How to Wear High & Low Waistlines


For Spring 2012, Adam showed a drop-waist take on the babydoll dress.

If 2012's fashion month is any indication, high-waisted skirts are here to stay. And it looks like they've got company. While some designers inched their waistlines further north, others dropped theirs down below the low-rise jeans equator. We asked around to get the 411 on how to wear both waistlines and took inspiration from a few fashionable celebrities. Here our some of our favorite ways to incorporate these two figure-flattering styles.

Dropped Waist + A Little Leg

Naomi Watts looked like the bee's knees in this Twenties-inspired silhouette at the opening night of the film "J. Edgar." While the ensemble is inspired by the past, with a plunging neckline and high slits, this dress is far from old-fashioned. Daring slits accentuate the dropped-waistline and long necklaces accentuate the neckline to create a flattering and sexy silhouette that would make Gatsby swoon.

Dropped Waist + Little Low-Cut Boots

Poppy Delevigne donned a mini-dress with a dropped waist when she attended the Escada show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin. The pattern and the shift cut of the dress accentuate the waistline for a feminine silhouette. When styling an outfit around a similar dress, accessorize with tights and lace-up ankle boots to toughen-up the feminine frock. Take style notes from Delevigne and play up your lips to add a touch of color to a neutral ensemble.

Dropped Waist + Fringe

Camilla Belle looked like a modern-day Daisy Buchanan in a dropped-waist dress with beaded and tasseled trims at the LACMA Art + Film Gala Honoring Clint Eastwood. The geometric pattern of Camilla's flirty, figure-flattering frock accentuates the dropped waistline for a sultry silhouette. Accessorize a showstopping number with minimal accessories in art-deco metallics. Now you're styled for a night at a speakeasy!

Dropped Waist + Striking Silhouette

Freida Pinto wore a white, curve-hugging gown to the premiere of the movie "Immortals." The contrast between the fabric of the bodice and the skirt create a striking drop-waist silhouette. Futuristic details in the structured shoulders, bold collar and sexy slits rev-up the drama and take the gown from Gatsby to red-carpet glam.

Dropped Waist + Shades

Wearable hip-sweeping waistlines were featured on Adam's Spring 2012 runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. The bold polka dot pattern of the dress pictured here takes the drop-waist silhouette from classic to modern. Pair a similar graphic print dress with thick strapped sandals and bold rimmed shades for a fresh spring look.

Dropped Waist + Futurism

Chado Ralph Rucci took the dropped waist to the future with his Spring 2012 show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. The waistline created by the layering of fabric below the waist quite literally shines in this silver-sequinned shift. To complete the futuristic ensemble, the model's hair is slicked back into a sleek bun.

Dropped Waist + Full Skirt

Zac Posen fused the 20's dropped waist and the 50's full-skirt in this ensemble spotted on the runway at his Spring 2012 show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. The fitted bodice and the full-skirt create a flattering silhouette as the skirt exaggerates the waistline. Through the dress fuses influences from past decades, the strapless neckline and metallic accessories make the look 21st century chic.

Dropped Waist + Zac Posen

Zac Posen's Spring 2012 collection showcased at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York featured bold floral print dresses with bold, below-the-belt waistlines. The femininity of the print and the waistline are balanced with structured details in the neckline and bodice. The look is complete with neutral strappy sandals, metallic jewelry and retro-inspired shades.

Dropped Waist + Chado Ralph Rucci

Jaws weren't the only things dropping at the Chado Ralph Rucci's Spring 2012 show at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week, waistlines were also being lowered. Rucci's Twenties silhouettes and deco details made us long for the roaring twenties. Dresses like the one pictured here merged modern details like sheer fabric with classic beading and fringe to create a 21st century version of the 1920s flapper. When shopping for a dress inspired by the iconic era, look for a frock with modern details like sheer fabric and geometric details to keep the classic drop-waist silhouette fresh.

Low Waist + Mermaid-tail Train

Camilla Belle wore a magnificent mermaid dress with a low waist to "An evening with Ralph Lauren," hosted by Oprah Winfrey. The beaded details of this gown exude the style of the most decadent of decades, the Twenties. The intricately beaded bodice contrasts with the texture and detail of the bottom of the dress, creating the dramatic allusion of a low waist.

High Waist + Sleek

Proenza Schouler's Spring 2012 collection shown at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York featured reinvented retro looks inspired by the 50's. The high-waistline of these shorts makes appear lady-like, but the body-con like fit and shiney material transform them into something sexier.

High Waist + Stripes

Wes Gordon showcased high waistlines in his Spring 2012 collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. This ensemble is easy to recreate because the simple high-waistline nicely brings together a bold patterned bottom and a brightly colored top.

High Waist + Lady-like

With spring fashion's focus on the waistline, there's no chicer or trendier way to highlight your midriff than with a peplum. Jason Wu's Spring 2012 collection shown at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York demonstrates that chic peplums add new dimensions to skirts. The surprisingly flattering peplum is a lady-like and sophisticated addition to a high-waisted skirt. When peplums add a touch of femininity to a tailored skirt and add an interesting detail to classic work attire.

High Waist + A Bow

Wes Gordon's Spring 2012 collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York demonstrates that bows aren't just for girls. In this look, a bow adds a touch of femininity to a pair of impeccably tailored pants. When styling an outfit around a similar pair of pants, don a textured top to add another intriguing element your ensemble.

High Waist + Crop Top

Tilda Swinton forwent the typical red-carpet gown and wore a chic crop-top and skirt duo to the Orange British Academy Film Awards. The modern structure of the top and skirt make this look striking, despite the fact that the ensemble is entirely white. She only accessorized with a large cocktail ring, keeping the look minimalistic and modern.

About the Author

Kendra Osburn recently graduated from the University of San Diego with a bachelor's degree in communication studies/media arts & culture. In addition to being the associate editor for her school newspaper, Osburn spent her time writing for local radio stations (KBPS, KPCC) and magazine publications, including "San Diego Magazine" and "USD Magazine."