Boo! Yes, it's you in the mirror on the wall. If you get a fright when you get dressed every day, then it's time to try a few tricks of the fashion trade and feel good — not haunted — about the way you look in your clothes. Treat the person staring back at you to a whole new outlook on life. It may be time to brush away the cobwebs in your closet and flatter those devilish little style spirits that have been lurking deep inside your fashion psyche.
Start by thinking positive. We've all heard the message: Accentuate the positive, deny — I mean, eliminate — the negative. So, if you've always struggled with being too short, too tall, too this or too that, decide to make reality work for you instead, and play up your best assets.
Learn the art of camouflage. Then downplay your figure flaws. Dressing well is an art that can be learned. You may have to take some time and think about what you don't like about your body before you can learn to accept it for what it is and then "decorate" it. Many of us give up too soon and throw in the dressing room towel too fast.
Here are a few tricks: If you want to camouflage an ample stomach or large hips, go for tunic or blouson tops that are fingertip length. Stick to soft fabrics that flow over problem areas and don't cling. Try the popular long-over-lean look of long tops and jackets worn over leggings and skinny jeans. Just make sure your jacket or top is not too loose and has a slightly nipped-in waist for the most flattering silhouette. Remember to choose body-skimming clothes that fit. Save the baggy stuff for Halloween.
Have heavy legs? Camouflage them with tailored, flared trousers, which are runway hits this fall. Petites can add high heeled boots and shoes for more height. Steer clear of pleats, big patch pockets and oversized prints. Shiny textures will also make legs look heavier.
If you have more of a boyish figure, create curves with wide belts, full skirts and full trousers. Don't be afraid to experiment with pieces like big, boxy coats, which are trending this fall and winter.
Color can also play tricks on your clothes ... but in a good way. Wearing head-to-toe neutrals in dark shades has a very slimming effect. This fall, gray is a favorite neutral. If you like this easy style of dressing, make sure you punch it up by varying textures of the different pieces you wear. Mix a leather motorcycle jacket with a chiffon blouse and jeans. Bold brights like mustard yellow and lipstick red can also be stunning when worn tonally head to toe, as can candy-colored pastels.
And then there are all those prints and patterns floating around out there this year. And no, you don't have to boo them. But they can be tricky. If you're wary of patterned pandemonium, stick to small prints with low color contrast. Remember, the darker the background, the more slimming the effect. Pack the huge florals for your tropical vacation ... or, better yet, wear them to your neighbor's costume party.
To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.