How to Make Your Waist Look Smaller

By Catherine Brock, Budget Fashionista

Let’s face it. Most of us are not blessed with a Kardashian-like hourglass shape. But to that I say, meh, so what? Isn’t that what clothes are for?

If you weren’t born with a teeny tiny waistline, there’s only one thing to do – fake it. And you can do it by wearing colors and styles that draw the eye to your waistline and accentuate the curves you do have. Even better, the right clothes will create the illusion of a slimmer waist without the discomfort of shapewear, corsets, or waist trainers. Read on for nine waist-slimming outfit strategies, none of which require you to set foot in a gym.

High-Waisted Pants or Skirt with a Tucked-In Blouse

High-waisted pants make the waist appear smaller and, bonus, elongate the legs. For a dressier look, switch out the pants for a high-waisted pencil skirt. Pair the pants or skirt with an elegant blouse in a solid color or a subtle pattern. Then — here’s the secret — tuck that blouse in for an instant waist.

Belted Tops and Jackets

Loose tops and jackets make your body appear boxy instead curvy. A belted top or light jacket is  a better option, as the cinch in the middle automatically defines your waistline.

This isn’t a piece you should purchase online either. Some belted pieces bunch at the waist, and that won’t have the effect you want. Instead, find a piece that slightly fitted, so you can tie a belt neatly across your middle.

A wider top half can also make your waist look slimmer in comparison. Consider adding light shoulder pads to your tops to broaden your shoulders.

Patterned Blouse with Solid Colored Bottoms

A neutral-toned pair of bottoms coupled with a tuck-in patterned blouse also accentuates your waist. The blouse will carry the show here, drawing the eyes up to your top half — making your waist seem smaller by comparison.

Wrap Tops and Dresses

Wrap tops and dresses are designed with a front closure created by wrapping one side across the other. The style hugs the bust and waist, and forms a flattering V-shaped neckline. Wrap tops and dresses are almost universally flattering, but they’re particularly good at adding curves to straighter figures

Thin, Wide, and Brightly Colored Belts

Of course, the strategic use of belts should be in your waist-creation toolbox. Know that not all belts work for all shapes. Try experimenting with thick and thin belt styles, as well as contrasting and matching belts to find the style that’s most flattering for your frame. When all else fails, try a tie belt in a color that contrasts with your dress or top.

Black Bottoms and a Colored Top

If you have curvy hips and thighs but a smaller top half, you’ll need to create balance to achieve that slimming effect at the waist. Try matching black or dark-colored bottoms with a brightly colored, tucked-in top. For example, a pastel pink blouse tucked into a black skirt puts all the emphasis on your top half — which lets your bottom half seem to fade into the background.  

Crop Top and A-Line Skirt

Crop tops may have a bad rap, but they are flattering for many shapes! These flirty tops draw the eye to the thinnest part of a woman’s body – the ribcage area between the waist and breasts. Maximize the slimming effect by keeping the bare midriff to a minimum. For example, you could pair your crop top with an A-line skirt that shows just a sliver of skin.

Color Block Sheath Dress

Color block sheath dresses trick the eye by using color and patterns to mimic an angled-in waistline. Opt for a classic black-and-white design that uses white down the middle and black on your sides. Even better if the seam between the black and white angles in slightly at the waist.

Jacket with Structured Shoulders and Darts

Winter is a drag for fashionistas, right? Most of our outerwear options are too baggy, too boxy or otherwise unflattering. The best styles are those with structured shoulders and darts at the sides. The darts create flattering contours at your waistline. Wear these jackets buttoned over a form-fitting top.

Now that you’re armed with nine waist-slimming strategies, it’s time to go shopping. Have fun with it!  

Catherine Brock is a style editor and writer who caters to the budget-minded fashion enthusiast on her website Are you an aspiring budget fashionista? Learn how to stretch your fashion budget today by downloading Catherine’s Ultimate Thrifting Guide. You can also connect with Catherine on Instagram @budget.fashionista.