By REBECCA HOWARD
A RECENT U.S. study has confirmed what men have instinctively known for centuries – that an hourglass figure complete with a tiny waist and curvaceous hips is seriously sexy.
According to the University of Texas, the formula for a perfect figure – and one guaranteed to turn the heads of the opposite sex – involves dividing your waist by your hip measurement (this needs to include your bottom).
Anything below 0.8 is considered a healthy result, but the smaller your waist to hip ratio (WHR), the more sexually alluring your figure. For example, the classic pinup dimensions of 36-24-36 gives a WHR of 0.66.
So, science may have come up with a solution for sure-fire sex appeal, but why is a small WHR so alluring to men?
‘It’s all down to the male’s unconscious assessment of a female’s sexual and reproductive capabilities – it’s a primeval response,’ says study author, Professor Devendra Singh.
‘The classic hourglass figure tells a man three important things at a glance: first, the woman is not already pregnant; second, a narrow waist shows that she is of reproductive age; and third, she is healthy and free from disease.’ Hardly the most romantic of reasons, but a tiny waist, it seems, is every woman’s secret weapon in the seduction stakes and one that fashion has helped us maximise for several centuries.
The corset dates back 3,000 years and has been worn to devastating effect by femme fatales ranging from showgirls to superstars.
Today, minuscule midriffs are championed by Dita Von Teese (hers measures just 161/2 in in a corset) and the Pussycat Dolls, and make a regular appearance on the red carpet and the catwalk. Just look at Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer show, all ponyskin corsets and waist-nipping jackets, and the body-bandaging Herve Leger number actress Emily Blunt wore to the Golden Globes.
In a world of emaciated models and celebrities, this look champions femininity and sex appeal and is a million miles away from La La Land’s size zeros. Posh may have a 23in waist, but she’s no poster girl for this trend, proving skeletal can never be mistaken for sexy.
As the adage goes, men do like a little something to grab hold of, and thanks to Lifestyle’s six-step plan, you can create killer curves in all the right places.
The exercise The pose CELEBRITY trainer David Kirsch recommends seated twists combined with a medicine ball for extra waist- slimming resistance.
Sit down with your legs bent, feet flat on the floor in front of you.
Holding the medicine ball in both hands, rock backwards slightly to engage your stomach muscles as you lift your feet off the floor.
Holding the ball out in front of you, elbows slightly bent, rotate your shoulders round and twist from the waist from left to right, feeling your abdominal muscles working at the front and sides of your stomach.
Swivel left and right 15 times, rest and repeat twice more. Perform this exercise on alternate days for a slimmer, trimmer midriff.
The treatment ARASYS stimulates circulation by using pulsating waves to contract and tone muscles, and claims it can help to reduce that unsightly overhang by up to 9in after a single session.
From Pounds 25, each 17-minute treatment is the equivalent of performing 300 sit-ups and can help boost your natural metabolic rate to burn off stored fat.
A two-week course of treatments will soon help sculpt a curvier silhouette.
For Arasys salons nationwide, tel: 01202 299 228.
DESKBOUND jobs, weak muscles and ageing all contribute to poor posture that can leave your figure looking squat and dumpy, especially around your middle.
‘Essentially, if you stoop and haven’t got the muscle tone to hold your posture properly, your ribcage drops down towards your pelvis, meaning your waist disappears,’ says body- conditioning expert Marja Putkisto. To help realign and lengthen your trunk, Marja recommends the Bow Stretch.
Start by standing side on to a wall, your feet together. Lift the arm nearest the wall, bend your elbow and lean your arm against the wall, The product The diet tip your fingers pointing down to the floor. Create a bow shape by tilting your rib cage to the right, increasing the space between your lowest left rib and your hipbone.
Hold the position and breathe in deeply allowing your diaphragm to rise inside your ribcage, while pulling your abdominals back towards your spine.
Pause, and at the end of the exhalation, pull your navel in more and squeeze your buttocks to pull up your pelvic floor muscles.
Repeat three times before switching to the other side.
TACKLE unsightly bulges with Bliss Fat Girl Slim, Pounds 35, available at www.blisslondon.co.uk.
This rub-in cream, laced with caffeine, comes with a special applicator, helping to break up fat cells under the skin, leaving your stomach and hips smooth and more streamlined.
The makers claims that in three weeks, you’ll have a firmer, leanerlooking waist.
INCREASE the amount of fresh food, fruit and vegetables you eat to boost your fibre intake.
Fibre helps keep your digestive system working efficiently, cleaning the digestive wall to ensure food is quickly and effectively digested.
Food that stays undigested in your system longer than 24 hours will release gases that leave you looking permanently bloated. Be sure to incorporate plenty of the following into your diet: APPLES to increase your fibre content.
NON-FAT, plain yoghurt to increase your friendly bacteria.
GRAPEFRUIT, because it’s high in B vitamins, good for any weightloss programme.
SAUERKRAUT, which keeps your bowels moving.
BROCCOLI, which provides many nutrients for your hormones to produce enzymes.
Finally, take time to chew your food. It’s not just about what you eat, but also how you eat it, and smaller fragments of food are easier for your system to break down.
The fashion fix GOOD underpinnings can make all the difference to your torso.
It’s a touch Bridget Jones and definitely better concealed under clothes than displayed au naturel, but the Spanx Hide Sleek Hi- Rise Body Smoother, Pounds 45, starts just below your bra line and extends down to mid-thigh, flattening out the bulging bits in between and creating a cinched waist.
If this sounds a bit extreme and seriously unsexy, try Agent Provocateur’s Waspie, Pounds 98. Front fastening and made from duchess satin, the luxurious outer shell conceals steel spiral boning for ultimate control.
Alternatively, diehard fashionistas should opt for the 3.1 Philip Lim belt, Pounds 120. This elasticated waist-cincher has two leather panels at the front joined by a linking brass buckle, ensuring you achieve the hourglass shape of the season.
(c) 2007 Daily Mail; London (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.