Doesn't it seem like the "empire waistline" has been around forever? That's because it has been practically forever - with earliest drawings from Greco-Roman times. But the actual term derives from the First French Empire period, which ran from 1804-1815. Napoleon crowned himself in 1804 declaring himself as the first Emperor of France.
During the mid 1700's, this very classical style of dress was in vogue as depicted in many of the paintings from its time.
Scene from movie "Emma"
The empire waist line became popular again in late 19th century England inspired by the novels of Jane Austen. However this more comfortable style of dress came to a halt with the more constricting fashions of Victorian times.
It's amazing to think that this style of clothing has lasted more than 2 thousand years, constantly being reinvented to make it fresh and new.
Believe it or not, flapper dresses were inspired by the empire dress, in a deconstructed form to rebel against the rigidity of the Victorian era. But one of the most famous designs inspired by this style was introduced back in the 1960's, the now famous baby doll lingerie.
We see it today, on runways and on the streets where we live. The empire waist line may not be figure flattering as my other half says, but it's certainly feminine and has stood the test of time.
Here are some retro fashions to get you into the Empire state of mind...