Most Irish women are an apple or a pear, but the trick is no matter what your shape, you hide and emphasise using clothes and visual tricks to pull yourself towards an hourglass shape.
Apples carry weight on their stomachs, breasts and rear but generally have fairly slim arms and legs, so can get away with short skirts but they need tops that are at the tightest point just under the chest.
Pears meanwhile, tend to carry more weight on their hips and need to widen their top half so it balances with their more curvaceous lower half: so wear cap sleeve tops ( a very short sleeve) and make your jackets wider at the shoulder with a nipped-in waist, while skirts and trousers are most flattering if they skim hips.
Plus size-model Louise O’Reilly from Morgan the Agency says if you’re trying on clothes that cut into any you, pull or are just too small; put them back on the shelf.
‘You’ll not feel your best in uncomfortable clothes and you’ll avoid wearing them.’ Known for her blog stylemecurvy, Louise says she’s particularly inundated with questions about swimwear right now.
“There’s so much lovely stuff out there, Penneys do bigger sizes as do Tesco, some good sites for swimwear are swimsuitforall, forever21 and Littlewoods and Debenhams are brilliant, especially for busy mums short on time.
A tip I’d have is to buy a really good brand tankini, like Freya, and team it with different bikini bottoms from Penneys. Swimsuits are big this summer anyway and lots have tummy control.”
As well as not buying ‘too tight’ remember to avoid ‘shapeless’ clothes as they’ll only make you look bigger. Also, the same colour top and bottom will make you look longer.
Visit Louise’s blog or fish out your old Trinny and Susannah or Gok Wan bibles to learn how to love your shape for summer.
Do this to instantly feel slimmer advises plus-size model Hannah Cunningham from 1st Option. “Personally I like tinted moisturiser, I also use Nuxe dry oil which gives a lovely gold shimmer on my collar bone or down the middle of my legs.”
A good body scrub before you tan, is also a must, Louise O’Reilly likes brands Sanctuary or Voya to exfoliate all the rough skin from elbows, knees and feet.
Vicki Mooney, who set up Ireland’s first plus size model agency, V+ Models, says many women who are bigger feel uncomfortable about going to beauticians and miss out on all the fab beauty pick me ups.
“Beauticians have seen it all and they only want women to feel good about themselves,” says the TV3 plus style advisor, who adds even getting your eyelashes tinted will give you a boost.
Treatments which can add to the holiday feelgood factor are; facials which tone the face and neck and wraps or tummy treatments which can help you feel tighter even after one session.
While beauticians can offer some wonder treatments, if you have any ‘exercise in minutes’ DVD’s, such as Clare Nasir’s Bootcamp and some small weights lying around, you’d be surprised how much you’ll tighten up in a week.
Also, if you’ve ever been to Pilates, remember you can pulse that core tummy muscle while doing dishes, standing in the shower or even watching TV!
Drop pasta, increase veg, get a good night sleep and drink more water. Vicki Mooney says she does this a week before hols or even 48 hours before to get a flatter tum and a fantastic glow.
If your mother always told you to stand up straight – she was giving good advice. When we feel heavier we’re tempted to shy away from the camera, but the slumped look just emphasises all our bad points, ironically you need to embrace the camera instead.
Practice in front of a mirror standing up straight with shoulders back. A hand on your hip instantly guards against a squashed fat arm look, and a hand placed on a slightly jutted out hip, will shave off pounds.
You can also stand with your legs together to the knees but turn one foot out slightly. Celebs on the red carpet practice these poses for a reason – they work. Next study your face in the mirror – everybody has a better side. Also notice if you elongate your neck, then lower your chin slightly, the fat on your neck melts away.
If sitting, sit up straight and push your boobs out to bring shoulders back. Everyone generally has the odd photo they like of themselves, see what you were doing in it and try to replicate that look more.
When you don’t like being in photos it’s generally because you haven’t practiced enough, even celebs take the occasional bad shot but quickly learn with practice how to pull off their best poses.
Make sure you get in all your practising before you go on hols though so you look natural in pics and always smile – it’s relaxing.
Make up applied craftily can make you look younger, but it can also make your face look slimmer with clever shading. Highlight your cheekbones or use shimmer with a big brush to slim your neck and jawline. For holidays, Vicki Mooney packs Stila One Step Correct.
Vicki is a fan of the ‘big hat and big bag’ while Hannah Cunningham recommends the ‘statement’ ring as chunky jewellery works better than ‘delicate’ pieces. Don’t forget a colourful sarong and remember; wedges or pumps slim chunky calves.
Avoid ankle straps on shoes though as they shorten the leg. A hat, sunglasses or even a glass gives your hand a prop and helps you relax before the camera clicks.
Don’t make the mistake of going on holiday without getting your hair cut and coloured. It’s a brave woman who’ll change her style before her hols, but hair longer than your jawline, a staggered fringe instead of blunt and heavy, and a style which gives you more height will all make your face slimmer.
Pack some argon oil to calm down tresses battered by sea water and wind. If you’re worried about roots showing, have an instant touch up on hand. Buy a temporary hair colour stick, hair mascara or mousse. Get advice from your hairdresser.
Lastly, be nice to yourself. “Don’t get on the scales before you go on hols, it’s not going to put you in the right mood,” advises Vicki Mooney, ‘don’t have all black, have some fun with colour,” says Hannah Cunningham, and “remember everybody on the beach is more worried about how they look than how you look, so relax and enjoy yourself,’ advises Louise O’Reilly.