How to Fake a Waist (If You Don't Have One)

Ditch the waist trainer... easy tips and tricks to give your waist instant shape & structure.
Six to Sunday

Instead of wishing that midlife middle away, why not dress it away? Thanks to the clever use of color blocking, lively prints, fabric choice, and layering, the right clothes can go a long way to visually create a waistline.

While you may not magically recreate the hourglass figure of yesteryear, at the very least you can fake it!

Tip 1: Color Block the Bulge

Color blocking is a long-standing fashion technique that uses blocks of color to create visual effects. For example, when darker color side panels contrast with a lighter color middle panel, you get the visual illusion of a sculpted waist.

Geometric blocks of color, when strategically placed, can reduce the appearance of certain parts of your body especially when lighter colors are featured on smaller parts and darker colors are present on larger parts.

SheIn Plus Two Tone Drop Shoulder Wrap Sweater
T Tahari Chevron Color Blocked Sweater
Summersalt The Softest French Terry Pullover
Eloquii Colorblock Sweater Cardigan Dress
Karen Kane Color Blocked Maxi Dress
Joseph Patchwork Wool Turtleneck Sweater

Tip 2: Let the Fabric do the Work

Ruching, darting, and smocking - specifically targeted at the waistline - are three practical fabric techniques that help fake a waistline.

Pro tip #1: Create a ruching effect on any loose top or dress by gathering a small amount of fabric and adding a rubber band to the inside.

Pro tip #2: When a blouse employs fabric techniques that gather or dart, best to let it hang outside your pants or skirt then tuck it in.

Sanctuary Long Sleeve Ruched Top Rose Pop
White House Black Market Smocked Waist Poplin Shirt
Maggy London Ruched Long Sleeve Midi Dress
Pomander Place Tan Ashlen Blouse
Veronica Beard Baylor Corset Button-Down Shirt
Good American Dart Waist Shirt

Tip 3: Camouflage with Patterns

Small scale patterns – florals, geometrics, plaids – is another visual illusion trick that lets you play hide and seek with a bit of a bulge. The smaller the print, the more minimizing the effect of the fabric.

Pro tip: Wear a good lifting bra to create more space between the bust and the waist.

CECE Floral Print Blouse
Foxcroft Zoey Cotton Button-Up Shirt
Baum Und Pferdgarten Maloua Printed V-Neck Blouse
Cleobella Faith Caftan Midi Dress
Belt it above the waist (a more narrow point on the body) or skip the belt altogether.
Whitney Morgan Floral-Print Ruffle-Trim Blouse

Tip 4: Add Hidden Control

Shapewear and built-in tummy control are a modern gal’s best friend. Dresses, jeans, and  swimsuits were ahead of the curve, and now designers across the board are leaning into waist-shaping materials and panels in shirts and base layers to slightly cinch the middle. The trick here is to make sure you wear the proper size. Too small can create unwanted lumps and bumps.

Pro tip: Layer a base layer shirt with high-waisted jeans which will extend over your entire midsection, creating a smooth silhouette.

Express High Compression Body Contour Matte V-Neck Short Sleeve Thong Bodysuit
Knix LuxeLift Tank
Numi The Signature Undershirt
Spanx Better Base Long Sleeve Crew
Honeylove LiftWear Cami

Tip 5: Layer Up

No matter your top or dress of choice, use a “third piece” (a top layer) to visually slim your body through the middle. We love everything from blazers to vests to hip-length leather jackets, as the coverage you get from the topper on each side of your body will minimize the body in the center.

Pro tip: Kimono-style robes are having a moment of late, and can be found at many price points. It’s a great third piece as it’s often in a print (camouflaging), in vibrant color (uplifting), and in a flowing fabric (feminine).

J. Crew Factory Plaid Cape-Scarf
Melifluos Designed in Spain Shawl Wrap Poncho Ruana Cape Cardigan Sweater
Levi’s Faux Leather Moto Jacket
Everlane The Oversized Alpaca Cardigan
Spanx Drape Front Jacket

Limited Sizing, Final Sale

While hunting, we found some gems that we couldn’t let go unnoticed! For the adventurous ones amongst us, we hope you enjoy these limited sizing and final sale pieces selected with you in mind.

Eloquii Colorblock Blazer
Entro Color Block Sweater in Leopard Print
Lord & Taylor Geometric Cashmere Funnel Sweater
Farm Rio Black Macaw Forest Organic Cotton Midi Dress
Roksanda Cordelia Color-Block Ribbed-Knit Turtleneck Sweater

All products featured on Six to Sunday are independently selected by our editors and contributors. We may get paid commissions on products purchased through our links to retailer sites. However, we recommend products based on our independent research and point of view, and the decisions we make regarding the products we feature on our site are always driven by what we believe our community will love, first and foremost.

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