A woman's shape has been considered a thing of beauty in all cultures in all ages. While the proportions and sizes that are "fashionable" have varied, a woman's curves have always been appealing (whether deemed by "high fashion" to be so or not). One of the easiest ways to present yourself at your best is to dress in a way that emphasizes these curves, namely, your waist!
This isn't just a "tiny girl" or "high fashion waif" thing; curves come in all sizes, so the following principles can apply to any woman!
1. Emphasize your waist with diagonals.
The lines will point to the waist, making the shoulders/hips look wider and, by default, the waist smaller.
2. Wear a full skirt.
Compared to the fullness of the skirt, the waist will look tiny! A classic 1950's trick. (And why do you think hoopskirts were popular all those years?)
3. Highlight it with a belt.
Bring the eyes to the waist and eliminate any extra clothing bulk with a belt. It can also help to have a belt proportionate to your body size. A ginormous belt on a petite woman can negate any waist-thinning benefits, and vice versa.
4. Go with a blousy shirt.
A baggier shirt that is brought in at the waist (by fit, belt, skirt, etc.) will make the waist look smaller than the top by comparison.
|Picture from here|
5. Wear baggy sleeves.
Women have been doing this for ages. The bigger a sleeve is, the thinner any waist looks next to it!
|Kate Winslet utilizes hourglass colorblocking|
6. Accentuate it with hourglass lines.
A figure is womanly by its curves. This doesn't imply that any one shape (even an hourglass one) is the "right" shape, but it does say that curves are where it's at. By using curved seams, color blocking, lines, etc. that mimic and exaggerate a woman's curves, you will create the illusion of a smaller waist.
7. Don't fight the girdle.
Ever long for the tiny Scarlett O'Hara or 1950s waist? Though these women may have been tiny, they all knew which undergarments to wear to support and shape their figure. Only until recently have women desired such dramatic shapes "naturally", without the help of such garments. Don't fight the girdle!
8. Anchor outfits at the natural waist.
Center your outfits on the smallest part of you. Whether that is through a high-waisted skirt or belted dress, add emphasis on the thinnest part. Why have an empire waisted dress if your natural waist is thinner? Why put a belt at the center of your torso if under your bust is the smallest part? Don't add extra bulk by putting a horizontal line at a place that isn't your thinnest!