10 Different waistlines for your dresses : Which suits you ?

The waistline separates the upper and lower portions of the body. Look at the different types of waistlines according to how they are placed on the body.

The waistline of a dress refers to the line separating the upper and lower portions of a garment. It cuts the garment across, and our eyes linger a lot on this dress element. 

The attractiveness of a female body is related to its waist-hip ratio, so says this study. Whatever opinion you may have about the conclusions of the study and related theories, there is no denying that designers design clothes intending to make the body somewhat close to these ratios and such.

Knowing the waistlines and where they should ideally rest on the body to keep up with these illusions may or may not seem necessary to you. If the answer is yes, read on.

You may also be interested in learning further about the various aspects of female body shape, in relation to the clothes we wear. Check out more about the 7 female bodyshapes and guidelines to dress according to body shape. 

Different types of Waistlines


1. Natural waistline

different types of waistlines - natural waistline
Natural waistline

This refers to a waistline which rests on your natural waist – that is the narrowest part of your torso, between the rib cage and hips. If you have a small waist, show off your waist with this type of waistline. 

2. Antebellum waistline

This is a V shaped waistline; This waistline begins at the natural waistline and then dips about 2 or 2.5 inches below the natural waistline at the center of the front bodice. A very popular waistline for dresses as it can make your body look slender and longer.

3. Asymmetrical waistline

A waistline without a balance; one side of the waistline will be different from the other side. For eg: drop waist on one side and raised on one side.

4. Basque Waistline

A variation of the antebellum waistline. This waistline starts below the natural waistline (some 2 inches or so) and then dips to a V or U shape in the center front of the bodice.

5. Blouson waistline

different types of waistlines

This is a gathered waistline; the loose folds of the bodice is gathered in a balloon skirt style; the waistline may be gathered at the natural waistline or below it.

6. Dropped waistline

different types of waistlines

This is a waistline which sits below the natural waist – it could be 3 inches to 12 inches down from the natural waist.

A dropped waistline can bring eyes and attention down to your hips, so if you have anything to avoid at the hips, look for some other waistline. The advantage of this waistline is that it can elongate the torso and can make you look taller.

7. Cinched waistline

different types of waistlines

This is a waistline which is tapered, made very narrow at the mid-section of the torso, with the help of a wide sash/belt, specially meant for this.

8. Empire waistline

different types of waistlines

The waistline that starts just under the bust line. This can emphasize your bust so those who do not want to draw attention to this area, avoid. But those who have a small bust can benefit with this waistline. 

9. Inverted V/U waistline

different types of waistlines

This waistline starts at a higher point in the body at the center front ( either at the natural waist, above it or below it) and then dips down at either side of the bodice.

10. Raised waistline

different types of waistlines

This refers to a waistline which is slightly raised from the natural waist; about 1 inch or so.

Then finally in contrast to all of these, there is the No-Waistline look – it could be a paneled bodice with no waistline or a simple slip bodice. A princess line dress/tent dress etc has this look of having no waistline to speak of.

Check out the related posts on the 12 different types of silhouettes; different names for gowns and Types of dresses – list with pictures 

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

11 thoughts on “10 Different waistlines for your dresses : Which suits you ?”

  1. What is it called when there is a piece of material that hangs down over the waist, especially to cover an adjustable waist. They used this on lots of *jackets/coats* for a while (in the 90s? 2000s?).

  2. The one you show as a natural waist line is still too high. It’s impossible to get a dress with the waistline in the real waist. It must be at least 2 inches lower. All my friends complain about these almost a line waists.

    • Hi Raveena
      You mean to create an illusion of slimness, right? – As an empire waistline, I think. A high waistline like this will draw the eye up and away from the tummy – but without an obvious (contrast band kind) waistband.

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