Drop Waist Vs. Natural Waist

America Ferrera plays up her natural waistline and flatters her curvy figure at the Deauville American Film Festival.

Photo: Francois Durand/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Though it's often overlooked, the waist you wear is a pretty crucial piece of your look. The drop waist and the natural waist are two influential types of waistlines, and each one can create a look that's distinctly dapper. With a few tidbits of info, you'll know how to work the waist in no time.

Waistline Chronicles

The natural waistline may be a flattering part to flaunt, but it hasn't always been in style; in fact, it came into vogue in the 1830s, as the high waist of the 1820s began to drop in popularity. At the time, it was primarily worn in the form of the corset, and the tight lacing was linked to ideals of social restraint among women. The drop waist dropped in during the 1920s, when social restraints on women were beginning to loosen up; flappers were particularly fond of sporting this relaxed look along with cloche hats and low heels.

Wearing the Waist

It may be the 21st century, but you can look just as stylish wearing these waistlines as the ladies of the Victorian era, or the flapper girls of the "Roaring Twenties." If you want a long, slim look, the drop waist is a definite do. Positioned just a few inches below your natural waist, this style draws the eye downward near the hips and straight down the leg, giving the body a lean, sinewy line. The natural waist hits at the narrowest part of your waist, and enhances the hips and bust, enhancing or creating an hourglass shape.

Waistline Wishes

Bringing out your natural waistline can be as simple as adding a belt to your outfit; wrap a skinny belt around your waist for a little definition, or try a wide one for a little more drama. High-waisted jeans tend to hit near the natural waist; sport a slender shirt for a slim silhouette, or something blousier for a cool contrast. Pair a high-waisted skirt or dress with heels for a look that's prim and (a little bit) provocative. A drop waist looks drop-dead stylish in combination with a pair of leggings and low pumps, or skinny jeans and cute flats. Top it off with a wide headband for a '60s vibe, or a clutch and cloche hat for a 1920s feel.

Waistline Wrongs

Avoid pairing a drop-waist top with anything wide on the bottom; wide-leg pants or flare jeans make the slim lines of the drop-waist look messy. Natural waistlines shouldn't be obscured by a shirt that's too heavy on top, so try a sleek button-down or slim tee as opposed to something big and blousy. The same goes for handbags; a super-large bag will weigh your look down, so stick with a clutch-size satchel to keep the spotlight on the effects of your stylish new waistline.

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