How to Make Your Waist Look Smaller


The only way to truly make your waist smaller is to lose weight. But men and women alike can use fashion techniques to visually shrink the waistline. The types and sizes of your clothing, as well as how you wear it, can create the illusion of a smaller waist.

Tight Layers

  • You may be tempted to wear baggier clothing to mask your waist size, but clothes that fit truer to your size are ideal when trying to minimize the appearance of your waist. This is particularly important during cold weather when you’re wearing layers. Loose layers cause your waist to look bulkier, but fitted sweaters or long-sleeved tops worn under body-hugging jackets will help show off your waist. In addition, instead of layering heavy items, choose multiple thin layers.

Raise the Waistline

  • If you’re carrying excess weight on your waist, consider wearing bottoms that sit higher in the waist. Higher-waisted bottoms hold in and cinch the waist, unlike pants that rest lower on your hips. Men and women can select slacks, khakis, jeans, shorts, skirts and leggings designed with waistbands that sit above their hip bones. Wearing high-waisted pants with high heeled shoes can take the emphasis off your waist by making your legs look longer.

Consider a Girdle

  • Like high-waisted bottoms, a girdle will tightly hold in excess stomach fat and make your waist appear smaller. Girdles are designed to fit tight, so they can be worn under pants, shorts, skirts and dresses without causing an increase in bulk. For men or women uncomfortable wearing a girdle, nylon bike shorts worn under bottoms can provide the same effect.

Fool the Eye With a Belt

  • The position and size of your belt can make a difference. Wear a belt around the widest area of your torso to emphasize your waist. You could also make your waist look smaller if you raise the belt and wear it at your navel. A belt placed just under your bra creates the optical illusion of a smaller waist. You can incorporate this technique when wearing dresses or long sweaters. Wear a belt with pants or jeans only when they’re high-waisted. If you wear belts with bottoms that rest at your hips, you’ll make your waist look bigger. A wider belt, 3 to 6 inches in width, can help to cinch the stomach.

Thinking About Colors and Patterns

  • The color and pattern of your clothing can influence how wide your waist appears. Style expert Charla Krupp says clothes that feature a black or navy panel on the sides will help you look smaller. Solid black tops and bottoms will also make you look slimmer. Clothes with vertical stripes will reduce the appearance of your waistline, but avoid horizontal stripes -- they will do the opposite.

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