Victoria Beckham is a pro at this trick. See her Fall 2012 outing for perfect examples of dresses that are body conscious (as in tight through and through) and yet still manage to define the waistline with horizontal stripes across the waist and bust. Well-placed patterning, like this McQ dress, brings attention to your narrowest parts with clever colouring and placement.
FLARE pick: McQ Alexander McQueen teal mirage print dress, $425, ssense.com
Also see: 10 Reasons Why Your Jeans Don't Fit
BELTS IN ALL SIZES
This is the obvious one: even if you’re straight up and down (the writer is of that variety), a belt will give you the look of a waist when really there’s nada. This season is all about metallics and a belt is the perfect way to rock this trend. Pair silver or gold with an otherwise monochromatic ensemble, or go for the bold with an of-the-moment wide belt in graphic black or white for a more corseted look.
FLARE pick: Black gilded skinny belt, $20, nastygal.com
PUSH IT WITH PEPLUMS
Peplums as extensions on structured tops and dresses make up the feminine silhouette of the moment – and why not? By flaring out from the waistline, you shrink the point where the peplum leaves the body. Make sure the garment fits perfectly, however. In order to show off your waist, the peplum must come from the smallest part of your middle. Otherwise beware of awkward proportions.
FLARE pick: Robert Rodriguez leather combo flare top, $514, intermixonline.com
Also see: Petite Style Guide: Top 5 Shops For Work
TRIM TROPHY JACKETS
Jackets and blazers, originally the territory of men, often take away from one’s feminine shape. Wear a blazer that’s built for a woman: one that’s perfectly tailored and replete with darting and a nipped waist. Canadian line Smythe makes structured and fitted jackets that still boast sensuous lines and bright colours. The label also happens to be a favourite of the princess of ladylike dressing, Kate Middleton.
FLARE pick: Smythe for eLuxe, eluxe.ca
LET IT FLARE
If you’re wearing a mini skirt this fall, it should be a flippy circle-skirt. They’re youthful and sweet, and, in flaring out from the waist, will have roving eyes gravitating to the narrowest part. After all, there’s a reason cheerleaders have long sported this style.
FLARE pick: Sparkle and Fade vegan leather skater skirt, $69, urbanoutfitters.com
Also see: Style Tips: Make A Fashion Statment This Fall
Dresses and skirts that are fitted through the thigh and flared at the bottom are always flattering . And guess what? They shrink your waist. Supersizing the volume of fabric at one’s knee or below it with flared pants or jeans, or those oh-so-cute pencil skirts with added volume at the hem, makes your waist look comparatively small and defined.
FLARE pick: Zara mermaid studio pencil skirt, $100, zara.com
TIP TOP TAILOR
We all love masculine oxfords, oversize sweaters, and blousy – ahem – blouses. But when it comes to a flattering shape and a slim middle, wearing a shirt that tucks seamlessly into your skirt or pants works best. Stick with stiffer fabrics like woven cotton blends rather than loser silks and jerseys. That extra fabric that folds over one’s waistband does nothing for your figure. Well, nothing good.
FLARE pick: J.Crew boy shirt in classic white, $83, jcrew.com
Also see: Fall’s Best Prints With FLARE’s Fashion Team
WRAP IT UP
A garment of this genius could only have been designed by a woman, and by a woman in the 1970s (that would be Diane von Furstenburg in 1974). Not only is the wrap dress comfortable and simple, it is also universally flattering. Modern iterations put the same waist-centric theory to use with cleaner results.
FLARE pick: Banana Republic Gemma wrap dress, $124, bananarepublic.com
This season heralds the return of suiting, but in our search for out-there jacket-and-pant combos (lush colours, retro prints) our waist (and femininity) can get lost in the shuffle. To keep your waist in the spotlight, don a fitted vest or waistcoat under the masculine blazer for a sexier take on the dandy trend. A half-buttoned cardigan, as seen in this monochromatic street style look, works just as well.
FLARE pick: Yves Saint Laurent wool tuxedo vest, $990, net-a-porter.com
Also see: 30 Hot Shoes Under $300
Princess-seamed dresses are those that are cut and sewn to nip at the waist and cut smoothly out into a flared skirt. These dresses are neat and simple and very kind to one’s body, but they must fit perfectly, especially in the torso and waistline. Often sleeveless with a high neckline, they make for a perfect transition piece to fall.
FLARE pick: Luck Be a Lady dress in Daisy, $75, modcloth.com
PRINTS ON BOTTOM
Wearing a well-fitted printed skirt or pants with a neutral shirt (those tailored shirts would do well here) works as a visual trick to draw attention to one’s waist while making it look smaller. Printed fabric, even if it’s fitted, creates the illusion of volume, which is why, when pairing a white shirt, say, with these Tibi pants, one’s upper half undergoes a shrinking effect.
FLARE pick: Luck Be a Lady dress in Daisy, $75, Tibi Belle pant in cream, $360, eluxe.ca
COLOUR BLOCKING 2.0
A few seasons ago, Stella McCartney made a dress of such genius it continues to be copied by everyone. And for good reason. With panels of two contrasting colours – one down the centre of the dress, and one creating a kind of shadow effect at the sides – the body will look narrower and the waist visually cinched.
FLARE pick: Kaelen panel maxi dress, $644, shopbop.com
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