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Flatter Your Figure --- Reinventing a Red Valentino

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Here I am in a Red Valentino dress, but it's a bit different than the way it came originally.

I've made two changes. The first one is more noticeable---the two panels I had a tailor add to the armholes of the dress. Somehow the armholes of dresses tend to be too big for my arms, so I often have fabric added to them as their trims. These are the widest armhole trims I've got.

The fabric came from the skirt of the same dress. I had to order the dress one size bigger for my big boobs, and that gave me extra fabric in the bottom, from which I had a tailor obtain fabric to make these two panels (with a scalloped ribbon added around each) to cover the armholes.

The point of trimming armholes is to cover armpit fat, which even skinny women may have and big armholes are bound to reveal. Trimmed armholes will especially flatter your side view.

See, the wide trim totally covers the armpit. In case you have a little extra fat in the upper arms, such armhole trims will hide it, too. So, I highly recommend adding armhole trims to sleeveless dresses. Even if you can't get enough fabric from the dress itself to create the trims, you can always buy a wide ribbon in an identical or similar color to do the same job. For instance, you can alternatively use a wide black ribbon to make armhole trims for this dress.

You may notice my pink pillbox hat, which is retro but NEVER ever goes out of style. When those of us over 30 put on a girly dress like this one I'm wearing, accessorizing with a pillbox hat will make the ensemble appear more sophisticated and age-appropriate. You can pick a black pillbox hat if pink seems too showy to you.

Speaking of accessories, Christian Dior is now making chokers chic. I've always loved chokers because they bring attention up and may optically lengthen my short torso. The pink rose my fabric choker features was perfect for the past Valentine's weekend and will continue to work fabulously in spring.

Now, let's move on to the less apparent change I've made to the Red Valentino dress --- straightening the below-the-waist gathering. 

If you work out hard to get a flat ab, definitely keep the below-the-waist area of your dress flat, too! Below-the-waist gathering causes two problems: 1) it may optically give you a tummy while you don't really have one; 2) it will enlarge your midsection.

Look! The model probably has a 24-inch waist, but her waist doesn't look small at all in this picture, just because of the below-the-waist gathering. By contrast, my 26-inch waist looks more defined because my dress has no gathering and I belt it. The black bow of my belt particularly brings attention to the center and creates a slimming illusion.

Wouldn't you alter your Red Valentino or other name brand dresses and accessorize in the same ways I did to flatter your figure?

(The photos below serve as hot links to the outlet of Neiman Marcus as long as the products are available.)

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.

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