Don’t let your waist go to waste.

It’s winter and we are all bundled up in many layers.   These layers can make us lose our shape and even make us look frumpy.   There’s no way that we can avoid wearing so many layers because of the dropping temperatures, but there is a way to keep your shape from disappearing under that sweater.   Use a belt!  Belts are no longer just for holding your pants up; they define your waist.   They can be paired with unexpected items like dresses, skirts, cardigans, vests, and jackets.   Basically, anything that hides your shape can usually be remedied with the simple addition of a belt.    Belts of every variety can be used like skinny, woven, thick leather, and even men’s utility belts.

The placement of belts has reached new heights.   Belts are no longer relegated to your hips; feel free to cinch your natural waistline with a skinny belt over a cardigan for some real definition.   Thicker belts can be used to show-off your shape over dresses a la Cynthia Nixon in “Sex and the City.”   Without the gorgeous brown leather belt, the dress would drown her figure in loose draping.

Not only can dresses keep your body under wraps but loose cardigans can too.  They have been popular for many seasons now, but many women have yet to discover that loose cardis can also flaunt their shape as well as be comfortable.   This black Michael Kors drape front cardigan looks much better when belted because you have just increased the glam factor.   What once was a boring cardigan is now an outfit that really sparkles thanks to the belt.

Tip 1: Stores like JCrew and Nordstrom carry a wide selection of belts, but oftentimes at a hefty price tag.   A good place to look for unique and cheaper belts is used clothing stores like Crossroads or Buffalo Exchange.   The variety of belts here is greater and every so often you might find a great vintage belt.

Tip 2: If there is a lot of extra belt after pulling it through the buckle, tuck the extra belt under and behind the belt that is secured and pull through the loop to create a cute tie- knot.

By Priscilla Wong, a firm believer in belts.

Written by Corinne Phipps