How to Dress When Your Waistline Leaves Without You
Okay, let’s face it: shift happens. And it doesn’t always happen where you might plan, given a choice, when it comes to body matter.
If you face the mirror one day muttering in bewilderment, “What the heck happened to my waistline?!” you’re not alone. According to the International Menopause Society (yes, there is such a thing), we women experience a shift in our “fat stores” after menopause. That rearrangement of stuff targets our midsection whether we gain weight, or not, say the folks at IMS.
So with physics being what it is, acceptance may be a beneficial response. Embracing a new figure variation, however, doesn’t automatically translate to a desire to highlight aforementioned body particular. If flaunting your recently-acquired middle isn’t your cup of tea, try on one or more of these strategies for a lower-key tummy presence.
- Empire-waistlines. Empire waistlines are actually not “waist” lines at all. They feature a horizontal seam just below a fitted bust and no actual waistline seam. The feature of empire waistlines that’s relevant here is that they accentuate the narrow part of your midsection –– that small-ish zone between tummy and bust.
A word of caution: If you have a very full tummy The wrong fit on one of these numbers can leave you looking like you’ve revisited your maternity days. If you fear this outcome, or have a full bust line you prefer not to amplify, skip to one of the following alternatives.
- Ruched or draped, surplice-front tops. Ruching’s great. Surplice fronts are flattering. The best of all worlds come together when you snag both in the same top. (If you’re asking “what on earth is ‘surplice’”? It’s that diagonal, faux-wrap neckline thing.) A little draping in the tummy zone can be a girl’s BFF.
A close fit in the hip area offsets the mid-zone fabric fullness and prevents a shapeless look.
- Layer a fitted jacket. Fit is the operative word on this one. If you’re struggling to button the jacket, or it hugs your middle, it’s too small. Like #2, you accomplish shape, without emphasizing waistline fullness.
One-button styles are less structured and add freedom of space when the button is placed above the waist. You can create a similar effect with an overblouse: Leave all but one strategically-placed button undone to emphasize a narrow-below-bust space and create a pseudo empire waistline.
- Side-panels or color blocking and graphics. Illusion dressing at its finest. Curvy side panels and designs that virtually “paint on” a waistline let you revel in Hourglass Heaven, while kicking waist-cinching shapewear to the curb.
While not necessary with many of these dress styles, shapewear lends an added boost if you opt for it.
- Peplums. Use the skirted bottom of a peplum to give your tummy room to breathe. The looser the waist-area fabric, the better.
Many of these tops hug the midriff, so choose one that hugs above the fullest area of your torso. Net effect: the same advantage you gain from the empire waist in #1.
- Bypass the waist entirely. Instead of illusion-dressing tactics, you might prefer to ignore the waistline presence v. absence debate altogether. A loose and unshaped, open-front jacket keeps the condition of your waist your own little secret. It’s nobody’s damn business, anyway.
Have special techniques of your own? What’s up your sleeve? Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. I read them all. (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)
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Patty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.
Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.
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