So, where exactly is the waist?

Today we will address a question from a reader regarding finding and measuring your waist.

"I'm a nursing major and I want to participate in a pageant that has a swimwear division. I need help. I know what bone connects to which bone but, I'm always confused on where is the waist vs my hips for measurements. What is the natural waist vs the lower waist and how low is low?"

This is an excellent question. When you go to the store to buy pants, you see options for low rise, mid rise, high waisted, natural fit and comfort fit. No wonder we are confused! For custom swimwear, however, it is important to know where your natural waist is, regardless of how low or high you wear your pants. Before we discuss how to find and measure your waist, let's review of the rules. Measure your body over nude skin or tight fitting underwear, get a friend to help you, be barefoot, relax, and breathe normally.

The natural waist is not necessarily the midpoint on the torso. If it is closer to the breasts, you are high waisted. If it is closer to the hips, you are low waisted. If it is squarely at the middle, you are Marilyn Monroe. Congratulations. All kidding aside...

To find your natural waist, place the tape around the smallest part of your torso and bend side to side. As you bend, you will see a crease form below your breasts, but above your hips. The tape should "settle" into this crease. This is your natural waist. If you have love handles and are having trouble finding the crease, push your fingers gently into your side until you feel the top of your hip bone. Bend side to side. Measure around the fold that occurs above the hips. Once you have located your waist, wrap the tape around it. Make sure the tape is parallel to the floor and snug, but not tight. Write down this measurement.

Now that you have located your natural waist, you can find your lower waist. Mark your natural
waist on the front of your body with your finger. Measure two inches, or the span of two parallel fingers, below the natural waistline. This point marks your lower waist. Using this point as your guide, wrap the tape around your body. Once again, keep the tape parallel and snug.

The final part of our nursing student's question was, "how low is low?". Well, truly low is any point occurs below your lower waistline. Some in the industry call this "ultra low rise" and while you may find the ultra low a comfortable point for your waistbands, it is too low if your behind shows when you sit down or bend over or if you are constantly tugging at the band to bring it back into a position.

Wearing swimsuit bottoms that hit at the natural or lower waist depends on personal preference and body shape. If you are not sure of which waist or how low you prefer, grab your favourite and most comfortable pair of jeans. Is the waistband hitting at or below your natural waist? If it is below, you prefer to wear your bottoms low-waisted. When submitting measurements to ReignSuit for custom swimwear, include your natural and low waist size as well as your personal preference.

Photo by Greg Daniels
Model Jessie Layne
Narvell & Whitney Bracey
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