Wear black to look fat

Last updated 08:15 23/04/2010

colour is more slimming than blackIf 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.

nicki mcclintockI 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.

51 comments
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mybobthedestroyer   #1   08:37 am Apr 23 2010

So what basic body type are you Rachel? And please don't say "same as the model in the Lane Bryant ad", or I won't be able to concentrate on work all day!

Lover of black   #2   08:43 am Apr 23 2010

Poor old black... I've heard this HEAPS but I really enjoy wearing black with splashes, a beautiful pink scarf, bright beaded neclace. It makes the pieces of colour stand out.

Only waering any one colour, as you said, is a no no. But I think black is an awesome base colour for an outfit.

As they say, black goes with everything.

NB. Thanks to Westpac black no longer goes with red.

Rachel   #3   08:46 am Apr 23 2010

Just this year I have brought a whole lot more colours. I find TS to really be great for having colour, and I also love Long Island peices and tops for adding a splash. I usually still wear black as a base - so as a singlet under a jacket or a skirt under a bright top, bright ballet flats and shoes, and really awesome jewellery also help to break up the black. I think a huge part of it is just stepping outside your comfort zone - its not like wearing black is hiding your size from those around you, so why not enjoy what your wearing - nothing like a bright red top to brighten a dreary day!

Alice2   #4   09:07 am Apr 23 2010

I'm a fan of colour too - especially in photos. Wearing a black top, I tend to look like a large expanse of black, but the same top in blue or green means that shadows add definition & you can tell the difference between boobs & stomach area. Like you, I do wear black sometimes, and occasionally a completely black outfit. But I save it for tailored pieces and situations where there aren't cameras, and break it up with flashes of colour.

I've found I look best in bright, jewel colours like purple & green, though with my red hair, sometimes I run the risk of having too much colour around me.

I like the look of TCD clothes, but they're a little mature for me, plus I could never bring myself to pay $200 for a single piece of clothing. Knowing me I'd rip it or drop something that stains on the first wearing.

Erty   #5   09:23 am Apr 23 2010

So very true Rachel. Recently I've been wearing a new top as part of my uniform at work (I work in a bank) and I've gone from wearing black or white everyday to wearing this rather bright blue. And I have received so many compliments about this top it's unbelieveable. Because of this, it's encouraged me to have a look around for some nice clothes in various colours and I definitely feel a lot more comfortable in them.

...Louise...   #6   09:26 am Apr 23 2010

But I like Black! There's no fuss over mixing and matching.... and it's as much about my age group as anything we wore black, grungy black fisherman's rib jerseys and black leggings - the most colourful we got was neon laces in our docs and tartan!

rachel Goodchild   #7   09:38 am Apr 23 2010

dear Bob #1 I'm an hourglass. Yeah- I think I'm going to be pretty similar to that model after I lose a little more weight. Naturally narrow waist, then very much less narrow chest and hips ;)

hope that's not too distracting ;)

Louisette   #8   09:43 am Apr 23 2010

Interesting, though I wonder whether different colours look better/worse on TV than in real life. I always got told that black is slimming, and I think everyone gets told that, but then many of the things we get told are wring on closer inspection. I've also been told that a full gathered skirt hides a large behind - wrong! I'm firmly of the opinion that cut is really important. LBDs are usually cut for a small frame and most clothes you can buy in NZ are cut for a rectangular body shape, so it's unlikely they'll flatter a larger figure or a curvy one.

I have a few plus sized mates and colleagues who really rock the black, but I think on TV it'd look blocky and attract attention to the volume. Here in Wellies there's also the fact that everyone wears similar black clothes so the similar clothing highlights any size differences.

My wardrobe contains a wide range of colours. I have black, black, and of course black. However my clothing theme for Winter 2010 is Psychedelic, so my wardrobe will soon be augmented by an op art jacket in black and <i>white</i>. Adventurous!

mybobthedestroyer   #9   09:45 am Apr 23 2010

@ Lover of black #2.

I think the saying is that black goes with every*one*. Eventually.

katier   #10   09:47 am Apr 23 2010

I wear black but always with bright colours as I get sick of seeing people wearing 4 shades of black, or black with charcoal.... And my favorite top at the moment is a black Merino TCD tie front cardigan I got in their garage sale. I'm wearing it today with last winter's black TCD skirt but thats just a coincidence! I do think we wear too much black and I really have to make an effort to avoid it as much as possible. I have a real craving for a bright red dress this winter- anyone else? Can't find one anywhere- only patterned ones with black:-(


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