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Flatter Your Figure---Updating a Red Valentino Dress from Fall 2014

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Have you ever thought about updating a name brand dress from last season or last year? If you are one of us who rarely splurge, you definitely want to wear the most expensive dress you've ever bought for as many seasons as possible. Then a little update will go a long way.


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The heart print dress in the photo above is a Red Valentino of fall 2014, which I purchased in January 2015 at a discounted price for the soon-to-come Valentine's weekend. I just wore the cocktail dress again last Saturday night. Please note that the dress is now a bit different than the way it came originally.

The most noticeable difference is the wide ribbon added to the front of each armhole.

The idea came from this season's Valentino.


The split cape overlay covers the the front and back of each upper arm. It's warmer than the sleeveless cut, therefore suitable for fall. Better yet, it can flatter your arms.

Many women have concerns about their upper arms, in which fat deposits very easily. Even skinny women may have somewhat fatty upper arms, and each upper arm tends to appear thicker when viewed from the side. That's how coverage along the front and back of the upper arm can drastically improve the side view.


I had a tailor straighten the below-the-waist gathering of the dress in order to obtain the same heart print fabric for the Valentino-inspired design, but that didn't give us enough fabric for both front and back and coverage.

As you can see, the original dress was shorter, about two inches above my knees. Although straightening the skirt somehow lengthened the dress by approximately two inches, I felt fine about the new length and didn't want to pay more for cutting more fabric. So, I chose to only cover the front of the too big armholes of the dress in order to resolve my main concern: armpit fat.

Since my upper arms are on the thin side to begin with, just covering the front does an adequate job. However, covering both the front and the back would make each of the upper arms appear even thinner in the side view.

By the way, I didn't exactly copy the front of the Valentino design. As you see, the bottom of my wide ribbons are not horizontal lines; they slant toward the center.

The diagonal lines draw attention to the center and optically whittle the middle. My short waist therefore looks narrower than usual. Just compare this photo with the one taken in February. Don't you agree that I look skinnier in the altered dress? I haven't lost any weight. The optical effect all comes from the alterations!

Aren't you tempted to do the same? If your high-end sleeveless dress is in a solid color rather than a print like mine, you don't even need to take the dress apart for fabric. You can easily find a wide ribbon of the same color at a fabric store for the flattering and trendy addition to the armholes.

In case you don't have a name brand dress in your closet, it's time to buy a sleeveless one from a past season on line for a deep discount and a great opportunity to update it as I did! Happy shopping!


Flatter Your Figure

Flatter Your Figure is a weekly blog on about how to make the latest fashion work for real women of all body types. It presents a new post every Wednesday or Thursday.