Styling High Waist Clothes When You Have A Short Waisted Figure

Body, Casual hourglass, Struggles, Wardrobe planning

If you’re wanting a bit more information on whether you have a short waist or not, a really good resource is Joy of Clothes.

In brief, a short waist means you just don’t have much length in the middle part of your body between where your ribs end and your hip bones start.  It’s apparently a defining feature of our hourglass shape, as it creates the dramatic out-and-in effect of an hourglass (as opposed to a longer waisted lady with similar measurements, who will have more gentle out-and-in ‘cello’ shape).  A short waisted girl will often not look great in a thick waist belt, but looks great in a skinny waist belt, which is one easy way to test.

I describe the impact the short waist has on your outfits in another post, but one of the key styles impacted by the short waist is the high-waisted trousers/jeans/shorts/skirts trend that prevails.  I personally love the look of high waisted stuff but I can remember the fateful day in Primark when I marched proudly towards the changing room with an armful of floral and denim high-waisted shorts ready for my beach holiday.  This was the day I realised that high-waisted shorts looked more terrible on me than I could’ve predicted.  I had no explanation why I hated how they looked on me, as I loved the look in general, had picked lovely shorts and great tops to go with, and generally knew what shapes and styles would look great or hideous on my frame.  But the information I was missing was the short waist concept.  It explains why some high waisted stuff just looks really ‘off’ on me.  I wonder if you’ve found the same.

I have come up with several strategies so far for wearing high-waist trousers/shorts/skirts in a way that looks aesthetically pleasing.  This is still an evolving aspect of my wardrobe, as several years ago I thought I couldn’t wear high waisted items, and now I’ve realised there’s ways I can enjoy this look without looking like just boobs stacked on legs!

-Wear matching colour top and bottoms; this reduces the visual torso-shortening impact of the high waistline, but still allows you to benefit from the put-together, waist-emphasising effects of the garment.

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-12-15-32-am

-Wear high necklines so you lengthen the torso.  So, a classic torso-shortening move would be a low neckline with a high waist.  The opposite effect occurs with a high(er) neckline, but the proviso here is that if you are full busted, the high neckline emphasises the boobs and you can look bulky up top if you’re not careful.  I often counteract this by wearing a necklace over my high-neck (eg, roll-neck jumper) which creates a visual lower neckline effect and breaks up the boob silhouette.  Alternatively, wear a sports bra (or two) and be sure to scoop and swoop your boobs towards the middle in the bra, to minimise the volume of your boobs so you can wear the high neck without looking too big up top.  An important note here is that if you have quite a short neck, which I think I probably do, and many hourglasses might, you will not want a neckline that goes higher than your collarbones, lest you make your neck look too squat and chunky.  Not a great look, been there done that.  Photos were burned and sent to bad photo hell.

-Lift your boobs: ie, get a really effective, professionally-fitted bra, shorten the straps and lift your bust away from your midriff, in order to lengthen the waist area.  Small to medium busts will find this most effective.  Larger busted ladies will not be able to see because the boobs will be so high they’ll be blocking the sunlight.  Don’t say I didn’t warn ya….:p. No but on a more serious note, I find Freya is an excellent brand for lifting larger boobs, and their bands are firm enough to hold you up.

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-11-55-00-pm

My latest Freya purchase, the Rio Underwired Balcony Bra in nude – perfect for perky lifted boobs

-Play up the proportional mismatch by creating a very long legged look.  Like, stuff all the rules, who cares, lets just maximise the weird proportions.  This is currently one of my favourite smart outfits: long palazzo/wide-leg trousers with platform heels; and any top (I still tend to colour match with the trousers but I’ll get braver eventually).  This combo makes my short lil legs look like they go on forever, and combined with a short, teensy-looking torso, can look quite girlish and elegant.

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-11-57-37-pm

I have no idea who this lady is but blimmin’ Nora she’s perfect…anyone know if she has a blog or Instagram??

Anyway, my next outfit plan is to get hold of some cute high waist, cropped ankle skinny jeans (like these I’ve seen in Forever New like this or more likely this (the mid-rise version) but I prefer the buttons on the first pair.  Then I was going to see if I could find a blue chambray or denim shirt to pair it with for a bit of a Kim K double-denim type look.  I’ll keep you posted if the jeans work or don’t work on my micro body 😀

cba1e396c5b16184fa8bbc62ce5c6e20

Notice that Kim actually has mid-rise jeans on here, and has created space in her torso by wearing less-than-high-waist jeans – the proportions of her outfit look great to me.

Hope these ideas prove useful!  Let me know if you have any other tips!

Emphasise Your Waist To Lose Ten Pounds, Part I

Body, Wardrobe planning

Slight disclaimer on the above title: I’m talking about the visual effect of losing ten pounds not the actual loss of ten pounds 😀 Although that said, I did do an article on tightening up your thighs that talked a bit about weight loss if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

For the rest of us however, grab yourself a coffee and biscuit and I’ll proceed :p

So, as I’ve said before, I’ve always struggled to feel like I look my best when wearing casual outfits.     They just look no more than ‘blah’ and I go walking around for the day feeling quite chunky and frumpy.  I believe I just haven’t been finding the right clothes for my body, and this is why this blog started in order to analyse this problem…aloud…in the company of you guys!  But my problem with casual outfits is compounded by the fact that I just cannot resist a good floaty, loose top.  The type that hangs from your boobs and floats about your body in an oh-so-casual, look-at-me-I-look-awesome-without-even-trying type of way.  In my head, I suppose I’m kinda idealising the type of look that Roxy often espouses, see pics below.

Just so you get an idea of what I’m referring to in my head.

Now I think that pink top looks fantastic on the model, who appears to have a fairly straight figure (I think this is her in a bikini outfit but could be wrong!)*.  But when I try the same sort of items on in the store, they never looked ‘cool, laid-back and surfy’ but just plain frumpy. xD.

I’ve used this image before but here’s J Law in dress-downs: jen-lawrence-062012-204

…and the feeling this image gives me is similar to what I get when I’m in dress-downs – like, her mate is doing practically nothing different but looks great and I can’t explain why (NB here is a pic with her actually rocking denim shorts, proving it’s about the garment itself and how you wear it)

Now I think it’s important for girls like me to change their mental image of casual outfits slightly.  It’s important to lose the idealism of the ‘super-laid-back’ loose/unfitted surfy outfit, and find a way to emulate the laid-back feel whilst emphasising the waist.  And it’s another challenge to do this without looking more dressed up than you want.  I find a lot of waisted garments have a more smart/casual feel for some reason, and this effect is sometimes compounded when you put them on a curvy frame making the overall look quite ‘womanly’ rather than ‘surfy’ or whatever you’re going for.

Below are some examples of small alterations to expectations that you can make to keep your beachy, surfy outfits flattering to your shape, meaning you look 10lbs lighter than if you didn’t flatter your shape.  I’ve focussed on the beachy look today, but the same principles will apply for, say, hiking or sporty outfits too.  I should cover those in another post at some point perhaps.  All my examples come from one of my favourite instagrammers, @gypsylovinlight – if you ever need to learn how to stack rings or accessorise a boho outfit, check out her pictures.  She’s not particularly an hourglass figure but the principles are what I’m trying to get at.  And a slight disclaimer, the rules for clothes are not exactly hard and fast so sometimes if you want that straight-up-and-down dress or top, you just damn well buy it and enjoy it because it’s just clothes at the end of the day!

Maxi dress

Look 1 is beautiful but obscures the waist, whereas look 2 clings to the waist more allowing a slimmer look on an hourglass figure.

Short beach dress

Cute look on the left, but bound to make a curvy girl look heavier than she is, whereas the gorgeous dress on the right follows the line of the body which is great for hourglasses.

Shorts and top

A straighter figure can look better with a floaty top paired with shorts, because often their hips and thighs are a very narrow point of their body to show off.  An hourglasses narrowest part is her waist, and if you play it up like the outfit on the right, you de-emphasise the thighs and hips which is our widest point, and avoid looking heavier than you are.

*Mid post I had a bit of an ‘aha’ moment too when I tried to look for the same model who wore the straight T-shirts in the bikini section to see how straight her figure was – I realised they very craftily use a curvier shaped girl to model the bikini’s than they use for the clothing.  And where they did use a straight waisted girl, she looked worse in the bikinis than she did in the straight-hanging tops.  Even the tall slim models can’t suit all different styles of clothing and have their strong and weak points.

What is your boob strategy?

Body, Casual hourglass, Struggles, Wardrobe planning

Sometimes dressing an hourglass figure elegantly or casually can feel like a complicated mass of curves that each need flattering in their own individual way.  This is why I need to ask you: what, ladies, is your boob strategy?!

What I mean is: boobs have the ability to change the entire overall effect of an outfit, and represent an important consideration when planning your outfit.  Instead of feeling constrained by having either big or small boobs as an hourglass, I see this as being an adjustable aspect you can use to make your outfit work better (obviously there are some limitations to the ‘adjustableness’ of A-cup or K-cup boobs but there is a good degree of playing up or playing down one can achieve :p).  So when you have a certain outfit/look you want to achieve as an hourglass, but you think the boobs may get in the way or spoil the line, have a think about how to improve the fit and look of your garments with a few careful tweaks to your underwear.  I’ll be focusing mainly on larger busts in this article.

So first let’s deal with how you decide which approach to take.


Firstly, playing up the boobs.

What? Closely fitted, bust emphasizing outfits on top of a good boobs-up-front-and-centre bra (or an excellent push up bra for smaller busts and those who want cleavage).

Why?  A busty lady will tend to look slimmer with her boobs perked up high, brought in from the sides, and some say, ‘lifted and separated’.  You provide the perfect contrast to your tiny waist, and counter-balance to your rounder hips.  Another benefit is that this look can be pretty show-stopping and your man will probably love it!  And an hourglass figure really will speak for itself aesthetically when the figure is undisguised by baggy clothes.  Smaller boobed hourglasses may wish to play up their bust with add-two-sizes bras from Victoria’s Secret (the Bombshell is a good one I believe) in order to add curves to your top half – especially a good idea if you are an hourglass who veers towards a pear shape.

Good for: More dressed up outfits; fitted, waist-emphasizing clothing shapes – tight tops, pencil-shaped dresses; balancing wide hips/thighs; more feminine silhouette; v-neck and wrap tops/dresses; jersey or stretch items, skirts and dresses.

How? Obviously getting an excellent bra fitting so that you lift your boobs and can define your torso beneath the bust better. You will want a bra with a good T-shirt bra shape so that your outline in fitted clothing is attractive – in specific, you won’t want too pointy boobs or a double boob silhouette, and saggy un-lifted boobs will make you look older. To narrow your torso, find a bra that can lift and project your breasts so the fullness is up front rather than out at the sides where it will make you look wider. Freya is a very good brand for projection, although you may want to browse more specialist lingerie blogs to find out if they’re good for you in relation to full-on-top vs full-on-bottom boobs and wide-set vs close set boob shapes etc.
To achieve the slimming effect of fitted outfits, the top should follow the line of your body under your boobs rather than hang/drape from the apex (which would add volume to your torso).  You need to separate your boobs from your torso, and ensure your outfit fits your waist – achieving both of these can be surprisingly hard for many hourglass women. Regarding clothing, Pepperberry, which is the clothing brand of the bra brand Bravissimo, is good at creating pieces which fit your boobs underneath, separating them from your ribs and belly, and creating a very flattering profile. Their clothing comes in normal UK dress sizes but has another measure that takes into account just how busty you are. I need to do a post specifically on this brand at some point – they don’t do edgy cool casual looks but are good for staples for busty women such as cardigans, jumpers, Breton style t-shirts and plenty more.  Don’t forget shape wear for your middle section if needed. This look emphasizes the midriff section so make sure your waist is tight and flat so your fitted clothes don’t cling to too many lumps and bumps.


Secondly there is the option of minimizing the presence of your boobs for your outfit. Why? It’s useful to be aware that smaller boobs tend to come across as more youthful, and casual outfits tend to project a more carefree, youthful look, so you can harness this knowledge to make your casual outfits work a touch better for you.  Another reason you may wish to compress your boobs is if you want to amp up cleavage, but have boobs that are wide set or on the smaller size.  Using compression is actually an option I use quite frequently for a variety of reasons, such as the following examples:

  • tight fitting sheath dress with racer back, worn with Converse or heeled boots
  • drapey grey wool poncho that makes my upper body look like a chunk unless I minimize the boobs or wear a slim belt over it (see this link to Jean’s ‘Extra Petite’ blog for the inspiration I used for this outfit – oh how I love this blog, no matter how not-extra-petite I am haha!)
  • work blazer – I can fit into mainstream blazers as my boobs aren’t huge (versus having to buy them from specialist stores like BiuBiu), but my blazers will hang oddly  over my boobs when undone, or fail to sit correctly when done up sometimes, whilst fitting my waist and shoulders fine; minimizing the boobs lets me get away with more, and provides a chic-er line for my professional outfits
  • high neck tops and crew neck sweaters – avoid a great big visual monoboob effect from your neck to your underbust by minimizing your boobs 🙂

What? Although you don’t seem to hear much about minimizing bras these days, I find them to be a useful aspect of my wardrobe. I don’t think it should be an every day thing: don’t quote me on this but I think continually compressing the breast tissue can cause some longer term loss of fullness, so make sure you give your boobs a good break from compression. But occasional minimizing is utterly harmless, and works by compressing the fatty tissue in breasts into a more compact, smaller shape (fat tissue is readily compressible as the cells are not tightly packed).
How? I most often use a sports bra (I get mine from Cotton On in Auckland – actually I have one of their sports bras under my fluffy top in this post), but you can purchase a minimizer bra (I learn from Her Room that they often only go up to a G which is a bit silly but anyway…). If you’re much over a D-cup, this gives you a few more clothing options, as the difference of a cup size or two can mean the difference between fitting into mainstrem clothes vs needing specialist clothes like Pepperberry or Biubiu. Also having less fullness up top can mean you can wear looser tops without looking too bulky, or make those straight-ish shift dresses or boho looks work a bit better.  If you are after killer cleavage, you can use your push-up bra under a sports bra, or just wear a well fitting minimizer which should push everything closer to your body, and smush boobs together a bit in the centre.

Anyway, there’s a few of my personal tips for coping with the complicating factor of boobs when dressing your gorgeous hourglass frame.  Any more suggestions or comments are welcomed, thanks for reading!

Getting thinner thighs as an hourglass

Body, Casual hourglass, Struggles

The most common complaint I hear from ladies who share an hourglass figure is that we have big thighs, big wobbly sometimes cellulitey thighs. They can be hard to flatter in casual outfits because they don’t fit into skinny jeans (or any jeans) too well, or we don’t want to get our legs out in the summer because they don’t look good enough (guilty).  In fact, I must admit to hating most of summer fashion because the sun and outdoors requires mainly casual outfits from me, and mainly skin-baring outfits of some sort.

Well I’m here today to tell you the good news: I managed to cure my thigh wobbliness by a good 70%* using a handful of very simple techniques, and have a few ideas for improving the skin of my legs so they can become legs I’m proud of.

(*this number may be entirely speculative…)

First up, the thigh wobbliness strategy.  This is what changed in my habits to produce legs that are nearly shorts-worthy (still a work in progress…)

  1. Started walking to work.  For me this means 35-40 minutes of walking, sometimes twice a day (so 80 mins of walking) on at least 3 days a week.  I live outside of Auckland, so have to get a bus into town, but I made the choice to walk the second leg of my journey so I could get fit again and tone my legs.  The walk is a refreshing way to start the day and I don’t get too sweaty so I don’t have to shower when I get to work.  If the walk was more vigorous however, I’d wear workout gear for the journey, and have a back-pack with my work clothes to change into, plus a few shower bits and bobs (the hassle is worth the healthy feeling, and the reward your thighs will give you).  Personally I believe (from own experience and reading online plus a bit of medical knowledge) that walking is excellent exercise for women – it’s great cardio, it lacks the adverse effects of more extreme exercise on your soft curves, it’s accessible to all and I personally have always lost weight when I’ve had a regular walking habit.  Is there some way you could fit in some walking to your daily schedule?  Make it part of your normal comings and goings if possible as you don’t have to go out of your way to achieve it then and it becomes a habit.
  2. Started squatting like nobody’s business.  This and a bit of weight loss I think are the most responsible for the tighter thighs I’m currently sporting.  I’m not a gym-goer currently, and I eschew weights because I am mesomorphic (put on muscle easily) and don’t need any more chunk on these gams.  What I do, in my simplistic way, is chuck on a Beyonce song, and I will pretty much squat repeatedly for about twenty minutes in my room, as well as doing lunges and leg raises (you on all fours, one leg extended straight and lifted up and down), then finish off with some sit ups and…um..back ups (?the back version of sit ups).  It’s cheap and effective and because I’m using only my body weight to squat I’m getting thinner but more powerful thighs and butt.  Oh, I need to say also that squatting is THE thing for cellulite.  So, squat ladies like there’s no tomorrow.
  3. Weight loss.  I have a very simple and probably nutritionally inadequate way around weight loss, but it works for my hourglass frame.  I eat a medium banana instead of breakfast, and drink loads of tea to fill me up.  Lunch, for short periods of 3-5 days, I will just eat an apple and a banana, then I have dinner from My Food Bag which is essentially a nutrient-packed fairly-healthy-but-not-too-extreme and filling evening meal.  I may also take a multivitamin whilst I’m dieting just so I’m not missing any key nutrients but I’m pretty forgetful.  When snacking during the day, I keep a 1kg bag of mixed dried fruit and nuts, and will grab a small handful to conquer any snack attacks (maybe twice a day), plus drinking more huge mugs of tea or coffee which suppress appetite and fill you up.  And aside from this, I try to avoid all other food, especially sweet sugary snacks and drinks.  The result of all this, for me, is gradual weight loss, about 1lb a week, without any noticeable hunger.  You end up with a great body, but yellow teeth due to tea-staining.  So, you know, you can’t have it all.  Another thing I’ve looked into in the past is intermittent fasting – the science is sound and you don’t ruin your metabolism, but I’m quite a hungry gal so I’d rather eat a banana than fast.  Note, I have not looked into the nutritional aspects of this at all and am not trained to do so and will not recommend it as an awesome thing for other people to do, but this is just what is tolerable and effective for me.  But back to the original point, the thighs have improved because I’ve got less flesh on top, and better muscles beneath the flesh.

Lastly, improving skin texture on legs.  I don’t know if it’s a problem with all of us who carry more weight on the legs (due to poor surface circulation perhaps?) but I have got quite bumpy skin on my thighs and calves (keratosis pilaris) and my fake tan will often stick to the bumps = awesome.  My strategy for improving the skin quality (and this may be useful for those who don’t have keratosis pilaris too) involves the following:

  1. Weekly body scrubs – I’m currently using a gorgeous coffee body scrub with those exfoliating gloves you can buy from any pharmacy or dollar store.
  2. Daily intensive moisturizing – Jergen’s Oatmeal and Shea Butter is one of the best body moisturizers I’ve used.
  3. Weekly or fortnightly aspirin peels (salicylic acid, dissolves the upper keratin layers on the skin) – obviously only use if you’re not allergic to aspirin, but its a gentle peel that you don’t need to neutralize other than applying water to rinse, and it leaves your legs incredibly smooth.  Google aspirin peel for recipes, and start low strength if in doubt.  I use this recipe personally.  Used regularly, you should gradually start to improve the bumpy texture of your legs.
  4. My next plan is a weak strength glycolic acid peel – ideally you’d have a professional doing this for you.  I’m probably going to obtain mine through my laser salon, Avana, in Auckland.  Be careful if you buy any online, ensure you only use reputable sources even if it costs more, as you do not want to end up with burns.  If you are doing it at home, always stick to the instructions as glycolic acid is not really to be messed with as far as I understand (I haven’t tried it at home personally)
  5. Obviously if you are not happy with the texture of your skin on your legs, fake tan and instant bronzers will make a world of difference to your confidence.  My typical regime when good legs are needed over summer involves one or two layers of a good fake tan the night before (ModelCo tan in a can is fab), wash this off then moisturise.  Then apply Sally Hansen’s airbrush legs (lotion is what I’m using currently, not the spray although both are fantastic, literally the best in my opinion).  On top, I’ll spray some of my Sephora shimmer body oil and voila – shiny, smooth, perfect looking limbs.  Oh I should’ve said – shaving or waxing is a must before all this 🙂

So I hope this long-winded post has proved useful to you, and might inspire you when it comes to figuring out your own regimes.