What to do when the work outs don’t work out

Its confession time I’m afraid. I carefully scheduled gym time in my diary, bought a nice pair of Nikes and a cute little water bottle. Yet I can’t work out what happened. I’ve a week to go until my holiday and somehow I don’t seem to have the toned, wobble free physique I promised myself. Was it that bar of chocolate I had yesterday? Did the extra portion of roast potatoes on Sunday push me over the edge? Or was it actually the fact that work kept spilling over into all those carefully planned appointments and that I only saw the gym twice – and that was passing on my way to a meeting.

It’s time therefore to take a look at what we can do to disguise all those bits we don’t like this summer. And it’s not an easy job this time of year – the usual winter quick fixes don’t work. Nobody wants to be trussed up in big pants or opaque tights – but I’ve got a few ideas that just might get you through!

Firstly, there are two summer solutions that disguise pretty much every problem area – fake tan and maxi dresses. Choose well and the first will actually make you look pounds lighter and the second will hide those bits you have decided are beyond help. Maxi dresses come in all shapes and sizes this year so look around as there’s bound to be a flattering style and colour for you.

Secondly don’t be too critical. It’s tempting to go for a baggy top and baggy bottoms when you feel less than perfect but instead you’ll just look huge all over. A baggy top calls for fitted trousers, loose trousers need a shaped top and if you really can’t face the world, a loose shirt and trousers over a lycra infused camisole can work wonders.

Rubenesque tummy

In the heat nobody really wants much around their waist – especially if that waistband’s a little small. Thank goodness for empire lines. They are on trend, come in all shapes and sizes, are great for all bust sizes and nothing hides that tummy better.  To really draw attention away from the tummy, go for thinner straps and low cut necklines – and of course a great necklace always draws the eye.

If you are wedded to trousers don’t choose a tapered fit or pleats at the waist. A gentle boot cut works well, and if you have nice legs you can wear treggings or leggings under your empire line tunics.

Avoid outfits that finish across the waistline and draw attention to your tummy – if they are favourites why not layer with a long, untucked camisole underneath.  The same colour top and bottom is a trusted cure-all, and as with the big busted girls – work those patterns on top and keep the bottom plain.

Tricky calves

No – you can’t get away with boots and long skirts in the summer I’m afraid – but don’t panic! Long flowing skirts are a great option and as long as you aren’t petite you can wear them as long as you like. They can be worn casually or to the office and I think are actually more comfortable than shorter styles. Sadly with trousers, you are going to have to avoid crops, capris and skinnies – all of which are in this year – but a pair of soft linen wide legged trousers long or falling just under the calf will look great with a fitted top.

Be careful with gladiator strappy sandals that could draw attention to the lower leg. Try open toed shoes with chunky heels or wedges, and although you can’t disguise those calves with tights this time of year, try dark leggings under a long tunic top.

‘Relaxed’ upper arms

Whilst it is pretty easy to cover up this part of the body – puffy sleeves, soft shoulder pads and pin tucks are in the shops – I say why should you? Its summer! So distract attention away from them instead. Don’t choose spaghetti straps but go for wider straps in bright colours. Enjoy bold accessories – necklaces, earrings and of course bangles.

Right bottom – wrong country

Whilst you can take comfort from the fact that your bottom would be cherished in Brazil, it’s one of the hardest areas to lose weight from. So what can you do to disguise it?  Or indeed take a tip from JLo and enhance it.

On the beach it’s surprisingly easy as a sarong knotted around the waist will look great – but don’t wrap it round your bust as it will cling in the wrong areas. To cover up try a tunic style kaftan with some shaping, the length shouldn’t cut across your thighs and make sure the bikini bottoms you wear underneath are high cut.

Avoid skirts cut on the bias or gathered at the waist. Tapered trousers won’t suit either, but flared and bootcut styles draw attention away from the bottom and lengthen the legs. But most of all – when trying things on don’t forget to take a good long look at your derriere in the mirror. Sometimes too loose is actually worse than too tight!

Traditionally British

That traditional pear shape does have its advantages – instead of bemoaning your thighs think about how to accentuate your small waist, and flatter your dainty top half.  If waists aren’t your thing you can still go for long, looser summer styles – try the longer style tunics and kaftans that are so fashionable this year. Look for an empire line style or belt the tunic at the waist. Long flowing skirts look great and heels in neutral colours will elongate those legs.

On cooler days risk a pair of dark jeans and when it’s sunny beach weather try bikinis with high cut legs, little skirts and keep that sarong handy.

Most importantly however, have fun this summer. Take a look around you, when in the park or walking to work, and see what the rest of the world is wearing. When the weather is warm and the birds are singing perhaps it’s time to remember – just for a little while – that we aren’t all perfect.

Dressing to Disguise