I've noticed three different waistlines: The Disney Princess, The Tube, and The Mom. Guess which one I am. ;) By the way, please forgive the names... it's just what came to my mind first.
The Disney Princess: Underbust>Natural Waist and it forms a V-shape. Basically, your all around desired "nipped-in waist".
The Tube: Underbust~Natural Waist. Pretty common look for athletes and I'm picking on the lovely Hope Solo in the picture below. When I was at my low weight in high school and college, I was in this category.
The Mom: Natural Waist>Underbust. You might have a stomach that sticks out a bit and is more rounded. Yep, this is me...
All three have different dressing difficulties. As I discussed some in my AJ Rumina Review, having a rounded waist has made it difficult for me to find flattering fitted T-shirts because while they might fit well from my natural waist up, it ends up showing off my bulge from the natural waist down. It also makes finding jeans tricky due to the issue of having a muffin top. The best solution that I've found thus far is empire waist tops and wrap dresses (I'm planning on making a post soon on what my dream top would look like...). Basically, anything that brings the waist close to the underbust, which is the smallest part of the mid-section. For instance, I have a feeling I'll look awesome in this (I'm thinking of ordering from BiuBiu soon, maybe once I get down a few more pounds...)
The rule of putting the waist of shirts at the smallest part of the mid-section works well on all three types. Tubes would look awesome in the AJ Rumina shirts because they have such a long torsos. Or wearing a belt at their hips could really show off how long and lean their torsos are:
Disney Princess would then want to emphasize their natural waist. Baggy tops wouldn't be ideal (or even empire waist tops for that matter) because it would cover up the smallest part of their midsection. Instead, the waist line on their shirts and dresses should be right at their natural waist line.
Now, obviously, these are general guidelines and you have to dress your individual body. IF you like something WEAR IT. If you disagree with me that's ok, it's much more important for you to feel happy in your clothes than for you to wear what I tell you to wear. :)
It never occurred to me before having bras that even came remotely close to my ideal bra size that the size of your natural waist vs. underbust would affect how you wear a bra. But it does.
I think the Tube has it the easiest (although I'm completely OK with someone proving me wrong here!). Because their natural waist and underbust are about the same, then if the back size on a bra is slightly too big or too small it's not as likely that the bra would migrate either up or down to find the smaller part on that person's body. In general, getting bras on or off shouldn't be too bad either because if you fasten your bra in the front you have plenty of room to turn it around.
The Disney Princess may have some difficult if her band is too tight. The band might actually try to migrate downwards toward the smallest part of her body. If the band is too loose then it creeps up and the cups creep down. Getting on a well-fitting bra shouldn't be a problem because it could be easily turned around her small waist.
The Mom might have some difficulties putting on a tight band, especially if her natural waist is quite a bit bigger than her underbust (speaking from personal experience here!). I've never mastered hooking my bra in the back and have always needed to hook in the front and then turn it around. That's not easy if your natural waist is 2" bigger than your underbust! I've found that on the tightest hooks that I can actually get on, I always have a slight rise in the back due to me not being able to get something tighter around my waist.
Assumptions from the fashion industry
I have to say this bugs me a lot. Maybe it's only in Brazil but if you look at the way many fitted dresses are designed, it's very much with the Disney Princess in mind. Most of them leave quite a bit more room in the ribcage than they do at the natural waist. The assumption being that women have wide ribcages, smallish breasts and narrow waists. Certainly, there are women who fit that ideal but speaking as someone who has a small ribcage, large breasts, and a largish waist, it's nearly impossible to find a good dress! Even when I match up perfectly to the measurements listed, the dresses are cut way too large in the back and too small upfront.
I have to wonder if this is a symptom of the plus-4 illness? Is the clothing industry falsely assuming that because women typically buy 36C/36D bras that they actually have that wide of ribcages?
After Darlene's recent post about thinking up new designs for large busts rather than revamping old ones I've been slinging a few ideas through my head on how that could be done and hope to post about it soon..