Discover Your Body’s Vertical Balance

In my many years as a Denver image consultant, I’ve seen very few women who have the perfect vertical proportion. Most women either have a short torso with long legs or a long torso with shorter legs.

For the very most flattering, slimming look, it’s just as important to dress your body vertically as it is to dress for your “body type.” When your legs are short, you tend to look shorter than you are, even if you’re average (or taller) height. You'll look taller and slimmer by balancing your vertical proportions.

If your legs are extra long and your torso is short, you can appear top heavy potentially with a thick looking middle—by elongating the appearance of your torso, you look less bulky and hence slimmer.

Ah, but how do you know if you have a short or long torso? Much of the time it’s intuitive, but if not here are a few simple ways to determine if you’re short waisted or long waisted.

  • In your birthday suit or bra and panties, take a look at your body in a full-length mirror. Does your torso seem to go on and on while your legs seem a bit short or are your legs long while your body seems a bit “scrunched” from your shoulders to your waist? If it’s the former, you have a long torso. The latter indicates a short torso.
  • Should the measurement from the top of your head to your leg break be equal to the length from your leg break to the floor be the same, you are vertically balanced. Most likely you’ve been scratching your head at this post so far wondering what the big deal is!
  • If you’re still unsure, bend over to your side. Put a tape measure or tie a ribbon around the spot where you bend…that’s your waist. (Where your belly button is isn’t usually your waist.) Now, does your marker seem high or low on your body? High ribbon = short waist/low ribbon = long waist.

Still not sure if you're short waisted, long waisted or balanced?

If you’re still uncertain, ask yourself these questions: 

  1. Do your blouses always come untucked?
  2. If you’re over 5’8”, do you still have to hem regular length pants? (Have you ever tried on petite sized pants to avoid the alteration?)
  3. If you answered yes to these questions, chances are highly likely you have a long torso and shorter legs.


  1. Are regular length pants sometimes too short?
  2. Do your tops bunch up (usually visible from the back) around your middle? Or are you naturally averse to tucking tops into your pants/skirts?
  3. If you answered yes to this set of questions, most likely you have a short torso and long legs.

Now what?

Are you short waisted? Check out this post, Six Style Tips for Short Waisted Women. It's a good one!

Figuring out your real body shape can be hard, especially if you're over 40...because most of us are a combination of two of the types you commonly hear about.

Want some help figuring it out, once and for all? Let's talk! Schedule some time to chat with me--once you know how to dress for your body shape, shopping becomes easier...and best of all your confidence will skyrocket knowing you look FAB every time you leave the house! 


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