It all started with a simple pair of pants. We posted about this suspiciously flattering pair a little while back and the response was so enthusiastic, it got us thinking: Why not sniff out the most flattering things across a bevy of categories, from the most skin-enhancing light bulb to the brightening eye drops to the shapewear designed for all sizes? Welcome to Flattering Week on the Strategist.
We might all have different tastes, different people we want to attract, and different things we’d like to express through how we look and what we wear, but one fact about getting dressed unites us all: We just want to feel good. So we talked to real women about their most flattering pieces in the hopes that you, too, will find the sports bra that perfectly contains your boobs, that sexy clavicle-revealing top, and those booty-sculpting jeans that fill you with just the right amount of pride to leave the house with confidence.
“This top can go from hanging on the couch to out on the town. It’s literally the softest and sexiest crop top I have. I wear it with Lululemon leggings every weekend. I’m a curvy girl, and it’s not a super-tight crop top, it just sits perfectly above the hips. It’s also stretchy, so if you like to eat like me, it definitely gives after a big-ass brunch.” — Sydney Wolfson, inventory analyst
“I basically wear this anytime I have a formal event, until enough people catch on that it’s all I ever wear. I’ve worn it to galas, engagement parties, birthday parties, charity events, literally everywhere. I love it because I think my shoulder-collarbone situation is pretty sexy, but I’m not so into my arms. Mine is actually off of both shoulders, but this is still the perfect way to highlight my best attributes without drawing attention to my worst. Also, it’s black — so, like, hello, versatility!” — Zoë Rosenberg, brand manager
“I bought this jersey pencil skirt last summer and wore it all the time to work, and also more casually. It’s jersey — so lightweight — which is big in the summer. It was like my warm-weather equivalent of black skinny jeans! I wore it so much that I need a new one — it started to get see-through. I have it in black, but I want to invest in other colors.” — Kathryn Bailey, health-care worker and doula
Note: This exact skirt is now sold out, but ASOS has a similar options in a wrap style.
“Well, I don’t leave the house without applying Stila Illuminating beauty balm. A makeup artist recommended it to me four years ago, and I’ve been using it ever since. This BB cream gives you an amazing glow, and is a perfect base under makeup or worn alone, for those days when you are feeling lazy.” — Sandy Altman, merchandise manager, men’s footwear
“If someone told me that a burnt-umber, mesh, second-skin, pearl-printed turtleneck would change my life, I would tell them they are insane. I am now that insane person. Despite working in fashion, specifically in buying, I’m pretty cautious when it comes to shopping for myself; but when I saw this Dries van Noten piece at Bird back in the peak–New York swamp of August, I instantly loved the contrast of somewhat “sexy” pearl print and transparent fabric in the form of a turtleneck. The moment I put it on, I would barely take it off for the next six months. (The one pictured here is the newest season’s mesh update.) Still, it flatters not only my pale complexion, but the fabric lies perfectly flat — never bunching — fitting almost like an Under Armor base layer. It is the baroque, body-con, slice of mesh that dreams are made of.” — Maddie Bailis, fashion buyer, Bird Brooklyn
Note: This is sold out in the US, but available from MyTheresa.
“About five years ago, I stole a New Balance sports bra from my friend that just makes my boobs look super flat and nice, and I absolutely love it. It makes me feel skinny. I also have this Chloé dress from 2005 that I still wear all the time. It’s a boatneck, the sleeves go down to my elbow; it’s cinched at the waist and goes down to my knee. It’s timeless and I love it.” — Esty Ottensoser, retail specialist
“I first realized my booty potential when I bought these jeans in dark blue four years I ago. They’re still my favorite style. They’re high-rise, so they make my waist look tiny — and they sculpt my backside, so that it looks like I actually do squats, even when I haven’t been to the gym in a year. I have them in five different colors.” — Gabriela Tilevitz, grad student
“I have this black dress from & Other Stories that is very ’70s, with a low, drapey neckline and wrap skirt that has the possibility of being a very high slit. It looks amazing on me, but I haven’t had the chance to wear it out yet. They don’t sell it anymore, but the one here is similar.” — Margaret Tudor, producer, Gibney Dance [Note: the dress above is sold out, but we found a very similar, drapey & Other Stories number that you can buy below.]
“I love my Topshop cropped leather jacket. It fits like a glove, and is a soft, buttery leather that’s perfectly molded to me. I bought it years ago, but I’ve yet to see one that would make me want to upgrade.” — Ariel Grun, J.Crew buyer (who also says the most flattering jeans are Madewell’s high-rise skinny jeans with special pocket technology “that makes you feel two sizes skinnier.”)
Note: This is sold out, but an almost identical option is available here.
“I love Spiritual Gangster’s crop muscle tanks. When I get dressed for working out, I feel really hot. They don’t really work for going out though, so for that I love wearing an Alexander Wang muscle tee with a bralette peeking out.” — Isabelle Nunberg, product management associate
“I had been searching for the perfect dark lip for a while (I was inspired by an old still of Lauren Conrad on The Hills), and this one is it. I’ve been using it ever since I saw my friend wearing it, and it looked so good on her, so I was surprised when I found it so flattering on me. The best thing, besides it costing $9, is that it also looks amazing on all my friends. It’s like our not-so-best-kept secret. When I wear it, it makes me feel cool and sexy and badass. It stays on forever, too.” — Sophie Jenkins, senior administrator, collections management
“This black sheer top exposes and conceals my body in all the right areas. The portion on my chest has overlapping pieces of the same transparent material that becomes opaque on the top, covering my breasts, so I don’t need to wear a bra. Basically, this top perfectly captures my body while showing that I’m a sexy, confident, and fun woman.” — Julie Schwartzberg, student, Pratt Institute
Note: This is no longer available on Etsy, but you can buy it from American Deadstock here.
“Issey Miyake’s Cauliflower turtleneck is an elevated basic for me. I tend to only wear black, so I like to add variety to my wardrobe by getting black pieces with different textures. Its stretchy fabric molds to my body. It’s also super versatile for someone like me who wears a turtleneck year-round and to every occasion.” — Alexandra Gurvitch, visual associate
“I like to think about this as a feeling of flattery that takes form on the inside, but whose resulting confidence and exuberance is exhibited on the outside. For me, this moment of discreet, yet not so discreet, flattery was ignited when I slipped on a new pair of Kotare Lemon, limited-edition Allbird Wool Runners. The lemon hue immediately sparks a reaction of happiness. I pair them with Rag & Bone jeans and a camel Maje jacket, and feel unstoppable.” — Danielle Levite, product marketing
“It’s so soft, and I think the neck — not too high like a full turtleneck — makes you feel so secure and beautiful! I have it in dark purple, which I think is a great color because it’s bright, but also dark. The cut is such that it’s like flowy at the bottom, so if you don’t like tight T-shirts it’s great — but it can also easily be tucked in to look tight, if you prefer that, because the fabric is light.” — Riddhi Cidambi, product manager
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
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