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What colors make you look thinner & slimmer

A basic understanding of how colors can be used to accentuate a plus-sized figure can be a real asset while shopping. When used correctly in clothing, colors can make your body appear slimmer and conceal any areas you’d rather not show off.

If you don’t use flattering colors or patterns, though, you run the risk of wearing items that create the illusion of more weight. If you aren’t sure how to use colors to appear thinner, you aren’t alone. Take a look at this basic guide for finding clothes with flattering and slimming colors and patterns.

plus size model wearing burgundy knit dress.

A guide to slimming colors


Whether you’re talking about bathroom paint colors, abstract art, or clothing, one rule remains the same: dark colors recede, and light colors advance. What does this mean for you? Light-colored clothing (white, cream, ivory, yellow) will draw the eye and stand out, making the area it’s covering appear prominent and larger. For instance, if you want to make your legs and hips appear thinner, opt for dark skinny jeans and pants, and avoid wearing khakis, white pants, or even light denim.

On the other hand, dark-colored clothing (black, navy, forest green) will diminish the appearance of whatever it’s covering, making it seem smaller and slimmer.

Light-colored clothing will draw the eye and stand out!

Headshot for monroe & main
Woman wearing pink jacket with black and pink skirt

Just because it’s universally slimming does not mean you should feel like you must have an all-black wardrobe. Here are some ways to use bright or light colors in your outfits to look skinnier.

Layer Colors Strategically

Layering light colors under dark ones is a clever styling technique that allows you to harness the best of both worlds when it comes to fashion. For instance, pairing a crisp white or a soft, light-colored blouse with a structured black or navy blazer, or even a fitted cardigan, can yield a polished and sophisticated look that works wonders for plus-size women. This combination serves a dual purpose: it not only adds an element of elegance to your outfit but also creates a visual illusion that can make you appear taller and slimmer.

The key to this technique lies in the interplay between the dark and light elements. The dark outer layer provides a sense of depth and coverage, helping to downplay areas you might want to minimize, while the light inner layer acts as a focal point, drawing the eye upward. The contrast between these two colors can elongate your body, enhancing your overall silhouette.

Furthermore, this approach allows for versatility in your wardrobe. You can experiment with different combinations of dark and light colors to suit various occasions and personal preferences. Whether you’re going for a professional, chic, or casual look, strategically layering colors empowers you to make the most of your clothing choices while feeling confident and stylish.

plus-size model wearing a cream jacket with jeans and a white purse.

A bright-colored statement piece

Incorporating a bright-colored statement piece into a plus-size outfit can be a clever way to create a visually appealing and slimming effect. This bold element immediately becomes the focus of your ensemble, drawing attention away from areas you may want to downplay.

If the statement piece features vertical patterns, like stripes, it can also elongate your silhouette, making you appear taller and leaner. To maintain balance, pair the bold piece with neutral or darker colors in the rest of your outfit, creating a harmonious contrast. This technique not only enhances your appearance but also boosts your confidence, as wearing vibrant colors can empower you to radiate self-assuredness.

Additionally, consider accessorizing strategically with bright-colored items like scarves or shoes to add pops of color without overwhelming your outfit. Ultimately, remember that fashion is a form of self-expression, so choose statement pieces that align with your personal style and make you feel fantastic. With the right balance and fit, a bright-colored statement piece can be a versatile and empowering addition to your plus-size wardrobe, helping you look and feel slimmer while showcasing your personality.

Plus size model wearing a pink top with a black skirt
All Dolled Up Tunic

Balance your body proportions

For plus-size women with smaller upper bodies and curvier hips and thighs aiming to accentuate their hourglass figure, the key lies in balancing proportions. One effective technique is to contrast dark bottoms with brightly colored tops. This approach draws attention to the upper body, creating a sense of proportion that showcases curves. A pastel-colored button-up blouse paired with a black skirt, for instance, can beautifully execute this strategy. The light-colored top adds vibrancy and focuses on the bust and shoulders, while tucking it into a black skirt defines the waistline, emphasizing the hourglass shape.

Selecting the right silhouettes also plays a crucial role. Look for tops with V-necks or wrap-style designs to enhance the bust and elongate the neckline. Additionally, consider cinched-waist dresses or belts to further accentuate your curves.

Ultimately, fashion should prioritize comfort and confidence. Experiment with colors, styles, and accessories to discover what makes you feel your best, as fashion is not just about looking good but also expressing your unique personality and feeling fantastic in your own skin.

Slimming colors other than black 

Does black make you look slimmer? Absolutely. But, while black is renowned for its slimming effect, it’s worth exploring other dark hues that can also enhance and slim your appearance. Dark greens like forest or emerald green, deep reds such as burgundy, navy blue, and various shades of gray provide stylish alternatives. These colors not only create a visually flattering and slenderizing appearance but also infuse excitement and sophistication into your wardrobe.

When incorporating these slimming colors, experiment with a range of clothing items, from blazers to dresses and trousers, keeping in mind the importance of fit and tailoring. To maximize the effect, strategically combine these dark shades with complementary elements like accessories or lighter-colored tops. This approach allows you to craft well-balanced and versatile outfits that boost your confidence and overall style.

While black remains a reliable choice, these alternative dark colors offer an exciting way to diversify your fashion and achieve the same slimming and flattering results.

Plus size model wearing a navy floral long sleeve top with jeans, holding a blue purse.


Using color patterns

Like colors, patterns can also create the illusion of slimness or added weight depending on how you wear them. Here’s a guide to wearing some common patterns:

Slimming Stripes 

When it comes to using patterns to create a slimming effect, stripes are a game-changer in fashion. The key lies in understanding the distinction between horizontal and vertical stripes. Vertical stripes, running from top to bottom, are your best choice for achieving a taller and slimmer appearance. They create a long, uninterrupted line along your body, drawing the eye up and down, which makes you appear more elongated and thinner. These stripes work well on various clothing items, from pants to dresses, helping to create a leaner overall look.

Conversely, horizontal stripes, which run from side to side, have the opposite effect. They can make the covered area appear wider. As a general guideline, if you want to downplay certain body areas, it’s advisable to steer clear of clothing with horizontal stripes. However, if you enjoy horizontal stripes, consider balancing them with solid-colored pieces or accessories to maintain a visually harmonious ensemble.

Be mindful of stripe size and spacing, as these factors can impact the degree of slimming illusion. Selecting patterns and widths that align with your style and preferences empowers you to make fashion choices that enhance your body’s natural shape while boosting your confidence and sense of style.

plus, sized model wearing a long sleeve black printed sparkly dress.

Color blocks to look slimmer 

Color blocking is a sophisticated and strategic fashion technique that uses two or three different colors in graphic shapes to create a visually flattering silhouette, especially for curvy women. By juxtaposing colors in specific areas of clothing, it draws attention, adds interest, and can make you appear slimmer when done effectively.

The key to successful color blocking lies in strategically placing dark-colored panels, often along the sides or around the waist, as dark hues naturally create depth and minimize certain areas. When used this way, dark panels help define curves and create the illusion of a more slender figure, enhancing your overall silhouette and adding sophistication to your look.

A color block dress, thoughtfully designed with these principles in mind, becomes a powerful asset in a plus-size woman’s wardrobe. These dresses are tailored to flatter your figure by accentuating your best features and concealing areas you may want to downplay. Seek out dresses that emphasize your natural waist, incorporate vertical lines for added height, and strategically use darker shades to create optical illusions.

By incorporating color blocks into your clothing choices, you can personalize your style while benefiting from their flattering effects, boosting your confidence, and making a statement in the world of plus-size fashion.

Two plus size models walking across the street in printed clothing.

Busy color patterns

Selecting patterns wisely is essential for curvy women looking to enhance their appearance. Large, busy patterns can often be overwhelming, so it’s advisable to opt for patterns with very small designs if you’re drawn to busy patterns. Small all-over patterns, like tiny florals or microdots, work exceptionally well for curvy figures. These patterns offer several advantages, including the ability to camouflage any areas of concern, such as the belly, bottom, or thighs. By diverting attention with their intricate design, small patterns create a smoother and more streamlined appearance.

Small patterns also bring visual harmony and balance to your outfits without overwhelming your frame. They are versatile, allowing you to incorporate patterns into various clothing items while maintaining a flattering look.

Additionally, consider the color scheme within the pattern, as darker backgrounds with smaller, lighter patterns can further enhance the illusion of a slimmer figure. Ultimately, the choice of patterns should align with your personal style and make you feel confident and comfortable, allowing you to embrace your unique beauty with ease and self-assuredness.

plus-size model wearing a blue printed dress

Do you have tips to share? Comment below!

Comments (11)

Where can I find the last dress in this article?

Sorry Kate! We do not have this dress in stock. Would you be interested in any of our other dresses? Take a look here: https://www.monroeandmain.com/c/clothing/dresses/

I 110% agree. There is NO point in putting a slender woman in a pic when we heavier women want advice on what to wear with OUR body types.

This information was great. And I agree with the models being more appropriate. Should have something to address the issue of age as well. As an older woman, I don’t think I should be dressing like belong to the younger generation. Another area for us older women is our “Angel wings”.

I’m disappointed that all the models in this article are not even close to a plus size so one does not get a true idea of how the dress would actually look. I would suggest using models that fit the subject.

Im size 10/12 and feel rlly fat

Wow, Amazing
thanks
tech pack

I wish that when referring to plus size suggestions a plus size model was used for the photos.

I was just thinking the same thing. 🙁

Mother of the groom. Brides momwearing long dress. I’m size 26 .my stomach. Is my biggest. Part

Looking for a summer dress good slimming lines not too tight fitting size 16

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