By Jean Patteson
The Orlando Sentinel
Q Can you please help a size 18 businesswoman find a flattering business suit (with skirt, not pants)? I did buy one recently, which I thought hid my bulky hips rather well. It is a black knit, with a long, loose-fitting jacket and calf-length, A-line skirt. But my husband says it makes me look like a frump, even though I wear it with black high heels. Is there any style of suit that will camouflage my shape but not look frumpy?
Answer: Why so obsessed with hiding your shape? Certainly, you don’t need a too-tight suit that reveals every bump and roll. But your husband is right: The opposite — long and loose — just draws attention to your size.
A more flattering choice is a suit with a jacket that curves in slightly at the waist, and a straight or A-line skirt to the bottom of the knee. A suit like that will focus attention on your waist and legs, not your hips.
As a further distraction, team your suit with a collared blouse in a contrasting color. Bright white with a dark suit is especially effective. Wearing a striking piece of jewelry close to your face also draws the eye up and away from the hips.
And stick with those high heels as long as they are comfortable. Your legs will look shapelier, your posture better and your silhouette leaner.

Q I like to air-dry my clothing on the wash line, but I have a problem with the knit tops. The clothespins leave “dents” in the material. How do I prevent this?
Answer: A couple of suggestions. You could hang your knits on well-padded or inflatable coat hangers, then hook the hangers over the wash line. Just be sure to pin the hangers to the line to prevent them from blowing off in the wind. Or you could thread an old pair of pantyhose through the arms of the knits, pinning the ends of the hose to the line.
Either way, it’s best to hang the knits away from direct sunlight to prevent fading.

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