The fashion world deems you “petite: if you’re 5’4” or under. Keep in mind, “petite” only refers to length or height. Petite clothes come in all sizes! And petite women come in all shapes! But to get your clothes to fit, flatter and make you feel amazing, there’s another aspect to consider, your vertical balance.
Vertical balance! What’s that? (You may be asking…) Vertical balance refers to whether you’re short waisted (or you have a short torso,) long waisted (your torso is long,) or your torso and legs are balanced. If you’re not sure, check out this post to determine your vertical balance.
In this post, we’ll talk about the best ways for you to dress if you’re petite and long waisted.
As a petite, if your legs are short and your torso is long by comparison, (you’re long waisted,) you can appear shorter than you really are. By visually elongating your legs, and shortening your long torso you’ll look more evenly proportioned; and hence, taller and much slimmer. Interestingly, “vertical balance” doesn’t seem to get much press, but it’s key to looking and feeling amazing and confident.
Here are some easy style tips to help you reach the vertical balance you’re looking for. Some you may know, but hopefully you’ll find some new tricks as well!
7 Petite Dressing Tips if You’re Long Waisted
1.) High waisted pants and skirts will make your legs look a mile long! The higher waist makes your legs look like they start much higher than they really do. By extending your waistline up, you’ve also visually shortened your torso…double bonus!
2.) Tuck tops in. Easy peasy! In combination with high waisted pants and skirts, tucking tops cuts your torso considerably.
If tucking your tops and blouses in feels too formal, try a quarter tuck where you’re only tucking the top on one side of the fly (or your waist.) I’ve found you’ll usually get the best results when you’re not trying for perfection. And be sure that the half that’s out isn’t too long. (More on top lengths later.)
Another option is the half tuck. Here you’re tucking in the front of your blouse, but not the back. Both of these tucks can look a little messy, so it’s truly a matter of personal style and your occasion…probably not the best for a job interview or other formal work meeting.
3.) Aim higher with your tops, blouses and jackets. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.) What I actually meant to say is keep your tops and jackets on the short side. A waist length bomber or refined leather moto-style jacket is a great look for you.
4.) Belts! Belts, especially wide belts, can visually shorten your torso extremely well. Because you’re petite, even if you’re long waisted, your waist isn’t thatlong, right?
You may not want to go too wide with your belts. Experiment with different belt widths to see which ones you like best.
5.) Try pointy toe shoes. And if you can, wear heels. They’re one of your best fashion weapons.
But if you can’t wear heels, pointy toe flats/boots are still a great way to elongate your leg line, especially if you’re wearing the same color shoes and pants. For example, you’ll be unstoppable in black pants with pointy toe black boots or shoes. It’s as if your legs extend to the tip of your toes.
When it’s not boot season, or you’re wearing a work dress, a low vamped pump is a great way to elongate your legs! Not only are they flattering, but they’re a great wardrobe basic you’ll get tons of mileage out of.
Traditional advice says to match your shoes to your skirt/dress hem, and it’s true, doing so will make your legs look longest. On the other hand, it’s perfectly okay to break those style “rules”. From time to time, you may want to choose a color that just makes your heart sing!
6.) Vertical striped pant are great for lengthening your legs. Because you’re petite, choosing subtle pin stripes or tuxedo/racing stripes down the sides can be your best bet, especially for work.
At the same time, if your personal style and work environment allow for it, feel free to try a little wider stripe. Just be careful not to let the stripes overwhelm your frame.
7.) Your best necklace/scarf choices are short ones. Since you’re trying to make your torso look a little shorter, stick with necklaces that hit around your collarbone or a bit lower. Sticking with shorter lengths keeps attention toward the top of your torso and your face, always a great thing for business!
Chances are good that you have a long neck in addition to your long torso, so you can wear scarves around your neck with ease. Like I caution almost everyone, especially because you’re petite, steer clear of extra bulky scarves that can overpower you in general.
I hope you’ve gotten some good tips on how to dress if you’re petite and have a long torso! As I mentioned in tips 5 and 6, I never want you to feel limited by the “rules.” True, following them, always gives you the best flattery, but know you have so many options to make you look and feel your best!
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