What to Wear If You’re Short Waisted or Long Waisted

What to wear if you’re short waisted or long waisted…Hold up! Just what does that mean?

Growing up, my mom would always exclaim, “I’m so short waisted!” Honestly, I never knew what she meant until I took my very first image consulting training.

And guess what I learned…I’m short waisted, too!

Knowing what to wear if you’re short waisted or long waisted can make a HUGE difference in looking and feeling fabulous…But first, you need to know which you are.

This post, Determining Your Vertical Balance, explains it REALLY WELL. So head over to the post post to learn your proportions and come back here to see just what to wear for fall 2022 to flatter you. 

One more thing…these are general tips. Depending on YOUR exact body type, you may want to adjust the tips a bit. 

If you want to know EXACTLY what to wear for EXACT BODY SHAPE AND PROPORTIONS, check out the Dress Your Body Shape Guide. 

If you found you’re short waisted, I’ve rounded up exactly what to wear below. 

If it turns out that you’re long waisted…do the opposite of what I’m describing below. And you can also check out this post to balance your long torso and short legs. I’ll give you more tips on what to wear soon.

Click on any of the photos, a.k.a. style boards to see it really big and shop if you find something your wardrobe needs. I may make a small commission at absolutely no charge to you. 

What to wear if you’re short waisted


These necklines will help to visually elongate your torso…easy peasy! Women with larger bust lines tell me they aren’t comfortable with a low neck. The v-doesn’t have to be low although lower is better. Simply embrace the magical V! 


Of course the length of your jacket will depend somewhat on your height, but as a general rule, try for a one that hits mid-hip or longer. 

Pants & Jeans for Short Waisted Women

You’ll be your happiest with mid-rise pants or jeans. You might even like low rises…they’re coming back. Either style will lengthen your torso. 

Check out this comparison below. Can you see how much longer the model’s torso looks with mid-rise jeans? Plus, they’re more comfortable! 

2 models in in mid rise and 1 in high rise jeans

BONUS TIP! My suggestion is to measure the rise of your favorite pants or jeans, and then when you’re shopping, check the details section of the website to see the rise measurements. 

Mid rise pants typically measure about 9-10 inches in the rise. You’ll be able to find some 8 and 8 3/4 “ rises as well. 

More Short Waisted Pants Tips:

  •  My Shop Your Shape Guide is your new best friend! You’ll find lots of retailers carrying mid-rise pants and jeans, saving you tons of time searching. Grab your guide here! 
  • Want to wear high rise pants or jeans?  Check out how.
  • Also know it can be possible to lower the waist of a pair of pants with the help of a great tailor. I did it years ago with good results.
  • Since your legs are usually one of your best features and seem to go on for days, you can wear cropped pants without worry of them cutting your leg line. 

pants for short waisted women

Sweaters and tops for short waisted women

Sweaters are my hardest wardrobe item to shop for! They tend to either be too long or too short. I urge you to try lots and don’t settle. Yes, it can be a pain but worth it in the long run.

For quite a few years, we short waisted women had it easy with long sweaters we wore over skinny jeans and leggings. It was a very easy flattering silhouette. 

But now that silhouettes and styles have changed, with higher waisted pants and cropped tops, sweaters/tops are tricky. 

You want to find a sweater/top that hits mid-hip, and of course, wear it untucked to lengthen the look of your torso. If you’re petite, you may find some cropped sweaters are just right for you. 

tops for short waisted women

Dresses for short waisted women

When it comes to wearing dresses with your short torso, it actually becomes a fit issue in addition to wearing what’s most flattering.

Tips for dress shopping

  • Be super aware of the proportions of the bodice of the dresses you try on. When you’re short waisted, everything may sit a little too low on your torso.
  • One of your very best dress styles is a dropped waist.
  • Also when you can find dresses without a set in waist at all, it will be an easier fit. 
  • Sleeveless dresses can often be taken up at the shoulders easily. But for dresses with sleeves, you may have your best luck shopping petites. I’m 5’6″ and short waisted…check out my most recent dress from the petite department. dresses for short waisted women

Accessories for Short Waisted Women

Long necklaces

Yes, the Y2K choker has made its way back in style, but luckily for you, so have long necklaces. Long necklaces, especially ones with pendants are great for elongating the look of your torso.Long Gold pendant necklaces for short waisted women


Oblong scarves

You probably guessed, and you’re right! Long scarves also elongate your torso. 

accessories for short waisted women

And these are your 2022 trend updates for how to find your best look if you’re short waisted. 

If you’ve read these tips and want to learn the next steps to creating a wardrobe that’ll make you feel fabulous every day, schedule a time and we’ll talk and see what it’ll take. You’ll be glad you did!

Be sure to stay tuned for styles to flatter your long waisted figure…coming up soon! 

Before You Go…

Before you go..Download The Ultimate #SHOPYOURSHAPE Guide

At Last, a complete resource with all the stores with sizes and proportions to fit your unique shape!

No matter what your body type, in this guide, you'll find more shops and sites than you ever knew existed... that cater to just your size, height and shape!

4 comments on “What to Wear If You’re Short Waisted or Long Waisted

  1. A lucky find! I’m 5’6″ short waisted too.
    I hope this guide will help me with online shopping.

    1. Hi Paula! I’m sure you’ll love the guide! I created it in 2020, and at the time mid-rise pants were pretty tough to find. Luckily they’ve become much more plentiful. Let me know if you need any more advice or are missing any info you need to create great looks for your short waisted frame.

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