Reader Toni e-mailed me this question:
I’ve known about my long-waisted, short legged body style forever – ever since I realized at age 12 that one-piece swimming suits don’t fit me. However, I’ve just dealt with the short shirts and long pants that don’t really fit or flatter. I’ve been looking through my closet and sure enough most of my wardrobe is not made for me or not made to flatter my body style. Can you give me any advice?
There are some garments and shopping tips that may benefit women with long torsos and short legs, but there are also some styling ideas that can make your current duds more workable. So I’ll share a bit of both.
The photo up above is E of the now (sadly) defunct blog Academichic, from whom I learned much of what I know about balancing a long torso! Here’s what she taught me:
Try to elongate your legs
The longer your legs look, the less the observing eye will see any discrepancy or imbalance between legs and torso. Good bets include sporting short hemlines, wearing shoes and tights in the same color range, wearing pants and shoes/boots in the same color range, and trying out a few pairs of platform shoes.
Investigate high waists
High-waisted pants and skirts are an amazing tool for the long-of-torso. Since they end well above your true, natural waistline, they create visual balance along your midsection. Luckily, high waists have been trendy for a couple of years now, so they shouldn’t be too hard to locate!
Belt high, belt wide
Empire waisted dresses and tops are fabulous bets, but you can belt shirts and dresses on your own, too. And when you belt, belt high. You may be belting above the smallest part of your waist/torso, but in doing so, you’ll balance all that length. Utilizing a wide belt will help, too, since skinny belts might actually make your torso look even longer. The width of the belt will break things up more gracefully. (If you’re a petite woman with a long torso, either stick to belting high or experiment with medium-width belts.)
Consider tops from the tall section
Since your torso is longer than most, your tops need to be longer to accomodate it. Even if you aren’t or don’t feel tall, tall size tops will have more length to them. Toni mentioned that many styles of pants are too long for her, and you long-torsoed gals can also investigate petite pants … but proceed with caution. Petite pants are scaled to a smaller overall frame, so you may experience issues with rise and waistband comfort.
Cuff or scrunch your sleeves
Long sleeves are likely to draw the eye right to the spot where your torso and legs meet. If you cuff or scrunch them, they’ll draw the eye higher on your frame to a spot nearer your waist. This is a subtle trick, but can really help.
Aside from nabbing tall-size tops, I am loathe to recommend actual, specific garments since no two long-torsoed women are built alike. Curves, bust size, shoulder span, leg length, presence of absence of a defined waistline, and countless other factors mean that few items will work universally. But hopefully some of these tips will help you long-waisted readers create some visual balance!