Remember back in the early 80s, when the bodycon or bandage dress was a huge hit for a night out? Well it’s back. With a vengeance. And while that’s fine and dandy for the younger, tighter-bodied generation discovering the fitted shape for the first time, it’s a little bit of a harder style to pull off for the women who first saw this trend’s heyday.
If you are unfamiliar with the fashion, it’s a concept that was instituted by designer Herve Leger. These short, fitted dresses were designed to imitate the effect of an underclothing garment to push up and hold in the areas that need it most. As opposed to one complete piece of fabric, superthick strips of fabric, which resembled a bandage, were used to construct the dresses.
While it is tight, the silhouette is still modern and feminine, and the bandage dress, when worn well, can actually do wonders for a body, making it look thinner, smaller or rounder in all the right places.
So to find out how to pull of this style, we went to the experts and asked: How do we get our bodies in fighting shape for the runway’s hottest look?
First, if you are in pretty good shape and just need to de-bloat, the best tactic is to cut out salt, soda and cheese for at least a few days before you wear the dress.
If you have trouble spots that you’re worried about, diet and exercise go hand-in-hand to help you get in fighting form. Avoiding anything processed and from a box, and loading up on portion-controlled lean proteins can help whittle away problem areas so you can look your best in a body-conscious dress. Celebrity nutritionist and health consultant on The Food Network’s “Fat Chef,” Christine Avanti says most packaged foods are full of sugar and MSG, “which affect the body’s ability to use food.” She recommends blood sugar–stabilizing foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. “They reduce bloating so the stomach looks flatter.” Another secret: kombucha tea. “It smooths out the belly when you have it four times a day.”
Slimming garments and tummy controllers can also be the secret to faking a flatter tummy in no time flat. “Slimming pieces like Spanx slim and smooth to tame the tummy and mask muffin tops,” says Spanx founder Sara Blakely.
If it’s serious fat bulges and loose skin you are worries about: Kirkland, WA, plastic surgeon Sarah McMillan, MD, says the best way to permanently get rid of fatty deposits is with liposuction. “It’s a tried-and-true way to spot-treat problem areas and redefine a waistline that may have been lost with age or from having kids.” If fullness throughout the abdomen is the case, a tummy tuck, or variation of it, may be in order.
Usually the result of pregnancy (age, weight loss and even genetics can cause loose skin), when the skin and muscles are drastically stretched out they can’t retract well, causing the lower belly to look “poochy.”
New York plastic surgeon Alan Matarasso, MD, says that the elasticity of the skin can get “shot and just hang. Some that had a C-section have a ledge on the lower part of the stomach that can be seen in tight clothing.” Lipo works on select patients, but to fix laxity, a tummy tuck needs to be done. “For women with a C-section scar and a bit of skin that folds over it, a scar revision (basically a mini-tummy tuck) can eliminate the excess,” says Dr. McMillan.
If all else fails, grab some pajama pants and call it a day.
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