x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Katie Trotter: flatter your figure

Flatter your figure with a Fifties-style swing skirt that shows off a waspish waist.

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The Waist. Remember? That sumptuous little S-curve once to be found at the side of our tummies in the pre-flesh days. The place where we used to button our jeans before "low rise" became all the rage. The place we used to know and love. Well, it's back. It only took the return of Carrie Bradshaw and her oddball posse of bubblegum girls in swing skirts, a handful of rather overbearing polka dot-loving pop starlets - Katy Perry, Pixie Lott etc - and, of course, the whole Mad Men phenomenon for designers to jump on the wagon.

First, as always, was Marc Jacobs, who has taken the trend from autumn/winter 2010 to his Resort 2011 collection for Louis Vuitton with flirty Fifties-inspired attire. Think Marilyn with her vitally statistical 22-inch waist (19 inches when corseted), think Dior's New Look - all culminating in curve-hugging, below-the-knee full skirts cinched tightly at the waist and offset with chunky pearls and clunky heels.

Kerching! Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? The problem is we are not keeping up. You see, in 1951, the average woman had a 27.5-inch waist. Currently we are clocking in at a hearty 34. More frankfurter, less pear. More Bob the Builder, less Barbie. The good news is that fashion is gloriously good at disguise. Try a good-quality crisp white blouse neatly tucked into a full skirt. A high street patterned version in cotton or silk is a great starting point. Simply add a few petticoats to give them some bulk.

Pencil skirts are not as stress-inducing as you may imagine and are a great staple on which to build. A note of caution, though: invest in quality because a cheap version will not hold its shape for long. However, if you still have a lump in your throat - or find the whole pointy-bra, Stepford-wife connotations as palatable as expired milk - it is possible to dip in and out of the look without going the whole hog.

And remember, all this is designed for real women who look like women, not a synthetic yoga-stretched version. So, have fun with the whole thing, revel in all your bottom-heavy glory. It's not often that fashion allows us to do so.