Style Glossary: The Rise of an Empire

Hello Modlovers! After a two week hiatus to scour the racks of trade shows, I have returned with the next chapter in our series Style Glossary. In the last post, we discussed the paper bag waist. This week, at the request of Freya, we’ll delve into the semantics behind the empire waist!

A personal favorite of mine, the empire cut moves above the natural waist, to a line slightly below the bust. It creates a slimming silhouette for girls like me, who are larger on the bottom (if you catch my drift). The Say it With Flowers Dress (a personal love affair of mine), is an easy-to-wear example. I also like to belt loose-fitting vintage dresses at the empire waist to add a modern touch to my look.

I hope this was helpful!  Feel free to suggest a style for me to feature for next week’s Style Glossary post. Thanks for reading, and as always, happy shopping!


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  1. Avatar
    Angelique 03/04/2009 at 2:51 pm #

    I’ve been wondering if it’s pronounced “em-py-er” like the word meaning a land ruled by an emperor, or like “awm-peer” which I’ve heard too. I say it the first way, but then I thought perhaps I wasn’t sartorially savvy 😉
    Either way, it’s a very flattering cut!

  2. Avatar
    EmilyKennedy 03/04/2009 at 2:56 pm #

    I love the Fashion Dictionary! More more more!!!

  3. Avatar
    Lindsay 03/04/2009 at 3:19 pm #

    Thank you so much Emily!

    Angelique, I’m guilty of calling it the “em-py-er” cut, but “oom-peer” is the correct pronunciation.

  4. Avatar
    Miranda 03/05/2009 at 1:30 am #

    I do love an empire waist, but unfortunately for girls like me who carry their weight in their stomach, it creates a pregnant belly effect :[

  5. Avatar
    Freya 03/05/2009 at 9:08 pm #

    Nice one Lindsay! Those dresses always remind me of ‘Pride & Prejudice’.

    The other one which always confuses me is bias-cut – and no one REALLY seems to know what that means!

  6. Avatar
    Jocelyn 03/05/2009 at 11:32 pm #

    I believe a bias-cut is a sewing technique. When you sew a pattern on the bias – or diagonally across the grain of the cloth – it creates a fuller, more flowing garment.

  7. Avatar
    Sabina Rosu-Urdes 03/06/2009 at 5:35 am #

    Your post is the reason why I bought one of these dresses today. It makes me look a little fuller, but I like it! However, I think this kind of a dress has to fit you just right, can’t be too big or too small…just from what I’ve tried on today.

  8. Avatar
    Freya 03/07/2009 at 6:58 am #

    Hurr. Thanks Jocelyn. That’s pretty technical!

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