Conjure some wardrobe magic
Thursday 28th February 2013, 10:52AM GMT.
Worry not if your New Year resolution to lose a few pounds went awry, because a slimmer silhouette for spring is still possible with zero effort required.
Thanks to designers like Stella McCartney and her coveted panelled dresses, favoured by countless stars on the red carpet, the high street has cottoned on to the body-boosting trickery of illusion dressing.
From trousers and skirts to dresses and coats, carefully-placed panels can transform your figure in seconds.
You don’t have to be a styling magician to work optical illusion garments. These eye-deceiving wonders do all the hard work for you.
Cheat yourself slim with our wardrobe short cuts – proof that you can have your cake and eat it.
Maximise curves that aren’t there or minimise lumps and bumps that are with a super-flattering panelled dress.
Clever use of black panels around the side of the dress create the impression of a Jessica Rabbit-esque hourglass figure.
It’s a technique that can also be achieved with cheeky sheer panelling if you’re feeling brave.
Either opt for a sporty A-line shape for a looser silhouette or take the plunge with a body-hugging shift dress that clings to your new-found curves.
For a variation on two contrasting colours, look for a dress featuring prominent vertical lines to accentuate your figure in all the right places.
No need for a corset with illusionist pieces that cinch your waist in for you.
While side stripes are a must for a leaner silhouette, black panels around the middle will whittle down your waistline in an instant.
Whether it’s one solid black panel or criss-cross contrasting lines, the cinching effect will bestow a waist of enviable proportions.
If your tummy’s a concern, seek out sculpting underwear or slips for an extra boost.
Playing with proportions can have a surprisingly flattering effect too – a peplum top with its large exaggerated frill exaggerates the hips, making your waist looks smaller for added curve appeal.
The 2012 Olympics sparked a sports luxe trend that’s a winner for flattering thighs.
Look to trousers with go-faster stripes. Skinny or wide, a contrasting panel that runs from waistband to ankle down the side of your leg will create the illusion of longer, slimmer pins worthy of a medal.
The trend applies to a variety of trousers from skinny jeans and posh joggers to cigarette pants and tailored trousers.
Try trousers that sit higher on the waist to eliminate muffin tops, and flat front pleats will flatter hips.
Avoid comparisons with the athletes and complete your side stripe trews look with towering heels. Add pointed toes to the equation and say hello to your new supermodel legs.
Those lacking in stature can gain valuable inches with some clever clothing combinations.
The matchy-matchy trend for trouser and skirt suits has really taken off on the high street, where you can opt for stylish geometric prints or bold block colours.
For ultimate figure flattery look for longer-length blazers tailored to nip in slightly at the waist.
Opting for a cohesive look with clean lines instantly lengthens your silhouette, making you look longer and leaner. Just add heels to really heighten the effect.
If you’re looking for a flattering evening dress, consider a maxi-length option. Any dark colour worn head-to-toe minus frills and fussiness has a dramatically lengthening effect.
Get the look
Oscar winner Anne Hathaway described her Prada dress as “business in front, party in the back”. Achieve her elegant style with Monsoon’s Zorka column maxi dress, £179 (www.monsoon.co.uk).
Buy it now
From singer to designer, Rihanna has released her debut collection for River Island. Launched at London Fashion Week, the 120-piece high street range hits all the right notes with casual and eveningwear. Rihanna for River Island is priced from £18-£200, available in stores from March 5.
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