#186 Fixing Fashion Flaws

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"Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly."


Fashion Dos and Don'ts for Your New Figure
By Monica Ciociola

You've been working out for months, following a healthy eating plan, supporting one another on the Message Boards, and you're starting to see all your hard work pay off. Now that you've overcome the toughest part—losing the weight—don't blow it on the easy part—fashion. Nothing can erase months of hard work faster than the wrong fashion decision, like wearing pleated pants with a tapered leg, which, unless you're Teri Hatcher, will make you look like you swallowed a beach ball. Here's a simple list of dos and don'ts based on the body you've got now.

Pear Shaped/Bottom Heavy
Do wear

  • Shirts: Bright, colorful tops to draw attention away from your bottom. V-necks, open-collared shirts to put the focus on your face. Semi-fitted, tailored, button-down shirts to enhance your upper body.
  • Pants: Dark or neutral colors. Flat-front pants with a slightly lower-rise waist for a better fit. Straight or slightly boot-cut leg. Loose fabrics around your hips.
  • Skirts: Knee-length, A-line skirts to draw attention away from problem areas.

Don't wear

  • Shirts: Too baggy will make you look big all over. Too tight will accentuate your bottom heaviness.
  • Pants: Patterns, cargo pants, big pockets, or other fussy details will draw attention to your bottom.
  • Skirts: Miniskirts will accentuate heavy thighs.
Apple Shaped/Top Heavy
Do wear
  • Shirts: Neutral colors and solid patterns. Heavier, stretch fabrics that skim the body and give the illusion of a waist.
  • Pants: Flat-front pants with a lower-rise waist.
  • Skirts: Graceful, flowing, colorful printed skirts with a nice sheen to balance out your figure and give you more of an hourglass look. Skirts above the knee to play up nice legs.
Don't wear
  • Shirts: Full or puffy sleeves.
  • Pants: Too baggy will make you look big all over. Too tight will accentuate your top heaviness.
  • Skirts: Full skirts will make you look big all over.
Thick Legs
Do wear
  • Pants: Loose-fitting pants in a heavy material that glides over your legs. Straight-leg pants in a heavier fabric starting at the widest part of your leg, going straight down and breaking at the top of your shoe.
  • Skirts: Knee-length A-line skirts and dresses or cut on the bias will slenderize your legs.
Don't wear
  • Pants: Tight-fitting pants that cling to your legs will make them look thicker. Capri pants tend to cut your legs off at the calf and make them look wider and shorter.
  • Skirts: Tight-fitting or miniskirts will accentuate heavy thighs.
Girl Got Backside
Do wear
  • Pants: Medium-rise pants, flat-back pockets, and wide-leg pants will help balance out a big butt.
  • Shirts: Semi-fitted shirts that extend just over your pants will help trim a big butt.
Don't wear
  • Pants: High-waisted, tapered pants will make you look more rotund around the middle. Bulky back pockets will make your butt look bigger.
  • Shirts: Big, long shirts or sweaters will add more volume around your butt.
Too Well-Endowed
Do wear
  • Shirts: Discreet V-necks and open-collared shirts to draw attention to your face and neck.
Don't wear
  • Shirts: Fussy necklines and collars, patterns, and prints will make your chest look even bigger.
Flat Chested
Do wear
  • Shirts: Shirts with detail or pockets around your bustline. Layered, loose-fitting flowing shirts to add volume. Low, daring backs to show some skin.
Don't wear
  • Shirts: Plunging, scooped, revealing necklines will make you look even flatter.

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Got a Cold? Consider Giving Grandma a Call
Science shows that many "old wives' tales" actually work.
By Steve Edwards

During the cold season, your friends, neighbors, and coworkers will have no shortage of supposed cures. Most of these will begin with the words "Grandma used to say . . ." Here's a rundown of what science has to say about those oh-so-anecdotal remedies.

  • Chicken soup. The number-one icon of cold relievers, this one's been utilized on practically every Cold War TV show from Leave It to Beaver to Bonanza. And you know what? They were all right!

    Research published in the journal Chest revealed that this traditional cure-all is the most effective remedy to help you recover from a cold. Heat is the key, so any soup will work to a degree, as it promotes airway secretions and has a calming action on inflamed throats. But chicken soup's combination of fats, spices, and water seems to work best when it comes to breaking up mucus.

  • Hot toddy. When I was a kid, the best thing about being sick, well, besides being able to watch reruns of I Love Lucy and Speed Racer all day, was that I got to drink alcohol. A hot toddy's mixture of piping hot water, whiskey, and lemon can provide a lot of relief. Alcohol has an anti-inflammatory effect on mucous membranes and can help reduce fever. And according to Ron Eccles, director of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University, "Hot fluid has a demulcent and soothing action . . . those containing slightly bitter flavors such as lemon and citric acid are particularly beneficial."

  • Feed a cold; starve a fever. The jury's still out on this one. Dutch researchers have found that the balance of two chemicals that regulate the immune system seem to shift markedly when eating and fasting, leading to a theory that eating less during a cold may shorten its duration. However, most nutritionists would disagree, because your body needs more nutrients when fighting an illness. Balancing the two, meaning small and nutrient-dense meals at regular intervals, is probably the best compromise.

  • Garlic. Did your grandmother used to crush garlic and mix it with warm milk? Mine did, and I was never sold that this vile concoction did anything but scare my cold out of me. However, some research seems to show that large amounts of garlic can shorten the duration of a cold. Allicin, an active compound in garlic, is known to act as a decongestant, and garlic is known to have high antioxidant properties. So once again, Granny has been proven correct.

  • Sweat it out. This old wives' tale has merit, but not in the traditional manner. I used to get sent to bed with a hot water bottle inside my pajamas, but this seems to be the exact opposite of how to induce healthful perspiration. In fact, exercise is the key, according to Thomas Weidner of Ball State University. He has shown that light exercise in fresh air can ease a runny nose, sore throat, or sneezing.

  • Vitamin C. My mom, a nutritionist, used to load me up on vitamin C when I had a cold. This, I believe, she got from Linus Pauling, a chemist by training who was in reality much more akin to the Professor on Gilligan's Island—an authority on almost everything. Turns out that Professor Pauling, who lived to 93 years of age, nailed this one. According to a large review of clinical research at Helsinki University, regular doses of vitamin C may cut an adult's cold duration in half and a child's by a day.

  • Breathe steam. Ah, so fondly do I remember my head being shoved under a towel above a pot of boiling water. Once again, what I thought was nothing other than a scare tactic has been shown to work. Steam liquefies and loosens mucus, allowing clearance of the airwaves that can relieve coughs and nasal congestion.

  • Echinacea, et al. Unless you're Chinese, you probably didn't grow up with echinacea, astragalus, and all the other now-popular traditional Asian remedies on the market. Luckily for me, one of my best friends did. His mom had a cure for just about everything, and we'd sit around taste testing all sorts of weird-looking plants. I don't know whether or not the stuff worked, but the year I met him was the same year I stopped getting a two-week case of bronchitis every winter. Studies have shown varying effectiveness of most Chinese herbs, but the World Health Organization endorses echinacea and millions of Chinese have been swearing by it for centuries. And, hey, I stopped getting sick, too!

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