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Fashion's 10-pound solution

Create a long, lean silhouette to disguise the 10 pounds you've already gained (and fully intend to lose in the new year).

Published December 23, 2006


The Holiday 10. It's how many parties you've attended - and how many you have left. It's how many dozens of cookies you've made or bought for various obligations. It's how many times a week someone at work has brought in a treat you couldn't pass up.

And it's how many pounds you've gained maneuvering this gantlet.

So, your New Year's resolution is to lose that weight. But you'd like to look 10 pounds thinner right now, for the rest of the season, without making bodyshapers one of your holiday expenses.

Accomplish that with some skillful maneuvering of your wardrobe. Here are ways to dress yourself so the pounds look like they're already gone.

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: Creating a long, lean silhouette is a key strategy for visually remaking your contours. Start by standing up straight. It's the simplest, easiest, cheapest thing you can do.

EMBRACE THE DARK SIDE: Look longer and leaner by wearing dark colors - black, chocolate brown, navy, dark gray - from top to bottom.

SHUN PRINTS: Bright, busy prints can do more than give you a headache. They can add at least five visual pounds to the actual 10 you've gained.

THE MATERIAL WORLD: Stick with fabrics that allow clothes to move, such as jersey, silk, chiffon and lightweight wool crepe. Don't bother with stiff, crisp fabrics, such as taffeta, organza or brocade. They have a built-in shape that adds bulk and calls attention to what you're trying to divert attention from.

Shiny fabrics such as metallics also are not your friend. Dull textures, like wool or cotton, absorb light and create a slimmer look.

MORE STRUCTURAL ISSUES: No boxy, overly fitted jackets. Another way to create a long, lean silhouette is with a jacket that hits from the knees to midcalf.

And no clingy skirts; they're invitations for people to inspect some of the body's prime real estate for weight gain. You want styles that move, like A-lines, which flare out at the bottom. And no pleats. They add bulk to the stomach, hips and posterior.

THAT GOES FOR PANTS, TOO: No pleats. And no pockets, if you're willing to take a drastic measure for a smooth line that slims the middle.

This also is not the time to be snobby about elastic waistbands. Start your recovery by blocking out those visions of cheap polyester nightmares with waists that look like a tightly pulled drawstring. A well-made elastic waistband, either full or just in the back, allows fabric to hang evenly without pulling anywhere. Chico's is a good source for pants with quality elastic waistbands.

Pants should sit around the hip. The higher the waist, the bigger your rear end looks. The lower the waist, the greater the muffin-top effect comes into play.

Contrary to what you might think, wide legs should be your choice. They create a straight line that makes your legs look longer, and therefore you look taller. Pants with skinny legs can make you look like a triangle. And the hem should hit the floor. Lengths from ankle to gaucho level cut off the legs and make you look shorter and boxier.

THE EMPIRE RULE: A top or dress with an empire waist - one that sits right below the bust - camouflages a thick middle or rear end.

TOPPING OFF: It's tempting to throw on one of the oversize tops that are big now, but if you don't pay attention to fit and form, you might as well throw on a tent. An oversize top should be slim-fitting without being form-fitting, and a wide belt cinching the waist will give you shape. And keep it hip-length.

DON'T FORGET THE SHOES: Every little bit helps. Certain attributes can help balance your look, like chunky heels. Others can make your feet look squat and your legs shorter, such as thin, strappy sandals, tiny heels, Mary Janes and square toes.

Shoes also bring us back to a simple way to go long and lean: Put your feet into the highest heel you can stand.

Sharon Fink can be reached at (727) 893-8525 or



[Last modified December 22, 2006, 10:03:30]

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