Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Waistland Part 2- Beauty and Bras

I wanted to make a three part series (Health, Beauty and Bras, Weight Loss and Skin) about waistlines.  If I get really ambitious I might write a forth post about history, but we'll see. ;)


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..


  1. I think my shape is "the smooshed Disney princess"... in that my waist is indeed smaller than my wonky ribcage, but I have such a short torso that I feel if I emphasize my waist, it makes my hips look much larger than they are. So I normally try to create the "tube" look which seems to balance my body better and I feel more comfortable imitating that shape. I look for things that are tight in the hips and if use a belt, I'll fasten it right under my bust rather than on my waist where it's narrower. This is an interesting post, I never really considered that that's exactly what I was doing when I dress, but now it makes sense!

  2. Thanks for sharing that! I have a pretty standard length torso so I've never really thought about how it would look on other lengths but that makes a lot of sense.

    I do wonder if there would be a way to emphasize your waist without showing off your hips too much too in the process. Something to ponder about..

  3. I'm a classic hourglass in total shape but if you look at my waist/underbust I am a tube with almost the exact same measurement. For me that means that a belt around my hips doesn't really work because I do not have that long torso, or have a straight body below the waist. But, that's just me. :) Also, apart from the athelete type the tube is also quite common in petite builed ladies (in bone structure). Since the ribcage and hips are fairly small there isn't as much of an possibility for the waist to be that much smaller, and the fat that you do have easier disguises the waist.

    However, about bras... Not as easy, atleast if you assume the torso to be straighter on the back. This means that the bra will not only be able to slide in one direction (it it's too big or too small) but two, depending on how tight the straps are. Apart from the experience with the bottom of the band cutting in and the top being too loose (causing riding up) you also get the problems both other types have. :P

    1. From what I've read on different sites, I thought that wearing a belt at the hips would be best for lean, straight, and short torsos, because it gives the illusion of curves, and lengthens the torso...

  4. Helena- thanks for sharing that. I guess I don't have much experience with more petite torsos. :) I have a relatively long torso for my height (something I'm realizing more with weight loss) so that certainly affects my advice.

    So what do you feel looks best on your tube, short torso?

  5. Hmm, interesting. Definitely a good post, but doesn't work for me (I think). I have a 29 inch underbust and a 30/31 inch natural waist. I always try to wear things that emphasise my waist because they look most flattering on me. I think I have a short waist and never, ever wear stuff at the hips if I can avoid it.

    It might be, however, because I naturally have a smaller waist than underbust. I think I do when I've got less fat around my tummy. I guess I'll have to find out.

    1. We actually have the same measurements. :) Right now I'm waiting on an order from BiuBiu and I'm really interested to see if my theory holds true (most of the shirts I ordered are more fitted around my underbust than natural waist).

      I'd say the one outfit that I have right now that I find the most flattering on me is the black dress in this post: . It doesn't necessarily show off my underbust but I did get it tailored in and she took off the most closest to my underbust.

      I suspect that I'll eventually become a tube and have roughly equal underbust to natural waist measurements but maybe that will only happen if I were to lose quite a bit more weight (however, I very well might decide to stop before that...). I have a feeling that all my weight changes in my life might make it more difficult. ;)

    2. That dress is flattering on you :)

      I think I'll have to attempt to wear more empire line clothing and see if it suits me. I'm kinda hoping it does, because I'd love to get married in early 1800s garb xD

    3. Thanks!

      oh, I'd love to see what kind of dress you're looking at! I'm hoping my BiuBiu clothes come this week so hopefully you'll have something to compare with in regards to empire lines. :D

  6. I think that you have to remember that women use to wear corset. The Disney princess all look like they would be wearing corsets under their clothes if they weren't 2d. That could explain why the artist draw them that way.

    1. That's definitely a good point but it makes me wonder why the Disney princess cut is still so often seen in clothes today? Is it just a carry over from times when corsets were more widely used?

      I know there are definitely women who naturally have the Disney princess look. I'm certainly not one of them, though, and it would only be possible for me with a corset.

      I think the artists draw them that way (and we see all the dolls like that too... Barbie, for instance) simply because that was the standard of beauty at the time and it seems to still carry over into today, but to a lesser extent. Ironically, many of the actresses/models don't have that body type and you often see women who have straight mid-sections and even occasionally a more rounded midsection (although certainly not as often).

  7. Well, I have that Disney Princess waist, I'm true hourglass and I have to go to seamstress with almost every single item I'm buying. Too loose in the waist and too wide in the back if it's a shirt or jacket. So it looks like "nothing fits" issue is more about some stupid virtual model of a woman that every brand has then body shape.

    1. I think this is quite common for women who have the more extreme hourglass form. Have you tried clothes like Pepperberry or BiuBiu yet that have natural hourglasses in mind?

  8. I have the "disney princess" waist and I have to disagree on clothing being made with that shape in mind. My waist looks great in XS shirts, but my boobs and hips need a medium! Everything that fits my waist is laughably small on my boobs and hips, haha. I think we both have significant fit problems, just on the opposite ends of the spectrum. I never thought about it the other way around, as I always thought shirts were made with more of a small-breasted apple shape in mind.

    Maybe it's a difference in the brands we buy from, though. I tend to buy from "trendy" stores that cater to a younger audience (American Eagle, Forever 21, etc), so they probably assume we don't have curves yet or something. Or want to cater to the "trendy" body shape. All I know it that nothing in there ever fits my top half!

    1. Certainly there are other fit aspects that play into it but when I say Disney Princess I just mean the midsection itself, not the breasts or hips.

      For instance, as someone who is "the mom" by measurements I find that shirts and dresses fitted at the natural waist cause a lot of problems because my natural waist is larger than my underbust so then the waist band rides up, or the underbust itself is too larger and makes me look bigger than I am.

      Normally, most clothes are made with Disney Princesses in mind. Not so much in terms of the boob/hip room (keep in mind a Disney Princess could actually be small busted by my definition!), but rather the cut of the midsection. For instance, this dress: You can see that the cut of the dress is made for someone with a wider underbust and a smaller natural waist. Now, you'd probably still run into problems because there isn't much in terms of boob room (just looking at the picture) but if you were able to somehow expand the chest area, my guess is that the cut of the midsection would fit your body type a lot better than mine. ;)

      Not all clothes are necessarily cut that way. The BiuBiu shirts that are fitted underneath the underbust and then are straight down the midsection work amazingly well on me. Other clothes have a more generic fit and could do well on a variety of body shapes.

  9. I have the "Disney Princess" shape and I feel like most clothes are designed for the "tube" or "mom" shape in the U.S. I often have zipper problems just at the ribcage area on a dress. I am an hourglass shape in general, but my underbust has always been 4-6 inches larger than my waist. I am quite tall, so I've never had much thickness to my waist anyway. The difference in size between my ribs and waist can look kind of awkward, especially when clothes are made for straighter and smaller-framed women. I have big, high-set boobs too, leading to a prodigious bust measurement that is hard to fit into straight-sized clothing. I hate having to look for stretchy tops and dresses.