Smaller Waistline


Whittling down the waistline.  Isn’t that something many of us desire – a smaller waist?  I recall in the 60’s when my Mum burned her girdles, LOL.  Really, she simply discarded them.  Since she was the end all be all of women I just knew all woman had done the same with theirs.  Lo and behold compression wear is still in vogue.

Recently while researching some thing or another I stumbled upon information about making the waist area smaller.  The thing I enjoyed about the article is that it was not talking about mechanical or artificial efforts at making the waist area smaller; i.e., starving ourselves or donning a contraption to pull our waists in then throwing away the key.  It was about things we can do to make our waists appear smaller.  You know, an optical illusion as it were.  I like that concept (in lieu of actually doing the work to obtain a smaller waistline, giggles).


This photo of Kate Winslet made me stop and read the article.  She is gorgeous no matter what the size of her waist area.  Yet, I digress.  The article pointed out how a navy or black side panel will make the waist area appear smaller.  WOW, check her out!  This prompted me to go on the search for other photographs to prove the point.  I am not able to pull off a knit dress as clingy as the one Kate is wearing thus I am wondering would I get the same effect with a dress that fits a tad bit looser?  Truly, I am going to make one to see.  And you all know me, I will show the good, bad, or the ugly of it when I do.   Meanwhile, I’m off to find other examples of small waist illusion.  But wait, let’s get another peek at Ms. Kate.

Kate Winslets in Stella McCartney’s frock

Illusion_WaistJoanne McEwen says, ” . . . Use vertical panel lines to lengthen the body as in picture A & B.  The horizontal line at the waist on the top of picture A creates the illusion of a small waist as it only goes across a short distance”.

Apparently, these frocks are” Optical Illusion dresses which use block colors to break up your body shape and create curves in all the right places.  What you should be looking for is darker panels on the sides with a block color in the center to render those extra inches invisible”.

Photo Credit: Getty Images Chanel’s Silhouette Dress

Interestingly, the press on Keira and Rihanna’s dress has been bad.  From what I understand the pricetag is ridiculous.  Of course, that means nothing to us sewists because we have creative swagger and could dup this style whenever we want.  Still, as a size 18 (RTW) and larger for me-made I do not see me adopting the Chanel silhouette dress.  There has got to be something else.

Ruched Tribal Print Top
Ruched Tribal Print Top


Now this top I would and could rock.  Especially if I made it in a non-knit.

Other “tricks” for a smaller waist area include:


It seems the narrow belt wins hands down when it comes to visually whittling away the waist.  Adding details and bulk is said to have the opposite effect of what we want to achieve.  Now I am really going to have to wrap my brain around this one because I can’t get away from the image of my fat muffining over and under the narrow belt.  Make sense?  Now, this gal does not seem overly unfortunate looking in her skinny belt.  We’ll just have to see what I come up with.

fat girl skinny belt

Wrap Style Dresses

Ooh, now I can get with this.  They flatter a variety of body shapes and I would venture to say ages too.  We won’t even discuss the comfort level.  I just completed a vintage style wrap dress sew-a-long and love the dress to pieces.  Check out this twisted wrap dress for an eye treat.



Who knew?  Interesting that the vintagey peplum has always been on my list as a fave style.  I have always been drawn to them not even knowing about their waist slimming effect.  Navabi say: “Peplum skirts, tops or dresses all help define your waist and create a beautiful hourglass silhouette.”

50’s Style


Being a vintage style lover this style dress naturally caught my eye.  I am working through the concept of wearing a petticoat but really how could I get the 50’s look without one?  I am settling on the concept of wearing petticoats but having them a tad less full than some of the pretty ones I have seen.

Interesting reader perspective on the illusion of a tiny waist:

Tonawanda . . .

Black is the only solution to the question of personal body aesthetics which does not scream pathetic desperation.

Each person must ask: am I drawing attention to the very (supposed) defect I am trying to cover?

The look to go for in these situations is something which says dignity, always dignity: “I realize I have this (supposed) defect, but I am wearing something (or doing something) which addresses the situation in a graceful way.” Either way, desperate or graceful, folks notice.

. . . Harsh reality is harsh. But we can all make ourselves look better, even beautiful, in the way we respond to it.

What secrets do you have for making your waist appear smaller than it may actually be?



6 thoughts on “Smaller Waistline

  1. misssusiem

    What I think is that after women started dressing more masculinly in order to compete with men in the 80s and 90s, there was a reverse back to femininity that seems to have hit in the 2010s. It’s like what happened from the 1940s-50s. Suddenly, skirts are cool again….. I especially see a lot of longer flows ones. Taking time to spend on makeup and hair curling is acceptable. Shape wear has become every woman’s dirty little secret. Femininity and beautiful curvy bodies are being embraced once more! Women seem to embracing a tiny waist and hourglass shape again. Life just seems to be like a pendulum. We swing far one way and far back the other way.

    I have also seen a lot of people outcry over the lack of morals and community….the lack of dressing decently and pointing out a disgust for laziness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Miss Susie:

      The outcry of indecent dressing reminds me of your article on choosing to be a lady. The topic came up the other day with my husband’s daughter. Truly paying it forward is the way for me to go in her regard and that of setting a good example though our tastes are polarized with me being close to 60 and she being 16.



      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wrap dresses and side ruching all the way! I have gone in the last 8 years from a lifetime of being underweight to being somewhat overweight and I’ve discovered I’m still having trouble dealing with it. But I have found I can still find outfits that look good on the current me, not the high school/college me still living in my head. Great ideas Lyric.


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