The NATURAL waist:
First of all, let's talk about what a "natural" waist actually is. Most people think that your natural waist is where the waistline of your pants falls. These days this is a common misconception. Back when "mom jeans" were en vogue, it wasn't quite so far off base. The truth is that your "natural" waist is even higher than your belly button. To find it visually, look for the part of your waist that is the smallest. Or lean over sideways and look for where your torso bends. It's pretty high, right? THAT is your natural waist.
Here are some examples (from previous Bridal Fashion 101 posts) of gowns with a NATURAL waistline:
Many brides think they want a natural waistline, but when they realize how high it actually is, the start to lean more towards a DROPPED waistline.
A dropped waistline falls anywhere along the hips. Some dropped waists are just barely below the natural waist while others fall several inches below. Some examples:
Some dropped waistlines can be asymmetrical as seen here:
Others feature an inverted "V" shape like this gown:
Sometimes the inverted "V" will be off-center. Other times it is symmetrical, as in the photo above. Regardless, they are all considered a dropped waistline. However, when the waistline features an upright "V," the term becomes BASQUE waistline:
A basque waistline does not have to be dropped. Many natural waist gowns are also basque.
Finally, there is the EMPIRE waistline. This is the highest of all the waistlines and actually falls directly under the bustline:
While the empire waistline can still be quite elegant, it is also very popular for destination weddings, and other informal settings. Some examples for you:
Now that we've covered silhouette, neckline and waistline, I'm sure you are starting to feel like a bit of a bridal gown expert. However, we still have to cover the topic of trains and of course, the hugely varied subject: fabric. Check back soon for the next installment of Bridal Fashion 101 with me!