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Heighten your style with a drop-waisted dress

Drop-waisted dress, the real way

Deborah Baic / The Globe and Mail/Deborah Baic / The Globe and Mail

Dropped waists may have made their mark in the 1920s, but they're not just for hard-partying flappers any more. For spring, designers showed drop-waist dresses more suitable for modern-day life than the lush fantasy on display in Woody Allen's ode to the Roaring Twenties, Midnight in Paris.

Here's how to dance your way into this fetching style.

1. Pick a dress that flatters. One that's loose all over and cinched below the waist can add bulk and hide curves. Opt for a fitted style with a fuller skirt that drops instead, such as those shown at Marc Jacobs.

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2. More is more. A layering piece (or two) will add modernity – and warmth – to your drop-waisted wonder. For instance, opt for a simple turtleneck underneath a tank dress. It will lend the kind of professional polish and coverage necessary for the office.

3. Adriana, Marion Cotillard's beguiling character in Midnight, wears the dropped waist to romantic effect with ultra-feminine lace and girly beading. Flourishes like these are too fancy for work, so opt for a simple pattern, such as stripes, instead. Finish the look off with a sling-back heel or bootie to keep your footing firmly in 2012, not 1922.

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