Q How long do you think the Empire waisted look will last? It seems that it only looks good on a size 0 or a pregnant woman (and I am neither!).
-- Pallavi Damani Kumar,
A The Empire-waist look has long had currency with fashion's cognoscenti; personally, I love it, and I'm neither pregnant nor a size 0. But if it isn't for you, fear not. The trend pendulum is already swinging in the other direction, and wasp-waisted styles will be everywhere come fall. In particular, keep an eye out for Balenciaga's nipped-in schoolboy blazers; beautifully minimalist, curve-hugging dresses from Jil Sander; or (let's get real here) the H&M versions of either.
Now, what to do with any Empire-waist items you may already have? Try layering a clingy turtleneck or crisp blouse underneath: It's a good way to add dimension and draw the eye up and away from your middle. Or take a cue from Marc Jacobs's fall collection, right. Jacobs's show was all about the long, lean line, but the designer also belted in a few slightly loose styles, such as this printed sheath dress. Whether you opt for a skinny belt looped high on the waist or a hip-cinching style, this is a good way to rein in those billowy shopping blunders.
-- Suzanne D'Amato