How to Choose an Empire Waist to Suit Your Body Shape

One of the most universally flattering styles of garment is an “empire waist” with a high cut waist seam that sits directly under the bust just above your natural waistline.  It’s flattering on so many body shapes because it doesn’t require a defined natural waist to work. Regardless of your body type and size, you can make it work for you by following our styling tricks.

For straight figured women, a gathered or pleated empire waist can be great to create extra curve.


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If you’re a straight figured woman without curves, you may go for an empire waist with gathers or pleats to add some volume on your bottom part. Like fashion blogger Nicole Warne, you may go for a lower empire style, especially if you’re tall, but go for pleated ones that can add some volume on your top and bottom part. Prefer A-line, gathered, or pleated on your skirts over figure hugging pencil skirt to add some curve to your straight shape.

For hourglass and pear-shaped women, look for a wider waistband to define your shapely curves and tiny waist.

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If you’re an hourglass or pear shaped with a defined waist, go for empire style that sits on the slimmest part of your torso that will flow nicely over your curves. You may also look for a wider waistband to define your shapely curves and tiny waist. Like fashion blogger Kristina Bazan, you may go for a fit-and-flare style of dress to balance your big hips, or go for a form-fitting dress to flaunt your hourglass shape like fashion blogger Micah Gianneli did.

For apple and inverted triangle-shaped women, go for higher empire to define your smallest torso part.

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Apple and inverted triangle shaped women will look great in empire styles as it defines the smallest torso part, directly under their bust which we don’t expect to be as small as we expect the waist ratio to be. A great thing, it will take attention away from your natural waist, up toward your face. The same rule applies to pregnant women as empire styles will be comfortable, because there aren’t any seams around the stomach.

For petite women, look taller with an empire waist that sits directly below your bust.

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High-wais style and empire waists are perfect for petite women. For petites it works because it raises the waistline up, so raises the eye higher on the body so you look taller. Like fashion blogger Jean Wang, you may go for a fit-and-flare dress with an empire waist, or go modern classic with a bodycon dress. By heeding our tricks, you’ll be able to flaunt your feminine curves regardless of the size and shape you have.

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