Forget about Marie Antoinette! Clothes this season are channeling another powerful French woman: Josephine. But it's not the powdered wigs or the whalebone corsets -- what we are seeing a lot of this season is Josephine's empire waist.

The empire waist (pronounced "ahm-pier") is a cut that gathers beneath the bustline. What I think most women find surprising about this style is that the empire waist is actually extremely flattering on a variety of bodies. By nipping the dress or the top higher than the natural waistline the empire waist creates a long, elegant silhouette. If you are pear-shaped, for instance, the higher waist draws the eye up toward your bust and your neck.