What a waist

The waist is back and it's more waspish than ever. Here Rebecca Howard reveals the tips and tricks that will guarantee a trim torso

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Published: Tue 25 Sep 2007, 10:51 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:51 PM

waistSUMMER'S TREND for tunics, empire lines and cocoonshaped silhouettes has meant months of hibernation for your middle, hidden under swathes of fabric.

This season, though, figure-hugging fashion is back with a vengeance —no fewer than 250 of the autumn shows focused on outfits that flaunted a toned and taut waist.

In a panic about how to get rid of your muffin-top? Here, Lifestyle shows you how to get your curves back under control with our guide to effective waist management.

The exercise

It's easy to fall into a rut when it comes to exercising your abdominals, but performing the same old sit-ups and crunches won't give you the results you're looking for.

Personal trainer Ben Greenfield (www.pacificfit.net) recommends mixing up your routine to get the best, and quickest, waist-whittling results.

To start, get your torso muscles firing properly by warming up with his Inchworm Crawls.

With plenty of space in front of you, assume a press-up position on your hands and toes but instead of lowering your chest to the floor, walk your feet towards your hands, then walk your hands away from your feet. Twenty repetitions is a good 'warm-up'.

Then using a medicine ball perform ten repetitions of The Woodchopper and Around The World. For the former, hold the ball high over your head, then 'chop' the ball down, bending your knees so that the ball ends up between your feet. This will help lengthen and tone your abs.

For Around The World, hold your arms out in front of you and draw big circles with the medicine ball, keeping your feet planted hipwidth apart, but bending and extending your knees as you drop from the low to the high point of the circle. This will trim and tighten your waist in no time.

The treatment

Carboxy Treatment injects minuscule amounts of carbon dioxide gas into problem areas to help break down fatty deposits and tone up slack skin. Administered to the tummy and thighs it can help slim down these bulky areas to help rediscover and redefine lost waistlines.

waist1The treatment works subcutaneously (just under the skin's surface) to metabolise local fat stores, dramatically improving the appearance of everything from love handles to cellulite.

Put simply, the carbon dioxide kills the fat cells while causing the blood vessels to dilate and allow oxygen to flood the treated area to reduce fluid retention and puffiness.

For best results expect to book in for a course of up to ten treatments, but the long-lasting effects are well worth the expense and the short-lived discomfort. It costs from £100 at Beauty Works West in Notting Hill, West London, 020 7221 2248.

The pose

When it comes to sleek streamlined bodies, take a tip or two from Jane Hackett, former dancer and director of The English National Ballet School. After years of working with rising dance stars, Jane knows better than most the positive, body-slimming benefits of maintaining good posture.

'Most people don't realise that they slouch or stoop,' explains Jane. 'By simply standing tall, pulling back their shoulders and drawing their stomach in towards their spine, the average person can create the illusion of a thinner figure, instantly, losing up to two inches from their waist.'

To thin out a thick midriff, Jane recommends practicing the following every day, morning and night.

Strip down to your underwear and stand side-on to a full-length mirror. Looking over your shoulder at your reflection take note of the alignment of your shoulder, hip, knee and ankle. Ideally all three should be stacked in a direct line, one above the other.

Typically, our upper bodies tend to curve down, pushing out our stomachs to create a little paunch. To instantly correct this, push your feet into the floor and pull in your stomach lifting your ribcage, and feeling yourself grow taller as you do so.

Immediately, your bust will look more pert and your stomach flatter: anatomically, you are teaching your body to develop it's own natural girdle, using your 'corset' muscles to keep your torso in place.

The product

The too-good-to-be-true-sounding Methode Jeanne Piaubert Superfirm Figure Sculptor, £155 (exclusively at Liberty) sounds so technologically advanced it's hard to believe it really works.

But the results of this revolutionary home treatment speak for themselves and draw upon chronobiology (the way that fats are assimilated in different ways, at different times) to help redistribute fatty deposits and re-sculpt your body in just four weeks.

The idea is simple: it claims to shrink your waist, while increasing your bust at the same time.

Simply apply the green gel (packed with potent slimming and draining agents including caffeine) to your midriff, and the pink gel (which contains fat-attracting agents) to your bust. The lotions work by moving the fat from your tummy to your bust, slimming your body to boost your cleavage.

With a flatter stomach, smaller waist and boosted cleavage, Superfirm will have you slipping into the tightest of bodycon (that's body-conscious) dresses in a matter of weeks.

The tip

This is the oldest trick in the book when it comes to stomach cinching: standing with your stomach drawn in, tie a piece of string around your waist underneath clothes so that it fits snugly without digging into your flesh.

Originally used by deportment schools to train their students to keep their figures held in, the string will become tight and uncomfortable should you slouch and relax your stomach muscles throughout the day, and acts as a gentle reminder to keep yourself pulled in.

The fashion fix

Make the most of both your underwear and outerwear this season to reign in a flabby midriff.

If your waist is pretty much nonexistent, the Charnos Hourglass Waist Nipper, £30 (figleaves.com) is a good deal.

Designed to squeeze you into shape by redistributing excess padding to your hips, it works as a kind of corset without the built-in bustiere. It accentuates and smoothes the waist thanks to a firm stretch fabric that reaches up below your bra line and down to the base of your bottom. Plus, the incorporated knickers have poppers, making it more convenient than most other designs should nature call.

Alternatively, brush up on your belt work. If you've long since limited them to your jeans, now's the time to get adventurous. Belted dresses, coats and cardigans are going to be huge this winter-and will help exaggerate your waist, while also creating curvier-looking hips.

Designer must-haves include Fendi's perforated cumberbands, £305, and Paul & Joe's butterfly belt, £195 (both from netaporter.com).

Alternatively, Top Shop Unique's over-sized disc designs go for around £30.

So now you know the tricks to creating a trim middle, here are four looks to show off your new-found waist:


The office outfit:

Think pencil skirts, cinched-in waists and sexy pussy-bow blouses. Librarian chic was given a super-sensual twist this season thanks to L'Wren Scott, Narciso Rodriguez and Antonio Berardi (right) who all worked with a simple palette of black, navy and grey to maximise the impact of their figure-flashing designs. This look is deceptively difficult to pull off. Get it right and you are Maggie Gyllenhaal in the film Secretary; get it wrong and you end up looking like a desperate Miss Moneypenny.

Weekend wear:

For off-duty days, turn to the High Street where Top Shop Unique and GAP are proving casual clothes needn't be shapeless and sack-like.

Top Shop Unique has a distinctly Seventies vibe. Eagerly awaited pieces include a pair of high-waisted black flared denims with deep cuffs that make legs look incredibly long, and oversized disc belts. For a designer take on this trend, check out Burberry Prorsum (above), which teamed grey school sweater-style dresses with multi-buckled, black patent belts and elbowlength gauntlet gloves.

Evening elegance:

FIFITES fashion always emphasised a woman's waist, showcasing the perfect hourglass figures of pin-ups such as Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. Several of this season's catwalk shows took this decade as their inspiration and featured beautiful body-sculpting gowns.

At Oscar de la Renta dresses stole the show, while the nipped-in waist also featured in the collection's LBDs -- the epitome of Audrey Hepburn elegance.

The date dress:

Not since the Eighties has slinky, sexy, body-conscious dressing been so popular. Everyone on the A-list has been seen out and about in these body-bandaging frocks.

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