Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tips & Tricks: Using Your "Skinny Bits"

Well, girls, I've about used up my blog time this afternoon pathetically begging for my other blog (see my previous post :-)), but I do want to share with you quickly another of the many tips & tricks I learned in my years in the clothing biz.

This one's about your "Skinny Bits".

"Skinny Bits" is a rag trade term that refers to the two faithful parts of a woman's body that stay slim, no matter what, 99.9999% of the time.  No matter the shape of the rest of you, your Skinny Bits are always on standby to help you look taller, longer and leaner.  And they reliably work their magic every single time you ask them to.  I always thought "Skinny Bits" was a wonderful, well-deserved, vaguely British, fabulously cheeky-sounding term to use to name two such magnificent body parts. 

Your Skinny Bits are:
  • Your forearms from mid-elbow down and
  • Your upper chest and neck; specifically, the V-shaped area that starts just at the top of a little peek of cleavage (that's the bottom of the V) and extends upward in a fairly narrow V to include your upper chest, a bit of collarbone area and your neck.
For some mysterious reason my partner and I always had a lot of short women as customers, and "Skinny Bits" became their second favorite fashion trick (right behind "Find Your Perfect Skirt Length").

The trick is all about creating the illusion of more length, leanness, and height for you using visual "V" silhouettes.  Here's how the Skinny Bits help you do this.
Your neck/chest Skinny Bit area helps to draw the human eye (the person looking at you, in other words) in the shape of a "V".  Your observer will naturally and not at all consciously be drawn to look from your shoulder to your other shoulder to your waist.  The impression that's subtly created is that YOU are "V"-shaped.  Oo-la-la, shades of Barbie.  Who doesn't want to have a tinier waist??  Your neck/chest SB also creates visual length for your neck, which is universally flattering to the face.  Of course, the easiest way to highlight the neck/chest Skinny Bit is by wearing V-necked blouses and cardigans (with a tiny bit of cami showing -- that's fine and doesn't break the visual line).  But don't worry if you're wearing a crew or scoop-necked top --- just create more visual length from your neck down (the illusion of a V-neck, if you will) by wearing mid-length necklaces that hang in that "V" shape.

    Your forearms Skinny Bit also helps you create a subtle visual "V" shape -- this time, an inverted V that's formed by looking UP your arm (which hangs, of course, slightly away from your body), to your armpit, then down the side of your body back to your waist.  To get the human eye of your observer to travel that very flattering, very feminine inverted "V", simply push up your sleeves to just below the crook of your elbow.  Now your exposed, slim forearm (with a little eye-catching bling on it, perhaps) catches the eye, and starts the eye traveling UP to the elbow and thru the inverted "V" of this Skinny Bit.  The effect is to create a visually long, lean extension of your upper body.  Fabulous.  We used to tell our customers NEVER to wear their long-sleeved tops or casual jackets all the way to the wrist.  So girls, push those sleeves up and look at the difference in the mirror -- it's like you just lost 3 pounds, I'm tellin' ya.  If your sleeves are wide, fold them like you'd do the hem of jeans in the famous J. Crew "skinny fold".  The object is to have a slim-lined bunch of fabric at the elbow, not a big messy wad.
      By the way, the existence of the universally-flattering forearm Skinny Bit is precisely why 3/4-length-sleeved henleys and tees look good on almost everyone!

      One other tiny tip related to the forearm Skinny Bit:  When you buy a jacket, pay attention to how WIDE the sleeves are.  If they're bulky, especially below the elbow, have the sleeve tapered from top to bottom by a seamstress.  The technical term for this tapering (and you should ask to have this done with your trousers, too, when you have them hemmed, but that's a topic for another post) is "pegging" -- it means gradually narrowing from top to bottom, or in this case from shoulder to wrist.  Next time you try on a jacket in the store, fold back that wide sleeve and look at the difference in the mirror.  Once again, girls, this is one of those small expenditures that will make a HUGE difference in the way your clothes fit and look.

      That's it for now -- nothing complex here, just a ridiculously simple but never-fail trick or two to make you feel and look like a tall(er) drink of cool water!


      1. A-MAZ-ING! Now I know why v-necks are so much more flattering on me. You're right...this is just so simple but mind-blowing at the same time! Thanks so much :) Hope you have a great weekend!

      2. This and the skirt trick are wonderful! Who knew? This has never been covered before in all the fashion mags I am so addicted to- many thanks!


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