Dresses That Make You Look Slimmer

A black waist highlights Kristen Stewart's slim frame at a screening of

Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Whether you're dressing up for a wedding, a work party or a fun night out, your dress should help you look and feel your best. If you want to look a little slimmer (and who doesn't?), choose a dress that helps your body look taller and leaner. Here's the skinny on the best tricks for looking slender in a dress.

Cuts and Styles

The ideal cut depends on your body type, of course, but some basic rules are true for everyone: Find a dress that gives you a clearly defined waistline; look for a skirt that hits you just above the knee or at your ankles; and make sure your problem areas are minimized. For example, if you have wide hips, camouflage them with an empire waist or A-line skirt. If you're top-heavy, look for an A-line skirt with lots of volume.

Patterns, Colors and Fabrics

Black is famous as a slenderizing color. All-black dresses and dresses that have a black sash will make you look thinner, as will other dark colors like navy, brown and burgundy. Tiny prints and embellishments also make you look smaller. Dresses in fluid, draping fabric look sleeker than skin-tight, clingy fabrics or stiff, thick fabrics. If you want more structure, wear a slip or foundation garments underneath a silky fabric.

Big Mistakes

Stay away from big prints and horizontal stripes; these don't flatter anyone. Don't wear baggy, shapeless dresses; sure, baggy clothing hides your body, but it'll never give you that svelte look. On the other hand, don't show too much; super-short dresses can be sexy, but longer skirts give you a sleeker silhouette. And don't try to squeeze into that smaller size, either -- too-tight dresses make you look bulgy. Cut out the tag later if you don't want to look at the number; no one else will ever know.

More Slimming Tricks

High heels are a fool-proof strategy for looking slimmer; choose stilettos if you're naturally tall and lean or stick with chunkier heels if you're curvier. If you can stand it, consider shapewear, like Spanx -- yeah, you might not be able to breathe, but you'll have a smoother, slimmer figure. Dark pantyhose can also slim down chunky legs. Make sure you stand up straight -- you'll look better and feel better with good posture. Finally, don't forget to smile -- nothing else makes you as truly beautiful as happiness.

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