Horizontal stripes make you look fat … well, I’m sure you’ve heard that one before and while this statement is somewhat true, there’s a little more to it than just wearing a horizontal stripe and it making you look fat. In fact, horizontals of any kind play a huge part in how you look because as it turns out, our eyes are drawn to horizontal lines. This is why you should probably pay attention to them, if you want to look your best.

So is it just stripes that we need to think about?
Believe it or not, there’s a few others but let’s start with one that you might never have thought about – hemlines. Hemlines are often horizontal also and if you take some time to think about where a hemline sits on your body, there’s a good chance you’ll create an outfit that highlights and flatters your best features. Diagonal or asymmetric hemlines are considered the most flattering but if you’ve got a hemline that’s horizontal, make sure it sits at the thinnest (smallest) part of your body. As a guide, most women can’t go wrong with a skirt that finishes just above or just below the knee but above the calf muscle (the calf muscle if the widest part of the lower leg). Tops & jackets tend to be more slimming if they finish at either waist height (cropped), high hip-bone or at finger-tip length when your arms are placed by the sides of your body (this is just below the widest part of the thighs).

Unfortunately, hemlines aren’t the only culprit here. Sleeve length is also to blame because essentially the very end of a sleeve is considered a ‘horizontal’ also that often grabs people’s attention. Unless your goal is to show off that fabulous booty of yours, long sleeves should be avoided. Long sleeves sit beside common problem areas such as the hips & butt, therefore all eyes will be drawn there. Instead, try rolling sleeves to half or ¾ length. This will highlight that knock-out waist. Try it with shirts, sweaters, blazers, knits and so on. Below are a few examples –

Hemlines on Tops 

shirts

Example 1 – If you tuck your top, this draws the eye to either waist or high hip level which is a lot more flattering.

Example 2 – Hemlines that sit across the hips or thighs will draw attention here and make your butt and the top of your legs look more wide.

Sleeve Length 

blazer

Example 1 – ¾ length sleeves highlight the waist and can make your legs look lean & long. Wearing a thin belt on the waist will triple the effect.

Example 2 – Long sleeves highlight the hips & butt so avoid this if you don’t want attention here.

Ankle Straps on Heels 

heels

Example 1 – Love heels with ankle straps but don’t want to look short & stumpy? Choose thin straps in a solid colour as opposed to thick or wide straps.

Example 2 – Thick or wide ankle straps can shorten and widen the look of the legs/ lower body by visually breaking the leg into sections.

A Few Others …

  • Stripes (Try wearing stripes on areas of the body that you love. If you don’t love your hips/ butt & legs, avoid striped skirts, shorts or trousers)
  • Belts
  • Waistbands
  • Thick Bangles & Watches (Just as long sleeves do, they sit beside the hips/ bottom)

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