Dressing for your size and shape is key to make sure you’re accentuating your curves and not your trouble spots. Wearing clothes that don’t fit well can cause unflattering bulge in many areas—hello, muffin top—and your back is no exception.


“Wearing a size too small will only make your back fat worse,” says Anita Patrickson, celebrity fashion stylist and author of Ask Anita. “Just because you can squeeze into a smaller size doesn’t mean you will suddenly appear to be a size smaller than you are,” she adds. In fact, it’ll do the opposite. Fabrics with no stretch can also accentuate back fat, as will tops or dresses with horizontal cuts in the back.

To instantly reduce the appearance of back fat and look slimmer overall, follow these smart (and simple) dressing tips:

Buy the size that fits you, not the size you wish you were. Ever buy something one size down, either because you couldn’t accept going up a size or you thought it would motivate you to lose a couple of pounds? Trying to squeeze into that teensy shirt or dress will just make you look larger than you are. Wearing what fits will always make you look slimmer and more polished.

Get fitted for your bra. Another big mistake women make: wearing the wrong bra size. “It is important to wear a bra size that you have been measured for,” says Patrickson. Besides suffocating your ladies, wearing a bra that’s too small can create serious bra bulge and unflattering lumps in the back region that’ll show through your clothes. “Smooth lines that don’t cut into your shoulders or back are key,” she adds—so adjust your straps so they’re tight enough to support you, but not so tight that they’re digging into your flesh.

Urban Outfitters

Look for shirts or dresses cut with a V-shaped back. “This elongates your back area,” Patrickson notes. We love this Truly Madly Deeply V-Back Tee, $29, because it’s also loose-fitting and comes in slimming black.

Full coverage is also a great option. If, of course you’re wearing the right size bra underneath. Without all those extra cuts and hemlines, your body will have fewer places for potential bulge, and you’ll naturally look smoother.

Wear smoothing shapewear. If you have to have that tight little number that flatters everything except your back, slipping on some slimming shapewear underneath can work magic. “This will smooth out any problem area and create a better placement for your clothes,” Patrickson notes. Check out our favorites for smoothing your back here.

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