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Skinny belts show off curves without adding bulkiness.
Skinny belts show off curves without adding bulkiness. / Jim Craigmyle / Getty Images

Clothes don’t make the woman, but the right outfit can make a difference in how you look — and feel. “There’s all this pressure on women to look youthful, and one of the easiest ways to do this is with clothes,” says Lois Joy Johnson, celebrity stylist and author of the new book The Wardrobe Wakeup: Your Guide to Looking Fabulous at Any Age. Try her expert tips to get more style from your wardrobe without breaking the bank.

Think long, lean lines.

“Pull out the pieces that expose your neck,” Johnson says. The idea isn’t to go for plunging necklines that reveal tons of cleavage but to choose boat- or V-necks, or to leave a few buttons of your blouse undone. Pair with nude pumps that blend with your skin tone to add inches to your legs. “This creates the illusion of a swan-like neck and lanky legs by ‘stretching’ your body at opposite ends,” Johnson says.

One color, head to toe.

Try to stay within the same color group for a sleeker vertical line, Johnson says. Shades don’t have to be an exact match to look youthful and polished (example: pairing a navy sweater with darkwashed jeans).

Shapewear smooths all.

“Having just one piece of shapewear in your closet ... makes you feel like you can wear anything, because it improves the fit of your clothes and prevents pulling,” Johnson says. “It’s a simple way to get a firmer, smoother look under clothes.”

Define with skinny belts.

“A belt worn at the smallest part of your waist adds just enough definition to enhance your curves, which can make the difference between looking frumpy and looking chic,” Johnson says. Skinny belts are better than thicker belts for most women (anywhere from one-quarter inch to 1 inch) because they don’t visually break up the length of your torso.

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