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Fashion Tips and Tricks for Women Over 50: Proportion

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In my last post, I asked you to analyze your body in front of a mirror. You were born with your basic figure pre-programmed by your genes, and there’s no point trying to change that. What’s important is that you understand your body shape and work with it.

Style starts with the right proportion. For instance, for separates the basic rule is if you’re wearing something narrow on the bottom such as leggings or straight-legged pants, you can wear something fuller on top like a billowy blouse, or a flowy tunic. If you’re wearing an A-line skirt or wide-legged pants, keep the top narrow.

You also need to know which waistline works best for you. A pair of low-rise trousers will elongate your torso, while high-waisted pants (which, thank goodness are back for Spring) will lengthen your legs. If you’re trying to look taller, wear all one color, including your shoes.

If you want to look ten pounds lighter (and who doesn’t?) head-to-toe black isn’t the only answer. Try a structured dress, maybe one with color-block inserts on the sides or a dress with vertical contrasting colors. A pretty allover pattern is another option. It can create an optical illusion, obscuring unwanted lumps and bumps by keeping the eye moving. But beware of overpowering prints (think Muumuu.)

If you’re like me, you love pants. Choosing the right pant can help camouflage your figure faults. For instance, if hips and thighs are the biggest part of you, look for simply-cut pants with either a slightly-flared or the new wider leg. Stay with non-stretch fabrics in deep colors. Talbots has a great selection.

If a thick waist is your problem, look for pants that hit at the natural waist or below. If you’re fighting a tummy bulge, avoid pleats and wear a loose-fitting tunic-like top.

No matter what your figure, you can spoil the proportion of any pant by wearing them too short. The general rule is to wear pants that hit the spot where your shoe heel joins the shoe in the back and just brush the shoe in front without breaking or buckling.

The bottom line is don’t try to hide your body under over-sized clothes. They can make you look bigger.

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About Judith Marshall