You could chalk it up to a case of "when ill-fitting clothes happen to good people," but whatever the underlying cause of our most dreaded style dilemmas may be, we're putting a (full) stop to them in 2015. Here's the thing: we, like many, are not exempt from the perils of muffin top, underarm fat, back fat, "mum butt" — you get the picture. But, rather than accentuate our not-so-sexy features, we're looking to disguise, conceal, and banish those unflattering bits with some strategic styling (and, of course, a healthy lifestyle). It's all about emphasising what we love most about our bodies — and, OK, looking insanely good in an LBD, à la Brigitte Bardot — so no more fashion snafus from here on out. Just keep reading to learn how to update your look for the New Year.
The problem: Muffin top
Styling solution: Friends don't let friends fall victim to the muffin-top look. So, we're telling you now: size up. Chances are, you think that by increasing your jean size, you'll lose that form-fitting feel elsewhere. Don't worry, you won't. In fact, it'll look (and feel) better now that you don't have that added layer of extra skin pouring over the jean waistline. Another rule of thumb? Avoid extreme low-rise cuts. If you must wear a low-rise, draw attention away from the midsection with tops that don't cling (less taper!) and avoid belts if possible. For dire straits (and we've all been there), you can always opt for high-waist shapewear, too. Our favourite of the moment — Spanx Heaven High Waisted Thong ($100).
The problem: Flat butt
Styling solution: We can't all be blessed with Bar Refaeli's derrière, but we also don't have to settle for "mum butt," either. To make sure your backside looks great in that new LBD, look for underwear with posterior padding or some serious butt-lifting shapewear. We're not joking about either option. In addition, you should look for jeans that feature more defined back pockets and are tailored with strategic darting and seams. If you're not in the market to spend more where your jeans are concerned, just remember: wearing heels will provide insta-lift and improve posture, and steer clear of high-waisted pants at all costs.
The problem: Underarm flab
Styling solution: Whatever you want to call it — "underarm flab," "bye byes," "chicken wings," and so on — it exists and we've all experienced some level of it. In most scenarios, this is a symptom of a bra not fitting correctly. So, first on the agenda? Have a proper bra fitting (go up one cup size and down one band size) and get the coverage that doesn't leave excess skin/fat popping out at the sides. After the undergarments are sorted out, look to sweetheart necklines and thick-strap tank tops for a more flattering cut. The silhouettes to avoid on top? Cap sleeves, strapless cuts, and too-tight tanks.
The problem: Thick thighs
Styling solution: Having thick thighs isn't the problem so much as it is the reason why the fabric you're wearing rubs together and eventually wears out or pills. Thick tights and bike-shorts-style shapers will help reduce chafing, while also sculpting the thigh area. Instead of wearing miniskirts that may not emphasise your assets to the fullest, try a sexy knit pencil skirt. The knit texture will give a little more, and the shape will hit all the right notes.
The problem: Cankles
Styling solution: Whatever you do, take off those ankle straps. No, seriously, that particularly silhouette does nothing to define the shape of your calf-to-ankle region. To give the appearance of more slender ankles, you have options: wear a T-strap style, nude pointy-toe pumps, or low-cut boots. The goal here is to visually lengthen the leg, so don't wear a shoe that cuts off or at the ankle.
The problem: Back fat
Styling solution: No one wants to wear a sexy dress or a revealing tank top and realise they're battling a case of back fat. First thing's first: don't wear clingy fabrics like jersey or ill-fitting silk. Then, invest in a front-closure bra that not only fits well, but also features smoothing panels. If you're wearing a dress that has a latticed back (or something that draws more attention to the back area), make sure you are wearing a dress that fits, but isn't snug.