Color and Fabric to Slenderize


There are three dimensions of color: hue, value and intensity. Each dimension is important when selecting clothes that are slenderizing.

HUE is the actual name of a color. Some colors, like red, yellow and orange, seem to project a feeling of warmth. Warm colors are advancing. They tend to make you appear closer and increase your apparent body size. Colors like blue, green and purple, seem to project a cool feeling. They tend to recede and decrease your apparent body size.

VALUE is the lightness or darkness of a color. Light attracts the eye, therefore, lighter colored garments will cause the wearer to appear larger than medium to dark shades of a color.

INTENSITY is the range of color from bright to dull. When wearing garments of intense colors the wearer will seem to appear larger.

The warmth or coolness of a color, its value and intensity all work together to produce an indefinite number of colors. With these facts in mind, you have a variety of choices to make yourself appear pounds thinner.

Color can be used to emphasize some features and draw attention away from others. Here are some suggestions to make color work for you.


When selecting fabric consider texture, surface design as well as its hand or weight. This is important when selecting appropriate clothing to look pounds thinner.

TEXTURE is surface interest. The texture determines how the fabric feels, looks, and moves when it is worn. It may be seen, felt, and even heard at times. Textures have weight, size, bulk and light absorbing or reflecting properties.

To appear pounds thinner, look for fabrics that are medium to lightweight which are crisp, but not stiff. Very stiff fabrics appear to add weight to the body. Moderately stiff fabrics are becoming to almost all people. Examples include linen, twill, gabardine, most double knits and fine-wale corduroy.

Dull or matte finish textures absorb light and generally make the figure look smaller. Look for such fabrics as wool crepe, wool flannel, gingham, denim, wool jersey, sailcloth, broadcloth and chambray.

A smooth texture is slimming and tends to hide figure irregularities. These fabrics will not add apparent weight unless the fabric is thick. Fabric examples include flannel, percale, velveteen, crepe, linen, shantung, seersucker, wool challis, and lightweight tweed.

The effect of PATTERN DESIGNS on fabric depends on the size, how bold or quiet, and type of pattern. Small to medium patterns in subdued colors usually decrease the apparent size of the figure. Close, all over placement of design will also give the illusion of a decrease in size.

The important thing to remember when selecting prints, geometrics, and plaids is to keep them subdued. The size of the design should be in proportion to your height. A tall person can wear a larger print better than a shorter person.

Author: Rose Marie Tondl, Extension Clothing Specialist, Cooperative Extension, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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Revised 8/18/05