By Alfonzo Chavez

At the risk of sounding like a pageant coach, the foundation of style really begins with carriage and poise (yes, you can say that in your best Savannah, Georgia accent). Yes, it sounds cheesy but if you have a problem with it, all I have to say is “Pull yourself together!” The best thing about our five suggestions is that they cost you nothing, and they may be things you are doing anyway.

1.      Stand up straight

You can probably hear the voice of some teacher who you didn’t particularly appreciate telling you to stand up straight. If you do however, suffer from slouching, you can appear a few pounds lighter just by applying this rule. How do you know if you are standing up straight without looking like a scene from “The Princess Diaries?” Try this simple exercise:

•  Stand on your tiptoes
•  Now lower yourself back onto your heels while staying that tall.
For best results, ask your doctor or see a chiropractor about correcting your posture.

2.     Check the fit on your clothes

Even people with the greatest bodies can draw attention away from their best features. Clothes that are too tight can make you appear as though you are an adolescent who just hit a growth spurt. And clothes that are too big can make you appear heavier. If you have questions with fit or need help with this, ask a salesperson the next time you go shopping.

3.     Ask your hairstylist/barber for his or her opinion

If something works, why change it? If you’ve been getting the same haircut since you were five years-old it may be time for an update. You may not realize it but your haircut can sabotage your overall look, especially if it doesn’t complement your features. A good haircut can make you appear years younger and pounds lighter. A good stylist is happy to help (and probably DYING to give to you his opinion). If you want some ideas, look at what celebrities are doing. And if you are a little more daring, check out the collections from fashion week.

4.     Drink more water.

Does your skin look older than it should? If so, you are probably thirsty or dehydrated. The benefits of drinking more water are endless. Drink at least two liters of water for women and three for men and try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

5.     Strike a confident balance

There is a fine line between confident and narcissistic or over-confident. One tells others you believe in yourself while the other says you are just full of yourself. While a lack of confidence can make others doubt your abilities and self-worth, an over-supply is just unattractive and misleading. You know who and what you are. If you don’t like something about yourself, change it.