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How to wear an empire-waist, as told by famous female rules

As you look for timeless pieces to add to your wardrobe, there are many to choose from. A classic white shirt is a versatile option that can be paired with just about anything, while the same can be said for items like a trench coat, a pleated skirt and women​’s skinny jeans.

There’s another you can’t overlook: the empire waist.

A nod to Greco-Roman times

In its earliest days, women wore an empire waist by belting a tunic under their breastbone. The outcome was a structured look on top, with a loose-fitting and flowy bottom perfect for warmer temperatures while still enhancing their figures.

Woman wearing sexy tropics dress

Empire dresses had their heyday in the 18th century and were continuously transformed over the years. To this day, you can find empire waist pieces in the form of tops and dresses. Let’s take a look at how you can wear these items as told by powerful women who ran their own empires:

Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt: Make it romantic

Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Egypt, is remembered today for her dalliances with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. While her romantic relationships take a backseat to her leadership, the queen’s understanding of using admiration to increase her power can’t be overlooked.

Empire waist blouses are a romantic piece that can be dressed up for a night out. To channel Cleopatra, choose an a-line version that draws attention to your curves. A wider waistband or pleated version can accentuate your figure, demonstrating your shape and your confidence.

“Take a cue from Empress Cixi and wear your empire waist with a pattern.”

woman wearing blue Shirred knit top

Empress Dowager Cixi: Wear a patterned version

Cixi was the last Dowager Empress of China, ruling the country for 47 years during the Qing dynasty. During her tenure, many different styles of clothing were worn by women, including the chang’ao, the ruqun and daxiushan. What all of these items had in common, however, was the presence of a pattern.

This fad can be applied to an empire waist as well. While certain versions of the style can draw attention to places you’d like to highlight, others can flatter your figure by hiding more troublesome areas. Printed tops can help in this endeavor and are also a fun way to play up a pair of bootcut jeans or leggings.

Queen Elizabeth II: Don’t forget your accessories

Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch in British history, celebrating 65 years in her position – known as a Sapphire Jubilee – as of 2017. A true example of class, the queen’s fashion is marked by sensible but colorful suits and decorative fashion accessories, such as hats – enabling her to stand out among a crowd.

While an empire waist makes a strong statement on its own, you shouldn’t forget to pair your top or dress in this style with the appropriate accessories. Fashion hats can complete the look for an afternoon of polo or enjoying the nice weather, while a gold bangle bracelet is a simple addition that adds a touch of shimmer.

These three powerful women ran – or continue to run – their empires with class and style. Channel these leaders with your own empire waist look!

Woman wearing Gold cuff

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