I got to thinking, in the middle of decorating the house for the holidays, about dressing the middle … that part of a woman’s body that many women hate. If you’re a woman who is over forty-five or fifty, I bet you’ve complained about it a hundred times this year so far. You’ve said things like:
“I used to show off my waist and now I can’t find one!”
“What do I do about these rolls?”
“My body’s betrayed me! I don’t know how to dress anymore!”
“I feel so old now.”
This bag begins to cover the area many women complain about
Believe me, I’ve heard the complaints, but I don’t believe any body part should be hated so join me in some new fashion math that can have you loving your middle.
Create a vertical focus that draws attention up to the face
In the outfit above – a sleeveless gray tee (by Classiques at Nordstrom) with a gray ¾ sleeved cardigan sweater over it (by Theory) – the waistline isn’t the focus. The interest is in the vertical center section of the torso. The different directions of ribbon on the stretchy t-shirt as well as the multiple strands of beads that fill in at the neck provide distraction from the middle. Middle? What middle?
More vertical interest
In this outfit above, which could be worn with a trouser or a skinny blue jean and heels, there’s more vertical interest. The ruffles that line the button placket of the olive green silk blouse draw the eye up to the face. The sequined jacket is cut more square with a pleat in the back that draws in some of the fabric so it’s not too baggy. The contrast of the sparkly sequins to the smooth silk adds more interest to the outfit. Waist? Who cares!
Soft folds and side detail with buttons creates a waist detail while camouflaging rolls
Here’s a sweater (above) that is more friendly than a close-fitting pullover. The gentle gathering into the waist at the side actually provides extra fabric for those rolls to hide behind while creating the illusion of a waistline. No one will mistake a twenty-eight inch waist for a thirty-three inch waist but it’s the line we’re going for, not the exact measurements. The necklace draws the eye up which creates a longer, leaner line. Not bad for post-holiday waistlines!
Filling in the center of the body is the new direction to follow
This outfit has a lot of detail that fills in the center core of the body. The individual pieces are a ¾ sleeve scoopneck knit dressy tee, a sleeveless leather vest that looks best open rather than zipped closed, the same knotted necklace that’s in the picture before this one, and a cotton boa scarf tied in a simple hangman’s knot. I’ve worn this outfit a couple of dozen times already. What’s great is that I can take the top layers off and it still works. If I’m in a warm room, I can take the scarf off and the vest still has a lot of interest at the top. The sparkly necklace is a fun, feminine contrast to the leather motorcycle-styled vest. I could even take the vest off if I wanted to because the top is not clingy. I don’t have to be worried about showing rolls when there’s no fabric clinging to them.
So, remember, you’re not decorating the waistline as much as you’re decorating the line perpendicular to it – that imaginary vertical line that would intersect your belly-button and your breastplate. There’s no reason to give up on fashion just because your body has changed. Embrace the changes and have fun!