5 Tips for Looking Great While You’re Gaining Weight-Part 1/2

Happy new year, everyone!  I’ve been absent because I’ve struggled with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) pain and Myasthenia Gravis (MG) fatigue.  But I’ve started a new regimen to address both.  My body has been detoxing the past few days–alternating between cold chills and moments where I actually feel “normal” again.  Anyway, a few weeks ago, I threw my annual Christmas Party–American Bandstand set in 1962.  To my surprise, five days before the party, I found that none of my vintage-style dresses fit.  And so began Operation Dress.  It was a success!  Along the way, I learned 5 Tips for looking fabulous while you’re gaining weight. 

Why American Bandstand?

American Bandstand has always been my fantasy.  How timely it was that last year was sadly our first year celebrating New Year’s Eve without Dick Clark.

My Tribute to Dick Clark

Also, Annette Funicello is my Autoimmune Hero–I recommend every chronically awesome person have a hero.  While I don’t know of any celebrities with Myasthenia Gravis, Annette does have Multiple Sclerosis, which is also a neuromuscular autoimmune disease.  When I was a little girl, I wanted to be Annette circa 1962 because of her hair, curves, and the fact that she spent all that time with Frankie Avalon on the beach.  So in 2008, when I realized got MG, I vowed to be like Annette the right way some day if I beat the MG–bouffant wig, swimsuit, vintage dress, etc.

Gained Three Dress Sizes Since November

On November 6, as I previously blogged about, my neurologist doubled my dose of Prednisone from 5 mg to 10 mg.  While I have gained weight before because of Prednisone (I went from a size 0 to 10 between 2008 to 2010), I didn’t notice myself gaining weight this time.  I guess I’ve mastered my hair and makeup tricks so well that even I couldn’t tell!   Of course, when I put on my dresses and couldn’t zip them up, I knew.  Since it was hard to find a vintage dress at the mall (at least one that didn’t involve head to toe sequins), I ordered online from http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/, a website I trust that sells 40s, 50s, and 60s clothes.  I found this fabulous red number, which you can order here. 




5 Rules for Looking Great While Gaining Weight

1.  Wear solids–not prints.  Avoid floral print, stripes, and color-blocked frocks.  Patterns that look nice in person often appear much larger in photographs.  This brings me to my next point…

2.  Bring a camera to the dressing room.  To avoid being unpleasantly surprised when looking at photographs from your party, that wedding, or the big presentation, take a photo of yourself in the dress.  Once I had a floral brown and white dress that gave me an hourglass shape in the mirror but made me look like a Tootsie Roll in pictures.

3.  Consider Spanx®.   Like many women on Prednisone, I’ve put on weight in my thighs, tummy, and booty (though I don’t mind the latter).  Wearing Spanx under my red dress helped me stay confident despite the changes.  You can order my Simplicity High-Waisted Girl Short here. 

4.  Check out www.pinupgirlclothing.com.   This website has size charts with very precise measurements.  The two items I bought from this site, a vintage swimsuit and the dress, fit like a glove.  Vintage style clothes create an hourglass figure and are more forgiving than modern styles because they come from an era where curves were beautiful.  Being comfortable in your curves helps you stay confident, or in some cases, regain your confidence.

5.  Avoid the smokey eyes-nude lips look. It’s tempting for formal occasions to try this look.  But as I realized the hard way, this look is not attractive anymore because Prednisone widens the face.  Lips must be bold as nude lips make the face look even wider.  Avoid clear glosses or lipsticks that are nude (the same color as your lips) or extremely pale shades of pink.  See the difference makeup makes–these two pictures were taken two weeks apart in 2009 in the same dress.

Don’t Do This!: Smokey Eyes, Nude Lips

The right-side picture is superior to the left because my straight hair and bold lips define my cheekbones.

Good Prednisone Makeup: Bold Eyes, Defined Lips







In my next post, I’ll be giving more tips on looking great while gaining weight–including shopping for jeans and pants.  See you next time!

–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno 




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Hi there! I am a patient advocate, writer, and public speaker most well known for my TEDx Talk, “How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed.” As someone who is juggling 5 illnesses: bipolar 2, myasthenia gravis, endometriosis, psoriasis, and asthma, I’m passionate about helping people who navigate life with both chronic physical & emotional pain. If you’re interested in hiring me to speak at your event, check out the CONTACT tab.

2 thoughts on “5 Tips for Looking Great While You’re Gaining Weight-Part 1/2

  • February 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    wow! you are so beautiful-you look short like me-4ft 11in.-love the dress;

  • February 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    hi there-just wanted to tell you thank you for posting where you got the beautifull red dress,got on(pin-up sit)ordered a stunning top-going after the shoes ,am still lucky enough to be able to wear them.again thank you so much!


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