After years of floaty dresses, fashion's rediscovered the figure

Heard the buzz… Wasp waists are back: We knew it couldn’t last. After years of forgiving floaty dresses, fashion’s rediscovered the figure

  • A defined waist has been seen on the catwalks of Erdem and Emilia Wickstead
  • Hanna Woodside says ease yourself into the trend with a wide belt over a coat 
  • UK-based style expert reveals a selection of stores stocking the seasonal trend  

For seasons we have enjoyed billowing ‘buffet’ dresses, roomy tiered styles and flowing midis. So it may come as a shock to learn that a defined waist is back in fashion. (Don’t shoot the messenger.)

As seen on the catwalks of Erdem and Emilia Wickstead — the latter recently declared the waist ‘the new erogenous zone’ — a nipped-in silhouette has made a comeback. Welcome news, perhaps, for those who felt swamped and shapeless in voluminous designs. It can help you feel more sleek, put together, even a little sexier.

For those of us who have grown used to the comfort and coverage of tent-like cuts, however, the prospect of ‘cinching in’ feels alien. Ease yourself into the trend with a wide belt over a coat to emphasise the waist area, but with the safety of a few layers underneath. The wider the belt, the more corset-like the look.

Hanna Woodside shared advice for embracing the return of outfits with a defined waist. Pictured: Jacket, £279, skirt, £159, and shoes, £199,; earrings, £30,; rings, from £27.99,

Top, £185,; jacket, £29.99, and trousers, £19.99,; shoes, £199,

Dress, £295,

Instead of oversized double-breasted blazers, look for snug styles that curve in and button at the waist, or designs with built-in belts. Let the tailoring give the illusion of a neat middle and do the hard work for you.

Look for tops and jackets with a peplum, such as the elegant dogtooth jacket from L. K. Bennett (far left). The flare makes your waist look narrower by contrast.

Dress, £299, and shoes, £229,; belt, £50,

Dress, £27.99,; shoes, £140, whistles. com; bag, £255, russelland; necklace, £39.99,

Dress, £299,; belt, £95,

Pencil skirts always create a nice in-and-out, hourglass shape, but don’t think that the return of the waist means you have to embrace revealing bodycon styles (unless you want to, of course). Long-sleeved, high-necked midi dresses are still on the menu, but now they come in at the waistline — which you can highlight with a thin belt in a coordinating colour (second from right) — before swishing out into the body of the skirt.

Sure, nothing beats the sheer ease of a giant sack dress, but sometimes a bit of shape and sharpness is what you need, in order to feel like you’re back to your best.

Coat, £355,; belt, £55,

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