A Short Waisted Women’s Guide from Someone Who Knows!

Here are some suggestions on how to dress a short-waisted body type from someone who is actually short-waisted and has to deal with this dilemma every single day.

I’ve noticed that a lot of style guides suggest that you “hide” your short waist under long shirts and blazers, empire cut dresses and accessorize with belts that fall at your hips in an effort to give the appearance that your waist is longer… hmmmm.

Many of the styles they suggest (or confine us to), in my opinion, are some of the most unflattering looks! (Unless you’re into wearing casual, boho chic every day!)

The “standardized” suggestions out there do not translate well if you’re in a professional environment. Many of the items they steer short-waisted women to are unstructured looks that cover-up your figure instead of enhancing the positive. You can only look so evenly proportion with this body type. To tell you the truth, I don’t want to really concentrate on “fooling the eye” to look like I have a longer waistline with waist hiding outfits. I think it’s more important to focus on looking well put together, showing off your curves and those great long legs that short-waisted women are blessed with!! Even though a woman has a short waist line; what you can get away with depends on your height, your weight, bone structure, large bust line vs. small bust, fuller hips vs. boyish hips, flat / small rear end vs. a healthy rear end.

So my suggestion is to try everything on and be very critical and honest about whether it compliments your body type or not. I have listed a few things that work for me that may help you in your decision making process, but it’s all relative….take what you can use and see how it works out for you.


  • If you’re “top heavy” because you’re short-waisted (bigger breast, broader shoulders and back, thicker arms). Wearing darker colors on the top and lighter colors on the bottom works miracles! You obviously don’t have to always wear a black top but try wearing a top or jacket in a darker hue or pattern then your skirt or pants.
  • When wearing separates, pairing the same color top and bottom will give you a clean, classic look and “unifies” your appearance. Making you look longer, taller and slimmer – without any apparent differences noticed in the height of your upper body to your lower body. That’s a very good thing in my book!
  • When wearing shirts and tops. Get them altered (hemmed/shorten) so that they hit you right at hip line. Most store bought tops and shirts will be entirely too long for women with short waist lines. Alterations is a great way to make sure these items look neat on you, compliments your figure and hide any tummy issues you may have, without looking sloppy and ill-fitting. The shirt will lay on your body nicely without looking all bunched up because it’s too long. If the sleeves are also too long have the cuff area removed or shorten. The main idea is to have the top or shirt altered to fit your specific body type instead of “wrestling” with a top that is too long because it was designed for an person with a longer waist line. (Note: If you are small boned or short in statue you can also purchase shirts from the Women’s Petite section or from the Juniors department.)
  • Beware of tops and shirts with an excessive amount of large ruffles and over embellishment. Best practice is to wear tops with clean and basic necklines. Scoop neck tops that end around the collar bone looks great. (Note: Too low of a neckline for women with large bust can appear to take away inches from your upper body area, so be careful, ladies.)
  • Belts and belt loops. If you purchase a dress, top or jacket with a belt and the item has belt loops. Move those suckers! In my best Joan Crawford impression…“take those belt loops off and move them where they are suppose to be!!” You can remove them entirely with a seam ripper and/or move them UP to the position of YOUR natural waist line and sew them back on.
  • Many style guides tell you not to wear wide belts. That is a no-no for short waisted women. Glad I didn’t listen to them. Do not shy away from waist cinching belts. I love them and they give me the appearance of having an feminine body with womanly curves when in actuality I have boyish hips. I try to keep my belt height under ‘3 inches. You can wear the same color belt as your top or jacket to keep the appearance of a longer waist line. Low hip slung belts do not work! They will hang low in the front but will sit up too high when the belt meets your behind in the back, not a flattering look for anyone who doesn’t have a flat ass! Bringing even more attention to the fact that you have a short upper body – only from the back! It’s better to have the belt rest at one even position on your waist, then to wear a low-sung belt that hangs low in the front, but high in the back. When using waist cinching belts, keep the fit comfortable and not so tight as to look confined or have “muffin top” going on.
  • I encourage women with a short-waist line (like myself) to have your tops and blouses shorten by a seamstress, tailor or alteration shop and wear them out instead of tucking them in. Tucking in your shirt, blouse or sweater will only make the unbalance between your upper and lower body more apparent. This is something I try hard not to do. Once you alter your blouses to sit at the right position on your body, they will look fabulous and neat and there will be no need to tuck them in!
  • Buy your size! This is very important for women with a short upper body. A comfortable and non-tight fit makes you look neat and well put together. Most short waisted women have problems with their weight accumulating around their middle, stomach, back and arms since there is a limited amount of room for the upper body fat to distribute. Even more reason to make sure any tops, dresses and jacket you buy are your size and not two sizes too small.

  • Buy skirts that are no longer then below the knee caps. Wearing super long skirts make the upper part of the body look even shorter! Well, let me just say this…..IMO longer skirts look better when the blouse is the exact same color or print. (I just prefer knee-length myself)
  • Wearing low rise jeans or trousers are great for women with a short rise area (distance between top of hips and the start of your thighs). An average low rise pair of pants will fit you exactly where it needs to. Old Navy makes some good ones. I think it’s a good idea to stay away from pants with front pleating, side pockets that could gap, flaps on back pockets and, a lot of pocket detailing or buttons on the pant pockets. Keep your pant silhouette clean and simple.
  • I think form fitting dresses, especially wrap dresses are great for women with a short upper body. Other guides have suggested wearing empire dresses. Now, empire cut dresses are fine when the occasion suits the reason for wearing a style like that; but I don’t think short-waisted women should be bury under layers of free flowing fabric just to hide their short waist line! I want my dress to be slimming and well structured, not make me look like I’m pregnant!
  • I don’t like long men style blazers unless they are paired up with trousers or Jeans. I don’t think they look right on short-waisted women who are short in statue (5 ft to 5.4) when pairing them with skirts or dresses, but that’s just a personal preference. It can help to visually elongate your frame. Short cut or shrunken blazers are great because they fit our body type to a “t” without needing any alterations. When shrunken blazer were a trend a couple of years back, I bought a ton of them.
  • Shoes. If you’re short in statue (and also short-waisted), most guides will tell you not to wear ankle-strap shoes. In my opinion, women who are short but have long legs (because of a shorter waist-line)  can wear ankle straps and not have to worry about the strap making their legs look shorter. The best part about having this body type is we have legs for days (this includes short women) and more likely than not, the slimmest part of our bodies are our “great” legs, so go ahead and rock those ankle-strap shoes because we have the legs to pull it off.

I encourage you to try everything on, especially if you really like it! Try it on and see if the style will flatter your body type.

Not every short waisted women is built completely the same due to height, bone structure, weight and physical assets (bust, hips, rear, thighs). Don’t feel like you have to live in a style “box” because you have a short upper body. Remember the positive to this body type is you have legs for days! Your legs should be one of your best assets so show them off!

Article written by Budget Chic © All Rights Reserved 2009. Written permission to republish in any form is required from author.

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86 Responses to A Short Waisted Women’s Guide from Someone Who Knows!

  1. Sal says:

    Lady, you’re awesome. What a great resource you’ve created!

  2. Kasmira says:

    Thank you for this post! I’m also shortwaisted. While I bemoan the fact that I’ll always have a thicker middle, I do love having long legs and try to play them up.

  3. Anusha says:

    Fab post! I’m short waisted too and it was absolutely horrible in the ’80s and ’90s because I could literally only find ONE pair of jeans that sort of fit me okay, since everything back then was high-waisted. Ugh. I’ve been thanking whoever brought back lower-rise jeans in the late ’90s, as it enabled me to finally wear jeans.

    And I agree with the looooong blouses and t-shirts they have in the stores these days — what’s up with that?! I always get Petite blouses and t-shirts which are not as long.

  4. Profile photo of Budget Chic Budget Chic says:

    @ anusha – this is one of the reason I shop Juniors sometimes because the top and blouses don’t tend to be cut as long. Petites is a good section too. I shop there during seasonal clearances.

  5. marian says:

    darling great piece!this is a fab post and so useful.thanks for this great resource.

  6. aly says:

    Wow, I never knew that my extra long legs meant I was “short waisted” LOL. Thanks for the info!

  7. Bella says:

    oh, you are too fabulous… this post is awesome!

  8. Diya says:

    I actually wish I was short-waisted.. apparently that’s synonym for long legged? :O what’s wrong with that? :D

  9. Fashion Unconscious says:

    Is there a blogger out there, that you recommend, who does what you do from a plus size perspective? I really enjoyed this post and it was really helpful to me. But I’m a plus sized, short waisted, petite. I know it reads ridicoulous. Think 5’3″, large bust, large tummy, long legs, not much hips or thighs, high round curvy behind. Everything I do is a coordinate or requires a LOT of tailoring that I really can’t afford. So while I love what you wear, I would really love to see pictures of someone built more like me. There was woman named Allie (I think) who was perfect, but I haven’t been able to find her.

  10. Fashion Unconscious says:

    That’s her. Thanks so much. Not sure how I lost that link, but I will work hard not to do it again. By the way, still loving your blog, your sense of style, and your cost consciousness.

  11. Betsy says:

    i love this post! you are a genius. i am also short waisted with a larger chest and it’s hard to find things that fit. i can’t wait to start following your blog! keep up the good work.

  12. Profile photo of Budget Chic Budget Chic says:

    @ betsy – glad i could help :-D

  13. Rachel says:

    this is a great post. so helpful! thanks for taking the time to write this.

  14. Arch says:

    First time visitor and I am in love with your blog. Thanks for posting this great article.

  15. chocolatepie says:

    Great post. What frustrates me about “wear long tops” advice is that the people who write that don’t understand that if you wear a long top and try to fool the eye, the illusory waist is actually at your hip line, making you look like you have a huge, lumpy waist! I lose all shape when I wear long tops. Fitted tops and waists are the best, and if the top is long, it had better be loose!

    Now I need to try to find a business suit with a low rise skirt. . .this is my holy grail.

    • Profile photo of Budget Chic Budget Chic says:

      @ chocolatepie – yep! I make sure all of my shirt that “should” hit me right at the hipline do! I alter all of my tops and shirts, unless the style calls for it to be longer. I like a fitted look.

  16. barb says:

    When I would do the washing I always thought it was strange that my husband’s, who is 5 inches taller then myself, pant length was always at least 4 inches shorter than my own. Finally by reading some style blogs and books I now know that I am short waisted. I had never heard of that body type. I had some pictures taken after a 25 pound weight loss and did not look right and that was do to me not knowing not to tuck in my shirts especially when I was still wearing “faded” denim jeans. Tucked in shirts for me make me look like my waist band is what my boobs sit on for support. Ha!

  17. Profile photo of Budget Chic Budget Chic says:

    @ barb – welcome to the club! It can be – at times a difficult body type to dress, but you can make it work!

  18. me says:

    Thanks. Very helpful!

  19. mara says:

    Thanks! My coworkers think my waistline is 32, when it’s actually my hip line! With your suggestions, i’ll try smaller size dresses to raise the waist to my natural waist.

  20. Donna says:

    I honestly feel like I have a better understanding of my body now more than ever. I’m rather short, and slim, but carry all of my weight in my (short) middle. This article was incredibly enlightening on how to dress fore the most flatter fits. Thank you, so much!!

  21. Susan says:

    perhaps we can get some pictures of outfits up?

  22. Profile photo of Budget Chic Budget Chic says:

    @ susan – there are tons of outfits on this blog and I’m short-waisted.

  23. DB says:

    This advice is excellent!

    You sure know your stuff girl!

    Thanks very much, don’t feel so much of a freak now.

  24. Mary says:

    Great article. I’d love to see a daily blog devoted to this topic only, with pics of the outfits you put together! I’m really struggling with this issue, and would treasure more help.

  25. kathy says:

    Wow. Very interesting and very helpful.

    I’ve actually been doing what the author suggested for years now. I did not know it was because I was “short waisted”.

    This explains a lot. I’m a little over 5’6 1/2, but have extremely long legs. If you only saw my legs, you would assume I was much taller. I also look exactly like the purple diagram — in that my waist and hips are also the same width. I’m about 20 pounds overweight, but when I loose weight, it’s always in the hip and thigh area. So, I stopped trying to lose — otherwise I’d just be straight down…except for the boobs (40c).

    I tend to wear wrap dresses and slightly low rise pants. Very lowrise gives me a muffin top (unless I buy a bigger size), but slightly lowrise works. Bias-cut skirts work as well… As do slightly A-line and above the knee.

    Great confirmation. Thank you!

  26. Mo says:

    Great tips. I agree with most of them, but I feel that there’s nothing particularly wrong with pocket detailing or flaps on pockets for a great pair of jeans. I am short waisted but trim, and I look great in a pair of boot leg style Hudsons or Ralph Laurens with loads of pocket detail. The pants elongate my legs something awesome and the eyes are drawn to the butt (which thanks to the gym is a positive thing) and not the short waist.

    Thanks for taking the time to write such a helpful and inspiring post.

  27. Wendy says:

    Anyone have suggestions for specific clothing manufacturers whose standard waist height is more like ours? I agree that Old Navy is good for low rise pants, but I was thinking shirts in particular. I have been shopping in the petite section for shirts lately, but that only works for summer: my arms are long like my legs. :-P

    I’ve noticed that shirts that are fitted at the waist tend to bunch up on a lot of women.

    • Profile photo of Budget Chic Budget Chic says:

      @ Wendy – I feel your pain – what you will need to do is shorten your shirts, top and blouse by hemming them. That’s what I do. You can take them to a tailor or you can learn how to do it yourself with your own sewing machine.

      To- date I don’t know of any manufacturer that makes shirts for short waisted women, but if I had the capital I would definitely startup an apparel business doing just that!

  28. Diana says:

    I don’t like being short wasted, and especially if you are a few pounds overweight. And you had a couple of kids to boot! No place for skin, fat, organs, etc to go. When I was 20 lbs lighter I felt much more comfortable in my middle, with my short wastedness, but 20 lbs overweight, not the best feeling. I wish my torso were longer…I’ll keep my legs though :) I’ve felt like a size 10 waist with a size 8 body..pants are hard to buy.

    • Profile photo of Budget Chic Budget Chic says:

      @ diana – this is true. But think if you had a pear shape (longer waist line, shorter legs) your legs might look like tree trunks and your hips would be pretty wide. Each body type has its own issues.

      That’s exactly why if you are short waisted you need to keep your weight down. Unfortunately for me, I’m aging so I can’t afford to allow my weight to drop too low (under 115) or else it will take a toll on my face. But yes if you are short waisted most of your weight accumulates in your upper body so you need to keep your weight under control to look your best.

      Tracy Anderson a fitness specialist has a DVD out and she is short-waisted. You might find success working her program, it focuses on losing weight based on Body Type. The program series in her DVD for most short-waisted women would be abscentric.

  29. This post was so informationally….thank you!!! I didn’t realize I was short waisted until know. I definitely have the thicker middle AND good legs!

  30. Jenny says:

    Thank you and bless you! I am having the same problems and finally I found this site that goes against all that stupid “advice” we get to “correct” our bodies. Instead, we should celebrate who we are!

  31. MadFab says:

    I found your blog doing a search for how to dress a short-waisted figure—and got completely absorbed looking through your outfits. This advice is exactly on point. Yes! Dress for the curves you have! Don’t hide them in drop-waisted atrocities that hide any shape you do have.

    Love your style. I’m inspired. And I’m bookmarking your blog.

  32. Rue says:

    Great post! However, not everyone with a short waist has the gift of long legs. I am short waisted and blessed with a wide low hip and generous thighs. The only thing long about my legs is my calves, which are my beat feature.

    My wide low hip and long rise also creates problems with shirts. If I do not wear the shirt long, my rise looks very disproportionate, and my low hip is accentuated even more than usual. Any advice?

  33. jana says:

    Yes long legs are great in proportion. When you are like me at only 5′ 2 with a short torso and have an almost 31 inch inside leg from top to ground in bare feet, with arms to match, also like to wear high heels to feel taller,I can end up with a 34 inside seam. Basically a cartoon lol!!!

    • Profile photo of Budget Chic Budget Chic says:

      @ jana – just gotta work with what ya got! As I mentioned in the article above – you don’t want to tuck in any of your shirts or blouses. Blazers work great to give a more proportioned look. You can wear light weight cap sleeve blazers in the summertime or the longer military style vest. Any shirts or blouses you wear look neater when they stop at the top of your thighs, longer then that and they tend to look a little sloppy. Hope that helps! :-)

  34. Liz says:

    @ Wendy – I’m also short waisted. I’m 5’4″ and wear a 31″ trouser inseam (with flat shoes). I’m not sure how long my arms are. I have good luck with Eddie Bauer petite shirts. Their sleeves are longer than other petite brands that I have tried. I also wear Lands’ End short sleeved petite tops, but the sleeves of Lands’ End’s long sleeved shirts are several inches too short for me.

    Good Luck!

  35. Olivia says:

    Thanks so much this article was so helpful! I’m 5’5 and slim with a comically short waist and I feel like I have massive love handles!! I’ve had such a hard time finding trousers the best fitting pair I ever had were from Primark and the worst definitely from Dorothy Perkins.
    What would you recommend for swimwear? I have small shoulders and 32 B bust…

  36. Dana says:

    Ok, I love the tips. I’m 5’8″ and very short waisted. I jokingly tell friends I’m 5′ of legs and 8″ of upper body. Seriously… I need help choosing a swimsuit and blue jeans. I’m not thin – 170 lbs and as I said 5’8″. Help!

  37. Megan says:

    WOW! this is an awesome post! I know its from 2009 but Im glad I stumbled across it because its so true that most of the “magazine advice” is to cover up our figure with extra fabric/long/flowy shirts… something Ive done for the past several years, and Im sick of feeling like im hiding my body! Once I started accentuating a short waist and letting long legs show I felt amazing! Happy to find someone with great style and similar shape. A short torso has always made me feel very thick in the middle although I am at a healthy weight – we have to cram all the same organs in a smaller space ;) Im starting to learn that its not about hiding our “flaws” but rather accentuating our assets!

    @Dana : Im 5’3” but I tell my friends the same thing!

  38. Susie_qu says:

    Thank you, thank you!! As Megan mentioned, I just stumbled upon this, but it makes me feel soooooo much better about myself. All my friends are model thin and I have thought that something was wrong with me! My middle has always been thicker (even though I am a size 4 top and bottom and at a very healthy weight) and I thought I was still just fat! It is good to know that there are people just like me and I can feel confident about showing off my body :)

  39. Profile photo of Budget Chic Budget Chic says:

    @ megan – yep, we have to deal with more organs in a shorter space, but having great style with this body type is doable with the right pieces! ;-)

  40. Elizabeth says:

    I have a huge bust 32 h, no hips, no butt, am short waisted and small framed and suck at finding clothes. I have the figure of an upsidedown triangle, anyone have tips or clothing websites let me know!

    • Profile photo of Budget Chic Budget Chic says:

      @ Elizabeth – I feel your pain. What I did was find specific items that look best on my body type. I found that I look best in cropped blazers and jackets, pencil skirts, jeans and pants with no pleats or extra detailing (like no pocket, buttons, etc.). I use belts to cinch in my waist to give me the appearance of having hips. Peplum jackets are great with a waist defining belt. Also A-line skirts with a waist cinching belt and a blouse that hit at the top of your hips can also help to give the appearance of a more curvy figure.

      Just about all the items I referred to in this article can be found at any retail store website. But I would highly recommend that you purchase your clothes in a brick and mortar store instead of on-line so you can try the items on to make sure the fit works for you and that it truly compliments you.

      Since you have a full bust line going with tops and jackets that are darker than your pants or skirt will help diffuse that fact that you are bigger on top than on the bottom. Stripes and color block tops that draw or divert the eyes away from the problem area also work.

    • Sally Forth says:

      @ Elizabeth – Just found this helpful website and your posting.

      I did not think there was another 5’4″ tall, 32H, small-boned, short-waisted woman in the world! Your figure issues are so relate-able. Huge boobs. short waist. No hips. Small hiney (flat, too, in my case. yuk!).

      These lucky ladies are all crowing about their l-o-n-g, slim legs — like they were given to them as a consolation prize. Well, where are mine???? I’ve never seen tree-trunks like mine except in the woods! (However, you, as an upside-down-triangle type, probably don’t share that particular problem.)

      Although, it poses a constant challenge, dressing this body is a lot easier if I keep my weight under 140 lbs (much better at 130). Even the thighs trim down to a manageable size . . . albeit, grudgingly.

      I realize that your post is a couple of years old. However, if you still check this site, I’d appreciate if you would share anything you found helpful for your body type.

      Thank you.

  41. charlene reid says:

    I thank you for all of the comments above, never thought of looking on the computer for some advice, wow. Guess i shall cut my long skirts down, or give them away, Do you have any pictures, of what we should be wearing, other than those above? I am 70 yrs, young, 160. lbs. darn it, i need to loose some weight, and i am about 5 ft. 2, and my eyes are blue. Thanks for your help. Charlene

    • Profile photo of Budget Chic Budget Chic says:

      @ charlene – if you look through this blog I have tons of outfit pictures. You may want to also do some research on what colors work well with your skintone I have a few comments above about suggestions for different clothings items. Hope that helps!

  42. Suzie says:

    Love this website, great advice for short-waisted women.

    I’m just under 5’5″, 114 lbs., 33-24-35, 33′ inseam. I have a tiny frame with small bust & shoulders and wide hips (i.e., classic pear shape) but with a very short waist. I’ve found the best approach is a combination of lengthening the silhouette (monochrome colors and sleek, streamlined styles do a great job) and emphasizing the waist. Tailored clothing is a MUST for anyone with this build. Anything loose, billowy, unconstructed or boxy makes me look like I’m drowning in my clothes. Best looks are sheath or column dresses that skim the waistline — that style paired with heels makes me look taller and with a straighter figure (de-emphasizes the hips). Styles that cinches the waist are also a great look. Belted jackets over pencil skirts are a classic, sophisticated look and extremely flattering. Basically, anything that emphasizes the waist rather than the hips is the way to go.

  43. Ronnie says:

    Just found your blog a few weeks ago and I am smitten by your insight —and fabulous style, of course! I am just shy of 55 years old (and a fashionable girl in her own right) and I have dealt with a short waist for a reaaaaaallly long time, This is the best advise I’ve gotten on how to maximize what I’ve got! I’ve always hated the big layered, boxy look, I always feel like I’m Bea Arthur’s stand-in on the set of the Golden Girls. I’ll be heading out this weekend to find a few wide belts and experiment with what I already have. Thank you so much!

  44. lithebast says:

    Hi, I love your blog, which I have just discovered after Googling how to dress short waisted women.
    Thanks for all the tips. I had never even thought of shopping at Catos or Dots until I read your blog. Yesterday, I scored a pair of white jeans for $5 at Dots. They’re a little long in the leg. I’m going to shorten and hem them. Then they will be perfect. Usually, most pants are too short for me, unless I shop the men’s department and go by the inseam measurement.

    Just out of idle curiosity, I also Googled actress short waisted. Loretta Young, apparently was short-waisted and had a fake torso that would make her appear long waisted.

    Loretta Young was considered one of the screen’s great beauties and a dazzling clotheshorse, but she was obsessed with the belief that she was embarrassingly short-waisted. To solve this problem, Loretta had a new torso made for her of rubber. This artificial figure gave her a long and very elegant waist, so she appeared more slender, and it could be worn under almost all of her costumes. (That’s why so many of Loretta’s outfits have high necklines.) All of her costumes had to be fitted over this new rubber torso, and although wearing it was awkward and uncomfortable, Loretta believed any amount of discomfort was justified if it could make her onscreen image even more elegant and flawless.”

  45. Profile photo of Budget Chic Budget Chic says:

    @ lithebast – thanks for the history on those golden era starlet. I had no idea they would go to such measures or that they would walk around with some sweaty, ghastly rubber girdle just to enlongate their frame. I’m so glad we don’t have to do that. Now that stylists and shortwaisted women in general are more educated about the numerous body types and not ignorant about embracing just one or two popular types. We have made some style progress!

    Clearly, it makes more sense to understand what compliments a short-waisted body. It’s not about appearing like you have a longer waistline but more about subtle visual balance, the proper fit, fabric choices and colors that compliment your skintone and distract from the ‘problem area’.

  46. Aira says:

    Thanks for sharing. I became aware of my flaws.

  47. Tammy says:

    Help!! Does anyone have a problem with their pants (and panties) rolling? Am I buying the wrong type of pants and panties? Makes me crazy!!!

  48. lyria says:

    Great piece of writing and really helpful! I unfortunately have a short waist AND short legs (apparently the part of me which is long is my rise area between the top of my thighs and hips which is useless!) but I still found lots of great stuff in your article. Pictures were especially informative- thanks!

  49. cynthia says:

    Thank you for having this guide! Any thoughts for those of us who are thin, but have big breasts, a little pouch of fat on the stomach, and a flat butt??? And I don’t mean a nicely shaped, “wish-my-butt-were-flat” kind of flat. I mean FLAT, like “where did it go?” I have been just buying drapey tops that kind of drape just below my waist and onto where my butt should be, but that can accent my stomach. I’ve been thinking about getting some kind of spandexy thing that has a built-in pad for the butt, but maybe that would be too hot in warm weather….

  50. Tamela says:

    This site is excellent. Thank you so much.

  51. Alison says:

    Love this article…you have described me perfectly! I do feel like our body type is in the minority so it’s nice to not feel all alone. I’ve been looking for years for good low-waisted workout pants…so far, every pair that I’ve come across comes way up to just below my bra and inevitably rolls down every time I bend over, which can be a lot in a good workout….it’s driving me nuts! I’ve found great shorts…but no luck on pants….and I’ve looked all over! Any advice or suggestions? Thanks…

  52. CatRenee says:

    What a great article. All my life I’ve bemoaned my body for being short waisted with long legs. The fact that when I sit down I’m even shorter than before but have these legs splaying all over the place. I don’t want to look like a hippy chick even though there is nothing wrong with that but its not me at all. I like looking casual but classic, so these tips will help me buy to shape a better looking wardrobe.

  53. carla says:

    what a great guide! thank you for explaining each point so thoroughly, and telling us why something works and why it doesn’t– it helps those of us who are short-waisted but might not have exactly the same body configuration choose which of these tips work for us. not every short-waisted woman is built the same way.

    for example, i have a lot of trouble finding the right clothes for my shape. i’m short-waisted, with wide latina hips, and i’m also really short (4′ 9”/4′ 10”-ish). so i generally try to wear longer tops that elongate my torso, though it’s hard to find the right balance so that it doesn’t shorten my legs as well (because the widest part of me is actually my thighs, not my hips). my waist is really tiny so it doesn’t usually need cinching, but i also have big breasts, so the issue of belts is a problem: if i cinch my natural waist, i look like my boobs are humongous, but if i cinch it lower than my natural waist, my boobs make the clothes hang on my frame and i look like i have no waist, period. cinched tunic-style tops don’t work for me, so i’ve come to the conclusion that i have to wear clothes that are more clingy, and add a low-slung belt on top of that to visually shift the waistline.

    so some of these tricks work well, and some have to be adjusted, but either way it’s a great guide and the way you expand on each point makes it so much easier to tweak these to my own proportions. thank you!

  54. Cindy Moodley says:

    thanx a mill…love this blog-i am short waisted too and feel like i look frumpy in everything i wear..your advice is great-it all makes sense to me now..

  55. mw says:

    so glad to find many other short-waisters! i figured i was always just really ‘hip-py’ but have recently realised i have a super short waist! i can hardly wear a belt over a few inches wide without it hitting my boobs when i sit down! and you’re right, all the fashion advice thus far has been to wear empire waist dresses, which i hate and look like maternity dresses.. even wearing tops down to the hips i don’t like because i do have quite prominent hips and that just makes my torso look like one big box! it’s all a bit difficult. i happen to love love love tailored dresses that are structured and have defined waistlines (often with belts attached) but alas my hips stop the waistline in its tracks so instead it sits just above my hips and causes the shoulders of the dress to simply hand in the air an inch above my own shoulders… look like i should learn how to alter!

  56. sandy says:

    I love it! I agree, MW. Empire waists make me look pregnant and I refuse to wear them. I’m not only short waisted; I have a wide ribcage and shoulders and a long rise from my hips to waist, so my legs aren’t incredibly long either. I don’t carry a lot of fat on my mid-section, but it’s just wider than most peoples. My hips are a size 6, but my waist measurement would make me a 10 or 12. I am so thankful that lower waist pants have been in style for several years. I cringe when I see high-waisted pants coming back.

  57. Carol says:

    Anyone who needs a REALLY low rise jean with a long inseam try Delias. It’s a junior / junior plus size site where I buy size 7/8 jeans with a 4.5″ front rise and 36″ inseam. ( they have 38″ ones too!) I am 5′ 10″ with strong “swimmer’s shoulders”, 36D chest, a huge 35″ waist and 37″ hips. The 4.5″ rise sits great on me and allows me to tuck in a form fitting t-shirt. Obviously if you carry extra weight around your belly you’d have to watch out for muffin-top :(

    Even with my huge waist my belly is completely flat (sadly so is my butt). If I gain even a little weight my cup size goes up – which I hate because I’m so short waisted. I used to be a DD and had a breast reduction. I told the surgeon I wanted to be a small C since otherwise I’m built like a boy. But the doctor made his own decision and left me a D – told me afterwards that I “wouldn’t have liked being that small because I’m so tall” – thanks a lot Doc. So if anyone else out there has this build and wants to SERIOUSLY minimize a large chest that they have no room for, try the Enell guaranteed no bounce equestrian bra. I always wore one to ride in because riding clothes are not cut for much bust. They are really ugly, very expensive bras that won’t work under sheer clothes. But they somehow rearrange and lift and separate like no other sports bra – they bring me down from a D to a full B and they help your posture. Google “Enell bra” and a bunch of sites will come up. Pay close attention to sizing – they’re sized differently than regular bras. When you first put one on you will be sure it’s way too small: it’s not and you’ll get used to the fit :)

  58. Amy says:

    Thanks so much for this! :) I have fond myself extremely frustrated lately because of all the baggy shirt styles as I am 5’2, very short waisted, rather slender but have a big bust, 34DD. So I feel like the baggier styles make me look like a giant blueberry. For me, fitted is best. I wind up living in stretchy tank tops all the time and get annoyed with lack of options. So again, thank you!

  59. Glad says:

    It is nice to know there are a lot of other gals like me. I now know to embrace my long legs and accentuate my short waist with belts. I have also learned to shop in petites and found a good alterations person. Expand in this body type please!

  60. Kate Dunn says:

    what about bras? Any tips on that. I can never get the straps tight enough so they always are falling down.

    • Profile photo of Budget Chic Budget Chic says:

      @ Kate _ recommend that you get a custom bra fitting at one of the major department stores.

    • Blondie says:

      @ Kate Dunn re: bras…
      My straps were always falling down. Turns out the 34DDD and/or 36 DD that the bra fitting (so-called) “expert” recommended SHOULD HAVE BEEN a 34 dare I say…G. I don’t even seem like a double D by appearances. Apparently bra-makers seldom account for women who are smaller around. The band size MUST fit snug, otherwise, your shoulders are bearing the load and digging in. You’ll know something’s amiss when you have the bra imprint after taking it off. :) Ideally, your bra should stay nicely in place without the straps – that is, if you have the right cup size. This means the underwire should go around your chest and hold every little ounce of breast tissue, beginning a couple inches under your armpit and continuing flush against your ribcage to the center. Just be sure your chosen bra accounts for the space between the “girls” since women with wider backs are usually a little farther apart up front and need well-spaced cups. I have trouble finding cups close enough together so as not to create the infamous quattro-boob bulging that looks fab under tight shirts. I’ll never forgive the lady from a popular women’s retailer specializing in bras who advised me that the 36DD is basically the same thing as a 34DDD – the size I’d requested. I am ashamed how much money I’ve wasted on the wrong size bras. The way I learned my size was actually at a thrift store where I happened upon an exquisite bra that looked like everything I’ve ever wanted. I think it actually called me…ha ha. It looked great until I saw the astronomical SIZE. I decided to give it a go for a mere $5 – unheard of in French lingerie. Now I’m hooked (no pun)! Hope this helps a little. You will be amazed at the instant appearance of weight loss since your waist suddenly re-appears with the right size bra. I figure it bought me another year or two before I have to start dieting now that I’m forty-something.

  61. taryn b says:

    Thank you, this is the first intelligent thing I’ve read online about this subject. Not all the “rules” work for me as a short waist/long leg proportioned person and what you’ve written intuitively makes sense. Pinning and saving for reference!

  62. Tarquin says:

    style guides suggest that you “hide” your short waist under long shirts and blazers, empire cut dresses and accessorize with belts that fall at your hips in an effort to give the appearance that your waist is longer… hmmmm.

    I have been attempting to hide my short waist with long shirts and dresses for years and years, mostly in vain I must admit. I found your hints and tips ever so helpful, was starting to think I was completely alone with this problem **queue the violins**.

    In my experience the dresses that helped me overcome my issues were from Great Plains http://www.greatplains.co.uk/category/womens+Dresses/Dresses.htm they have quite a wide range which suited my needs, but you’ve really opened my eyes and given me a fresh take on how I see myself, thank you.

  63. wildsprouts says:

    Thank you for the descriptions and tips! And especially the daily outfit photos you post. It helps. I only wish I would have had this information about my body shape 40 years ago!

    Some of your readers might also like http://www.beautystylegrowth.com She is an inverted triangle and she’s learning to work with her shape, too.

    Also a question: I looked at your blogroll and was intrigued by the lifegivesyouapear site. But isn’t she a pear wearing what we would envision best for an inverted triangle? Does anyone else notice that? Yet, she looks great. She’s wearing a-line skirts, darker tops and bolder skirts, sheath dresses with a cardigan or denim short jacket to make some waistline shaping……… I’d like to know if anyone else has thoughts on this…..

  64. Jo says:

    Great! No wonder why I love wrap dresses and tunics so much: they are the most flattering items for someone with a short waist like me! Being tall (with long legs) had helped disguising my short waist, too. Many articles focusing on women with short waistlines ASSume all short waisted women are short. This article has been a savior!

  65. Meredith says:

    Thank you for this! I am petite short-waisted and have never really been able to find style advice. This is very helpful.

  66. Paula Maloney says:

    Thank you for this! I am 5.0 and also short wasted – this is very helpful. are there particular designers you recommend for the
    petite, short-wasted? Thanks!

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