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Most people think that wearing dark stockings is all you need to know about making heavy legs appear slimmer. Actually the main thing to remember is this:  Heavy legs should be glossed over and not made the center of attention. This means matching your shoes with your stockings, so that you have a long uninterrupted flow of color from the tip of your toes to your knees. And even better:  keep that line flowing, and away from the legs, by matching your skirt with your dress and shoes. Even with white. Even with red. Imagine a suit in red that is worn with red shoes and nude stockings. Because of their  "lightness and brightness" the legs will stand out more than with very sheer red stockings. And a red suit and red shoes worn with black stockings or very dark legs could stand out just as much. The one exception is when the legs are only slightly heavy and very sheer black stockings are worn with black shoes and the red suit

Of course, the most slimming effect of all is dark stockings, shoes and skirt. At the very least, try to match your shoes and stockings, so that your legs appear elongated rather than cut off by the shoe. Alas, black stockings worn with a winter white suit will NOT make the legs look slim. They WILL cause the eyes to fall to the legs because of the high contrast between legs and garment. Off-white stockings and shoes, on the other hand, will prevent the legs from being the center of attention, and the long, sweeping line created by uninterrupted color will serve to slim the legs. Keep stockings simple and avoid textured and patterned stockings, even striped stockings. Stockings with a striped pattern actually make the legs appear heavier.  

The line of your skirt is another important factor. Avoid straight skirts that are tapered at the bottom, since they always make legs look heavier. By comparison with the tiny amount of space at the hemline, the legs appear to take up an awful lot of space. Conversely, with a straight skirt that is somewhat fuller at the bottom, the legs appear to take up only a small portion of space at the hemline. Ultimately, it's a matter of relativity, and full skirts and A-line skirts, with their expansive space at the hemline, will make the legs look relatively thinner.  

Heavy legs can also be helped to a degree by the careful choice of shoes. High heels actually slim the legs because they stretch out the calf muscle. Flats on the other hands, broaden the calf, so the legs appear heavier. Sling backs also slim the legs, because the legs appear longer. With legs, longer definitely equals thinner!  

The fashion adage that it is always easier to add than subtract is particularly true here. Making thin legs appear fuller is much easier than making heavy legs look thinner!

Patterned stockings were made for you, and you alone! They always make the legs appear heavier, especially the lace patterns. The only exception is the single stripe down the side or back: it cuts the leg in half, so it is actually a camouflage for heavy legs. Multiple stripes are another matter, however. They add inches and pounds to the legs.

Do not match your stockings with your shoe color, since a long, uninterrupted flow of color will both lengthen and slim the legs. It is better to wear light stockings and dark shoes. Your "dark" stocking will be taupe.

When it comes to skirts, the best shape is the tulip skirt, which is tapered at the bottom. It is flattering only to those with slim legs, and makes all others look heavy. Thin legs also look very nice in a straight skirt that is mid-knee length or a little shorter. This length shows off both the upper and lower leg curves to the leg, and the "shapeliness" it denotes more than makes up for "thinness." Mid-calf and long skirts do just the opposite. Because only the ankles are showing, and they are the thinnest part of the leg, the judgment is made that the legs are extremely thin. Knife-pleat skirts should be particularly avoided, since the multiple thin straight lines of the skirt suggest thin straight legs.

Avoid three-inch heels, since they stretch out the calf and make your legs thinner. Flats will actually make your legs look their fullest, since they broaden the calf muscle. Slim legs actually impart a high-fashion look, so don't go to extremes to downplay your ultra-slim legs!  

Sandy Dumont is a Total Image Consultant with over 30 years experience. For a free eBook on image, visit


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