Let’s face it. The most desired female body shape is the hourglass. No matter how big or small, it represents balance and proportion. The key to creating this illusion lies in clever waist definition.
But what do you do if you don’t naturally have much of a waist? That’s easy! Fake it ’til you make it with these tried and true Style Counsel tips for creating the illusion of more curves.
Remember, it’s not always WHAT you wear, it how you wear it!
Note: These are only usually more flattering if they’re yoked or stitched down, so the volume starts several inches below the waist. If too much fullness starts at the natural waist they only really work if you naturally have a longer waist and/or are super-slim, or with a wide-waisted belt and fitted top. Trumpet skirts (ones with stitched-down pleats, or that flare at the hem or flippy skirts cut on the bias) bring attention to good legs.
Ribbing & Ruching
Both ribbing and ruching can magically cover imperfections while they create the illusion of a more toned but curvy middle. Ruching can be your best friend because it pinches fabric into a soft silhouette, conceals lumps and bumps and still retains a body-conscious fit.
Skin-Baring Tops & Wider/Open Necklines:
Don’t be afraid to show off toned arms, shoulders, or a hint of cleavage. (Note: Very different to having the girls out to play/on show everywhere you go). Wide V-necks create a strong upper-body line (think inverted triangle) and by default will balance a broader hipline. If you don’t like your neck, wear a statement necklace to divert the eye, rather than trying to cover up your perceived flaws (which often only draws attention to your lack of confidence in that area).
Shirts That Are Slightly Fitted
Slightly fitted shirts are both body-defining and forgiving, especially if the fabric is slightly stretchy. Turn up the collar or choose shirts with an interesting twist on the neckline to bring attention to your face rather than your waist. French cuffs ALWAYS spell style. Also consider a flourish of ruffles down the front, which will mask your middle, especially when worn under a fitted jacket. Letting a softly skim the body while falling below the hem of a jacket or vest gives an unstructured, slightly funky edge to shirting…
Wrap Dresses and Tops
Diane von Furstenberg claims, “I never had a waist and certainly don’t have one now.” Her famous wrap dress was created in 1973 is still going strong. So why? The deep V-neck elongates the neck and torso and shows just enough flesh, while the wrap enhances the bustline (big or small) and creates a defined waist without too much bulky fabric. Her signature prints can also detract from lumps or bumps. Style Counsel Tip for the real woman: Beware too bold a print. It means you get less wear out of the dress (i.e. easily identified as having been worn before) and sometimes a bold print wear you instead of you wearing the dress. Wrap tops work well over slim skirts (think pencil or trumpet styles).
Tailored, Body-Conscious Jackets
A structured jacket can give you definition and a leaner line. If it fits properly, it will elongate your silhouette without adding extra bulk. A well-tailored jacket also instantly pulls together whatever you’re wearing underneath. A cropped (but shaped) jacket works wonders if worn over a slightly voluminous/floaty/longer-line top as it creates definition and a waist that can’t be seen under the shapeless top. And it’s not just for the office: Worn over jeans, jackets add not only waist/curve definition but also great style!