Quite honestly, before I took my initial image consulting training, I was simply clueless about the term “short waisted.” What was even crazier was that my mom, who had taught me tons about style, used it all the time! But once I was able to understand it…a whole new world of dressing opened up! I’ll also admit that learning how to dress for this body type and lengthen my own short torso helped me feel better about my sometimes-chubby middle.
This post explains how to determine if you’re short waisted, or you have a short torso and longer legs; or if you’re long waisted and your legs are most likely short. Even though having long legs is a great asset, having an accompanying short torso can make your upper body look a bit squashed and disproportional…and in my case it can be a bit frustrating sometimes.
In my 15 years as a personal stylist and image consultant, I’ve found that a good majority of my clients have shorter waists vs. longer waists. (And if it makes you feel any better, very few of my clients’ waists are vertically balanced.) But I’ve also learned it’s easiest to remember just a few tips rather than me giving you every strategy in my quiver for evening out your upper and lower body.
So here are my 6 most stylish tips for dressing your short waisted figure. (Oh, and I love breaking “rules” so I’ve added in a few ways to break the rules I’m sharing today!)
6 stylish tips for dressing your short waisted figure
Embrace the V-neck: A v-neck not only elongates your neck, but it also keeps the eye traveling up and down your torso making it appear longer. The #1 neckline to avoid, (for so many reasons) is a boat neck. This neckline creates a horizontal line across your shoulders shortening the distance between your neck and waist.
Wear vertical accessories or those that create a low V: Long, skinny scarves are perfect as are long pendant necklaces. These accessories do the same thing for you as a V-neck…especially if you’re breaking my rule by wearing a high neck! (Hey! V-necks are somewhat scarce and deep v’s can be a little cold in the winter!)
Look for tops that hit right around your hipbone or a little longer: (The petite department can be a solution for tops sometimes.) Hip length jackets and sweaters are also a better length than the cropped or waist length versions. Again, we simply want to visually lengthen your torso.
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Mid-rise or even low-rise pants are better than high waisted pants or jeans: You’ll have a lot more open space from your bust-line to the top of your pants. I know it may not seem like it would matter how high the rise of a pant is if you’re wearing your tops on the outside, but it truly makes a difference. A mid or low-rise (although a bit hard to find these days,) will also most likely be more comfortable!
Once you find a pair of pants with a perfect rise for YOU, measure the rise. Then the next time you find yourself shopping online and find a rise the same length, snatch ’em up! (The rises are most often stated on jeans…sometimes you have to do a little digging.)
If you prefer high waisted pants or are having trouble finding mid-rise pants, here is how to wear them even if you’re short waisted.
Avoid belts: (You knew this one was coming, right?) A belt at your natural waist draws a line that cuts you and completely emphasizes your mini-torso and long legs.
Should you have a love affair with belts, try to wear a belt that matches your top instead of one that matches your bottom. A thin belt worn loosely at your waist will dip down a bit and create a nice V, (finding just the right belt to make this work is a bit tricky.) You can also wear low slung, hip belts; however they mostly had their heyday in the ‘80’s.
Wear your tops out instead of tucking them in: (You’ve probably wondered why tucking never feels right anyway.) Not only does leaving your top out visually lengthen your torso, but it’s more comfortable and slims your tummy as well.
Bonus Tip: A solid color dress, especially one without a set in waist, will create an uninterrupted column of color, making you look long and lean. For that matter, creating a column of color or a matching top and bottom will also do the same trick and is a universally flattering styling technique.
Even though I have a lot more ways to help you create a more vertically balanced appearance, these 6 tips are easy to remember and easy to apply. Hopefully you’ll find them to be as liberating as I did, and if you want more tips or ways to break the rules, contact me to learn how.
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