If I had a penny for every time my mother-in-law said to me “Don’t wear black, with your skin tone, you look much better in colour”, I would be rich. And, if I had a penny for the numerous times my clients said to me “I’m trapped in black” I could afford to retire! It’s completely unrealistic to say to women – don’t wear black, but make sure it doesn’t occupy more than 10% of your wardrobe and you do need key items in black. It’s fact, as we get older, black looks less appealing worn high near our face, it can cast shadows on our chin and under our eyes, making us look older and paler. However, it’s a trade-off: Do we want to look youthful or do we want to appear slimmer? Well, both would be good!
My two style icons – Alexa Chung and Audrey Hepburn look incredible in black, as do most women. It’s true that dark clothes make you look thinner, with black being the most slimming of them all. That’s presumably why every woman has a little black dress somewhere in her wardrobe! One reason dark colours have this effect is that they draw the eye away from your body to your head, hands and feet, making you appear taller and slimmer. They also help to hide any bumps or bulges. By contrast, lighter colours emphasise your contours, as they are more likely to produce shadows in light-coloured clothing. Actually, though, if you want a slimming effect, an even more effective method is to wear the same solid colour from top to toe. The single colour creates an illusion of length and prevents your body looking as if it has been divided in two at the waist.
Another tip if you want to look thin is to avoid wearing clothes with horizontal stripes, as these draw attention to your girth and make you look fatter. On the other hand, clothes with vertical stripes draw the eye upward, again making you look taller and slimmer (one reason pin-stripes suits are perennially popular among businessmen).