Wear black to look fat

20:15, Apr 22 2010

If I could do anything to help fat women in the world anywhere right this minute it would be this: to get you to throw out your black tops, leggings, skirts, jeans and not-so-little black dresses and start to wear colour to instantly lose size.

I know that for many of us this does not make sense. For the more universally rotund of us, we were told that black was a slimming colour, that makes the pounds shrink away like nothing else. But actually it doesn't. It just makes you look like a little black ball of roundness.

I learned this when I started to appear on television. Nothing gives you an idea of every imperfection than the lights and eagle eye of a television camera. While I still do make mistakes, I've learnt several really good tips that don't just help on air, but also help in the real world too.

The first is to wear colour. Caroline Marr, creative director of The Carpenter's Daughter, a New Zealand plus-size fashion label, explains it's part of accepting who we are in the first place. As she says, "we take up more space in a room anyway, so we may as well look like we are there because we mean it". Colour helps us to feel more confident, which naturally helps us to put our best foot forward. It adds light to our skin tones, and it breaks up our silhouette, no matter how unshapely, into shapelier pieces.

I found that going to parties where tiny people were all wearing LBD was the perfect time to get into colour. Standing next to them in a picture felt far more comfortable if I was wearing something other than black. I would actually look smaller if I looked different than if I looked as if I were their long-lost heffalump twin, squeezed into a black ensemble of my own. And if I found something that would rival anything someone might wear for Boobquake Day, then all the better!

Of course wearing all one colour can just change that black ball into a red or purple or orange one, so it's important to mix it up a little. But wearing a colour or two that suits you can honestly make you look a size smaller than wearing the same outfit in black.


I wear a lot of Nicki McClintock clothes for this reason. They're colourful and vibrant and she designs for the hourglass shape in the main. TCD also use a lot of colour and while they have hourglass shapes too, they often have a really good amount of clothes for women a little pear-shaped.

If you aren't sure what shape you are, you could be one of four basic types.

I do have a few black items in my wardrobe, but if I do wear it, it's with a lot of colour aorund it. And yes, sometimes I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb against the blacks and greys of New Zealand women. But I for one can't go back to black. It just makes me feel fat.

What is your wardrobe looking like? Do you have mainly blacks or do you love to wear colour? Do you tihnk it's hard to move out of your comfort zone when it comes to what you wear?  

Rachel Goodchild is on Twitter and Facebook.