Dressing the Short Torso

I’m frequently asked how to lengthen the torso.

Lengthening the torso comes down to one thing: Balance

There are a few tricks you can do to balance a short torso with longer legs.  It’s also important to look at your own height and body shape as well.

Ways to create a balanced look:

Accessorize with tops that have interest such as, printed tops and tops that have vertical designs.  While there is nothing wrong it horizontal stripes and many taller women can pull them off, shorter torso’d tall women and petite women with a short torso have a harder time with them.  Stick to the vertical stripes, especially if you are shorter.

Styling the Short Torso
Use of a mostly vertical print really elongates the torso.

Tops that draw attention above the bust with an interesting neckline such as a V-neck or scoop neck or with design details around the neckline.  You’ll want to avoid the boat neck because it can compress your figure.

Styling the short torso
Here, I’ve used a dress with a separate color on the top and draping at the neckline. Even though the waist is cut a little higher than ideal for the short torso, the draping draws the eye up.

Most tops should be left untucked.  If you’re shorter though, you’ll want to keep your tops no longer than knuckle length when your arms are comfortably resting at your sides.  I find this hard to abide by because my tops are always too long.  Tunics and long cut tops are flattering to a short waist, but at 5’1″ long tops look like dresses.  I either hem them or I tuck one side (like the splatter top above) or tuck the front of the top, so I still get the long drape behind me and around my hips (like the far left photo below).

Styling the Short torso
Take a look at all three styles.

You can see above photo from a previous post on proportions, what a difference shirt hem length can make.  Which one is most appealing and balanced to you?

Sleeve length can also affect balance.  This is more of a food for thought guideline, because there is definitely room for play.  Bare arms as well as 3/4 length or longer sleeves will lengthen the torso.  The bare arms give a nice long visual guideline next to the torso, while the longer sleeves draw the eye down.  I’m not saying be cold or be hot all year round though, so play with that one and see what you think.  See the above photos and think about the sleeve length now as you look.

Accessories can definitely work to your favor.  A long necklace, and scarf can both lengthen the torso by drawing the eye down.  If you have trouble with belts, go for skinny over wide belts.  Wide belts tend to exaggerate the shortness of the torso.

How to style proportions on short women
The dainty necklace disappearing into the neck line is always a nice touch.

Wear the dainty necklace inside or outside your neckline.  You’ll get the same affect with a dainty necklace under a lower neckline as outside your top.

When choosing pants, go for low waisted cuts for the short torso.  I sometimes choose higher waisted cuts because I have a little bit of an hourglass figure, so I accomplish elongating the lower part of my torso with the high waisted pant.  Wearing prints and lighter colors below the waist can also draw attention away from the short waist.

Styling the Short Torso
The lower cut pant paired with a longer top is ideal for adding length. This top also draws the eye to the draping at the neckline.

The above photos also demonstrates how using the right shoes makes short legs look long.

Styling the short torso
I have broken the no high waisted pants rule with this outfit, however, the pattern draws the eye down and the cut of the pant visually elongates the lower torso.  Top is Kora Rae, and currently on sale for $69 (originally $189).

When choosing dresses and skirts go for a drop waist and design details that draw the eye down like a hi-low hem.

Styling the Short Torso
This romper draws the eye down with the drop crotch (accomplishing the same as the drop waist) and draping at the ankle.
Styling the Short Torso
Design details of the skirt draw the eye down.
Styling the Short Torso
Here we see another drop crotch romper that brings the torso down, while the details at the neckline and bare arms draw the eye up.

 What are your styling questions?  Comment below.


Kate Thakkar

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you have a beautiful sense of style! I love those blue sunglasses too 😀
Instagram: the_ch1ara

Wow great tips! I am so on the petite side (4ft11in) lol will defo be trying some of these thanks X


Hi! Just thought I’d stop by and compliment you on your post! It’s very cool, interesting (and stylish too!)
Keep it up!
Come check out my blog if you get the time, would love to know what you think!
keep blogging!
p.s. lovely hair!

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