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Wearing long statement necklaces, or necklaces with chunky pendants, visually lengthens the torso in a more suble way. Tying a scarf vertically so that the ends hang down, or wearing an infinity scarf, draws the eye up and down, which achieves the same effect. Low-slung belts reposition the waist by lowering it, which lengthens the torso.
The soft V-shape in front effectively draws the eye up and down. Wearing a high-contrast belt on the natural waist shortens an already short waist. Belting at the natural waist over a longer jacket also helps to lengthen a shorter waist. You can use a few of these tips in one outfit: Or wear a low-slung, soft, low-contrast belt over a column of colour. Feel free to ask further questions on how to dress a shorter waist in the comments section.
Member of the short waist brigade reporting for duty. I have incorporated most of these tactics over the years, my favourites being a column of colour, diagonal hemlines and un-tucked tops. I have to be very particular about the length of my tops or I risk shortening my legs as well as my waist! Thanks for the tips, Angie. Great read — I incorporate many of these tips in dressing my long waist.
I think they work because I can choose to highlight or minimize the length. I am one of the one-hand brigade but unfortunately, some of the tips emphasize other proportion issues. I have a very narrow ribcage and relatively wider hips so wearing tops that end at the hip emphasize the hip.
I usually try to wear jackets and tops that are hit at about the hipbone though and this helps. I have experimented a bit the last week and realized that although I love high waisted skirts, the love is not returned.
Love these practical advice posts. I use all your suggests but I tweak to benefit my particular issues. I prefer a high crew neck tank, tucked into midrise jeans about an inch lower than my belly button. Gives the longest torso and most flattering top line. Match belts to top. I add a black belt with that black tank in 1 bringing down the visual torso even more 3. Love the low slung hip belt over tunics and dresses.
For rectangles, if you match the color of the belt to the tunic or dress and have a contrasting lower clasp creating a v shape the tonal belt does not empathize the width of the waist and the lower clasp acts as a pendant to create a flattering v and again lower the visible waistline.
This small chested lady prefers the very hard to find high v neck or cowl. But crew neck all the way! On petite ladies, I find empire waists only work if the cut and fabrication is very sophisticated. I have a portrait collar, seamed dress by David Meister, in his hay day, which is magic. But if the dress skews youthful it can give off a kiddish vibe. Such great tips, thank you Angie!! Will keep coming back to these!
Other guidelines clash with my shape, except 2, which I foolishly overlooked till now. Had an epiphany reading your advice: I have a belly. How do I know where my natural waist is? Before weight gain I was decidedly pear shaped. Oh, yes, Team Short Waisted here! Thanks for the validation, as I have been doing many of these things for a long time just because they look better to my eye!
Love how-toos like this! This is where your waist is. Ditto to what Cheryle said. I never belt at the waist anymore, and I rarely tuck a top all the way in. I need to pay attention to where untucked tops end on my body, because even if they lengthen my torso, if they hit at a bad spot, I can look really wide.
When I was young and much slimmer, even though I always had proportionally bigger hips and thighs relative to my waist, I could get away with higher-waisted styles a bit more. Thank you so much for the helpful tip to measure with hand-widths! I have always felt I was short-waisted but now I know I am one hand width plus a smidge. Your tips are all about correction, which are fantastic. But what exactly are the problems created by a short waist? It would be helpful to understand exactly what challenges I can attribute to this issue.
It is probably totally obvious to others …. The only thing I can think of is the high-waisted clothing problem. I once had an adorable high-waisted skirt but it always felt like it was up at my chin.
Now I understand why — it was! It was especially interesting to read how to determine if you have the short waist. I knew about the first one but the second one was new to me. I always thought I am long waisted but by the measurement 2 I must be average because I have exact measurements there — who knew! Another Team Short Waisted member here. I look forward to seeing low-slung belts come back into style someday. Angie, 4 may explain why I have tried on zillions of high-waisted jeans and none seem to work for me.
About 11, the self colored belt. I wear these best on dresses to keep a column of color, but with a high contrast bottom-top tucked , I like the belt to match or be low contrast with the top to visually lower the waist.
I am so thankful to have a variety of silhouettes to choose from although some are in and out of fashion. Your tips are so useful. I needed the reminder. What a wonderfully thoughtful analysis, Angie! I particularly appreciate your recognition of long rises, as well as the caveat that guidelines assume average proportions everywhere else. The handspan test is genuis. My other non-average proportions: Not high hip, but with an extreme hip slope that starts high on my torso.
About half of the guidelines work wonderfully for me. About half I do the total opposite. On the other hand, low and dropped waists and belts draw far more attention to my very wide hip line — far more disproportionate than my short waist. I also find that skirts and trousers with more fullness below the waist do not emphasize the high waist as much as fitted bottoms. They not only create a new waist, but give a smooth line for the pear shape. It nearly reaches to the bra band. In the winter I really like short dresses with leggings most tunics are too short on my long rise.
Year-round I wear diagonal-hem belted cardigans. I was confused because the first method says not short waisted but the second method gives me a 3 inch longer hip to knee measurement.
Like Viva, the distance for me between bust and waist is one hand width and a smidgen, maybe one hand width and a half, depending where the hand is positioned. The distance between hip bone and below knee cap is a full 3 inches longer on me than that between bottom of bust and waist. Maybe a bit more.
But my legs can indeed look short at times because the calves are relatively short. I need a petite height boot even though I am not petite. It also explains why I feel so much better proportioned when wearing a 2 to 2. This brings my calves into proportional alignment. Meanwhile, it also explains why a dress like the Vince shirt dress might look shorter on me than it does even on some taller ladies. I take a small size being relatively small overall so that means it might be objectively shorter than it is in a larger size.
But also, with my long measurement from hip bone to lower knee, it is going to appear shorter on me overall despite having a short waist. Viva, I think I have an answer or partial answer for you. Some of these recommendations are far more important for those with a larger bust or a curvier shape overall. I tend to use 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 the most often. Short-waisted, with a long rise checking in. Another member of Team Short Waist checking in.
Empire cuts are also tricky because they can look very juvenile on me, but some of them can work. I think the more balanced proportion is more elegant. Also I actually find tight things on my natural waist like belts or waistbands very uncomfortable because I have only about an inch of space between my lowest rib and my hip bone so things get squished easily when I move or sit.
Suz I think you have the measurements mixed up in the way you have written it. Fun hearing the aha moments and the validation for these tips. Many of my clients are short waisted. I am regular — neither short nor long waisted, so high five Sveta, Peri and Jenn. Diana, dropped waist dresses can be problematic for pear shapes.
Like your extra tips too. Cheryle, Jenn and Janet, your reasoning makes perfect sense. Additional body shape modifiers are exactly why these tips can be problematic. Kerry, like Sigrid suggested, bend over to the side and where you crease is the position of your natural waist. It feels imbalanced and looks disproportionate. Hope that makes sense. I will need to measure later today.
My biggest challenge is getting proportions right with skirts. Can someone tell me how to define my waist? The narrowest part of me is fairly high, probably four inches higher than my belly button. The part where it starts to narrow is also higher than normal. Mid rise pants on me always hit above my belly button. I define myself as a rectangle with pear tendencies.
Square but not overbroad shoulders, thick waist, hips about the same as my bust but relatively heavy thighs. I would never wear an empire waisted top or dress — nor do I go for a drop-waisted anything. The one issue I do have trouble with is wearing a v-neck or a low crew neck. A fitted crew neck tshirt looks comical on me — that I do know — as it makes me look like a dowager busty matron. This one confounds me. Another short-waisted gal here. Thank you for these tips!
The one I employ most often is wearing low to mid-rise jeans that are belted, and semi-tucking. I think the distance between my bust and my neck is also short! That will look infinitely better than anything overly tight, I promise. Like I said earlier: Some people love that bleached out, super shredded look; others want deep, dark navy shorts; others still like simple blue denim ones. Maybe you even like neon ones! It all depends on what you plan on wearing them for. For a night out in the summer, either super light or very dark shorts makes sense; same with evening dates.
For events, try wearing a darker blue, black or even deep green pair with a fancy blouse. I always find stuff in my size and nobody is fighting over it which does happen quite a bit at sample sales. While at this particular sale, I found a pair of high-waisted navy blue shorts that I fell head over heels for. I knew there was never going to be a chance I could obtain them for the ultra-low sample sale pricing again, so I bought two. After I wore one pair out last year, I still had one left in perfect condition for whenever I wanted to look more polished.
My point is this:
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