What Is the Difference Between Tying a Belt to the Waist Vs. the Hip?

Actress Stephanie March at the screening of

Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

To add some quick pizazz to a boring outfit, grab a belt and strap it to your middle. Whether blingin' or bland, multi-colored or black, belts break up your body and outline your stomach, creating the much-coveted hourglass shape. The place you put your belt will definitely affect the way it makes your body look, so pay close attention, class - this is Body Shaping 101.

What Belts Do

If you're a man, a belt holds up your pants. If you're a woman, however, things are never that simple. A belt can hold up your pants or skirt, add some glitter to a boring outfit, showcase your skinny waist, suck in your post-baby bulge and perform a myriad of other activities. The main difference in placing your belt at your waist or at your hip is the decision of which area you would like to focus on.

On Your Waist

If you're placing a belt around your waist, which is defined as the area in your middle with the smallest circumference, you are either trying to show it off or conceal it. For a tight, taut tummy that deserves to be flaunted, a skinny belt is just the trick to showcase just how tiny your midsection is. Not only does a skinny belt leave no room to the imagination, but its thinness can actually cause fat to bulge around it -- imagine a taut rubber band strapped on to the middle of a pillowcase. To properly pull off a skinny belt without causing this undesirable effect, wear a shirt with a little room for forgiveness, such as a loose button-down shirt, which will smooth any bulging effects. When wearing a belt to conceal your waist, such as the much-feared baby bulge, try an extra-wide stretchy belt. This will conform perfectly to your stomach and act as an over-the-skirt control top, sucking you in, making you look inches skinnier and creating an hourglass effect with the shape of your body -- a skinny middle with wider hips and chest.

On Your Hips

Unlike a waist, hips cannot be sucked in, so belts worn around the hips are primarily to showcase them or to add interest to an outfit. A belt can be worn around the hips to break up the look of a plain dress or to add detail and shape to a long, flowing shirt. A belt worn on the hips also serves a functional, pants-holding purpose.

Celebrity Preference

As seen in the catalogs of upscale designer Elie Tahari, on the Chanel 2012 Resort runway and in "Style" magazine's summer 2011 shopping guide, waist belts are much preferred over hip belts. Models strutting down the runway in Cape D'Antibes, France at the Chanel Resort show demonstrated time and time again that belts are cooler when they are high up. Elie Tahari's spring 2011 catalog featured countless skinny belts tied over a sweater set smack in the middle of the waist and "Style" magazine's cover to its shopping guide features a smiling model in a beautiful lacy white shirt with an olive green belt tied around her waist and an olive green cardigan to match.

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