Useful silhouette-slimming tricks for men AND women

Useful silhouette-slimming tricks for men AND women

Q. Hello, I’m a lady who usually scans your articles to see if it might be of interest to me. I read your recent article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette about “Seven ways to improve the silhouette as a man ages,” and found it interesting. After reading it, I wondered if there was someone (including you) who could write such a simple and concise article as this for mature women. I’m 80 years old, a petite, slightly overweight woman who could really use that type of guidance. Thanks. 

Anonymous Democrat-Gazette reader

A. While this is certainly a departure from my usual how-to-dress column for men and the emphasis here is likely to be along somewhat different lines, some of the same elements exist for both sexes. Many of us want to avoid looking heavy. So silhouette-slimming tricks are useful to understand.

Something as simple as wearing a belt may accent weight distribution that you don’t want seen. If a belt draws attention to a woman’s belly, she would be wise to devise some method to cover the beltline and not highlight it. One way is to wear shirts untucked, thus, covering the waistline. A more refined camouflage method is to add a jacket or layer a sweater over the top. All are simple and effective.

But the paunch is not the only problem area. While you cannot eliminate all issues, as you suggest, there are basic tenets to looking your best and improving your silhouette as you mature. 

  • Wear dark colors (and neutral colors) to appear taller and slimmer.
  • Wearing similar colors from top to bottom elongates the silhouette.
  • Choose vertical stripes and/or ribbing rather than horizontal lines to direct the eye up and down.  
  • Adding a long chain/necklace or scarf further elongates your silhouette. 
  • Wear clothes that fit you well, that are neither cut too big and baggy nor too tight and clinging. Have your clothes tailored so they fit you now. Don’t wear items that “used to fit” if you are now a different size.

If the occasion is not too formal, if the setting is more social than business-related, and if you are at ease in your surroundings, you might experiment with more colorful and slightly eclectic garments and accessories. When you want to look sharp, some classic garments instantly upgrade your image: top-quality, well-cut dark pants, a blazer in navy or black, patterned jackets, crisp cotton button-down shirts, silk blouses, knit polo shirts, dark jeans, low-heeled leather shoes.

While women are considering what deemphasizes weight, it is also important to consider what looks appropriate overall. Wearing appropriate or inappropriate clothing demonstrates to the world a person’s good judgement . . . or lack of it. Unfortunately, and unfair as it may be, dressing in an age-inappropriate way is a more major mistake for women than it is for men. Poor clothing choices for a man are often merely thought to be a sign he “just doesn’t care about clothes.” But when a woman wears something that is “too young” for her, it seems to suggest she is emphasizing the sensual aspect of her clothes – not a professional approach.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind. 

  • Don’t choose clothes that look like you’re trying too hard to look young, such as message T-shirts, oversized logos, and sports-related casual wear.  
  • If you’re going to make a slight mistake, dress “up” a bit too much, rather than dressing down.    
  • It is better to have a small number of well-made, classic garments that will last for years than a closet full of eye-catching, trendy items.
  • Avoid low-cut tops that expose too much décolletage. While this look may work for young women in some social settings, it otherwise should be avoided. Leave no more than two buttons open on a shirt. 
  • Don’t wear pants that are torn, ripped, or frayed, even for casual combinations. This style should definitely be avoided by mature women. 

Obviously I feel that one’s clothing can reflect positively or negatively on both men and women. The range of what a woman looks good in is much wider and more complicated than it is for men . . . but what is problematic is often similar.

Please send your men’s dress and grooming questions and comments to MALE CALL:

Categories: Male Call