Can we discuss Cookie Lyon’s—er, Taraji P. Henson’s—Oscars look again? She was the epitome of an hourglass, and simultaneously made our jaws drop and our abs itch for a trip to the gym for some serious core work. But what if you could achieve the perfect waistline without all that effort? Here, what to wear for a smaller-looking waist.
The ultimate waist-cincher, high-rise bottoms smooth and shape in all the right places (aka our middle). Aim for a pair of pants or a skirt that hits right above your belly button to draw the eye to the smallest part of your torso.
You’ve heard that horizontal stripes can make you appear wider, and the opposite logic applies to vertical ones. The elongating design on a blouse or cotton tee is both slimming and fashion-forward.
A Wide-Leg Pant
The wider silhouette down below does wonders by creating contrast between your waistline and the bell-shaped pant legs. Look for a pair of culottes or trousers with some serious legroom and a high-rise closure to define your torso at its narrowest point.
A Peplum Silhoutte
This classic 1940s silhouette has stuck around for decades—and for good reason. The figure-hugging waist seam followed by a flare of fabric is a no-brainer in the curves department.
A Sheath Dress with Panelled Sides
First seen on bathing suits, this fashion trick draws the eye in to your middle and makes your torso appear much smaller by creating the hourglass shape for you. Ah, the wonders of design.
A Wrap Dress
DVF popularized the look in the 1970s with her curve-hugging jersey dresses, and they quickly became a cult classic. Today’s styles vary greatly in material and aesthetic, but no matter the designer, a flattering V-neck and waist-minimizing fabric tie work wonders.
A Belted Jacket
Break out the trenches! What better way to shrink the appearance of your abdomen than to tie up your coat right at your middle? Aim for a style that, when closed, hits right at your waist.
Or Just a Belt
The absolute easiest way to achieve hourglass perfection? A belt secured around your middle is a visual anchor, drawing the viewer in to your defined midsection. Go for a medium-sized, Western-inspired one with your favorite denim and tucked blouse to stay on-trend without looking like a high schooler circa 1996.