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So here we are, on the other side of Christmas with all of its oh-go-on-then booze and just-because mince pies and why-the-hell-not chocolates. But if the season of goodwill hasn’t been good to your waistline, then know that you’re not alone.

People gain a kilo of weight on average annually, and according to Frances Mason of the University of Birmingham's Institute of Applied Health Research, “often this weight gain happens at Christmas, and is never fully lost.”

That’s the bad news. The good news? We live in the Northern Hemisphere, where Christmas lands in the bleak midwinter and we still have three months of sweater weather left. “Because it’s still freezing cold, you can layer up, which is often more flattering,” says Thread stylist Toby Standing.

Truthfully, very few people are going to notice if you’ve moved down a notch on your belt. But struggling into clothes that fit you perfectly a few months ago can make you feel that bit less confident. These quick fixes will give you a boost before your new running regime kicks in. A pick-me-up that we could all do with in the dark and cold of January.

Stand straight

The quickest way to lose weight is to fix the way you stand. By adjusting your posture, you immediately look taller, trimmer and feel more confident. Not sure if your posture is bad? Here are some warning signs: standing with a flat back (i.e. where your lower back is straight instead of naturally curved), leaning on one leg, hunching your back, rounding your shoulders or jutting out your chin.

Make sure you’re changing positions often, as this stops you being fixed in a bad posture, and pull your shoulders back so your lungs can expand properly and you can breathe deeply.

Think fit, not size

When you’re feeling a bit oversized, the temptation is to go the same way with your clothes. Big mistake, says Toby. “Clothes that are too big look as bad as clothes that are too small.” All that excess fabric will only draw attention to areas you’re less confident about. Instead, stick to your normal sizes but try styles cut a little bit looser.

Get your materials right

The wrong fabric can have a disproportionate impact on your overall outfit. Materials with some structure will hold their shape, rather than clinging to your body as you move around. “The thick roll neck here is a great layer as it’s more forgiving than a finer knit,” says Toby.

Embrace the dark side

“The classic trick is to wear black, as it’s slimming, but if it’s not normally part of your wardrobe it can look a bit jarring,” says Toby. “Instead go for plain, neutral colours and avoid patterns, because they can exaggerate your shape.”

Comfort first

The best way to feel happier about your wardrobe is by wearing clothes that work with your body shape, rather than against it. The better the fit, the more comfortable you feel, and the better you look. Things like drawstring waists, the stretch of knitwear or even jeans with a touch of elastane mean you feel embraced by your clothes, rather than encased. All of which makes you feel more confident when you’re wearing them.

Words: Theresa Harold
Photography: Jon Cardwell
Styling: Freddie Kemp