Let Inga Tell You: How to ignore internet wardrobe advice
As anyone who has been reading my column for a while knows, I’m a sucker for “listicles,” those popular website lists like “What your car/phone/plants say about you” and “12 ways to lose 30 pounds in a week.”
So it wasn’t too surprising that when I saw “10 styling tips that will instantly slim you down,” I had to go for it. Especially after the 15-month food felony that was the COVID pandemic.
The one thing that was clear about this listicle is that it was not geared to my demographic. I may not be in the pastel polyester pantsuit crowd just yet, but for me, it’s all about comfort. Unless I get a spinal transplant, there is no way a pair of heels will ever grace my feet again.
So here are the 10 listicle suggestions:
(1) “Invest in shapewear, particularly a seamless slenderizing piece that has reinforced panels to suck in your stomach, slim your thighs, boost your derriere and define your waist when wearing bodycon dresses, clingy skirts, tight pants or evening gowns.” First, what is a “bodycon” dress? Does Land’s End sell them? Actually, it doesn’t really matter because I’m pretty sure I don’t own one, or for that matter, any clingy skirts, tight pants or evening gowns. Whew! Dodged the fat-squisher bullet!
(2) “In terms of skirts, a knee-length pencil skirt is the most universally flattering silhouette.” Are you kidding? The only silhouettes that pencil skirts flatter are pencil-shaped people. The rest of us look like fermenting pork sausages.
(3) “Say ’yes’ to higher-rise jeans.” They advise “going for a rise that hits directly above your belly button.” That’s their idea of “high rise”? I will say no more.
(4) “Rock out with vertical stripes.” I will concede that vertical stripes can make a person look “longer.” But we chunkies tend to eschew stripes altogether. For good reason.
(5) “Cinch with skinny belts to accentuate your natural waist.” What if you have no waist? Of course, I make up for it by having multiples of other parts, like chins. And thighs. But it makes the whole skinny belt thing moot.
(6) “Don’t discount maxi skirts; a well-cut maxi skirt can actually give you the appearance of looking longer and leaner.” I’d totally agree, so long as you weigh a maximum of 95 pounds. The rest of us look like a beluga whale about to give birth.
(7) “Buy a new bra.” I don’t know what it is about aging, but bras keep getting more and more uncomfortable as you get older. For me, it didn’t help that I got my chest crushed and three thoracic vertebrae permanently destabilized by a drunk driver a few years ago. But maybe I wouldn’t be any happier with bras even if hadn’t had this accident. I was telling a friend that the first thing I do when I get home is take off my bra. She said she usually takes hers off in the car.
(8) “Choose heels with a low-cut vamp.” A vamp, apparently, is the portion of a shoe that cuts across your foot at the front, which allegedly gives your legs a slimmer look, even as it cuts off circulation to your toes. A high-vamp shoe comes up the foot and possibly up to the ankle. (Do Orthofeet lace-up walking shoes count?)
(9) “Mask problem areas with dark colors and highlight assets with bright colors.” Not a bad concept, but what if your whole body is a problem area? Do you wear all black?
(10) “Wear all black.” You were probably waiting for me to shoot this one down just like I did the first nine, but this one I could (mostly) get behind. OK, I don’t wear all black, which seems a tad funereal. But I’m really big on the slenderizing effect of black slacks. When my young granddaughter was visiting one weekend, she queried, “Mormor, why do you always wear the same thing?” As I explained to her, it only looks like the same thing. Mormor actually has eight pairs of those black slacks (and at least as many white tops, the combination of which I admit makes me look like a server at a trendy trattoria). It is my personal opinion that black slacks best minimize years of abuses of chocolate and chardonnay. I wear them with colorful tops and sweaters, even if they bring attention to areas that No. 9 suggests I shouldn’t be highlighting. But tough luck. I like color.
Unlike my college years, when I wore miniskirts to sub-zero college football games (can you say “bronchitis”?), I am no longer willing to suffer for fashion. And I would aver that all the camouflaging tricks in the world won’t help chubby folks like me look good in anything that’s tight.
Sorry, listiclist lady. That’s the word from the trenches.
Inga’s lighthearted looks at life appear regularly in the La Jolla Light. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. ◆
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