How to hide those Covid curves

How to hide those Covid curves

Q. This past year when we were spending so much time at home, the kitchen was a huge draw. I’ve gained a few unwanted pounds and am not happy about it. Especially, now that we’re moving back into more office time. What can I wear that will make a difference in how I look?

A. These days, men who are returning to work after Covid are dressing entirely differently from the way they used to dress. This is true in all industries, and most especially in law firms. Men are now dressing super casually, and then they hang a set of good trousers, a shirt, and a jacket (no tie) on the back of the door to wear if a client is coming in or if they have to go to court.

Regardless of the formality, there have always been a few well-tested fool-the-eye tricks that men can use to de-emphasize extra weight (or just weight they are less comfortable showing). These tricks really do “slim you down” visually. They work well when applied to all the clothes you wear for business, social, and relaxed dressing, but they’re most effective on those occasions when you are dressed in a suit, a blazer, or a sports jacket.

Here are some of the best suggestions that stand the test of time and change:


  • Darker clothes can make you appear twenty pounds lighter. The rule is: Dark colors minimize; light colors emphasize. If you don’t always want to stay with dark clothes, your next best choices are quiet, muted colors.
  • Even when you wear lighter colors, you can create an illusion of being leaner (and taller) by creating an unbroken vertical line that directs the eye’s sweep up and down. Choose tops and pants of near-matching or similar tones, without much color contrast.


  • Wearing a tie is one good way to do this.
  • Wearing a bow tie defeats that purpose, so, if you are concerned about looking thin, select traditional neckties. 
  • Shirts worn unbuttoned (open-at-the-neck) also help create the illusion of height. This may be based on seeing more of and lengthening the neck and/or it may be that the V created by the open neck imitates the arrow lengthening of a tie.
  • Select dress shirts with narrow spread, straight point, or button-down collars. Specifically, avoid the horizontal lines of wide-spread English collars.
  • Choose tops with vertical stripes – dress shirts, sport-shirts, and polos.
  • Belts should blend in subtly, not color contrast, with the rest of what you are wearing. 
  • Layering with lightweight sweaters that have V-necks and knits with vertical ribbing effectively elongate your look. They camouflage/disguise the waistline almost as well as a suit. HOWEVER a bulky or horizontal-stripe sweater will do the reverse. 
  • For outerwear, a scarf which runs up and down your body, a casual zip-front jacket, and/or a flattering fedora that adds height are all great ways to further emphasize the vertical.

FABRIC – Weight, pattern, and style are all critical

  • Choose light- or medium-weights. Avoid bulky fabrics in all clothing.
  • Select simple, small patterns. “Busy” patterns, such as bold plaids, add bulk visually.
  • Focus attention on your face by wearing especially interesting and attractive shirts and ties.
  • Emphasize solid colors or subtle stripes (no wide-spaced or bold stripes).


  • Single-breasted jackets
  • Jackets with slightly padded shoulders, nipped at the waist, and a center vent
  • Flat-front trousers (no pleats). By the way, to deemphasize any width in the seat (hips), avoid carrying anything in your back pockets.

I have found that many men doubt the effectiveness of these rules, but a flip through any fashion magazine or watching any entertainment/talk show will reinforce their success. And, of course, if celebrities who make their living by looking good are using a technique, you know it is because it works.

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