Even though summer is, without question, the most challenging time of the year to hide fat, it’s
not impossible. You’ll be so much happier about the season once you learn a few tricks. All you need are
some smart strategies for covering up that won’t look as conspicuous as a pair of black capris and a long,
black button-down shirt on the beach when everyone else is in swimwear.
So let’s collectively take a deep breath. We’re going to do this… we’re going to look as Fit Not
Fat as we possibly can. Don’t you dare miss out on all the fun because you don’t want to be seen in a
swimsuit. If you let that happen, the weight terrorists win! Here’s to your thinnest summer ever. •
for Summer
1) Instead of wearing the same dark pants and jackets that you wore day in, day out the rest of
year, let’s lighten up for the season in style. If you love pants and your butt is not your problem, choose
white or khaki and pair them with a crisp tunic. Add the highest sandal that you can walk in, plus a hoop
earring and a stack of bangles and you’re good to go. Tory Burch is the designer responsible for bringing
back this sixties-style tunic. There’s a new one from her each season in different prints and embroidered
trims, and it often becomes the best seller in every collection. Why do women love the tunic? “It’s an
incredibly flattering silhouette,” says Tory. “Over a skinny pair of jeans, it looks elegant, and it’s so
forgiving. For someone who isn’t in the best shape she’s ever been in, the tunic makes her look elegant
and smooth.” You can find tunics now everywhere and at every price point. Even at Chico’s!
2) When you’re not wearing a tunic, and you need a layer of warmth in overly air-conditioned
offices, movie theaters, or airplanes, invest in summer-weight cashmere V-necks or long cardigans in
yummy colors. Layer over body-shaper camisoles, bare tops, or dresses.
3) A third easy summer option is a fresh dress in a pretty pattern. One zip, and you’re done. You
don’t have to worry about tops and bottoms. Add the same accessories—high strappy sandal, a hoop
earring, a stack of bangles—and you’re about to embark on a no-fat summer.
When you’re not wearing a tunic, and you need a layer of warmth in overly air-conditioned
offices, movie theaters, or airplanes, invest in summer-weight cashmere V-necks or long cardigans in
yummy colors. Layer over body-shaper camisoles, bare tops, or dresses.
Working it
Summer lovers—women who aren’t a bit afraid to bare it.
This is by far the most humiliating part of summer. I remember when I was more overweight
than I am now, trying on swimsuits in a department store dressing room and being so depressed staring
at my out-of-shape, pale, flabby body. I’m sure you can relate to the experience of standing there
almost naked in the dressing room. Once you peel the too-tight suit off, you don’t want to get dressed
again to search the racks for a larger size. You have to beg a sales associate to come to your rescue. And
you just wait there until she turns up with the size. There’s a comedy sketch in this all-too-common
female experience, but really, what a waste of time. And what is the deal with the dingy lighting? And do
they search for brutal mirrors? If you really wanted to test drive the suit, you’d have to parade around in
front of total strangers. Even though my weight issues today are different than they were before, the ick
factor of that experience still lingers. I no longer try on swimsuits at stores. I just can’t do that to myself.
So how does one buy a swimsuit today with dignity intact? Online. I know that you are probably
thinking that there is no way you would do that, but let me explain. Go to a few sites that have fabulous
swimsuits—even your favorite retailer online. Order three of every suit you want: your size, then one
size up and down. Throw a try-on party for yourself one night or on a Sunday afternoon. Be sure to defuzz your legs, get a bikini wax, and do a self-tan and a pedicure before you attempt this, because you
want to look your best in the three-way mirror (or two mirrors that allow you a good back end view). Try
on your swim accessories, too. You can use a clothing rack, if you happen to have one, and if not, use
your bed to lay out all your possible cover-ups, such as tunics, blouses, sundresses, sarongs plus sandals,
sunglasses, and a big floppy hat, so you can evaluate your complete look.
You might want a glass of wine to get you in the mood or put on some of your favorite music
and relax. Before removing the tags, road test the suit at home, doing all the things you could never do
in that cell of a dressing room. Sit, lie down, bend over, try on different shoes, lift your arms to be sure
you won’t fall out, pretend swim, do a cartwheel, jog around the bedroom. Make sure you’re in love
with the suit. Once you decide upon the keepers, ship the rejects back with UPS, FedEx, or the post
office, and you’re done! You might want create a new ritual for yourself—a launch party—to get
yourself physically and emotionally ready each summer before you go public.
Pull together a total look for swim.
Looking polished from your sun hat to your sandals boosts your confidence when you need all
the confidence you can muster. Don’t just settle for any old baseball cap, flip-flops, beach bag, and ratty
old towel or sheet. Take the time to coordinate all your accessories, and you’ll look and feel better. Not
just better, hot, in the best sense of the word.
I live in swimsuits on weekends during the summer. I put on a swimsuit and cover-up and wear
it around the house all day, thinking there might be a moment when I actually go out and read in a
lounge chair. Of course that moment rarely comes, but still, I have a lot of very comfortable suits and
some look better than others.
Little black dress, little black swimsuit. Black is the most slimming color, so why not give yourself
the best shot at looking your slimmest? Women are so convinced that covering up is the ultimate
solution they sometimes look for the biggest piece of black fabric they can find. They overdress the body
with a huge swimsuit, covering up more than they actually need to. But the truth is that not everyone
needs to wear a one-piece. There are plenty of hard-bodied women in their forties and fifties who may
want to mix and match two pieces, as very few women are the same size top and bottom. If you have
the bod, it’s better to wear a two-piece than a tankini, which has a way of rolling up and showing more
than you intended to. The ultimate black swimsuit should be as much of an essential as your everyday Tshirt bra.
Classic wide V-neck tank
The number one universal flatterer—wide V balances hips, thighs, and derriere; elongates and
balances body
Shirred or draped suit
Fabric is softly gathered to flatter and hide muffin top and belly
Power suit
Body-shaper control compresses to shave pounds
Empire or raised-waist suit
Shifts emphasis from tummy and thighs to the chest
Crossover tank
Carves a waist and hides jiggly midriff
Printed suit
Allover florals, animal prints, swirls, or artsy patterns can strategically blur bulges—or not
Highlights toned shoulders and arms and balances a broad tush, hips, and thighs; get the newest
with molded bra
One shoulder
Sexy coverage and elongates the torso so your breasts don’t sit on your waist
High-waist bikini
Controls bareness, hides tummy
Adjustable neck lifts and shapes large breasts
You cannot buy a suit without trying it on. Over the years, I’ve bought suits at Super Saturday—
a madhouse designer yard sale in the Hamptons to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. There are
no dressing rooms there in the middle of the horse farm, so unless you want to strip down to your
undies in front of the world, forget about trying anything on. If you have less than a model body, taking
a chance on a suit without trying it on is a big mistake. A zebra-striped suit that has horizontal stripes
across the tummy—what was I thinking? A gold metallic one-strap with no shelf bra? How old did I think
I was—twelve?
Why not buy a shapewear swimsuit? The new kid on this block is Spanx. If you want to look
slimmer at the beach or pool without sacrificing an ounce of chic, these suits are for you. They compress
just like their beloved shapewear but look cool, and are on trend and in fashion colors. Miraclesuit
Swimwear started this trend and claims to take an inch off your waist. Its suits really do measure up. I
actually took a tape measure to my waistline before and after. Another brand is Magicsuit, from, in some styles to size 16DD.
If you have less than a model body, taking a chance on a suit without trying it on is a big mistake.
WHERE TO SWIMSUIT SHOP ONLINE,,, and allow you to mix,
match, and build your own swimsuit. For women who wear two-piece suits and require different size
tops and bottoms, these sites give you the freedom to customize size, style, and color. You can take a
size 14 bottom and a size 10 top, or you might want to choose a darker bottom and lighter top to draw
the eye upward instead of down. has a “Live Help” link. has a fantastic chart of the latest suit trends. offers a Fit and Style Guide plus the chance to make an appointment
to meet with a swimsuit fitter at one of its retail stores. For women with fit issues, navigating the waters
of swimsuit shopping online can be treacherous, so your life raft might be a specialty store, such as
Everything but Water, with a sales staff trained to fit swimsuits, and nothing but swimsuits, all year long.
It’s smart to put as much effort into your cover-up as you do your suit—maybe even more.
Because if it’s a little chilly outside or you’ve decided not to take the plunge, you may never take the
cover-up off! Some people don’t see your suit, just your cover-up. That’s why you may want to consider
buying a new cover-up every year, even if you don’t buy a new suit.
1. Wearing all black. If it’s not depressing you, it’s depressing everyone around you. Mix it up a
bit with white or a pastel. Don’t make your inability to go with the light spirit of summer so obvious.
2. A daily uniform that hides your body. Shapeless black knit pieces abound, and so do deadly
pull-on pieces with elastic waistbands and S-M-L sizing. Mix relaxed and fitted pieces; show some skin
and body definition with V-necks, a skinny belt at the waist, and elbow-length sleeves.
3. Getting so summerized that you forget to dress strategically. Wear all the Lily Pulitzer pinks,
greens, corals, and florals you want, just keep necklines, proportions, and color breaks in mind. This is
not the time to plunge into boob-baring halters, ankle-wrap platform wedges, and tissue-thin tees that
show back fat!
4. Wearing a tankini and thinking no one knows that you’re trying to hide a tummy. Either
wear a two-piece and show your middle or get a shapewear suit with a tummy-control panel. Tankinis
don’t work because they have a tendency to ride up—and expose you.
5. Letting your boobs hang out in a tank top, tee, or swimsuit without a built-in bra. Just
because you’re spending a casual weekend lounging around the beach or doing errands is no reason to
go unsupported.
6. Squished bosoms and too much cleavage. Stopping short of the nipples is a big no. Slip
dresses and itty-bitty sundress tops or triangle bikinis are ridiculous after a certain age, even if you’re in
St. Tropez. What if you run into someone you know? Better to go for a wide V neckline or a oneshoulder look. Sexy, not slutty.
7. Spillage at the top or sides of a swimsuit or tank. You don’t want to look like you gained a
few pounds after you bought it. Swimsuit brands such as Sunset Separates, La Blanca, Anne Cole, and
Tommy Bahama are great for bigger boobs, and some offer bra sizing for full coverage.
8. Metallic swimsuits or shiny satin skirts just invite trouble. Shine accentuates every bulge and
squiggle, no matter how great it looks in glossy fashion magazines. A gorgeous gold satin pencil skirt or a
silver swimsuit will catch the light in all the wrong places. Stay matte or textured when it comes to
fabrics, or just add your shine in accessories—like a few bangles or metallic sandals and tote.
9. Swimsuit leg openings that are too low, too tight, or too binding. Low-cut legs on a suit looks
matronly no matter how sexy the neckline. Look for laser-cut suits with no bindings, modified higher leg
lines that won’t dig into the fleshy part of your hip. Start an inch below the hipbone as the highest point
of the leg opening—it works for most women.
10. Shorts and boy short swimsuits. I know they are enjoying a surge, but honestly, short shorts
are only for teens, and boy shorts suit women with boyish, narrow figures. They cut right across your leg
at the widest part in a straight horizontal. Not what we need.
→ The same rules apply to swimwear. Horizontal stripes make you look fat, especially when
there’s not enough of them to go around. And, accessories are essential to create a bold fashion
statement. PS: Don’t forget the sunless tanner—it will make you look like you’ve dropped a size!
Itsy bitsy teeny weeny pink and white striped bikini lets it all hang out, exposing too much boob
and muffin top.
× Baggy grandma-skirt suits
× Bikinis
× Cutout swimsuits
× Extreme-plunge necklines (to the waist)
× Metallic swimsuits
× A neck-to-toe caftan
What a difference!
No Fat reads “chic” with fancy sandals, tote and bangles. High Fat has nothing to distract from
front and center.
Yes, it really is a miracle suit! A dark V-neck ruched one-piece subtracts inches and adds
confidence. You want a suit that controls like shapewear.
Dark, oversized sunglasses
Halter-style necklines
Hoop earrings
Ruched suits
Shapewear suits
Strapless suits
Working it
Effortless summer chic is an outfit that looks professional and polished without resorting to a
matchy-matchy business suit. Look Fit Not Fat in summer: wear separates in a unifying monotone color,
show some skin at the neck, and keep yourself long and lean in a shoe with height.
An oversized T-shirt doesn’t fool anyone. It’s easy, but it’s also high fat and prevents you from
looking Fit Not Fat at the beach or poolside.
A lightweight sundress over your suit can give you coverage and look chic. I bought an Indianprint spaghetti-strapped empire-waist one at Topshop, but you can also find them on the racks at
Forever 21, H&M, Zara, Target, JCPenney, or any major department store.
A sarong will work if you tie it without adding bulk at your hips, which is tricky (see Tying a NoFat Sarong, right). The secret is to buy one in a soft, matte, very lightweight printed fabric—the lighter
and more handkerchief-like the better—because it’s easier to tie and won’t add an extra inch of fabric
around the lower body where we need it least. The print makes it opaque and hides cellulite. Next time
you’re vacationing on a tropical isle, start collecting sarongs. I love the ones from the store Calypso, and
they last for years! •
Unwrap the sarong so that it is a full rectangle—not folded.
Place the middle of the sarong at your behind (as if you were wrapping yourself up in a waisthigh towel).
Grab the top two points of the rectangle, then move your hands in along the top edge of the
fabric toward you, about halfway between the end point and your body.
Bunch the fabric up on either side of you, so you have what looks like two fingers of fabric.
Double-knot both those fingers together, close to the body just below your waist.
Take the dangling top end of one side and tuck it under the top of the fabric, across your belly
and into the waistband under the knot.
Let the other end fall free in graceful folds. This will look so much less fattening than the heavy
swaddling that most women do.
Go for Ankle-tied
espadrilles Jeweled or metallic thongs A giant T-shirt A tunic A shapeless, skirted swimsuit A sleek,
sophisticated swimdress Shorts of any length Above-the-knee skirt A tankini A one-piece shaper suit A
towel around the hips A batik or floral sarong
Thinner by Morning!
If you have a light skin tone, getting a spray tan at a salon or doing your own smearing the night
before can hide all those things that shouldn’t see the light of day—like veins, cellulite, stretch marks,
and brown spots. If you’re darker skinned, you’re ahead of the game.
Get a swimsuit with built-in body-shaper compression.
They can whittle your entire body down a size and provide lift at the bosom and rear so you look
like you spent the year spinning and doing Pilates. And if you slip your body-shaper suit under a tunic or
sundress, you’ll look slimmer in that, too!
Make V’s not boxes at your neckline and thigh.
V-neck halters in tops, sundresses, and swimsuits are guaranteed transformers that elongate the
body. Straight low boy-leg suits and minis that cut your upper leg at the widest point form a boxy shape
that makes your rear and thighs appear huge.
Create a diversion.
A print with a lot of movement can blur body flaws, and so can shirring or draping. Swimsuits
are 90 percent illusion, 10 percent coverage, so take advantage of these strategically placed details. The
same applies to beach cover-ups, tops, and dresses.
Start at the neckline—to balance proportions.
A halter or wide V in a swimsuit, dress, or top creates a power neckline that flatters a big bosom,
draws the eye away from your tummy, and balances hips and thighs. A strapless swimsuit or empire
cocktail dress with a molded bra can do the same.
Watch your back.
A very low scoop back can make a big booty seem less so.
Be cheeky.
Let a little cheek show in your swimsuit. Full complete butt coverage is matronly! It can also
make your behind look bigger than it is. Modified coverage—not dental floss—is the idea.
Buy as close to your dress or pants size as possible when it comes to swimsuits.
Going up a size or two to fit into a suit makes your bust and rear droop—you won’t be getting
the support you need.
the neckline of a strapless suit or a ruffle down the front of a suit. But not bows, ruffles, shirring, and
print all in the same piece.
• KEEP SWIMSUIT NECKLINES AS LOW AS POSSIBLE, leg lines as high as possible to stretch the
body. The more chest and upper thigh you show, the better.
• WEAR HIGH SHOES like wedges or platforms or mules—not flat flip-flops—to keep the look
lean and leggy.
• TUNICS WILL WORK AS KNEE-LENGTH SUNDRESSES. Look for dense opaque colors even in
lightweight cottons and jerseys.
ONLINE., for instance, offers their slimming SwimShape suits in petite sizes.
• LEARN TO LOVE TUNICS. Paired with white pants, you have your summer uniform. Long pants
look better than capris.
• CHOOSE THE WIDEST V-NECKLINE in swimsuits, tops, and sundresses to give your upper body
a powerful inverted-triangle shape.
poolside cover rather than shorter styles. This only works if you’re tall and can pull it off.
waist for definition.
contour your curves, not hide them.
• SEE THE SHOPPING RESOURCES IN SKINNY CLICKS (here and here), as an increasing number of
up-scale retailers are now catering to larger women for swimwear and everything else. (It’s about time!)
Norma Kamali (normakamali Ruching and flattering ’50s style.
Shape fx ( Shapewear-focused swimwear for all target spots.
Carmen Marc Valvo (, Silky fabrics and goddess draping.
Gottex (, Best selection of wide deep V-neck suits in
J. Crew ( A rainbow of colors and high-quality fabrics.
Lands’ End ( Contemporary full-coverage suits.
La Blanca by Rod Beattie ( One-shoulder suits that sizzle.
LL Bean ( Great basic tanks and suits with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor of 50+)
sun protection in suits.
Magicsuit by Miraclesuit ( Super control brand up to 16 DD.
Michael by Michael Kors (Bloomingdale’s, Rich-looking suits with luxe details like
hardware, bows.
Miraclesuit (Bloomingdale’s, Sucks up fat and holds it in till you take it off.
Shoshanna ( Flirtatious suits with cup sizes up to DDD.
Spanx Swimsuits (Bloomingdale’s, The biggest splash in the swimwear department
in years. There are sexy one-piece deep-V halters that are anything but matronly, trendy bandeau and
one-shoulder suits with ruffles, even flirty swim dresses. No fussy patterns, just slimming solids in colors
that are sublime: lavender, teal, black, and red. Suits range from $150 to $200, and sizes 4 (in some
styles) to 18 (in some styles).
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 45 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid with Cell-Ox Shield, SPF 45, $27.90;
Neutrogena Sunblock Lotion Sensitive Skin SPF 60, $10.99; mass retailers,
Neutrogena Ultra SheerBody Mist Sunblock SPF 70, $9.99; mass retailers,
Clinique Sun SPF 50 Face Cream, $17.50; Bloomingdale’s,
Shiseido Sun Protection Liquid Foundation SPF 42, $34; Bloomingdale’s,
Xen-Tan Transform Luxe Premium Sunless Tan, $30; Nordstrom,
Jergens Natural Glow Firming Daily Moisturizer and Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer, $8.99 each;
mass retailers or
Tan Towel Half Body Classic 15-pack; $19.95,
Clinique Self Sun Body Tinted Lotion, $20; Bloomingdale’s,
Vows for Summer
I WILL buy at least one lightweight tunic.
I WILL give up my illusions of string bikinis and get a sexy one-piece.
I WILL stop talking about my weight and select shaper suits and shirring.
I WILL make sure that I have a great cover-up for every suit.
I WILL take advantage of lightweight summer sweaters.
I WILL have at least one killer black suit I can rely on.
I WILL cut out the size tag and not freak out anymore.
I WILL give up my belly ring.
I WILL accessorize swimsuits as I do all my clothes—with stylish shoes, jewelry, sunglasses,
and a hat.
Go topless. Your breasts need support. Plus, do you really want to risk getting basal cell
carcinoma on one part of your body that hasn’t been exposed to a lifetime of sun?
You can’t get your seat belt across in the car… You appear ready for hibernation… Your boobs
and butt make hills and humps under your coat… You cannot wear a hobo or shoulder bag with your
coat on… You look forward to winter as a haven for hiding from the world.
→ For the last six months, all the women in my neighborhood look like they belong to the same
tribe, snapped into longish black hooded puffer coats that have all the shape of a sleeping bag. The
belted versions with vertical quilting aren’t quite as fattening as those with horizontally stitched packets
of down padding, but all puffers more or less bulk you up like the Incredible Hulk. If you’re reading this
book, you shouldn’t have a knee-length puffer in your closet. Don’t let a coat do you in. There’s no time
like the present, so go ahead, put this book down, and bag that coat up for your city coat drive! (Find
one near you on Now congratulate yourself for losing twenty pounds so fast!
I grew up in Chicago, where I’ve never been colder, so trust me when I tell you that in the right
coat, it is possible look slim and sleek in freezing temps without getting frostbite. If you haven’t bought a
new coat in two to three years, it’s time to go coat shopping. In the coat section of your favorite
department store, you will find a dizzying selection in vibrant colors, quirky patterns, belted, pelted,
with three-quarter sleeves, lush cuffs, bold shoulders, nipped-in waists, and long, lean silhouettes
designed to give a better body. In the old days, the conventional wisdom was that your coat should last
forever, so your wool classic in black, navy, or beige was simply replaced when it got shabby. Now you’re
witnessing the result of a seismic shift in designers’ attitudes toward the coat, putting the fun back into
functional and creating fashion statements that make us never want to say “coat check.”
If your coat is the only thing people see you in for seven months of the year, it will inform that
first impression. Why be forgettable in a boring basic when you can wow everyone in a memorable coat
loaded with personality? Bring on the color, the shine, the pattern, the drama! This is one bleak season
where we definitely need some extra fashion fun!
Having just one coat these days is as sad as having just one bra! Michelle Smith, designer of
one of my favorite brands, Milly, made the flashy coat with metallic threads that brought me many
compliments last season. She once told me, “Multiple coats are essential for the grown-up wardrobe.”
She suggests at least four, depending upon your lifestyle needs—a tailored black coat with luxurious
detailing for work, a solid-color to wear with jeans, a glamorous cocktail coat, and a faux or real chubby
(stole) for dressy evening. It makes sense to have a few of varying lengths. Just FYI: There was once a
rule that said skirts should not stick out from a coat. Forget that. You’ll look hipper if your skirt is either a
little longer or quite a bit longer than the coat. (I hope that made your day!) Slipping on one of these
new coats, as I once said in my “Fashion Grown-Ups” column in More magazine, is the most fun you can
have with your clothes on!
The coat as fashion item is welcome news for women in colder climes in need of a psychological
lift to survive the season. We snow bunnies live in our coats from October to April (that’s about 210
days; more than half the year). At the movies, in restaurants, at concerts, and in the mall, some of us
never remove our coats! If your coat is the only thing people see you in for seven months of the year, it
will inform that first impression. Why be forgettable in a boring basic when you can wow everyone in a
memorable coat loaded with personality? Bring on the color, the shine, the pattern, the drama! This is
one bleak season where we definitely need some extra fashion fun!
If I haven’t convinced you to buy a new coat yet, consider the economy. Spending your fashion
dollars on a special coat is a wise buy because it dresses up whatever basics you already own. A fashion
coat doesn’t just make your outfit; it is your outfit… That’s why it really doesn’t matter what you’ve got
on underneath, because who sees it? So if you want to buy just one thing this fall, get yourself a coat
that makes you look Fit Not Fat. •
Working it
Prime coats.
for Winter
→ IF YOU DON’T ANALYZE the fat content of your winter coat and accessories, bundling yourself
up can add serious bulk to your frame. Start with the lightest coat you can get away with, because you
want to layer. But it’s not about just piling on more layers like you’re making lasagne. Winter calls for
strategic swaddling.
What works and what doesn’t in a winter look? One that doesn’t is a perpetual favorite of
fashion magazines: Julie Christie’s overly romanticized Dr. Zhivago look. You may recall the image of her
wading through snowdrifts in a ground-sweeping military-inspired coat trimmed in fur, all along the
hem? Don’t try this at home unless you’re six feet tall and don’t have to drive a car or hail a cab. Puddlesweeping coats make most women look like grubby extras from a period movie. Maxi winter coats
shorten you and make you look dumpy, not to mention how filthy they get crossing city streets.
This winter, the coat of the season is the casual belted bathrobe. If you’re at all heavy, it’s going
to be hard to keep that belt tied, and a big knot atop the menopot? Right under the bust? This style coat
slices the short-waisted into two distinct upper and lower body chunks. So instead, let’s embrace the
coats that will make us look Fit Not Fat.
The fabric, shape, cut, shoulders, length, scale, proportion, color, trim, accessories… every detail
of the coat matters. So let’s make sure all these details are working for you and not against you.
Most women look best in a knee-length coat—no longer. Ankle-length maxi coats reappear as a
trend every so often and look dramatic on six-foot-tall models on a runway. If you’re five-foot-four or
under and you wear a maxi coat or even an ankle-length coat, you will lose out on the chance to show
your legs. Showing leg elongates you… it’s a major body booster. Remember that shorter knee-length
coats worn over skirts with boots will have you looking longer and slimmer than mid-calf coats worn
over pants, always.
A boxy, shapeless coat makes you look bigger than you really are. A structured coat with
oversized shoulder pads will make you look like you’ve dug up your Pat Benatar look from the ’80s; and
if you’re short and top-heavy, you’ll look like you’re going to fall over. Choose a coat style that fits your
widest area and your smallest, too. Women with big boobs who are smaller in the shoulders don’t need
extra shoulder width. Women with a big booty need the ease of a back vent or a coat that has enough
volume on bottom, but they may not need that volume on top.
The wider the garment, the more fluid the fabric should be—coats with full bell-shaped skirts,
bathrobe styles, drop-waist pleats, and blousons, should all drape gracefully. Cashmere, silk, jersey, and
blends that follow the line of the body are what you want. Fabric blends have evolved to make even
luxury fibers like cashmere and alpaca stronger, to increase their wearability. Cashmere is often mixed
with wools and synthetics to bring the price down and make it more durable. Microfiber coats with faux
fur linings offer the same appeal of fluffy furs but without additional weight. Wool is water-repellent,
and the crimped fibers are excellent at trapping air close to the body. The blending of cashmere or wool
with synthetics like acrylic, polyester, nylon, Lycra ®, or acetate provides ease of movement and
breathability. For sportier styles like ski parkas, new synthetics wick away moisture. •
Man-tailored topcoat
With a classic V-neck notch collar, this single- or double-breasted topper is cut like an expensive
overcoat for men. The V-neck lapels and narrow tailored shape provide a lean look that lengthens your
neck and streamlines the area from muffin top to tummy.
Ladylike coat
Fitted on top to the waist, it then flares to the hem. Often, there are slimming vertical princess
seams from bust to hem, and trendier versions have sleeves that bell or puff out to the wrist. This style
is terrific for bigger bottoms, hips, thighs, and rear and fat arms and tummy. You’ve seen it on Carla
Bruni, Michelle Obama, Queen Elizabeth II—and in our No Fat look.
Sculpted coat
This one features dramatic contours—either a wide dolman shape or a curved cocoon shape.
Some have deep armholes or raglan sleeves. Because it combines sharp architectural lines and volume,
there is plenty of room for big boobs, rear, hips, and thighs and middle issues. Just FYI: You need height
and fashion confidence to carry it off!
Retro coat
It looks vintage, but new fabrics and detailing put it in a contemporary context. It can be cut
straight or A-lined, but it features looser cropped three-quarter sleeves, fancy collars, and decorative
buttons. This coat skims past the middle, and all the attention on top is a great diversion for women
with heavy thighs and legs. Just choose styles with buttons in matching tones if you are bosomy and
shawl collars or notched lapels if you have a short neck.
This nautical-inspired style is a classic. That’s good news. It comes in several coat lengths, from
mid-thigh to knee grazing. Its body-skimming tailored shape is flattering. If you’re really busty, however,
a peacoat is not your best bet because your breasts will be smushed into one weird uni-boob. It’s better
for those who want to bulk up their tops to balance out wider bottom halves.
Empire coat
Mod inspired with raised waist, this coat totally hides a flabby midsection with a fashion-y look.
Stick to solids and don’t get sidetracked by fattening extras—such as plaid—that cancel the slimming
Swing coat
Also called a trapeze style, this one starts out fitted at the shoulder then cuts loose to a triangle
shape. Lots of middle-management opportunities here—as it’s flattering on those with muffin top,
Buddha belly, and a generous rear, plus, it shows off great legs.
Cape coat
Belted in front, deep and loose at the armholes, this style offers camouflage for back fat, arms,
and big boobs and is super for larger sizes.
1. Wearing a coat that pulls across the boobs, hips, or rear, causing buttons, vents and pockets
to gape.
2. Choosing a short, waist-level jacket that ends above the derriere and exposes all your lower
body issues.
3. Opting for the longest, fluffiest, puffiest down coat possible; there are more slenderizing
versions and proportions.
4. Choosing the same style now that you wore when you were many pounds thinner. The coat
category in fashion has expanded and incorporated the same trends in design, details, color, and
proportions that we now see in everyday clothes.
5. Big, grid-like prints like plaids or houndstooth that emphasize bulges rather than blurring
6. Wearing a big, schlumpy coat that doesn’t show any womanly curves—there’s a difference
between menswear inspired and menswear. Even subtle shaping and tapered fit at the shoulder makes
it more feminine.
7. A light-colored coat versus a dark-colored coat.
8. Chasing the chill with a high stand-up collar and textured muffler wound around and around
that shortens the distance between neck and shoulders.
9. Too many extras that increase size where you need it least, like huge flap or patch pockets
that exaggerate full hips, epaulettes that highlight broad shoulders, and wide lapels or big buttons that
call attention to big boobs.
10. Wearing belted jackets or belted sweaters under a belted coat. Belted under belted is a
huge “never” for everyone. This double belting squeezes and plumps you like those twisted-balloon
figures at kids’ birthday parties.
Make “wide over narrow,” “long over short” your seasonal mantra—this means a full cropped
jacket over a high-waisted jersey dress, or a long tunic sweater over skinny jeans or a narrow pencil skirt,
for example. You’d never want wide, full pants and a wide cropped jacket or a long sweater over a long,
mid-calf skirt.
Here’s the rule: No more than three layers at a time; four layers, if you count the coat.
Layering is in part a numbers game. If you layer a tank under a long-sleeve tee, under a big, cozy,
thick sweater, under a cropped leather blazer and add slouchy pants, a big muffler, and a belted doublebreasted military-style coat—and you are not one of the size 0 celebs in the tabloids—you will be
visually adding 15 pounds to your frame. Here’s the rule: No more than three layers at a time; four
layers, if you count the coat.
KEEP THE LIGHTEST LAYER CLOSEST TO THE BODY and progressively build fabric weight out so
the heaviest, thickest, bulkiest item is the last. This is a major obstacle for women who try to wear
chunky sweaters under fitted, tailored coats.
LET SOME AIR AND SKIN IN. Layers should float or skim around, not be so tightly stacked. You
want to create the illusion of a body that can move.
LAYERING OVER A SKIRT IS THE SLIMMEST WAY TO GO because your legs on their own will
always create a leaner vertical than your legs in pants, especially of you’re wearing dark opaque tights
and leg-hugging high-heel boots.
Go for A boxy stadium coat A shaped-waist parka A coat in
plaid A coat in a vibrant red Head-to-toe black layers Tonal grays,
browns, or plums Horizontal-striped sweaters Vertical-ribbed sweaters
A long-cabled sweater coat A hip-length grandpa cardigan A thick
muffler A long, flat cashmere scarf Wide lapels and collars Narrow lapels
or no collar Wool mittens to match your coat Leather-lined gloves HIGH
→ Let your coat do the work for you. The right one should shape you into an hourglass and give
you a longer and leaner look. Chic it up with heeled boots that fit snug on the leg, and non-fat
A light colored puffer coat packs on the pounds. The scarf, pom-pom hat, tucked in pants, and
flat, patterned boots bulk you even more. A good look for kids.
× Flat, patterned boots
× Long, full skirts and big, cozy sweaters
× Pants tucked in boots
× Puffer with horizontal quilted puffs
× Thick, knit mufflers with fringe
What a difference!
From frosty the snowman to a thin, cool, ice princess. Send that puffer packing!
A black single-breasted coat that cinches your waist with an A-line bottom makes you look
svelte, even in the cold. Oversized hats make your face look tiny.
Buttons toned to jacket or coat
Cardigans worn open over sleeveless dresses
Hats that add volume—trappers, toques, full berets
Keeping all layers monochromatic—one color head to toe
Slim, stretchy black boots with a high heel
STICK TO SOLIDS AND THE SAME COLOR FAMILY whenever possible for the leanest look. Mixing
in texture is great, but plaids, checks, prints, and stripes mixed in with layers are fattening.
DON’T PILE ON A LOT OF BIG, BLACK, SHAPELESS PIECES—black does have a magical way of
making every woman look thinner, but unless the pieces have some structure, they are not so magical
and you can forget about looking Fit Not Fat.
KEEP NECKLINES FLATTERING. The worst offenders are double-breasted military styles with
stand-up collars and chubby horizontally channeled puffer coats. Women with short necks and full
bosoms look fat in these. Don’t go larger to accommodate layering when deciding between two coat
sizes. You’ll end up looking bigger than you are. •
A Layering Nightmare If you layer a tank under a long-sleeve tee, under a big, cozy, thick
sweater, under a cropped leather blazer and add slouchy pants, a big muffler, and a belted doublebreasted military-style coat—and you are not one of the size 0 celebs in the tabloids—you will be
visually adding 15 pounds to your frame.
BRILLIANT BRANDS for coatsBanana Republic J. Crew Club Monaco Kohl’s (Simply Vera) Diane von
Furstenberg Liz Claiborne by Isaac Mizrahi DKNY Milly Gap Victoria’s Secret H&M
Thinner by tonight!
Show some leg.
Wear skirts or dresses instead of pants, so the thinnest part of your body shows!
Shorten your coat-to-knee length.
It won’t change the proportion of the coat but will add inches to your body to balance curves.
Opt for smooth knits rather than chunky, thick sweaters under coats. The warmth is in the
fiber, not the thickness, of the sweater. Keep those thick-cabled sweaters for weekends at home in front
of the fire—alone.
Add a vest, not a long-sleeved sweater for extra warmth if your arms are your big fat issue, and
look for coats with roomy raglan, dolman, three-quarter, or bracelet sleeves.
Wear jackets or suits only under coats that can handle a structured layer—man-tailored
topcoats, sculpted coats, peacoats, swing coats, and retro coats with deep armholes and fuller sleeves.
Don’t close up from neck to chin if you can help it, but especially if you have a short neck and
big bosom. Stick to V-neck coats with shawl or notch collars, and fill in necks for outdoors with a long,
flat scarf looped, not wound, around so some neck is still visible.
How to loop: Fold a long scarf in half, holding an end in either hand. Center the scarf behind
your neck and pull the loose open ends together and downward through the loop end. Adjust to fit.
Wear opaque black tights and matching slim knee-high boots to keep work-wear coats looking
as slim as possible. Microfiber ones that have been waterproofed are terrific.
Wear a hat that adds volume to your head.
The popular fur or faux Russian hat, and fur or faux banded knit cap, expands the size of your
head to balance bigger coat shapes so you don’t look like a pinhead. Anything that squashes down your
hair and makes your head smaller, like a knit cap, will make your body seem bigger. Those Elmer Fudd
earflap hats are warm, but just realize when you’re wearing it that it’s not your most glam look.
tomato-red peacoat over a navy crew and dark blue jeans or a buttery yellow jacket over a tobacco
suede skirt and matching sweater.
• INVEST IN BOOTS AND TIGHTS THAT WORK TOGETHER, and give your legs the slimmest line.
some cases these will reach your knee! It’s more than okay if a little skirt shows.
billows below. You need to define your shape.
• LOOK FOR EMPIRE AND RAISED-WAIST STYLES that will stretch your torso and make you
appear taller and slimmer.
• KEEP IT AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE. Solid colors with one major design detail high on the body,
like a tie neck or contrasting collar, will help you look lean.
jersey dress and tights with a long, gray cardigan on top.
• ADD THE THICKEST, HEAVIEST LAYER ON TOP. A wide-sleeved A-line, trapeze, or empire coat
fits easily over layers beneath.
sculpted coats.
• LOOK FOR COLLARS WITH DRAMA. Fold-over funnels, cowls, and portrait necklines with a
retro flair and fur (real or faux) collars bring the focus to your face.
• TRY CAPE COATS THAT TIE IN FRONT ONLY for subtle definition without an actual wraparound
belt. These make layering easy and have a definite Aspen look.
Vows for Summer
I WILL NEVER wear more than three layers of clothing at a time.
I WILL NOT be seduced by trendy fattening pockets, belts, collars, and shoulder lines, no
matter how hard designers try.
I WILL skip all coats above my waist and below my knees.
I WILL try on all my accessories with a new coat before removing the tags.
I WILL finally give away my old, black, ankle-length puffer coat.
Wear a jazzy appliquéd sweater. Just because it’s holiday time doesn’t mean it’s okay to go
juvenile. Holiday themes featuring reindeer prints, Christmas trees, gift boxes decorated with pompoms, appliqués, fringe, and big ball buttons will add width or attention to the wrong spots. If you want
to go festive, wear a red or green sweater with a neutral bottom to anchor the festivity!
Workout Wear
Your sports bra gives you a uni-boob… You wonder who that out-of-shape person is when you
see your reflection in the wall-to-wall mirrors at the gym… You wear a fanny pack… Your workout gear is
an advertisement for your college/high school/sports team… The thought of wriggling into a stretchy
spandex top or bottom is enough reason not to work out at all… You can’t remember the last time you
bought sneakers.
→ Thinking about what to wear when you work out may sound like a big, fat waste of time and
the last thing you want to do. Most of us are just so happy that we are even going to exercise that we
tend not to care what we wear. We throw on any old pair of baggy sweatpants with bleach spots, paint
splats, or coffee stains and then add an oversized T–shirt to this high-fat mix. The T–shirt is probably a
goodie-bag giveaway with a company logo on it, or that of a vacation place, or our favorite college, or a
meant-to-be-funny saying. I am by no means suggesting that you get all dolled up for the gym or a spin
class. (A full face of makeup when you’re working out looks ridiculous, but a little tinted moisturizer will
give you a good glow!)
Still, you don’t want to look or feel fat when you’re exercising because it’s so incredibly selfdefeating. With walls of mirrors surrounding you, you’re forced to watch yourself as you sweat it out.
You’ll be so much more inspired if that image staring back at you is wearing something that supports
and complements your figure rather than something that hides it or displays it Hooters-style. When you
look at your reflection, you don’t ever want to think, Why should I bother?
Looking Fit Not Fat in your workout wear is not just about vanity; it’s about your motivation.
Tracy Anderson, fitness trainer to Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna, is all about getting the most from
your time investment. “If you like what you’re wearing and you’re comfortable in it, then you’re going to
be totally focused on your performance,” she says. In other words, if you’re not bashing yourself for
looking fat, your mind can focus on your form. And you won’t be so mortified about how you look that
you can’t concentrate on the task at hand when you run into someone from work. It happens to all of
us. And, consider the possibility that you could meet your soul mate while waiting for the elliptical. As
the world now knows, Jessica Seinfeld met her husband at the Reebok Sports Club on Manhattan’s
Upper West Side. I don’t know what she was wearing at the time, but having been a member there, I will
bet you a Lululemon tank top that it wasn’t a pair of elastic waistband sweats and size XXL tee! If
rethinking your workout wear is tough for you, put it on your WIMP (When I’m Mentally Prepared) list.•
for Workouts
→ IF YOU HAVEN’T BOUGHT NEW exercise clothes since aerobicizing with Jane Fonda in a
unitard (don’t laugh; I just threw mine out!), your heart-rate monitor will rev up when you see the
brands, styles, quality, and fabrics you could be wearing. If you don’t care one whit about style, you still
need to know about the state-of-the-art wicking fabrics that keep you dry as you sweat, even if your
workout is Sweatin’ to the Oldies (with Richard Simmons). Trust me on this. They’re sensual, too, much
sexier to wear than bulky cottons. Whether or not you actually do yoga or run, go online or take a field
trip to one of the Lululemon stores in the United States (there are sixty-five at press time) to learn
what’s current in workout gear, such as reflective clothing so that you can run after dark, or hidden
pockets so you can be hands-free. That there are chains of chic boutiques that sell nothing but yoga and
running clothes tells you that the activewear category is booming, as workout clothes have become
“My big dream for the Adidas collaboration is to give women performance garments that they
look great in but not sacrifice design,” fashion “It girl” Stella McCartney told Women’s Wear Daily. Her
line for Adidas is as hip as her namesake collection, with warm-up jackets in chic metallics, running pants
in electric blue and sea green, and yoga gear in fleshy nudes and pale pinks. Yohji Yamamoto, Christy
Turlington, and Alexander McQueen are a few more big names designing athletic wear in fashion colors
way beyond black or navy. Lululemon and Lucy use bright pink, deep purple, and lime green in their
collections. As the ad from the hip Lucy brand declares, “We’re on a divine mission to free women from
the servitude of insidious workout fashion.” You can just hear women everywhere saying, amen!
That there are chains of chic boutiques that sell nothing but yoga and running clothes tells you
that the activewear category is booming, as workout clothes have become fashion.
Working it
Workout wear this good-looking is incredibly motivating. “If you like what you’re wearing and
you’re comfortable in it, then you’re going to be totally focused on your performance,” says fitness guru
Tracy Anderson, who has trained Gwyneth and Madonna.
With so many fun, flattering, and ultra-comfy options in halter tops, tanks, yoga pants, and
hoodies, you might be tempted to substitute activewear for street wear—for running errands,
brunching, shopping in the mall—and spend the day in yoga pants and hoodie. Don’t, unless you live a
charmed, laid-back lifestyle near the beach. While it’s appropriate in Miami, Malibu, Santa Monica, all of
Southern California, and Hawaii, workout gear on city streets in downtown Chicago or New York’s
Madison Avenue looks as undressed as your feet in a pair of flip-flops. Even if it is super-cute and hot
pink from Juicy! I know I’m going to regret saying this, but a Juicy sweatsuit looks “trying-too-hard” on a
body over the age of thirty-five—even at the airport.
Workout gear on city streets in downtown Chicago or New York’s Madison Avenue looks as
undressed as your feet in a pair of flip-flops.
For long flights, a pair of comfy pants with stretch or a dress with a pair of leggings underneath
is so much chicer than walking around in workout wear when everyone knows that 1) you did have time
to change clothes, and 2) you are not going to be working out in flight.
Before we get to what to wear, let’s talk one more second about what not to wear at the gym.
Some women flash their six-pack abs in midriff tops with yoga pants rolled down dangerously low. Is this
kind of aggressive dressing really necessary? It’s so Mean Girls. Memo to all exhibitionists: Have a little
compassion for the women you see around you. We don’t have to be so competitive with one another.
We’re all trying to get fit! •
Invest in at least two of these ultra-flattering, fashion-forward workout outfits so you always
have a clean one to put on.
Whatever your sport, there’s a cool new crop of clothes specifically designed to make you excel,
and look Fit Not Fat while you’re at it. Invest in at least two of these ultra-flattering, fashion-forward
workout outfits so you always have a clean one to put on. All your pieces should be in high-tech fabrics
that wick sweat away from your body and let you move around comfortably, fitting you like a not-tootight second skin.
“I’m a fan of fitted shapes—you want to see what you look like,” says Vicky McGarry, who styled
her share of workout shoots as fashion director of Women’s Health magazine. If you’re still wearing
shapeless cotton clothing, you’re going to look dated and frumpy. The key pieces:
YOGA PANTS. Even if your exercise routine doesn’t require a yoga-body look, invest in yoga
pants. They work as general all-around workout pants, depending on the length. If you’re a yoga
practioner, you’ll find that the styles that flare at the bottom are universally flattering. If you’re spinning,
the pants should hit somewhere between → the knee and the calf, as any longer and they’ll interfere
with the pedals of the bike. For spinning, you might also try pants that fit tight (rather than flare) on the
leg. Whatever length, you want to see some skin (the operative word being some), even if it’s just the
ankles. Choose the length most comfortable for you in the forgiving shades of black, navy, brown, or
Workout Wear
1. Fanny packs. Instead, choose a pant with hidden pockets to hold your credit card and keys for
hands-free walking. As convenient as fanny packs are, we tend not to see how bulky and unflattering
they can be. Check out your side view in the mirror.
2. Short, stretchy, black bike shorts that hit you mid-thigh.
3. Old-school gym and running shorts.
4. A sweaty white T–shirt with a white sports bra underneath.
5. Track pants with zippered pockets up and down the legs.
6. Running shorts that flash the world your thighs.
7. A sports bra worn as a top.
8. Pants in a loud color— stick to dark on the bottom.
9. Two sports bras at the same time for support.
10. Your sweatshirt tied around your waist. This has the same effect as a fanny pack. Why add
more to your middle?
→ Don’t throw on any old thing when you go to exercise. If you look great, you’ll be more
motivated to hang in there. Once you invest in workout clothes that flatter your shape, you’ll never
want to take them off!
A supersized tee and short shorts will supersize you. White sneakers and tube socks is the
equivalent of ice cream mixed with pieces of cookie dough.
× Bulky sweatshirts
× Oversized T–shirts
× Running shorts
× Spandex bike shorts
× Sweatpants with letters on the seat
× White sneakers with tube socks
What a difference!
The figure-enhancing No Fat outfit keeps your secrets under cover while the High Fat not only
blabs, but exaggerates.
A long dark line, down to the sneakers, creates a slimming vertical from simple stretch pieces
that skim the body without screaming for attention.
Sleek, fitted sweat jackets
Burnout long-sleeve tees for layering
Gray or black sports bras
Stretchy, solid empire-waist shimmel or tank tops
Tone-on-tone prints
Yoga pants
Thinner by tonight!
Swap your sweat-stained white T–shirt for a tank top in a rich jewel tone.
Throw on a tissue-thin long-sleeved T–shirt over your tank top instead of an oversized
Tie your hair back with a black, no-tangle elastic band. Throw out those scrunchies!
Carry a cute tote bag to hold your gym gear instead of a bulky duffel.
Slip on cropped black yoga pants—the most universally flattering workout bottoms.
Swap your white jog bra for a sports bra in black or a color.
Wear a thong to the gym. VPL underneath form-fitting workout pants is an eyesore. Plus, you
will feel sexier.
Unzip your hoodie and show some cleavage.
Wear a skinny headband to keep back your bangs; not a head scarf.
“Across the board, black bottoms look good on everyone,” say Vicky. “Beware low-cut pants
that are short waisted—you’ll get muffin top. Lululemon has a roll-top waistband that can extend up to
cover your belly.” Roll-top yoga pants let you decide how low you want to go at the waist.
A SHIMMEL TOP. You’ll feel like you have proper coverage in these long, full tank tops. If you’re
an A–C cup, choose a shimmel top with a shelf bra or built-in bra. The top can be a scoop neck, halter
top, racer-back, or empire waist. Empire is flattering for those looking to hide a serious tummy. If you
have a more ample bust, you may want the support of a sports bra under a stretchy nylon T–shirt.
“Always opt for the most high-tech fabric,” Vicky says, and she recommends the Nike tees made of DriFIT technology to keep you cool and dry. So that you don’t get stuck in an all-black rut, choose a pretty
color on top. “Blues and pinks always look good and are universally appealing in women’s apparel,” says
Vicky. “Orange is going to change with fashion, and so is green.” Be wary of prints, unless they’re subtle
tone on tone; they’ll do nothing but pack on the pounds. Those old, holey cotton T–shirts? They make
great rags.
A LAYERING SHIRT OR SWEAT JACKET. Over your tank top, you want to layer either a
lightweight long-sleeved T–shirt or a fitted sweat jacket. “I think it’s really important to have layers,”
says trainer Tracy Anderson. “A lot of microfibers can be too tight, so I wear a lot of burnout tees that
are perfect for layering.” Burnout fabric, which feels like it’s been washed a thousand times, is
featherweight soft and light. Choose these superfine cottons and you’ll never look bulky. When you start
getting hot, you can peel off the layers. If you live in a cold climate, you might layer a sweat jacket
instead of a long-sleeve tee. Make sure your jacket is fitted, flirty, and feminine in soft fabrics like nylon,
Lycra®, lightweight cotton, or jersey. The fit should delicately drape your body, creating a nice line, but it
should never be so tight so as to bunch up (and make you look fat).
Make sure your jacket is fitted, flirty, and feminine.
A SPORTS BRA. Buy a non-white sports bra, maybe one in gray, black, or a color. If you want to
keep your bra on the DL, buy nude. “Traditionally women wear white, but a white bra has a tendency to
show through your clothes, especially after you have perspired,” says Liz Smith, director of retail
services at Wacoal America. If you’re going to flash the public your underwear, then it might as well be
pretty. Make sure that the fit is perfect to avoid irritation and jiggle. “Compression and encapsulation
are the two key terms to understand when it comes to sports bras,” says Smith. “The right sports bra
should lift and support your breast tissue, not just smash and flatten your bust. You shouldn’t have to
sacrifice a nice shape and silhouette while working out. You need to keep the girls supported and in
place or eventually they’ll just start heading south.” You want to avoid the uni-boob, created when both
breasts are pushed together so tight that they become one large horizontal breast. Let’s just say it does
the opposite of make you look thin.
SNEAKERS. “Wear black or silver shoes to make your feet look smaller,” says Vicky. “We’ve
evolved from white sneakers. You’ll look like a novice if you’re wearing bright white.”
Be wary of prints, unless they’re subtle tone on tone; they’ll do nothing but pack on the pounds.
Those old, holey cotton T–shirts? They make great rags.
SOCKS. Regardless of what pant length you choose, letting old-fashioned cotton socks that cover
your ankle and ride up to an un-flattering place on your leg will ruin your no fat workout look. Instead of
bulky tube socks, wear Ped-like cotton socks (such as Spanx Sport-Ease! athletic low-rise socks; even
Madonna is a fan) that barely peek out of your sneakers. •
LuLulemon Define Jacket, $99;
Champion Seamless Empire Long Top, style 2936, $36; Updated fabrication.
New Balance Versatility Cami, 34A/32 B to 40DD, style WBT8301, $50;
LuLulemon Groove Pant, $98;
Marika Miracles Miraculous Butt Booster Capri with Tummy Control, style MM5095, $45;
Marika Miracles Miraculous Thigh Slenderizer Pant with Tummy Control, style MM5096, $48;
Nike Women Nike Pacer Women’s Running Skirt, style 364046 in black or reflective silver, $45;
Nike Women Dri-Fit Be Strong Regular Pant, style 339532-010, $40;
Nike Women Dri-Fit Be Bold Slim Capri, style 354566-010, $50;
Teez-Her The Skinny Capri, style 229TP793, $36; Dillard’s, Von Mauer.
Spanx Sportease! Advanced Athletic Low-Rise Socks, $10;
Bendon Sport Max Out High Impact Underwire Bra, 34B–40DD, $55;
Le Mystere Energie Sports Bra, style 320, 32–40 B–G, $64; Nordstrom,
Lululemon Ta Ta Tamer, style LW2267S, 32B–38DD, in five colors, $58; It’s been
said to “fit like armor”!
Natori Sport Underwire Bra, 32B–40DDD, style 7234439, $48; Intimacy,
Wacoal Sport Underwire Sports Bra, style 855170, 32–40C, D, DDD, $62; Nordstrom,
Adidas by Stella McCartney;
Athletica pants and tops; pants and tops;
Lululemon pants and tops;
Marika Miracles shape enhancing activewear;
Nikewomen clothing and shoes.
Nuala by Puma;
Yohji Yamamoto for Adidas;
Vows for Workout Wear
I WILL NOT put on a sports bra that gives me a uni-boob.
I WILL NEVER work out in bike shorts.
I WILL NEVER wear a top that flaunts my belly button.
I WILL NOT wear a fanny pack while jogging.
I WILL NEVER wear socks that go above my ankle.
I WILL NOT wear scrunchies in the gym.
I WILL NOT wear a ratty old T–shirt and sweatpants.
I WILL NOT wear pants with lettering across my butt.
Justify an excessive amount of calories because you’ve worked out. Rather than keep a food
diary in your handbag, a new way to keep track of your daily calories is to download the app “Lose It” at
the Apple iTunes store. It calculates your daily calories for you.
The Evening
You turn down invitations to events because you don’t have anything to wear… You’re layering
not one but two body-shapers just to zip up… Your fallback is an old tuxedo… You spent the evening
holding your breath because your dress must have shrunk since the last time you wore it… You borrow
your husband’s jacket, saying you’re cold when you’re not.
→ Every woman I know loves watching the arrivals at the Oscars more than watching the show
itself. You couldn’t ask for a better lesson in high-fat/no-fat glamour. The no-fat award in 2009 went to
Kate Winslet. Not only did she win the Oscar, but she won the night in a one-shoulder, waist-defining,
gray satin YSL dress that flattered her curvy shape without hiding it. The high-fat award in 2009 went to
Jessica Biel. Her ivory-satin Prada origami-folded strapless, with excess draping, proved that just because
it’s designer, expensive, and off-the-runway fashion doesn’t mean it does great things for a body, even a
stunning body like hers.
Aside from our red carpet fascination, we live in a culture that requires most women to get
really dressed up in formal black tie or even semi-dressy attire rather infrequently. Gone are the days
when you would get all decked out in hats with netting, opera-length gloves, stoles, or boas just to go
out to dinner on a Saturday night like our mothers did. But even if you’re not on the charity circuit,
chances are you still have at least a few occasions a year—business events, weddings, anniversaries, and
bar and bat mitzvahs—that call for a major all-out effort.
For decades, the fallback plan for women of style has been the LBD (little black dress). With
good reason. It is the no-fat choice that can make you look thinner, taller, more confident, and chic… but
not every black dress works. Some LBDs are frumpy, baggy, and fattening as a muumuu. We’re talking
about baby-dolls, bubble dresses, and dowdy mid-calf slipdresses that don’t flatter anyone. If you are
not the LBD type, you should really try to be. All you have to do is find one, just one, that makes you
look Fit Not Fat, and you’re home free.
Has your approach to fancy dressing been “Oh, I’ll just put on a pair of black pants and a dressy
top and be done with it”? C’mon, fess up! Have you ever uttered those words? Sure you have. Most of
us have muttered those words and even more than once. Black pants with a dressy top or jacket is a
popular formula that’s inherently trickier than it seems. It’s hard to find that perfect top! Not to mention
stressful and time-consuming. Many a well-meaning woman has tried… she ends up in a bulge-making
sheer or sequin or ill-fitting top that has the look of an outfit thrown together at the last minute. Take a
good look around the room next time you’re at a party and you’ll see what I mean. •
for Evening
→ SOME WOMEN WOULD RATHER have laser hair removal than shop for something to wear to
a black-tie affair! They probably feel that the pressure is on and that they need to reinvent themselves
for the occasion. But I’m here to tell you that there is no need to change your personal style or bodyflattering strategy… just follow the same plan in dressier fabrics with fancier accessories. If your “go to”
day look is an empire-waist dress with a V neckline and soft sleeves, it might be your best bet for
evening, too. If tunics work for you, look for glitzier versions and wear them over slim pants with
metallic or jeweled heels after six. You’ll look St. Tropez chic.
Before we figure out your best no-fat look for evening, let’s decipher the dress codes. “Black tie”
today means either short or long and everything in between, with short, currently, having the edge over
long. Women who skirt the issue by wearing an asymmetrical handkerchief hem, which is both short and
long, sometimes end up looking dowdy. “Black tie optional” translates into a short dressy dress. “Formal
attire” means a long dress or skirt. “Creative black tie” means short, or call your host for further
explanation! Where dress is not indicated on the invite, you’re left to crack the code on your own.
Where you live might help you to determine how dressy to get, but for an evening event in a big city—a
class reunion, a holiday cocktail party, a gallery opening—you will look Fit Not Fat in a knee-skimming
dress with an embellished coat or cardigan. At this fashion moment, the dressy evening skirt suit often
worn by mothers-of-the-bride in a heavy fabric is passé. A sexy, fitted pantsuit can look modern; a boxy
workaday pantsuit or skirt suit does not, even if you have jazzed it up with a sexy camisole underneath—
it’s still a boxy suit. For a cocktail party after work, if you’re already wearing a sleeveless LBD or a black
pencil skirt, you can ramp up your look and appear more festive by merely adding a sequin cardigan,
higher heels, sparkly earrings, and a metallic clutch. And yes, you can add all—or some—of the above.
I’m here to tell you that there is no need to change your personal style or body-flattering
strategy… just follow the same plan in dressier fabrics with fancier accessories.
Working it
Girls’ night out: Looking glam, without wearing all-black.
The event should dictate just how much skin to show. If it’s a big nighttime glamorama event
like a fund-raiser or a wedding, you can go a little more dramatic, showing cleavage at the neckline or
back. For work-related parties, forgo showing excess skin and maintain a sense of professionalism;
women who don’t risk looking slutty. If the party involves dancing, be sure you can move in your outfit
and stand in your heels. Having to kick your shoes off at a glam affair is never a good idea… you lose
height and gain weight.
Here’s a general rule I’ve learned about no-fat evening dressing: If the cut is simple and clean,
you may be able to afford the “calories” of a wow fabric, shiny texture, or flashy color.
Here’s a general rule I’ve learned about no-fat evening dressing: If the cut is simple and clean,
you may be able to afford the “calories” of a wow fabric, shiny texture, or flashy color. The opposite,
however, is not true. Wear a cut that’s complicated and gimmicky and you could look high fat, even in a
simple cotton or basic black. If you combine a tricky shape with a high-caloric fabric, you’re cooking up a
fattening recipe for disaster, the kind that often lands on the “What Was She Thinking?” sections of the
celebrity tabloids.
Example of this theory: Because I’m vertically challenged, I look best in tailored-to-the-body
dresses without a lot of volume and frou-frou. Although I’d love to wear a big tulle ball gown (à la Sarah
Jessica Parker at the Oscars 2009), it would look silly on me, as if I were auditioning to be a Disney
princess at the Magic Kingdom. One of my favorite LBDs is a simple black sheath with a crew neckline
and three-quarter sleeves—but it’s all sequins—from Tory Burch. It works because the cut is as simple
as the fabrication is flashy. It’s my best no-fat look for evening. You can never go wrong with a dress like
that. •
Go for
Hair pinned up Hair down with volume A pouffy ball gown A draped-front
halter gown A shiny lamé dress A matte jersey dress A slit to the thigh A knee-length dress A strapless
mini A strapless knee length sheath A tuxedo look A fitted pantsuit Your old black LBD A one-shoulder
Medium or small busted. Try strapless, one-shoulder, or halter styles. Strapless dresses are
always top sellers because they showcase shoulders (which most women feel comfortable showing,
because their shoulders still look good) and toned arms while leaving the rest to the imagination. The
newer neckline, however, is the one-shoulder. That said, there are also new versions of strapless that do
offer lift, camouflage, and coverage for body problems in both knee length and long versions.
Strapless dresses in empire-waist styles flow gently under the bust and when enhanced with
draped or tiered fabric make good choices for flabby middles and Buddha bellies. Renee Zellweger’s
lemon-yellow strapless vintage dress she wore at the 2001 Oscars was a huge influence that kicked off
this trend. More structured strapless styles with a defined waist and fuller A-line skirts disguise full
thighs and a derriere; just choose thicker fabrics that won’t cling to your skin.
For women with sun-damaged chests who want to wear the LBD strapless, some designers have
addressed the issue by adding a sheer-illusion black-chiffon sleeveless part that continues to the neck
like a sleeveless shell.
Big busted, flappy-armed, or broad shouldered. Strapless can be tricky. Abby Z., a stylist,
designer, and retailer for larger sizes, says that you should never even think of wearing a strapless black
dress the way it is in the store if you’re a larger size. “You want to make one major adjustment,
especially if your boobs are D or bigger. Buy black taffeta fabric, and have your tailor make one-inch
straps to hide your bra straps under it. The taffeta straps will give any black strapless dress a lift. If you
have heavy breasts plus back fat and belly fat, you will look slimmer in another style.” This tip about
hiding your bra straps happens to be one of my favorite tips because it allows bigger-busted women to
go “strapless” with ease.
Shrugs and beaded cardigans can turn bare dresses you may have passed up into very appealing
and wearable options. Yes, you can wear sleeveless if you don’t ever take the cover-up off, so a new
world of dresses opens up to you when you’re shopping. Choose dress/jacket combos and dress/coat
combos that are the newest twist on the twinset idea.
Hiding a tummy, back fat, and arms. Try a dressy jacket in a luxury fabric like velvet. There are
lots of little cropped beaded and sequined sweaters on the racks just for this purpose. Some department
stores even place them in accessories, on the ground floor.
Camouflaging muffin tops and flappy arms. Wear softer draped blouses and tops with ruffles,
draped necklines, and graceful voluminous sleeves on top of slim, tailored black pants and skirts.
Counteracting muffin tops, a flabby middle, or a belly. Look for fabrics that are generously
ruched, draped, or gathered to blur bulges. Even fitted, structured shapes like sheath dresses
incorporate these features now. (See our No Fat look, here.)
Downplaying a hefty bosom. Emphasize the lower body in a pencil skirt in metallic leather or
sequins worn with a simple V-neck sweater or T-shirt and jewel-studded cuffs. Don’t be afraid to mix day
and evening pieces creatively—remember Sharon Stone’s famous black Gap T-shirt worn with a
Valentino skirt. One-shoulder dresses are a great sexy alternative to cleavage-revealing looks. They
actually cover the chest but show your curves—the only thing you need is an amazing strapless bra.
Evening Wear
1. Mid-calf skirt lengths. Either knee-length or all-the-way-down formal. Anything else looks
2. Teen-targeted minis. Not going thigh-high is a given if you’re over thirty and/or have chunky
3. Droopy boobs unsupported under evening dresses. Get ’em up with a well-fitted strapless
4. Too much cleavage. Showing excessive amounts of breast with a maximum volume push-up
bra or skimpy-top dress is a no-go. Unless you are in a Shakespeare play.
5. Pouf and fluff. Even if the goal is to let your legs star, a band of marabou feathers, big cha-cha
ruffles, or puffy ballooning at the hem adds pounds to your lower body.
6. Breaking the body up at the waist. If the middle is your danger zone, skip the complications
of piece-y tops and bottoms, belts, and jackets and go the dress route. This is doubly true if you are fivefoot-four or under. An empire, raised waistline, one-shoulder column style with no defined break at the
middle will neatly glide over belly and muffin top issues.
7. Big, splashy prints. Solids truly do work best for evening—and the range of color options is so
dazzling, why risk making your butt look like it was upholstered? And no matter how tempting or trendy
the designer name, stay away from big, chintzy cabbage roses, rainbow stripes, and complicated
pictorial scenes that would make amazing wallpaper.
8. Sugary debutante dresses. Anything remotely resembling the Sugarplum Fairy or what you
wore to your first wedding or christening is out. Frothy white dresses, big bows or sashes, Victorian
looks, and puffy sleeves are super-fattening.
9. Wearing a boxy tux. If you go this route, choose a sexy style that is so fitted to your curves it
couldn’t possibly be mistaken for menswear.
10. Excessive shine. Take the shiny metallics down a notch to a muted sheen or use them
strategically. Head-to-toe gold or silver sequins—or even neckline to knees—is hard for models to pull
off. Just a flash of shine at the neckline or in small doses—a shrug or cardigan, a jeweled clutch, or goldthreaded silk or brocade—is tasteful not tacky and low-calorie.
Just FYI: A dress with high-fat elements—light in color, metallic threads, thigh-high slit—can still
look absolutely smashing if you possess the height, the bod, and the swagger to pull it off with
confidence. Like BEYONCÉ does here.
To Look Thinner in Photos
Turn almost sideways and put one foot in front, toe pointed toward the camera. Keep your
weight on your back leg, and bend the arm facing the camera at the elbow, and tighten by pressing your
hand into your hip or waist (whichever you want to slim more) and smile over the photographer’s head,
pulling chin forward a bit from the neck—think “swan neck”—to eliminate any sag beneath. Practice;
you’ll get the hang of it. Never let anyone shoot you if she or he is crouching below—it adds ten pounds.
→ It’s counterintuiv e, for sur e, but wh en you need to ramp up for a gl am ni ght on the town ,
have the confidence to practice some restraint. Piling on layers of fattening elements—color, shine,
volume—is triple-decker-sandwich caloric, not to mention a little goofy-looking.
Tulle skirt=big butt. Strapless=back fat. Turquoise sequins= all eyes on your backside. Oversized
earrings + upswept hair + too-mini + high heels=you haven’t got a chance in this outfit!
× Clunky heels
× Bustier dresses
× Mid-calf dresses
× Pouffy dresses, skirts
× Sequin tube tops and boxy beaded shells
× Shapeless, long black skirts and dinner jackets
What a difference!
You’ll never look slimmer than in a LBD. Leave vibrant sequin poufs on the rack for teen queens.
There’s a reason we keep coming back to a black dress. This hot little number displays a long
ruffle that draws the eye down to a sizzling shoe. A winner!
Broad V, scoopneck, neck-revealing LBDs
Halter dresses with draped fronts
One-shoulder or off-the-shoulder solid-colored jewel-tone dresses
Sexy pantsuits with nipped-waist jackets and lean pants
Strategic ruching across the midsection
Wide, low, square-neck sheaths with wide straps or sleeves
Thinner by tonight!
Wear a silky slip as a liner under dresses so the dress fabric flows instead of sticking to your skin
and body contours, says stylist Abby Z. Choose a slip that doubles as a body smoother. (See Brilliant
Buys, here.)
Load up on jewels. Long necklaces can help stretch a short neck and bring focus front and
center, away from muffins, hips, and belly. Shorter mid-chest bibs, chunky pendants, or big chandeliers
can move the eye from boobs to your face and keep them there. Sparkly cuffs, stacks of bangles, and
cocktail rings can call attention to wrists instead of flabby upper arms.
Get a lift. A great bra and body-shaper are essentials. In fact, splurge on the best underpinnings
and give any dress a better shot at looking like it cost a million.
Wear a wide V neckline. It will break up the heaviness of a full, wide chest. This can take a
variety of formats: a V-neck velvet or silk jacket, a V-neck sheath or raised-waist dress, a ruffled or
appliquéd cardigan with opened extra buttons to form a V, or a V-neck taffeta-wrap dress.
Pump up the hair. Skip the fancy up-dos and hair accessories. Maxing out volume with a bodybuilding shampoo, styling products, and a fresh blow-out makes the most of your hair. Hair that is
collarbone length or longer will balance a fuller body.
Wear straight heels in slingback or d’Orsay style or a tapered-toe pump to elongate your legs.
Best for day dress-up are nudes to match your leg’s skin tone and even two inches of heel helps.
Throw on a dressy coat. Worn open, an evening coat will pare down the sides of your body so
the center appears slimmer. Another reason to put a dress-coat duo on your to-buy list instead of a skirt
Self-tan. I cannot stress the confidence this little tint of color adds when you’re baring a lot of
skin. All those brown spots, veins, and discolorations meld together in a uniform color with a hint of
Beat bloat. Lie on the floor and elevate your feet against a wall for fifteen minutes to drain fluid
that may have accumulated in your ankles. Sip hot water and lemon or fennel tea to dispel gas. Skip the
salt the day before—that includes salt in mustard, ketchup, sushi, soups, soda, and Twizzlers!
• LOOK FOR ONE-SHOULDER STYLES AND EMPIRES with one big detail, like a tie at the shoulder
or a pleated bodice.
• LET RUCHING BLUR BULGES that even matte black can’t hide effectively.
• WEAR KNEE-LENGTH DRESSES rather than long, even to black tie. You need the legginess for
length and to create a slim line. It’s okay, really.
• USE SHRUGS (mini cardigans) to help camouflage arms and back fat rather than opt for looser
dress styles that can look baggy and shapeless on a small frame.
• SKYSCRAPER HEELS WILL GIVE YOU A LIFT but they can look out of proportion, and call
attention to themselves if you’re tottering because they kill.
shoe, and you won’t have to dance barefoot.
• TRY OFF-THE-SHOULDER GOWNS. If you have sexy shoulders, go ahead and flaunt them.
shape like a sheath or an A-line dress with a fitted bodice and fuller skirt.
• GO OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE WITH COLOR. Experience the slimming benefits of navy,
espresso, or pewter used monochromatically.
empire dress that’s knee length in a solid deep-chocolate color would give you more reasons to buy it.
over narrow silk or crepe pants for evening; over jeans for more casual dress-ups.
ABS by Allen Schwartz ( For his long, strapless, tiered, and one-shoulder looks,
from $228 to $395.
Amsale ( For long strapless gowns with ruching in sophisticated colors,
from $280 to $990.
Badgley Mischka Platinum Label (, For elegant silk
chiffons, long and short, from $695 to $1,195.
BCBG Max Azria ( For his trend-conscious halters and cut-away
shoulders, from $248 to $398.
Calvin Klein Plus Size ( For the classy LBDs (little black dresses), short and long, in
sizes 14–24.
Carmen Marc Valvo ( For his glam lace, beading, and sequins, and sexy
structure, from $395 to $895.
Chetta B (, For tiered dresses and curve-conscious fits that are not
too low cut.
David Meister (, For his excellent selection of LBDs
long and short, V-necks, and sleeves in the $268 to $508 range.
Donna Karan ( $995. Her jersey dresses drape over every flaw effortlessly and
miraculously. Often worn by 40+ actresses on magazine covers.
Heidi Weisel New York (Neiman Marcus). For her understatedly glamorous, simply elegant,
body-flattering cocktail dresses.
Kay Unger (, For her sleeves and perfect-pitch
necklines and length.
Laundry by Shelli Segal (, For the reasonable price of a
draped-front, long charmeuse dress, around $295.
Nicole Miller ( For her muted shimmery fabrics and perfect fit for petites.
Robert Rodriguez (, For his gorgeous fabrics and couture
finishing at off-the-rack prices.
Tadashi (,, For the off-shoulder
ruching, pleating, and dress-plus-bolero thinking.
White House Black Market ( For their great shrugs and LBDs.
Spanx Hide & Sleek Strapless Full Slip, style 077A, nude or black, $72; Bloomingdale’s,
Vows for Evening
I WILL stop insisting I can merely “change the accessories” and wear the same-old, same-old
black pants and top and still look and feel great.
I WILL use ruching and draping—not volume—to hide flaws.
I WILL NOT buy a size smaller just because it’s on sale.
I WILL buy the shapewear when I buy the dress.
I WILL NOT borrow a dress from my teenage daughter or sister.
I WILL NOT shop for party clothes in “emergency” mode.
I WILL stock up on foot pads so that I can bare legs in high heels.
I WILL carry a small evening clutch when going out at night and leave that heavy workaday
tote behind.
Pull out a LBD from ten years ago with the same old accessories and think that you’re going to
look glam. To stay current, keep up on the trends. In evening right now, look for at least one of the
following: Grecian-style, draping with jewels, one-shouldered, and dark berry colors or metallics.
How to Never Look Fat Again
Now you know it all! I hope that from now on, you can intuitively assess your clothes and
accessories in terms of high fat and no fat for your body type.
→ You should be very clear about what should remain in your closet and what has to be evicted.
And if you’re not 100 percent sure, you can always go back and reread the high-fat/no-fat lists. (That’s
why you need to keep this book on your bedside table!) If you haven’t been actively pruning your
wardrobe chapter by chapter, the time has come to take action. This is the fun part… let’s head to your
closet and trim the fat! Don’t worry, you’re not going to have to part with everything you currently own.
(All your clothes can’t be high fat!) Neither are you going to buy an entirely new wardrobe.
What you want to do is to shop your own closet with your newly trained eye and fresh desire to
lighten up, so you see how liberating it can be to actually, physically, remove the heavy emotional
baggage lurking in your closet, in your drawers, and on your shelves. You’re on your way to getting rid of
all your fat clothes. These clothes are bad for you, so don’t think for a second that you should maybe
just relocate them to another closet or the basement just in case! You don’t want to be tempted to put
these on ever again. Why would you ever want to go back to that fat place? You’ve graduated! You don’t
need a friend to help you. You don’t need a personal shopper. You can be your own personal shopper.
Yes, you can!
Some of your pieces can be salvaged with a little assist from your tailor, if they’re worth it.
Others, which are high fat and unsalvageable, you have to be brave enough to say good-bye to. Send
them off into the universe to find another woman with a body type that will actually benefit from
wearing them. If you don’t shed at least some of your fat clothes, I have to tell you that you wasted your
time and money on this book! So come on. Make your investment worth it!
A dark, solid shift dress that skims over my issues is elevated with a nude patent pump. To break
up the purple, a disco ball on a pendant. Underneath, my heavy artillery, aka high-waist bike shorts. See
the before (here)
What you’ll need: 1) at least a half day, 2) a clothing rack if you have one, 3) a mirror so you can
see your back and sides (you can find over-the-door mirrors for less than $20 at, and 4)
giant shopping bags (or my favorite, Ziploc Big Bags, XXL, at Home Depot), which can serve as your
If you own a clothing rack, place it in front of your closet. If you don’t, just use your bed.
1) Go hanger by hanger through your closet, and leave all the hangers that contain no-fat pieces
in the closet. Trust yourself. You know what’s here and what has to go.
2) Remove all hangers holding pieces that you know are high fat and those you’re not sure of.
Place all these hangers on the rack or on your bed.
3) Assess the high-fat pieces. Are they worth taking to the tailor? A-line skirts can be tapered,
dresses can be shortened, and sleeves on sweaters, dresses, and shirts can be shortened to threequarter length. Try on skirts that are too short with a pair of opaque tights underneath. If they are not
micro-mini, you might be able to keep them if you wear the right boot or shoe. So take a good look in
your mirror. Ask yourself: In three words, how does this make me feel? If “fat” is one of your
descriptors, put it in the DONATE pile! There is no point in saving it—you’ll never feel good in it, and you
want to feel good in your clothes. That’s the goal.
4) For the pieces that you’re not sure about, look back at the lists in the chapters. If they’re not
high fat and they’re not no fat, then consider them low fat. Put them back in your closet. For those who
love organization: Hang your low-fat clothes on hangers that are a different color from the no-fat pieces.
The color code will remind you that you have to style these with no-fat pieces, in order to look Fit Not
Fat. At the end of this session, when there is nothing else on the clothing rack or bed, you will have
organized all your clothes by their fat content.
5) No more fat clothes in your house! You did it! Aren’t you happy with yourself? Don’t you look
thinner already? Was that hard? As hard as losing weight? Hope not! And it’s a lot faster, too!
On the following pages, you’ll find a few more lists! I love lists. The list that follows tells you
exactly what do with your castoffs. Then there’s the list of thirty-seven things I wish someone would
have told me sooner as I’d be a lot thinner. You’ll also find a round-up list of the 100 Most Fattening
Things You Can wear as well as the ultimate online shopping guide.
Promise yourself you’ll never wear clothes that make you look fat ever again! If you have to ask
someone, “Do I look fat in this?” you already know the answer! To continue this conversation, please
write to me at and feel free to post your own high-fat and no-fat pictures on
the Facebook page! Here’s hoping you stay on the no-fat wagon!
If you have good stuff, and the time to deal with an eBay auction, you could land yourself a nice
chunk of change.
Auctioning off your pre-worn or never-worn goods on eBay has become a rite of passage for
many a fashionista. If you have good stuff, and the time to deal with an eBay auction, you could land
yourself a nice chunk of change. If you can’t be bothered going through all these steps—taking photos,
writing a description, posting the item, organizing the auction, sending it out via post office or UPS
(whew!)—there are people who will gladly do the eBay selling for you, and take a well-earned
percentage. These saints are called “trading assistants,” and you can find them within miles from you on For me, the service they provide is so worth it.
But if you want to do it yourself, eBay style director Constance White has some tips for sellers
new to eBay:
LABELS MATTER. Designer labels are your best bet for earning the most cash. Some of the most
in-demand names and keywords right now are Ed Hardy, sunglasses, Hollister, and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Top brand names also include Michael Kors, Chloe, Manolo Blahnik, Dolce & Gabbana, Cole Haan, Ralph
Lauren, Betsey Johnson, and The North Face.
THINK VINTAGE. Vintage items are always hot sellers. But don’t limit yourself: Vintage applies to
more than just clothes. Think handbags, shoes, pocket watches, charms, rings, and bracelets.
STAY IN SEASON. Sell spring and summer clothes in the summer—when there is the highest
demand for them.
AIM HIGH. If you have a precious piece you don’t want to part with for less than a certain dollar
amount, set a reserve price. Selling should be sweet, not painful!
DO YOUR RESEARCH. Take the time to look online at how similar items have sold. This will give
you a good idea of how to price.
TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS. Use a simple white or light-blue background to photograph the item, and
shoot it in direct sunlight, or with plenty of indoor lighting. Photograph the front, back, and any details
on the item. Spend a half hour Googling “tips for selling on eBay.” You will be surprised at the wealth of
info available to you.
CREATE STANDOUT TITLES. Use keywords that someone might use when searching for your
item: color, size, brand/designer, new.
USE DESCRIPTIVE LISTINGS. Include as much detail as possible: size, measurements if
appropriate, color, designer, embellishments, and any and all flaws on the garment.
COMMUNICATE. Potential buyers may ask you additional questions about the item you are
selling. Try to answer them promptly and with as much detail as possible.
Without a doubt, the most social way to unload your unwanted clothing and accessories is by
hosting or attending a clothing swap. “Clothing swaps are all about quality, not quantity,” says Randi
Brookman Harris, a freelance prop stylist who hosts these sartorial shindigs seasonally in Manhattan.
Her advice is to e-mail your girlfriends and ask them to bring a shopping bag full of pieces that don’t
work for them anymore. Invite friends who are similar in size or ask them to bring accessories such as
handbags, scarves, costume jewelry. “Ideally you want them to bring newish things,” she says. “Make
sure they know to leave the pit-stained, hole-covered garments at home.” Randi puts out a platter of
food and organizes everyone’s offerings into categories—jackets, skirts, shirts, etc. She lets her friends
pick through the goods and try things on at their leisure. No money is exchanged. You can take anything
you want and as much as you want. Whatever is left over, the hostess donates to her favorite charity.
Maybe you want to be the one to organize your friends (or book club!).
Giving your clothing away to someone who will really appreciate it is gratifying. What’s high fat
on you could be no fat and charming on someone else. You can donate to the Salvation Army, Dress for
Success, or Bottomless Closet.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re going to make a charitable donation to the Salvation
Army or a similar organization for a tax deduction.
TAKE PICTURES or write down a detailed description of each item you’re donating.
CHECK OUT the Salvation Army Web site’s Valuation Guide for realistic dollar amounts for
clothing donations ( These are the amounts you can use—lowest and highest—
for write-offs. (Under “Ways to Give,” see “Donation Receipts—Valuation Guide.”)
GET A STAMPED OR SIGNED RECEIPT when you drop off your goods.
BE SURE TO SAVE THE RECEIPT for your next income tax filing in a place where you can find it
when you need it.
Giving your clothing away to someone who will really appreciate it is gratifying. What’s high fat
on you could be no fat and charming on someone else.
Before eBay, everyone took unwanted clothes to the consignment shop. If you have a good one
close by, call before you make the trip. Some are very picky in what they’ll take. Places like Tokyo Joe
and Ina in New York City only accept luxe designer brands, and they have to be in keeping with the
season. Know ahead of time that many of them take up to 50 percent of the resale, and you have to
check in with them to see if your items have sold. If you can’t be bothered, just donate to charity. •
If I Knew These 37 Things Sooner, I Would Be Thinner
Some women will do anything to be thin. I’m not one of them. I’d rather follow the rules in this
book for dressing thin and be a few pounds over my ideal weight than do anything unhealthy. When I
heard what models were allegedly eating backstage at the New York fashion shows—cotton balls soaked
in orange juice in order to stay full!—I decided that I should probably share what works for me. I’m no
doctor, but I have to assume that any of the following is preferable than downing a dozen cotton balls!
(1) See a doctor or a nutritionist to find out the number of calories you need to eat a day to lose
weight—and to maintain your weight. If you don’t know this, you don’t really know how much you can
eat. You can also look online or get one of the many books on nutrition to figure out your specifics.
(2) Weigh yourself first thing in the morning, before coffee. When you weigh yourself, take off
everything, even your watch and earrings. Some nutritionists and doctors say not to weigh yourself
daily, but how else do you know how you did yesterday? And what you need to do today?
(3) Eat whole grains for breakfast. Oatmeal with cinnamon and skim milk is very filling.
(4) Buy a little food diary or use the free iPhone app, “Lose It.” Record everything you eat. “If
you nibble, you have to scribble,” is what I learned in Weight Watchers.
(5) Calculate your calories as they occur. Don’t wait till the end of the day or you may have
gone over your limit.
(6) Measure everything you eat in measuring cups or with a scale—blueberries, salmon, etc.
(7) Don’t let fattening foods enter your home, and you won’t be tempted. Walking around with
a cart in a grocery store is when you have to be most disciplined.
(8) Buy small packs if you can’t control yourself. For example, buy ice cream sandwiches
instead of a box of ice cream or snack boxes of raisins instead of a large container.
(9) It’s said that people who consume 100 to 1,400 milligrams of calcium a day actually lose
more weight. You need to consume calcium to keep bones strong anyway, so this is another motivator.
It’s hard to get enough without supplements, so try the chocolate ones! Just count the calories.
(10) If you receive a fattening gift—cookies, chocolates, brownies—pack it up and bring it to the
office, or give it to the next person you run into.
(11) If you don’t know what to have for dinner, make a dish of roasted veggies: Brussels
sprouts, eggplant, asparagus, onions, red pepper with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil at 400 degrees
for a half hour.
(12) Move your body every day. If you can’t do a proper workout, then at least walk to a place
you would normally drive. Or walk up and down steps instead of taking an elevator at work or home.
(13) If you haven’t a clue what to eat for lunch, boil an egg or two.
(14) Next time you reach for a diet cola, ask yourself, “Would I be just as satisfied with a glass
of water?”
(15) Don’t eat when you’re sitting in front of the TV or computer. You’ll lose track of what’s
going into your mouth.
(16) Try not to eat when you’re in transit—leaving the house, in the car, walking on the street—
it just looks bad, and you can wait.
(17) Don’t bake unless you intend to give your baked goodies away or bring them somewhere
within the hour.
(18) Put cinnamon on everything you can. It burns calories and adds spice.
(19) Don’t wear elastic pants—you’ll never know what your real weight is.
(20) Listen to music when you’re working out. People who do work out longer.
(21) If you’re wearing comfy shoes, you will be more likely to walk. Carry a pair in your bag or in
your car.
(22) Anything less than ten blocks, consider walking.
(23) Buy an oil spritzer so you spray on just a little olive oil, instead of pouring on a lot.
(24) Floss or brush your teeth after each meal. When your teeth are clean, you’re less likely to
eat more food.
(25) An avocado a day is not a good idea. Once in a while, they are a great treat, but too many
are the pits when counting calories.
(26) Save yourself a little cushion of calories—130 or so—so you can “cheat” on something at
the end of the day.
(27) When you open the door of the fridge for the fifteenth time that day, ask yourself, “Am I
really hungry?” If the answer is no, pour yourself a glass of water, shut the door, and leave the kitchen.
(28) One banana a day is plenty.
(29) A box of dates contains enough calories for the entire day.
(30) Even if the bag of popcorn is by a healthy food company, a huge bag could be more
calories than your average dinner.
(31) Licking the spoon or bowl when you’re making cookies or cakes counts in your daily
(32) Reduced-fat peanut butter is still fattening!
(33) All granola bars are not created equal; in fact, some are super-fattening. My nutritionist,
Jennifer Andrus, recommended the brand GNU, which I love in cinnamon raisin.
(34) Chew your food. Try fifty times before you swallow. The slower you eat, the less you eat.
(35) “After eight, gain weight.” Try not to eat after 8 p.m. Close the kitchen for the night after
dinner, and don’t go back in.
(36) Keep your mind engaged. Many times we walk into the kitchen and open the refrigerator
out of sheer boredom.
(37) Try not to make every social activity revolve around food. See a movie instead of having
dinner. Take an exercise class or walk or get a massage instead of lunching.
The 100 Most Fattening Things You Can Wear
You don’t have to spend a bundle to look Fit Not Fat. It doesn’t cost you anything to toss these!
1. Acid-washed jeans
2. Ankle-strap shoes
3. Après-ski boots
4. Baby-doll dress
5. Backpacks
6. Ballerina skirts
7. Ballet flats
8. Balloon hemlines
9. Bear-like, full-length fur coat
10. Belly bracelets
11. Bikinis
12. Birkenstocks
13. Boatneck sailor-stripe tops
14. Boxy blazers
15. Bright turtlenecks
16. Caftans
17. Caged shoes
18. Capped sleeves
19. Capri pants
20. Cargo pants
21. Cartoon sweaters, tees, and PJs
22. Chalet ski sweaters
23. Chokers that choke you
24. Circle skirts
25. Classic pastel twinsets
26. Clip-on button earrings
27. Crazy-colored tights
28. Crew-neck sweaters
29. Crocs!
30. Across-the-body messenger and shoulder bags
31. Cuffed pants
32. Cut-offs and Daisy Dukes
33. Down vests
34. Drawstring waist pants
35. Drindl skirts
36. Elastic-waist pants, including sweatpants
37. Elizabethan ruffle blouses
38. Fanny packs
39. Fisherman sweaters
40. Five-inch-wide belts
41. Flip-flops
42. Floral pants
43. Fur or faux chubbies (stoles)
44. Gladiator sandals
45. Handbags as big as luggage
46. High-waist pants
47. High-waist skirts
48. Holiday-themed sweaters
49. Horizontal zebra stripes
50. Hot pants
51. Jodhpurs
52. Jumpsuits
53. Knit jackets
54. Lace-up espadrilles
55. Leather pants
56. Leg warmers
57. Maxi puffer coats
58. Micro-mini dresses and skirts
59. Mom jeans
60. Newsboy caps
61. Origami-folded dresses
62. Orthopedic-looking shoes
63. Overalls
64. Over-the-knee boots
65. Oversized sweatshirts
66. Oversized T-shirts
67. Patch-pocket shirts
68. Peasant skirts
69. Penny loafers
70. Plaid anything
71. Pleated pants
72. Pleated skirts
73. Pucci print dresses
74. Ripped jeans
75. Round eyewear
76. Safari jackets
77. Scrunchies and banana clips
78. Second-skin pants or jeans
79. Sequin muscle T-shirts
80. Shirtdresses
81. Shorts—boy, girl, Bermuda
82. Shoulder pads
83. Shrunken baby T-shirts
84. Sneakers with jeans
85. Stockings with big patterns
86. Stockings with seams
87. Stretched-out bras
88. Super-wide fishnets
89. Tent dresses
90. Thick platform shoes
91. Thick, wide headbands
92. Tie-dyed anything
93. Tube tops and bustiers
94. UGGs
95. Waist-high granny panties
96. Waist-high nude hose
97. White coats
98. White pants
99. White shoes
100. White stockings
Skinny Clicks
For women who are embarrassed to get dressed and undressed in public, the Internet has
become a shopping godsend. Shop online, and keep your indignity intact. You avoid the prospect of a
dressing room with no mirror, which forces you to step out and catch a glimpse in the communal one.
There are also the dreaded communal dressing rooms, and dressing rooms with such skimpy curtains
that they might as well be communal. Then again, you may not even have the time to drive to a mall and
go shopping. Many women I know prefer to ship merchandise back then to wait in a long checkout line
or deal with the attitudes of sales associates. Almost all online retailers have a generous return policy
(just check before you enter your credit card number). Ready, set, shop! With this list as your guide,
you’ll have your new skinny basics in just a few clicks.
24 Hour Fitness
( This is where to buy the BodyBugg Calorie Management System featured
on TV’s The Biggest Loser. This little portable device will basically do everything but slap your wrist when
you reach for the cookie jar. It uses a multisensor approach to monitor how many calories you take in
versus how many you’re burning.
Bare Necessities
( Stock your lingerie drawer—from bras to bottoms—at this site. It has all
the top brands in underthings, such as Wacoal, TC, Wolford, La Perla, and Hanky Panky. Also find a huge
selection of larger sizes from Fantasie.
Be Beautiful
( Find some of my favorite get-gorgeous brands here like Spanx, Essie, and
Tweezerman. Their “Outlet” section offers an ever-changing selection of deeply discounted must-haves.
( Who doesn’t love Bloomies? The iconic department store’s e-commerce
site has all the best denim brands, including Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, 7 For All Mankind, Citizens of
Humanity, and J Brand. Bonus: You can return anything purchased online at one of its retail locations.
( Bluefly is the biggest virtual sample sale on earth, packed with the world’s hottest
designers (Christian Louboutin, Prada, Michael Kors, and Shoshanna). You may never pay retail again
once the Bluefly bug bites you.
( With brands like Philosophy and Fekkai, it’s not your average drugstore. Get,
your skin glowing with Jergen’s Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer, a staple of every beautyista’s cosmetic
Fashion Fit Formula
( Founders Janet Wood and Kathy McFadden have figured out a way—
through a series of mathematical calculations—to make your clothes look the best they possibly can on
you. Purchase one of their packages through their site.
Fresh Pair
( Choose from sexy lingerie to smart shapewear pieces from a plethora of brands,
including Le Mystére.
Her Room
( Shop the extensive selection of bras, panties, and stockings from brands such as
Olga, Chantelle, La Perla, and Natori.
( Find all the beauty and fashion brands featured on HSN. Love its selection of RJ
Graziano jewelry and Clever Carriage handbags.
J. Crew
( Classy, chic, and good enough for Michelle Obama. Its selection of swimwear has
shapes and colors for every taste.
Lipo in a Box
( Skip the surgery and log onto this site for great shapewear. Founder Connie
Elder tackles every problem area with Lipo in a Box’s comfy panties, bodysuits, camisoles, and capris.
Love that she extended the usual shapewear shades to include chocolate.
( A wide range of bras at a nice price. Includes full sizes, minimizers, soft cups,
back-smoothers, push-ups and strapless. They also have Control It swimwear, which is body-slimming
bathing suits that hold in all the mushy bits.
Nordic Track
( Nothing beats working out in the privacy of your own home. Aside from
treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes, you can shop for workout gear, including sports bras and hightech jackets.
( Nordstrom has all the big names in fashion plus a terrific selection of
Miraclesuit Swimwear ultra-slimming bathing suits.
( Their all-star product lineup includes beauty goods from makeup artist Mally Roncal
and dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler. Look for designer Lori Goldstein’s LOGO, a collection of
embellished T-shirts, leggings, and blazers, cut very generously. Also find Breezies Intimates, a supersoft, moisture-wicking lingerie collection offering full-support bras and panties.
Saks Fifth Avenue
( Just as you would expect, this Web site is packed with the best in beauty
and fashion.
( If you can’t pop into one of the beauty giant’s entertaining stores, then log onto
its site for a generous selection of the best in makeup, skincare, and hair—all very easy to navigate by
Space NK
( High-quality and often hard-to-find beauty brands populate the virtual shelves of
this UK-based beauty retailer that has debuted in select Bloomingdale’s stores stateside.
( Spanx has changed the face—and the butts, hips, thighs, and calves—of the
shapewear industry. If you want to discreetly hide bulges, lumps and bumps, go to this site for its entire
line, including Haute Contour, and its new slimming swimwear.
( “Tar-jay” was the first retailer to really understand the concept of fast fashion by
hot designers. Target is a must-stop for wallet-conscious fashionistas.
Tres Sleek
( Compressing your mushy parts is the name of the game at Tres Sleek. Love its
special sleeves to banish bat wings.
Victoria’s Secret
( Victoria’s Secret has become the retailer to beat for a selection of
affordable, ever-rotating lingerie trends. Many of the models in this book came to the casting in VS bras!
( At last check, Zappos carried over three hundred d’Orsay styles (the most Fit Not
Fat shoe out there). From Giuseppe Zanotti and Stuart Weitzman to Marc by Marc Jacobs and Isaac
Mizrahi, you’ll pretty much find any style, size (including wide widths), and color you’re craving. Easy
Skinny Clicks for Larger Sizes
Big girls, don’t cry! The selection keeps getting better, according to my friend Michele Weston, a
fashion authority who really knows the size 14-and-over market. Some of the Web sites here are her
favorites for curvy women who never want to forsake style.
Anna Scholz
( This German designer calls her spring line “curvaceous couture.” Her flirty
collection of on-trend dresses, trench coats, and tunics are cut in sizes 12–28. Think Michael Kors meets
( You can’t beat the denim selection at this affordable and trendy retailer. Find
tunics, swimwear, and dresses in sizes 14–32.
( Chadwick’s wins the chic award for stocking its Web site with a wardrobe fit for
Audrey Hepburn: jacquard jackets, sheath dresses, and clean-front pants.
( Comfortable style is the name of the game at Chico’s. Find wrinkle-free separates
and a selection of tunics, jackets, and trendy jewelry.
( Cute swimwear, laid-back tees, camisoles, and tanks, and bold printed dresses and
tunics from this British retailer.
( You’ll find chic pieces in their Bisou Bisou dresses and Worthington brand lines that go
up to 24W and 3X. And they’re not afraid to show bigger women on their website. Love that.
La Grande Dame
( Find an uber-chic selection of dresses from David Meister and Olivia
Harper, jeans from James Jeans and Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, and separates from De Sentino and Zen
Knits. You can also shop by body type, occasion, or trend.
Lane Bryant
( When you want great-looking basics, hit this plus-sized leader. They also offer
an extensive array of fun and sexy lingerie from Cacique and shapewear from Spanx.
( Find a multitude of plus-sized choices from Tommy Hilfiger, Michael by Michael
Kors, and INC, plus its in-house line, Style & Co.
Neiman Marcus
( A great resource for sizes 14 and up, Neiman’s online has hip jeans,
dresses, shirts, and skirts from plus-size designers, including Anna Scholz, Melissa Masse, XCVI, Eileen
Fisher, and more.
One Stop Plus
( Billing itself as “the online fashion mall for plus sizes,” it literally is one-stop
shopping for the curvy customer. Find everything from formal wear to sleepwear. Brand boutiques
within the site include such designers as Taillissime, Jessica London, Ellos, and Roaman’s.
Ralph Lauren
( Shop for Lauren by Ralph Lauren. RL’s preppy chic collection goes up to size
( A Norma Kamali wrap dress for $20? Wide-leg jersey pants for $18? Kudos to
Kamali for her chic collection up to size XXL.
( You’ll be hard pressed to find a better selection of dresses for formal and semiformal occasions anywhere else. Zaftique’s jewel-toned frocks come in every style under the sun.
FIRST OFF, thank you to my brilliant and supportive editor, the phenomenal Karen Murgolo,
editorial director of the Springboard Press at Grand Central Publishing, who went to great lengths to
make this a breakthrough book. I was not interested in doing a style guide that resembled any other,
and fortunately, neither was Karen. Our partnership is heaven because we are totally in sync about what
we, as women, want to read.
A ZILLION THANKS to Jamie Raab, publisher of Grand Central Publishing. Behind every
successful book is a genius publisher who makes all the right decisions every step of the way. I’m forever
grateful that Jamie, was there for me since the conception of this book, with her unwavering, 110
percent, enthusiastic support.
SO HAPPY TO HAVE MY AGENT, the cool-headed Richard Pine, in my corner. He not only got
me, but he got the big picture, without prompting. Elisa Petrini, also of InkWell Management, has my
deepest appreciation for helping me to navigate the challenging aspects of production. Thanks also to
Nathaniel Jacks of InkWell.
THE BEAUTY OF THIS BOOK speaks to the elegance, taste, and creative vision of Eric Hoffman.
The visual bar was raised the minute Eric signed on to design the book. I so appreciate Eric for not only
his talent but also for being so accommodating, gracious, and caring throughout. The entire team at
Hoffman Creative contributed to the look of the book: Stacy Barnes, Benjamin Miller, Tracy
Engelhardtsen, and Vanessa Ly. And thanks to Stephenie Fernandez and Ann Taylor at Stardust Vision
for their early support.
IN THE WORLDS OF FASHION/BEAUTY, Lois Johnson can do it all and she did for this book. From
bouncing off ideas to writing, styling, casting, producing, Lois was always there for me, the very
definition of a great girlfriend.
FOR FINDING THE WORDS—AND FAST, many thanks to writer Melissa Schweiger. Melissa and
Lois helped me bring these chapters to life, doing the initial heavy lifting with their fashion/beauty
expertise and stylish prose.
POP! FLASH! Once again, a big kiss to photographer and cover genius Michael Waring, for the
time and dedication he put in to make the cover photo something I am proud of. I can’t thank you
enough, Michael, for making me look Fit Not Fat! On this cover dream team: the exceptional makeup
artist Nick Barose, who made time on his celeb-packed schedule; Arturo of Arturo New York, who always
gives cover-worthy hair even at the crack of dawn; and Lois Johnson, for her styling savvy and moral
THE DISCERNING EYE of photographer Timothy Hogan made all the model shots worth the price
of the book. No matter how many words are used to describe an outfit, nothing compares with seeing it
captured to perfection in a stunning photograph. I so appreciate the enormous effort and attentive
focus that Tim and his team—Dario Diovisalvi, Bridget Fleming, Andrew Segreti, and Alex Kaed—brought
to this book.
I HIT THE JACKPOT with stylist Eve Feuer. Smart and unflappable, she instinctively knows what’s
high fat and no fat and where to get it by tomorrow. I loved how she styled the models, in accessible yet
aspirational looks that real women can relate to. Big thanks to Sarah Benge for all the long hours
THE FEARLESS MODELS on these pages agreed to flaunt their least flattering body parts in
pursuit of a higher goal and, in doing so, inspire us all to seek that level of confidence, comfort, and
pride about our bodies. You rock! Loved working with Casey McCabe, Lizzie Miller, Bernadett Vajda,
Michelle Griffin from Wilhemina as well as Elizabeth Green and Maiysha Simpson from Ford.
TWO AMAZING FRIENDS of mine read and critiqued every chapter. My sharp as a whip friend
Abby Ross of Miami, who has been a serious Weight Watcher for most of her life, poured over the early
manuscript. Additional gratitude to Abby for dragging me into the digital age; in the world of social
media, Abby is queen.
KUDOS TO SUSAN TOEPFER. I had the good fortune of having the editorial expertise of one of
the best editors in the magazine business do an edit of the final manuscript. With her sharp editorial
eye, Susan made improvements to every page.
CREATING BUZZ for a book takes a village. I am fortunate to have the best in the biz in-house at
Grand Central Publishing. Thanks to the savvy Matthew Ballast, for masterfully calling the shots. I so
appreciate the unstoppable support of Tanisha Christie, who goes above and beyond. The terrific
Melissa Bullock is always there for me on the other end of the e-mail.
AND AT FLYING TELEVISION, big thanks to Lori Levine and Alexa Susser.
ALSO AT GRAND CENTRAL PUBLISHING, the team that lent their expert two cents to the
production of this book included Diane Luger, who tremendously influenced the cover; Tareth Mitch, for
her expert production editing; Philippa White for her can-do good attitude and all-around helpfulness;
Pam Schechter and Vidya Thanabal, who worked wonders with the printing; and to Suzanne Albert,
Nicole Bond, and Peggy Boelke, who all helped get the book into the right hands.
BLOOMINGDALE’S, THE ULTIMATE FASHION CLOSET, provided one-stop shopping for most of
the no-fat clothes. For this, I can’t say thanks enough to my fabulous friend, Anne Keating, the senior
vice president of Bloomingdale’s public relations, who always makes things happen; as well as Frank
Doroff, Bloomingdale’s vice chairman of ready to wear. It’s a pleasure working with Anne’s A-team of PR
pros: Lori Griffith, Liz McGovern, Ashley Bechard, Sasha Soyfer, Nancy Lueck, Mara Maddox, Peggy
Lanigan, Sara Nix, Wanda Ahmadi, Jaime Strong, Dana Weiss, Nancy Peck, Alexandra Karcev, Jamie A
Habanek, and Emilie Marvosa.
ADDITIONAL WARDROBE provided by the following. A special thanks to my friends in fashion
who generously sent clothes, shapewear, stockings, shoes, and accessories for photography.
Joni Fischer of Christopher Fischer
Maggie Adams of Spanx
Lori Ann Robinson of Lori Ann Robinson Consultants
David Welsch of TC shapewear
Lisa Stein of LA Stein
Sharyn Soleimani of Barneys New York,
Wendy Converse and RJ Graziano of RJ Graziano
Leslie Stevens of LaForce & Stevens for Wacoal
Denise Skelton and Dan Sackrowitz of
Connie Elder of Lipo-in-a-Box
Michelle Smith and Lauren Atterman of Milly
Anna Natsume and Robert Marc of Robert Marc
Dana Chinitz of Stuart Weitzman
Della Olsher and Erica Levine of D&E marketing
Rachel Kapor at KH Public Relations for Asics
Whitney DeLear at Calvin Klein
Kristen Raymaakers at Mullen for Saucony
Ann Magnin at Magnin PR for Panache
King Chong at Lafayette148
Megan Oxland at Magaschoni
Saulo Villela at Adrienne Landau
Alison Hessert at Hue
Nicole Lando at Alison Brod Public Relations for Hanky Panky
FRIENDS IN THE BEAUTY BIZ, you know who you are. Thanks for the latest in lipsticks,
eyeshadows, primers, and plumpers, etc. Couldn’t have found those Brilliant Buys without all of you.
LOUD SHOUT OUT to Lisa Gabor. We had the good fortune of having our offices at InStyle next
to each other, and since we were often the only ones there on Saturdays, we bonded over big ideas and
have been collaborating ever since. Her genius is matched only by her ginormous generosity of spirit.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY who always come through for me, whether road-testing beauty products,
hosting a book signing, spending the weekend trying on shapewear, showing up at a book event, etc.
Kim Isaacsohn; Laurette Kittle; Cindy Lewis; Della Olsher; Cynthia Parsons; Jane Berk; Lisa Glinsky;
Barbara Graustark; Amy Schwartz; Lora Nasby; Katie Couric; Charlie Esposito; Julie Weinstein Sacchetta,
Terry, Jay, Lisa, Mollie, Jami Krupp; Rose, Janet, Larry, Paul Zoglin.
EVERY AUTHOR SHOULD HAVE THE LUXURY of an expert editor—in-house! Thanks to my
husband, Richard, for always helping me take it up a notch. While living with a super thin guy makes it
pretty near impossible to stay on a diet, buying the High Fat and No Fat version of everything from ice
cream to peanut butter to jelly to milk, proved inspirational.
THE PROFESSIONAL EXPERTISE of friends who gave me great advice along the way is so
appreciated. These people really know pretty much everyone and everything: Gloria Appel, Larry Appel,
Janet Gurwitch, Camille MacDonald, Mary Mayotte, Debi Fine, Sandi Mendelsohn, Adam Glassman.
BUCKETS OF GRATITUDE to Jaime Wolf, not only my lawyer but also my business guru and
copywriter, too! Your intelligence, advice, and due diligence are things I can’t live without.
MY FABULOUS ASSISTANTS who helped me with everything from researching to blogging to
(dare I say it) Facebook. These impressive journalists include: Sara Gaynes, Karina Martinez-Carter,
Carlye Wisel, Alysa Teichman; and most of all, Sara Anderson, who logged in many long hours expertly
fact-checking the manuscript. Special thanks to the super-organized Brette Polin, who has always been
there for me since our days at Shop, Etc.
ONCE AGAIN, I would like to acknowledge my unending gratitude to Judy Linden of the
Stonesong Press without whom I wouldn’t have made the smooth transition from magazines to books.
She changed my life!
MAKEUP! HAIR! CLOTHES! Makeup artist Julie Tussey not only performs magic on me, but could
teach a master class on cosmetic technology with all her insider info. We spent a day together smearing,
dabbing, blotting, and editing down the best of the Brilliant Buys.
HAIR COLOR GENIUS Brad Johns of New York’s Red Door Salon and Spa, who has been blonding
me forever, has a point of view on everything, including how not to look fat with your hair color!
CHRIS CUSANO, also of New York’s Red Door Salon and Spa, is the master of precision, who has
been cutting my hair since forever. He gave me the bangs and chic cut on display in these pages.
IT WAS A REAL PLEASURE working with stylist Ann Caruso on my outfits. She lives up to her
reputation as a class act with a great eye for fashion.
THANKS TO OUR ON-SET BEAUTY PROS, makeup artist Christina Reyna and hairdressers Carmel
Bianco and David Cruz. They knew their High Fat from No Fat.
AT TIME INC, my home in the magazine world, two people very special to me are editor-in-chief
Martha Nelson, the smartest editor in the magazine industry, with whom I’ve worked since the early
days of InStyle. And the fabulous Susan Kaufman, managing editor of the super successful startup,
People: StyleWatch, which I’m happy to be a part of.
LET’S HAVE A ROUND OF APPLAUSE to the many experts who contributed their time, their
insider’s secrets, their gold so that we never look fat again! I owe them big-time! XX
Tracy Anderson
Bill Bartlett
Oscar Blandi
Nancy Boas
Randi Brookman Harris
Tory Burch
Misty Elliott
Dr. Gervaise Gerstner
Dr. Jeff Golub-Evans
Kim Isaacsohn
Brad Johns
Dr. Michael Kane
Dr. Suzanne Levine
Dr. Alan Matarasso
Dr. Seth Matarasso
Vicky McGarry
Stella Mikhail
Susan Nethero
Dr. Pamela Peeke
Renee Raimondi
Mally Roncal
Dr. David Rosenberg
Dr. Deborah Sarnoff
Dr. Eric S. Schweiger
Liz Smith
Susan Sommers
Essie Weingarten
Eugenia Weston
Eden Wexler
Constance White
Abby Z.
Ruth Zukerman
ONE LAST THANK YOU, to all the fashion designers who make chic clothes for women size 14
and up: please know that you have made a tremendous impact on women’s lives. To all designers who
don’t cut beyond size 12, I say, continue to do so at your own peril. In a down economy, turning your
backs on more than half of all women in this country doesn’t sound like a plan. Neither does it sound
fashionable when inclusiveness is in the zeitgeist. Let’s not deny all women the chance to dress well
whatever their size (or age). Amen.
Here’s where we found all our non-fat clothes. Please realize that items available at press time
may no longer be available, because fashion changes seasonally. But knowing the brand and retailer
may help when curating your own no-fat wardrobe.
Christopher Fischer cashmere “Gisele” open front cardigan. Underneath, cotton, three-quarter
sleeve V-neck. Both at Habitual Jeans, at Bloomingdale’s. Lisa Stein 18k whitegold crystal and diamond pendants on 18k white-gold white-sapphire chain, and 18k diamond-studded
hoops, all at Jeffrey New York, or see for stores.
Tory Burch sweater, Bergdorf Goodman, New York. Pencil skirt by Theory, Bergdorf Goodman,
New York. Lisa Stein 18k white-gold crystal and diamond pendant on 18k white-gold white-sapphire
chain, Jeffrey New York, or see for stores.
Cream V-neck sweater by Sutton Studio, Bloomingdale’s, Gold earrings,
Kara, by Kara Ross, Bloomingdale’s.
Cream shawl collar sweater by Ralph Lauren, Bloomingdale’s. Yellow-gold “Petal” hoops with
marquis diamonds by Lisa Stein, Jeffrey New York, or for stores.
Gray trouser by Calvin Klein, Bloomingdale’s. Black scoop neck tank by Elie Tahari,
Bloomingdale’s. Gray cardigan sweater by Tory Burch, Bloomingdale’s. Silver chains and bracelet by RJ
Graziano, 212-685-1248. Silver earrings by ABS, Bloomingdale’s.
Lace Couture Camisole by Spanx Haute Contour, Bloomingdale’s. Gold bangles by RJ Graziano,
212-685-1248. Diamond stud earrings, Bloomingdale’s.
White blouson top by Diane von Furstenberg, Bloomingdale’s. Bracelets by RJ Graziano, 212685-1248. Gold bejeweled earring, Bloomingdale’s. Jeans (model’s own).
Pink lace bra by Harlequin, Silver diamond necklace by RJ Graziano, 212685-1248.
Jacket by Lafayette148, Cream V-neck sweater, Sutton Studio,
Bloomingdale’s, Gray skirt by Calvin Klein, Bloomingdale’s. Gray python pump by
Stuart Weitzman, Lisa Stein 18k white-gold crystal and diamond pendant on 18k
white-gold white-sapphire chain, Jeffrey New York, or see for stores.
White Lycra® bathing suit, by LaBlanca, by Rod Beattie, Bloomingdale’s.
Dark-wash denim by Ralph Lauren, Bloomingdale’s. Purple cotton Elie Tahari shirt,
Bloomingdale’s. Leather belt by Hobo, Bloomingdale’s. Gold bangles by RJ Graziano, 212-685-1248.
Magenta lace tank and bikini brief by Hanky Panky,
Black V-neck dress by Hugo Boss, Bloomingdale’s. Black peep-toe pumps by Stuart Weitzman, Leather belt by Hobo, Bloomingdale’s. Gold cuff by Aqua, at Bloomingdale’s. Gold
hoop earrings by ABS, Bloomingdale’s. Watch by Longines. Black crocodile clutch by Clever Carriage,
Gray cashmere shorts by Christopher Fischer, Coral scoop neck tank by
Elie Tahari, available at Bloomingdale’s.
Black pencil skirt by Hugo Boss, Bloomingdale’s. White button-front shirt by Theory,
Bloomingdales. Black leather pumps (model’s own). Black leather bag by Tory Burch, Bloomingdale’s.
Gold cuffs by RJ Graziano, 212-685-1248.
Nude with ivory lace cami and brief by Wacoal, Bloomingdale’s.
Dark-wash denim, The Essential Jean by Gap. White cotton tank by Elie Tahari, Bloomingdale’s.
Brown braided-leather heel by Ralph Lauren, Bloomingdale’s.
Black pencil skirt by Hugo Boss, Bloomingdale’s. Pink patent leather pumps by Guess,
Bloomingdale’s. Silver grid-print cuff by Rebecca, Bloomingdale’s.
Leopard print skirt by Lafayette148, Black leather pump by Stuart Weitzman, Spanx Tight-End Tights,
Bejeweled zipper heels by Giuseppe Zanotti, On toes, Essie nail color in Wicked, at
Gray pencil skirt by Calvin Klein, Bloomingdale’s. Nude pump by Type Z,
Printed chiffon cover-up by Diane von Furstenberg, Bloomingdale’s. Brown one-piece bathing
suit by Fantasie, Gold wedge sandals by Giuseppe Zanotti, Bloomingdale’s. Straw
hat by Hat Attack, Cocktail ring by Kara Ross, Bloomingdale’s. Bangles by RJ Graziano,
Black Miraclesuit, Sandals by Rafe,
Sunglasses by Marc Jacobs, Silver hoops by Bloomingdale’s, White leather bag by Anya Hindmarch,
Gray sweater with fur collar by Magaschoni, Silver fox trapper hat by Adrienne
Landau, Gray fur trim scarf by Magaschoni, Gray gloves by
Black evening coat with jeweled buttons by Lafayette148, Black leather boots
by Stuart Weitzman, Tight End Tights by Spanx at Cream cashmere
scarf by Christopher Fischer, Knitted Rex rabbit hat by Adrienne Landau,
Graphic tank by Zobha, Bloomingdale’s. Black yoga pant by Zobha, Bloomingdale’s.
Navy yoga pant by Zobha, Bloomingdale’s. Navy zip jacket by Zobha, Bloomingdale’s. Pink
Versatility Cami Sport Tank by New Balance, Progrid Hurricane sneakers by Saucony,
Pink one-shoulder cocktail dress by Tadashi, Bloomingdale’s. Cocktail ring by Philippe Audibert,
Bloomingdale’s. Crystal evening clutch by Judith Leiber.
Black chiffon ruffle-front cocktail dress by Tadashi, Bloomingdale’s. Pink satin pump by Sergio
Rossi, Bracelet by RJ Graziano, 212-685-1248. Earrings by RJ Graziano, 212-685-1248.
Purple Derek Lam dress, Barneys New York. Nude patent Manolo Blanik pumps, Bergdorf
Goodman, New York. Necklace by RJ Graziano, 212-685-1248.
All model photography by Timothy Hogan except for the following:
vii Charla Krupp by Michael Waring
Madonna by Dimitrios Kambouris/
Janet Jackson by Stuart Wilson/
Janet Jackson by Dominque Charriau/
Jennifer Hudson by Steve Granitz/
Jennifer Hudson by Jean Catuffe/
Jennifer Connelly by Dimitrios Kambouris/
Claudia Schiffer by Eamonn McCormack/
Vanessa Williams by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage
Kate Winslet by Kevin Mazur/
Michelle Obama by Kevin Mazur/
Jada Pinkett Smith by Jason Kempin/
Sara Jessica Parker by Jim Spellman/WireImage
Kelly Ripa by James Devaney/
Brooke Shields by Kevin Mazur/
Jennifer Lopez by Devaney/
Drew Barrymore by Jason Simon/Loud & Clear
Janet Jackson by Jason Szenes/WPN
Reese Witherspoon by Jeff Vespa/WireImage
Helen Mirren by Frank Micelotta/WireImage
Eva Mendez by Angela Weiss/WireImage
Salma Hayek by Steve Granitz/WireImage
Vanessa Williams by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage
Salma Hayek by Vince Bucci/WireImage
Paula Abdul by Steve Granitz/WireImage
Queen Latifah by Bennett Raglin/
Halle Berry by Steve Granitz/WireImage
Angie Harmon by Jesse Grant/WireImage
Amy Adams by Theo Wargo/WireImage
Anne Hathaway by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage
Gina Gershon by Lester Cohen/WireImage
Demi Moore by Araya Diaz/WireImage
Sandra Bullock by Jon Furniss/WireImage
Jennifer Aniston by Steve Granitz/WireImage
Natalie Morales by Joe Kohen/WireImage
Charlize Theron by Fotonoticias/WireImage
Christie Brinkley by Jemal Countess/WireImage
Brooke Shields by Andrew H. Walker/WireImage
Beyoncé by Jordan Strauss/WireImage
Jessica Alba by Elisabetta Villa/WireImage
Gwyneth Paltrow by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage
Tyra Banks by Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Jessica Simpson by James Devaney/WireImage
Jessica Simpson by James Devany/WireImage
Jessica Simpson by James Devany/WireImage
Jessica Biel by Venturelli/WireImage
Jennifer Lopez by James Devaney/WireImage
Beyoncé by Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage
Brooke Shields by Homero Tercero/WENN
Charlize Theron by Jeff Vespa/WireImage
Eva Mendez by Stefania D’Alessandro/WireImage
Kate Hudson by James Devaney/WireImage
Barbara Walters by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage
Julia Roberts by James Devaney/WireImage
Katie Couric by JP Yim/WireImage
Carla Bruni by Anwar Hussein/WireImage
Gwyneth Paltrow by James Devaney/WireImage
Katie Holmes by James Devaney/WireImage
Gwyneth Paltrow by Big Pictures
Reese Witherspoon by Pacific Coast News
Ali Larter by Zodiac Splash News
Cameron Diaz by HotShots Worldwide Splash News
Michelle Obama by AFP Getty Images
Demi Moore by Dominique Charriau/WireImage
Jada Pinkett Smith by Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage
Beyoncé by Steve Granitz/WireImage
Charla Krupp by Michael Waring
Right now, are you about ten pounds overweight? Fifteen? Twenty? Welcome to the ultimate
master class on hiding the fat.
In this popular New York Times bestseller, style expert Charla Krupp shows you how to look fit
not fat every day, every season, for every occasion—in everything from swimsuit to winter coat, from
workout wear to party dress—regardless of your figure “flaws.” You’ll find the latest information from
more than thirty big-name experts—shoe designers, bra specialists, eyewear pros, beauty gurus, brow
masters, dermatologists, fitness experts, nutri-shrinks, shapewear pros, plastic surgeons, etc.—all
offering life-changing insights about how not to look fat, dress fat, or feel fat. And here’s the best part:
You’ll look thinner by tonight!
“Smart… lists of what you must have and what’s got to go… to take offten years in the next ten
—O, The Oprah Magazine
“Addictive. That’s the best word for this beauty/fashion guide… Her goal: helping women stay in
the game.”
—USA Today
“Both down-to-earth and well-informed… offers smart fashion and beauty tips suitable for
women of all ages.”
—Washington Post
INTRO Raise your hand if you think you look fat
CHAPTER 2: how to never look fat with a WIDE FACE
CHAPTER 3: how to never look fat with a THICK NECK + BROAD SHOULDERS
CHAPTER 4: how to never look fat with ARM FLAP
CHAPTER 5: how to never look fat with a BIG BUST
CHAPTER 6: how to never look fat with MUFFIN TOP + BACK FAT
CHAPTER 7: how to never look fat with a BUDDHA BELLY
CHAPTER 8: how to never look fat with WIDE HIPS +THIGHS
CHAPTER 9: how to never look fat with a BIG BOOTY
CHAPTER 10: how to never look fat with HEAVY CALVES
CHAPTER 11: how to never look fat with WIDE FEET + ANKLES
CHAPTER 12: how to never look fat in SUMMER
CHAPTER 13: how to never look fat in WINTER
CHAPTER 14: how to never look fat in WORKOUT WEAR
CHAPTER 15: how to never look fat in THE EVENING
CHARLA KRUPP is the bestselling author of HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD: Fast and Effortless Ways to
Look Ten Years Younger, Ten Pounds Lighter, Ten Times Better. Charla is currently a contributing editor
to Time Inc.’s People Style Watch.
Known for her accessible “real woman’s” approach to style, Charla was a contributor to NBC’S
Today show for ten years and has been seen on many national shows including Oprah, Dateline, The
View, CBS Early Show, Rachael Ray, and Wendy Williams.
An award-winning magazine journalist, Charla spent fifteen years as the entertainment editor
for Glamour magazine, where she created the magazine’s Women of the Year Awards. She helped make
Time Inc.’s new style magazine, In Style, a publishing phenomenon, returned to Glamour as beauty
director, and later served as executive editor of Hearst’s Shop Etc. Charla wrote a monthly column for
More Magazine called “Fashion for Grown-Ups.” She has also written for Time magazine, the New York
Times, Town & Country, Cosmopolitan, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today Weekend, etc.
She lives in New York City and Sagaponack, New York, with her husband, Richard Zoglin, a Time
magazine editor, theater critic, and author. You can connect with Charla on
“Easy tips for looking long, lean, and lovely—in an instant!”
“A must-read… easy-to-follow tips… chock-full of straightforward solutions… Charla Krupp is like
a best friend who tells you how you really look in that outfit… Consider the mystery of looking great in
clothes solved.”
“Charla Krupp, who brought us the biting How Not to Look Old, has written the accompanying
volume with her signature frank humor.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Clever tips and useful lists… Krupp’s advice makes excellent sense… The woman knows her
—Publishers Weekly
Author’s Note: This book includes the author’s opinions based on her research and experience,
which reflect her independent judgment, formed without any payment or expectation of payment from
such companies. The author believes that information in this book is accurate as of August 1, 2009. At
such time the author was not affiliated with or sponsored by any companies whose products or services
are referred to in this book. Any affiliations or sponsorships between the author and such companies
were entered into only after August 1, 2009. Likewise any commercial endorsements made by the
author were arranged only after the author’s completion of the manuscript. In any event she is not
responsible for any such products or services. The publisher is not affiliated with the companies whose
products or services are referred to in this book, does not endorse or sponsor any such products or
services, and is not responsible for any such products or services.
The information and advice herein is not intended to replace the services of trained health
professionals or be a substitute for medical advice. You are advised to consult with your health-care
professional with regard to matters relating to your health, and in particular, regarding matters that may
require diagnosis or medical attention. The author and publisher specifically disclaim any liability, loss or
risk, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents
of this book.
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this
publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a
database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Grand Central Life & Style
Hachette Book Group
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New York, NY 10017
Visit our website at
Second eBook Edition: March 2011
Grand Central Life & Style is an imprint of Grand Central Publishing.
The Grand Central Life & Style name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
The publisher is not responsible for websites (or their content) that are not owned by the
ISBN: 978-0-446-56395-6
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