When you shop, you probably look at colors and cuts, but waistlines may be more important than you think. "The waistline you create -- whether it's a seam on a dress, a belt, or tucking your top into a skirt or a pair of pants -- is where you're directing the eye [of people looking at you]," says Clinton Kelly, co-host of TLC's What Not to Wear and author of Oh No She Didn't: The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them. "You're in complete control of where they look, so don't send their eye to where you carry your weight."
Empire waists, for example, like the one on this ponte tank dress from Gap, draws the eye higher than your natural waist. "If you carry a little bit of extra weight in your lower tummy, direct the eye above that area," says Kelly. And there's even more good news: "Empire waist dresses make your legs look longer because they make your waist look higher." What if you're heavier in the top part of your mid-section? "Empire waists aren't for anyone whose tummies are larger than their breasts because those women will look pregnant."