Where is my waistline?
young couple holding each other around waist being close
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My Waist?

Don't Guess!

Just follow these suggestions and you will get it right.

It's Here...

To Find Your Natural Waist:

While standing upright bend over to your side.  Make a note where your body creases.  This is your natural waist.  It’s the  narrowest part of  your torso, generally located between you rib cage and your belly button.  Some people make a mark with a magic marker (!) or if you will take multiple measurements, it might be a good idea to just tie a string around your waistline so you don’t have to keep finding it.

How to Measure –

Use a 60″ relatively new soft measuring tape.  When you take your measurement DON’T INHALE, and make sure the tape STAYS LEVEL or your reading won’t be accurate.

I’m not a tailor.   I don’t have a cloth tape.

Here’s a neat trick.  Use a string and a yardstick.  Wrap the string around you and keep your thumb where it comes together.. and then stretch it along the yardstick.   

What if I don’t have a string and a yardstick?

You’re not out of luck.  You can wrap dollar bills around your waist and multiply by 6.14 inches (16.6 cm).  Dollar bills are 6.14 inches long and 2.61 inches tall.  Just tape them together and multiply the number of bills by 6.14.  Folded in half, a dollar measures 3.124 inches, and folded into thirds, it measures 1.25 inches.   

What if I don’t have any money?

You’re still in luck.  Try printer paper.  Printer paper measures 8.5 inches by 11 inches.  Just tape the edges together to form a circle around your waist, then multiply the number of papers either by 8.5 or by 11, depending if you had used the long of the short side.  If the last piece is too long, fold it in half, or into two thirds.  Half is 4.25 inches and a third is 2.83 inches.  Just make sure you are using standard paper.

Help with measuring.

Keep it level to keep it accurate.

Surprisingly, for some us us, sometimes it is hard to keep the tape or the string level.  In that case it’s better to have a friend help you.

young man measuring woman s waist men over white background 50074736
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But Wait!

The Long and the Short of it…..

          ……your clothes can change your waistline!

It’s true – and important!

For the perfect look you have to balance your top with your bottom.  If you are short-waisted, you’ll be out of balance with a top half that appears smaller than your bottom half.  If you are long-waisted, your legs will appear too short or too stocky.  

The idea is simple:  A short waist should look longer and a long waist should look shorter.

A Simple Demonstration —

Here is Hoda Kotb of NBC’s Today show.  Look at the change just by tucking in her sweater or leaving it out. This is a simple case where short turns into long.  This is the basic principle with more formal wear, too.  Sometimes the nomenclature is different, but the idea is the same.  Keep Hoda’s sweater in mind and you can’t go wrong.


The easy way to find your waist length.

How to Measure.  It’s Easy!

Place your hands at the base of your bust.  Fit them snugly but do not push upwards.  So, how many hand’s distances are there between the top of your hand and your waist?

Less than two hands width = a short waist.

Two hands widths = a balanced waist.

More than two hands width = a long waist.

One thing to remember is that the larger your bust, or the lower it sits, the shorter your waist will be.

This method is not the most accurate way to measure, but it works for most people.

If You Want to be More Accurate:

Measure from your underarm to your natural waist.  Then measure your waist to your hip bone.  If the measurements are about the same, you’re evenly proportioned.  If the first measurement is smaller, then you are short waisted.  If the second measurement is smaller, then your are long waisted.  

Same Idea, Different Way:

Another way to tell if you’re short or long waisted is to measure from the top of your head to your crotch.  Then measure from your crotch to the floor.  (Just remember to stand barefoot and flat footed.)  If the first measurement is shorter, you are short waisted.  If the second measurement is shorter, you are long waisted.


Some Tips

To change you waistline

For the Long Waisted Woman…

Look at the A-line skirt.  It sits above the waist and flows out from it, elonging the legs.

For the Short Waisted Woman…

Think about the Deep-V dress.  It focuses the eye upwards and away from your waist.  The advantage of the illusion V is that is uses a mesh to hold the V in place.

For the Long Waisted Woman…

The long waisted woman should consider jackets that end higher up on the torso, like a shrug or a bolero jacket.  The key is to make sure it is no longer than the hip bone.

For the Short Waisted Woman…

The short waited woman should find a patterned top, preferably with a larg or bold, embellished, or contrasting pattern to keep the eye moving up.  Although not common in formal wear, vertical or diagonal strips are best.

For the Long Waisted Woman…

The long waisted woman should try a wide belt.  Long waisted women have a lot of room between their ribs and waist, so if that’s you, you could fill that space with a belt.

For the Short Waisted Woman…

It’s best for the short waisted woman to avoid dresses with a wide belt or waistband.   If you find a dress with a belt, choose a narrow one in the same color to minimize attention to the waist area.

The Always Versatile Empire Waist 

Consider the adaptable Empire Waist. Empire Waists can be your G0-To style tool because they visibly lower the short waist or elongate the legs of the long waist.  In this dress everybody wins.  It works for any age  and any body type.  If you just don’t know what to do, start looking here.

Jennifer Lopez – Rachel Zoe

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