How to Wear High Waisted Pants & Skirts if You’re Short Waisted

How to Wear High Waisted Pants & Skirts if You're Short Waisted

If you’re short waisted (other wise known as a short torso) and you’ve been shopping for jeans, skirts, or pants lately, perhaps you’ve gone home in tears! You scoured the racks to find these bottoms in your size that you like…only to try them on and find out they were high waisted…and you couldn’t wait to tear said styles off!!!

I KNOW! It’s happened to ME!

Unfortunately, I have some bad news. It doesn’t look like these high waisted styles are going away any time soon. Women resisted high waisted styles (especially us short waisted ladies) for a long time. Now that they’ve taken hold over the last few seasons, I think they’re here to stay.

Luckily, I’ve done a little personal experimenting (along with my style training/knowledge) and have come up with some ways for how to wear these high rise bottoms and still look sleek and stylish.

How to wear high waisted pants & skirts if you’re short waisted

  1. Create a partial tuck.

A prevailing silhouette right now is a shorter top tucked into pants. But since your torso is short, tucking your top with high waists makes your torso look even shorter. You end up looking really disproportionate.

Enter the partial tuck! You can do the partial tuck 2 ways:

-Tuck the top in most of the way across the front, leaving the back out

-Tuck just a small area on your right or left side in.

A few things to know about partial tucking: 

There’s no hard, fast rule as to which of these tucks to use. You just need to play with it and see what you like.

Both of these tucks, should be ever so slightly messy. Don’t try to make it perfect…it works better when you’re being effortless.

Either of these tucks is slightly on the casual side, so they won’t work with super formal clothing, but otherwise it can be a miraculous solution. You’ll also be most successful using tops and blouses that are thinner fabric that drape well.

By showing just a bit of the waistband, you’re showing off the style of pant and giving a little structure to the outfit. But since the rest of the top is longer, the eye is drawn down, and your torso looks longer!

I’ve used this technique with clients many times. It has especially saved a lot of tops that were just too boxy. Plus, it’s a youthful, modern look. Try it, you’ll see!

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, I will earn a small percentage, which will help offset the costs of consistently bringing you style information at no charge to you on this site! Thanks for your support!

How to tuck tops in if you're short waisted

Here are examples of a front tuck, side tuck and a full tuck bloused out. Click thru for more details or to buy these tops.

  1. Tuck your top in and blouse it out A LOT. When you pull a lot of your blouse out of the waistband, it naturally hangs down, automatically lowering your waistline and lengthening your torso.

You can see this concept in action on me in this post. I will admit I didn’t have the top pulled out all that far, so it wasn’t really the very best proportion but hey…even an image consultant isn’t perfect…

One last trick for this trick is when you’re doing a full tuck like this, keeping the contrast low between your top and bottom makes the waistband less obvious, making you look longer and sleeker. For example, red and pink are a lower contrast than red and white.

All one color in the same intensity, like a hot pink top tucked into a hot pink pant, furthers the effect. If hot pink seems a little bright for you, try white on white. I promise you’ll love how slim you look! (You so don’t have to stick to black any longer!)

  1. Tuck your top in, blouse it out (see #2) and add a longer blazer. If you didn’t click through to see me wearing the look from tip 2, you can see the whole look here.

So yes, your torso is a little shortened with the high waist pant/skirt, but then you draw the eye down with the longer jacket.

The perfect length jacket will be a little different for everyone, but in general, aim for mid to low hip length. And be extra sure to choose a blazer with a deep V, or low stance. In other words, think about the button(s) being low on your torso (unless you’re larger busted in which case a higher stance may fit better.)

As I look at my outfit from the video, I can see that a white or hot pink (that I want) jacket would create more contrast, so the effect would be more dramatic. (I’ll try it next time!)

  1. Ignore that your skirt/pants is high waisted, if it fits you, and wear your top on the outside. As I mentioned in 6 Style Tips for Short Waisted Women, a V-neck top worn on the outside lengthens the look of your torso substantially.

You can of course wear a tunic with skinny jeans or leggings; however, it’s not really the trending silhouette right now. Even though it was a great solution for me as well, I have been bored with the look for some time.

  1. Lower the waist of those high waisted skirts and pants! I did this with a cute pair of pants I had in the early 2000’s. It was right before mid-rise and lower rise pants were the norm across the board. It made them a lot more comfortable!

I can’t guarantee this can be done to every bottom, but if you’re having trouble finding pants and skirts to fit you with the prevailing high waisted trend, I urge you to talk with your tailor.

I will whole-heartedly admit that the high waisted trend isn’t ideal for us short waisted gals, but if you follow these tips for wearing high waisted pants and skirts, you’ll feel stylish and look great.

And I’m guessing you’ll feel a bit sneaky and smart knowing how to wear this trend you never thought you could!

Want more tips for dressing your short waisted self? Head over to How to Dress a Short Torso and Petite Dressing if You’re Short Waisted. (You’ll find great ideas whether you’re petite or not!)

Over to you…will you try these tips? What questions do you have?

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5 comments on “How to Wear High Waisted Pants & Skirts if You’re Short Waisted

  1. No real answer here. The high rise comes up to my bust. Is it possible. For them to be altered somehow.?

    1. True, these are a lot of generalities. Everyone is built a little differently. Yes, find a good tailor, and she should be able to lower the waistband. I had that done to a pair of pants one time (years ago, right before lower rises in pants became popular.) It worked great!

  2. Is there a way to wear high waisted bikinis and not look ridiculously proportioned? I’m a 5’8” short waisted pear shape and it’s so challenging to find clothes I love. I prefer 2 pieces to 1 pieces but since having my 2 kids I’m not comfortable in low or mid-rise bottoms.

  3. I inherited my short-waisted shape from my mom who had a great figure when she was young.
    Unfortunately, as she aged she gained a lot of weight. She was, what is now known as obese however, still dressed nicely.
    I am not obese but find it very difficult to find pants as I age as the high waisted pants are way too high.
    I am 130 pounds and flat chested with larger hips.
    Pear shaped is difficult at any weight.
    Dresses must be empire with bigger hips and pants must be elastic waist all around.
    I am 70 now and my legs are so full of spider veins (I won’t live long enough to remove all of them). I cover up my legs everywhere I go.
    Thank God for maxi dresses!
    I have MS and I have to be sure not to get too long of a dress or I will trip.
    I am grateful to be alive and still able to walk
    so I put all my dreams of smaller hips and a lower waist to rest!
    Perspective! The secret to a happy life!
    Good luck to all!

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