Drop Waist Dress -– ’20s, ’60s, and Now

| Jul 27, 2015
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The drop waist dress has come of age again

Fashion Tip: “It’s a new era in fashion — there are no rules.” — Alexander McQueen”

Silhouette of drop waist dressAnd so it is with this marvelous dress that I had never really given any thought to, but talk about a stylish and timeless dress, the drop waist dress is it. Introduced by Dame Mary Quant, a British fashion icon who also introduced the mini-dress and hot pants, this dress takes its origins to the 1920s era flapper girl, was highly popular in the ’60s, and has now been updated for ladies of all ages in this decade.

We can officially report the drop waist dress is back. Rocking the drop waist dress used to be only an (ill-fitting) dream for some of us. Regardless of your silhouette history, rest assured, the updated styling has seen resurgence in much more floating and flattering shapes that could camouflage even the most body-conscious fashionista’s flaws.

’20s to the ’80s

The drop waist tend first appeared in the 1920s, with the emergence of the flapper dresses that coincided with female liberation. In terms of fashion, they were a respite from the tight fitting corsets. The look was most prominent in Coco Chanel’s creation titled Garconne Look, which literally translates to “boy” in French.

Drop waist dresses are characterized by a line drawn around the hips instead of your natural waist, thus giving you a longer torso. This seemingly shapeless silhouette has made a comeback this season, with many international designers taking a liking to it.

Drop waist dress 1920s and now

The drop waist dress in the 1920s and now

By the mid 1960s the style became popular again. The free movement the drop waist dress gives allows for lots of dancing, running and jumping — perfect for the new freedom of women in both eras!

60s icons in drop waist dress

Brigette Bardot and Chrissie Shrimpton

’60s styles tended to fit a little more closely to the body giving a sporty look whereas the ’20s style was loose and feminine.

Drop waist dresses then went into remission until the ’80s when one was spotted on the likes of Princess Diana, but in the =80s it was more about volume — adding more shape to the body to create masculine strength instead of slenderness.

The Modern Twist

While the frumpy look of this silhouette hasn’t been tampered with, designers have given it a chic modern look, with exaggerated belts and waist bands. Interesting patterns have been noticeable and so has been color blocking, both of which draw attention to the lower half of the body. This also has the effect of drawing attention away from our wide shoulders while giving us an overall fun and flirty look

Modern look of drop waist dress

Different Styles

While the 1920s were about drop waists with hemlines below the knee, there are several modern variations to the look. There are ruffled skirts for that free flowing look, A-line skirts for a more slender look and a pleated look as well. You can also play around with the length of your drop waist dress, going short or long with it. As far as the trend if concerned, it is definitely on the shorter side, with hemlines finishing much before the knees.

Todays  style icons in drop waist dress

Today’s style icons Pippi Middleton, Jennifer Anniston and Catherine Deneuve

Wearing It Right

While the drop waist is one of the hottest trends of the season, it is important to wear it right. Given the “shapeless” look of the trend, you can quickly go wrong with it. This look works perfectly for slender women who have narrow hips, as it adds volume to the lower half of the body. However, that does not mean that the more “hippy” ones cannot wear the drop waist.
• If you are slightly heavy at the bottom, stay away from the ruffled bottom half. Instead, go for A line skirts since they give a slender appearance.
• For those with long legs and a shorter torso, pairing the drop waist dress with flat boots or ones with moderate heels works well. For those with short legs and a long torso, drop waist should be paired with high heels to balance the long torso. The idea is to create a symmetrical look, since the silhouette creates the illusion of a longer torso.
• For an evening out, go for something more glamorous in sequins and embellishments. For a casual day out, drop waists in solid colors and easy fabrics work well.

Fashion and style are meant to be limitless. It’s a way to explore and find out not only what kind of woman you are but determine how you want to communicate that to the rest of the world. Styling for the more curvy and statuesque woman (meaning many of us that crossdress) is not impossible it just takes more effort. The end result is both flattering and on trend. As you can see below in this beautiful white drop waist dress with accessories. With fearless bloggers such as Gabi of gabifresh.com that show that this trend can be pulled off beautifully

White drop waist dress with accessories

Figure Flattery

Apple-shaped bodies, with thinner limbs and a thicker middle, can camouflage a tummy while showing off their best features in a drop-waist dress. Slender or boyish figures can also rock this style well — just be sure the skirt isn’t too voluminous or it may swallow up a smaller frame. A pear or hourglass figure should steer clear of this style, as it does nothing to highlight your defined waist. If you’re petite, the longer torso could cause your gams to look shorter; ensure that the hemline is a few inches above the knee to preserve some leg length.

Style Savvy

Style a drop-waist dress traditionally with flapper-inspired kitten heels, a long pearl or tassel necklace and a small clutch with a long strap. Or instead, take a less predictable approach by pairing your dress with unexpected pieces. Choose a blazer and pumps for work, a denim jacket and T-strap sandals for casual shopping, or leather booties and a moto-style jacket for a tough-meets-girly look.

Look for  buttery, lightweight fabrics and whimsical candy-colored prints. The new drop waist dress is the perfect, breezy substitute to your structured, spring cocktail dress whether you’re looking for a slouchy or slim fit. A floating top half is quick to hide any body issues, and a great way to showcase better assets like legs or shoulders. If you’re a fan of wrap-style dresses, look for similar shapes in the drop waist silhouette. V-necklines can be one of the most figure flattering shapes on any woman, and a sleeveless, tank cut is perfect for the fashionista looking to show a bit more skin.

More drop waist dresses

Look for layered silk chiffon’s in those infamous Spring Pantone colors for the simplest palette to color block or showcase a bold bag. An all-over color dress also pairs perfectly with the large-patterned lace trend. Top your drop waist dress with a lady-like lace jacket or slip a lace top over your dress and turn it into a drop waist skirt/blouse combo.

Everyone can have a piece of this Gatsby-inspired elegance.

Check out  these online sources for great looking drop waist dresses:

Bontons     Modcloth     Nordstrom     Kohls

For more great articles on TG fashion, check out Tasi’s blog.

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Category: Style, Transgender Fashion, Transgender How To


About the Author ()

Tasi was a transgender, married, lifelong crossdresser. She passed away in late 2018. She’s the founder of the Ladies of the Blue Ridge transgender group in Roanoke VA, a prolific writer, commentator and blogger including fashion articles for Tri-Ess, TG Reporter, Repartee, and Pretty T-Girls magazine. Tasi currently resides in Merida, (Yucatan) Mexico. Her new website, Sister House and her blog, the Fashionable TG Woman are dedicated to fashion and style for the transgendered woman. Tasi’s book, "Top Ten Fashion Mistakes By Crossdressers and How To Fix Them" is available on Amazon or on her site free to subscribers.

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