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Is it your clothes that are making you look fat?

Nationally known style expert Charla Krupp demonstrates more than 1,000 ways to dress thinner without dieting. In "How to Never Look Fat Again," Krupp shares the secret to always dressing slim.
/ Source: TODAY books

After sharing her secrets to beat the visual effects of aging in “How to Not Look Old,” nationally known style expert Charla Krupp is back to show you how to keep your look slim and fashionable. In “How to Never Look Fat Again,” Krupp demonstrates how to make smart, strategic choices to keep your wardrobe flattering. Here’s an excerpt.

It’s not you; it’s your clothes.

How else do you explain why on some days you look your thinnest and on other days, not so much — when you weigh exactly the same?

There are high-fat clothes and no-fat clothes and those (low-fat) in-between. Most of us have all three categories — high fat, low fat, and no fat — hanging in our closets and filling our drawers.

As weight-conscious women, we are aware of calories as well as fat grams. We are constantly monitoring what we put in our mouths. If you have an entire pizza for dinner, you are not likely to top it off with a rich dessert. Because pizza alone is going to max out your calories and fat intake, pretty much no matter what diet you’re on. Now if you stayed no-fat all day, when the dessert cart rolls up, you may feel like you can indulge in one perfect chocolate chip cookie. This daily internal negotiation that we have with food — “I’ll eat this, I won’t eat that” — is the same principle we need to apply to clothes: “I’ll buy this, I won’t buy that.”

Just like you wouldn’t keep Mallomars in the kitchen if you were trying to lose weight, you shouldn’t store fattening choices in your closet if you want to look slim. Same concept.

Making strategic clothing choices for your specific body issues is the secret to dressing Fit Not Fat! Of course, you can (and should) diet and exercise, but neither of those are going to get you looking ten pounds thinner, ten years younger, and ten times sexier by tonight.

Here’s how to look Fit Not Fat in a super-fattening big floral-print full skirt: Don’t top it off with an equally fattening oversized white cotton blouse on top with full sleeves. Instead, keep your top half (and everything else on your body) slim because you have maxed out your fat allowance with the skirt. So you choose a stretchy V-neck top that hugs your body and fabulously shows off your toned upper half — neck, shoulders, décolletage, waist, and arms. You don’t have a fabulous upper body to compensate for the super-fattening skirt? No problem — don’t wear the skirt. Instead, go head to toe in a monochromatic dress or pants look. Which, as you will find out in the pages to come, doesn’t have to be black and doesn’t need to be boring.

Let’s face it, stressing out about “What can I wear and not look fat?” consumes too much of our time — trying on clothes, looking in the mirror, figuring out if we look fat — and then we are forever returning our miscalculations.

You don’t want to wear more than one piece of high-fat clothing per outfit. Ideally, you want all your clothes to be zero fat. Fashion designers, stylists, tailors, and good personal shoppers all know what pieces make you look Fit Not Fat.

Now you will, too, because in each chapter you’ll find various of pieces of clothing categorized into high-fat and no-fat lists. Please note that the same piece can be high fat for one body issue and no fat for another. So no angry letters, please! Once you have the list for your body issue, you will be able to assess how fattening that piece of clothing on the rack will be on your body, before you waste time bringing it into the dressing room. Why is this important? Of course, it’s best if you can actually try everything on, but really, who has the time? If you can size up the fat factor in a nanosecond, you’ll have more time to do all those other more important things in life. (And you’ll look Fit Not Fat doing them, too.)

This book is dedicated to fast-tracking your “Do I look fat?” quandaries. Once we collectively nail this fat issue, we will move on with the self-assuredness of a woman who knows that she looks Fit Not Fat and therefore is in control. One great role model is Michelle Obama, who is not a size 2 but always looks strong and confident and pleased with herself, in whatever she wears.

Four basic ingredients pretty much determine whether a garment or accessory is fattening: shape, fabric, color, and fit. To assess the fat content of a piece of clothing or accessory in the abstract, we have to massively generalize. So please cut me some slack if you do indeed find a Pucci print puffer coat that makes you look ten pounds thinner! Fit is the wild card here. Only you and your three-way mirror can figure it out. A good tailor can help ensure a great fit, but sometimes a tailor will convince you to salvage a piece that is simply not worth salvaging. (Just like a sales associate in a department store will tell you that something looks fabulous when you know it doesn’t. It’s called being on commission.) Reject a piece sooner rather than later, and you won’t be throwing good money after bad. Here’s to not having any more miscalculations, which are probably those clothes in your closet with the hangtags still on.

From the book “How to Never Look Fat Again: Over 1,000 Ways to Dress Thinner — Without Dieting” by Charla Krupp. Copyright © 2010 by Charla Krupp. Reprinted by arrangement with Grand Central Publishing, an imprint of Hachette Book Group.  All rights reserved.