Ask the Bean: Battling the Empire (Waist)

July 15, 2007 • Magazine

Ask the Bean: Battling the Empire (Waist)

Ask the Bean: Battling the Empire (Waist)

Sun, 2007-07-15 09:00

Dear Bean,

I’ve come to notice that empire-waist tops are everywhere. They are all so cute and stylish, I’m dying to grab as many as I can. But I’m nervous that they’ll all make me look pregnant or heavy. I’m not a stick-figure but I still want to be stylish. What types of tops can I buy that have the empire waist but still flatter my figure?


Dear Conscious:

You are absolutely right; waists have crept up to the empire once again! However take a deep breath before fretting about appearing to gain a gut as soon as you slip one over your skinny jeans. With all the varying styles and cuts, “empire waist� is no longer synonymous with “maternity-wear�.

There are just a few things to look for when purchasing the empire-waist top. First and foremost, fit it to your body type. You may be curvy, skinny, pear-shaped or top-heavy—whatever shape you are, there is an empire-waist for you.

If you have a fuller figure, make sure to look for empire-waist halters or tees with extra fabric below the bust-line. This will give off a flowing streamlined look. Also look for contrasting prints and solids above and below the waistline. The kimono empire-waist top is also very flattering on women of all shapes and sizes.

A standard quality to look for in an empire-waist top if you have any sign of a chest is rouching beneath the bust with a v-shaped neckline. This creates and accentuates an hour-glass figure. That way you avoid the “bag� look so many women associate with the empire waist. Also look for tops with embellishment under the bust, like a belt or bow, to draw focus away from unwanted areas.

Empire waists can also be very beneficial for those lacking in the chest area. For those of you looking to accentuate even non-existent cleavage, look for form-fitting tops with an empire waist that cuts up between the bust to accentuate wanted curvature.

One thing to keep in mind when purchasing any empire-waist top no matter what your body type — the heavier the fabric, the more form-flattering the top. Look for heavier cottons or lighter materials with lining. That way you avoid the ever-so scary tent impersonation.

Lastly, pair accordingly. An empire-waist top, no matter how cute, will never pair well with baggy bottoms. If you have a loosely-fitted item of clothing on top, accentuate it with fitted pants, leggings, skinny jeans or mini-skirts.

You might be intimidated by the sometimes-assumed association between empire waistlines and protruding bellies. Before you avoid the clothing rack, keep in mind that the empire waistline has been circulating the fashion realm since the 1700s. Now, if it worked back then, I have no doubt that you can make it work now.

1. Ella Moss Hamptons Halter Top

2. T-Bags Print V Neck Empire Tank

3. Sweet Pea Mesh Geometric Cap Sleeve Top

4. Lotta Stensson Cotton Voile Tie-front Blouse

5. Torrid Kimono Top

6. Torrid Black Chiffon Flutter Sleeve Top

7. MaxStudio Silk Bamboo Empire Top

8. MaxStudio Cotton Silk Voile Lace Tunic

If you would like to submit a question, please send your email to:
Replys will be posted monthly in Retail Therapy.

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