How to Create Waist Definition without a Belt


It attracted my attention that you mention that you wear skirts/dresses or jeans most of the time. I do the same thing, and it has been working great for the most part, thanks to your blog. The main thing that I learned is that I am X-shape and I should belt over skirts/dresses, I enjoy having a defined waist and I like how it looks. My problem is with jeans – I am short waisted and if I belt over, it looks like I have to long of a rise. If I don’t belt it and choose a slim top it looks better, but I am so used to waist definition that I don’t like that look anymore. I am also not a big fan of layering, for me the simpler, the better. I am wondering if there is anyway to work out the belted look into my predicament (X-shape, short waist)? If not, what is the simplest way to layer to achieve waist definition?
Thank so much in advance!


How to create waist definition for a long rise


If you have a long rise,  and a short waist then belting when garments are tucked can make you look quite odd .  Instead, if you want to belt, wear it over the top of a blousy top worn out.

Think about layering a longer top to your high hips underneath either a shorter, waist length cardigan or jacket which can draw attention and highlight your slim waist.

Alternatively how about a wrap top (or dress when you’re not wearing pants, skirt, jeans), that comes in and highlights your waist.

How do you light to highlight your waist when you’re not wearing a belt?


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  • I’m a long-rise X, and I dislike wearing belts (other than to hold up my pants; and I never tuck in).

    With pants, I tend to wear knit tops that show (though don’t highlight) my waist, ending around the middle of my rise. My cardigans are often hip-length but I find the waist is still pretty clear inside. I’m curious to try shorter cardigans. The really short ones (boleros?) don’t look good, but perhaps waist-length ones will be better.

    I learned from Imogen to wear wrap tops/dresses – they do look great. I also learned to wear skirts more — usually with a knit top that ends at the high hip.

    Oh, one thing that I find works miracles is 3/4 length sleeves (or to the elbow, I guess 1/2 sleeve). It makes the waist area the focus, I find.

  • I’m a long rise 8 shape, and I find the waist length cardigan/jacket over a longer, tight fitting base layer is a lifesaver for waist definition. Belting over a longer flowy cardigan (hip-length) also works for waist definition and elongating the upper body. I also am busty, which makes the waist definition even more of a challenge in this scenario.

  • Being a long-rise, busty X I find that H&M’s ruched tops (featured in this fantastic blog’s post from March 9. 2011 in light blue) works miracles for me. I have them in all the spring colours, in fact I’ve bought doublets in blue, and two again in this fall’s cobalt version.

    Since my hips are very asymetrical I can’t wear belts, or wrap style tops and dresses as they always sort of twist around my body. Come to think of it, the same happens with skirts. Can anyone come up with a solution to this problem?

    Lenghtwise I prefer my tops to end around the middle of my rise, like Tall and slim anon, with 3/4 length sleeves.

    • I love ruching – I often ruche the sides of my tops that don’t come that way.

      Skirts twisting can be difficult, try getting some rubber strips from a haberdasher and sew it into the sides of your skirts so they stick to your body rather than slip.

  • I’m a long-rise, busty 8, and I find the shorter layer over longer top works well for me, as do ruched, draped or wrap tops. I look very strange indeed if I try to belt when wearing trousers ….

  • Another great way to create waist definition without a belt is to have a buttonless cardigan/top/blazer and use a brooch to close it up. You can pick the spot where it’s most flattering to pin the brooch and you can easily change that spot too next week.

  • ah ha! imogen you have explained it! i am a short H shape, with short legs, and for some reason layered tops work – with the underlayer falling at my high hip. i thought i was hallucinating, but this is verification. i definitely have a long rise.

  • Ah, this explains why wrap tops look good on me. I thought wrap dresses were not good on my non-hippy “I” shape, but my husband has always liked me in wrap dresses, as I think they give me a bit of a waist. I just tend to buy a smaller size and wear a cami under it to conceal cleavage.

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