The Empire Strikes Back

 It’s a well know fact that the empire waist is the go to style that is supposed to complement and flatter most, if not all figures.  It’s a popular bridesmaid style and deemed a great idea for those bloated belly days.  And though I have several of these styled tops in my closet, I challenge that this IS NOT the answer to by fat day woes.  

I don’t know who came up with this general rule but as I watch my body change and evolve, I’ve learned that there are sub-rules that need to be applied to selecting and wearing the empire waist top or dress.  No one explains about how it should fit around or accentuate the breasts, if a simple elastic band or a wide waist is best to shape my curves and hide my bulges. No one discusses how the neck line or sleeves can add bulk or slim the appearance of this so called one for all style. 

 Through many instances of bad empire decisions, I’ve come to a few discoveries about what rules apply to my ideal empire. I’m a short, slightly busty, rectangle shaped woman.  I typically fit into a small or medium top and for the most part I’m proportionate. I do not have much of a waist AND the little bit I do have falls right under my bustline. It’s a small curve tucked into sides of my short torso.

 With this figure empire tops/dresses, can make me look bulky and at times simply like I’ve been stuffed into the top half and the bottom half falling gently on top of my love handles.

 So I decided on a few sub-rules to my perfect empire:

It must have a low cut neck line. Not over exposing but it must not appear that my chest stuffed into the shirt and is begging for air. 

 It must either be long sleeved or have thin straps. This opens up my shape and revels my true size rather than adding weight or bulk to my shoulders and arms.

 I prefer that it have a thick waist band.  This adds to my slight curve. I also prefer for it to have a tie.  Most of these tops are intended to be tied in the back to add shape but I’ve discovered that this only takes away from the flow of the bottom half and gives more exposure to the stomach that I’m trying to hide. But tying it in the front accessorizes and gives back the flow to the bottom half of the shirt or dress.

 Tops must end at my hips.  Because of my short stature it is important that the empire top is the right length. If it’s too long it begs to be asked if it’s really supposed to be worn as a short dress or if it’s too short it defeats the purpose of trying to stop the bulk and hide the bulge. If the end of the shirt stops right at my hip line then it allow for an appropriate paring with a skirt, shorts or pants.

 Some ladies don’t have issues with the empire style and fits nicely on their figures. But if you noticed that it doesn’t flatter in the way you believe it should, search for empires that compliment your entire figure. Always accentuate the positive, don’t let the empire strike back on you.


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