One of the most important parts of styling outfits specific to you is to know your body type. Do you have a short or long torso? Are you pear-shaped? Do you have a larger chest? For me, I have a short torso and long legs, so I’ve become familiar with what looks best for my body type. So if you have a similar body type as I do, I’m sharing style tips for women with a short torso.

For more “how to” styling tips, you’ll love this series HERE.

Style Tips for Women with A Short Torso

brown monochromatic look, style tips for women with short torsos


You may be asking, “How do you know if you have a short torso or not?” A little test that’s easy to do is to stack your hands right underneath your bust. If your belly button hits at the center of your lower hand, you have a shorter torso. If your belly button hits right underneath your bottom hand, your torso is considered normal. And if there’s a bit of space between your lower hand and belly button, then you have a longer torso.

There are other more technical ways of doing it that require a soft tape measure that you can Google. But for the easiest way, the hand test is the way to go. 🙂

What You Should Avoid with a Short Torso

Now that you know if you have a short torso or not, you may be wondering what should you NOT wear with a short torso? I’ve found a few clothing styles that aren’t as flattering on my body shape with a short torso. I’m not saying these may not work for you, but from my experience, I find these aren’t as flattering on my body proportions.

Watch Your Belts and Waistlines

Short torso women should try to avoid thicker belts. Because belts sit at your natural waistline, the thicker the belt is, the higher it’s going to rise closer to your bust. And we’re trying to avoid anything going past the belly button, so it actually looks like we have a torso.

A thin belt looks much more streamlined if you have a short torso, and doesn’t bring any additional height to your midsection.

Another style you should not wear with a short torso is a super stretchy waistband, especially if the waistband is thick! It creates the same problem as the thick belt where it might creep up too high toward your chest. This leaves little-to-no room between your belly button and bust. I also find stretchy waist bands flare out at the hip, since mine sit higher than normal.

Shop Thin Belts

High-Contrast Pairings

When thinking about what to avoid wearing with a short torso, you want stay away from high-contrast pairings as much as possible.

If you wear a white top and black bottoms, your eye will go to the lighter color. This emphasizes your shorter torso, if worn on the top. So if you’re going to wear high-contrast pairings, it’s best to wear the darker color on top and the lighter color on the bottom. But personally, I try to avoid these altogether to avoid segmenting my body. However, if you want a tip to make it work, I would layer a longer cardigan or blazer over top to balance out your proportions. The added layer will draw the eye down, balancing out your body proportions.

Boning and Corset-Style Tops

Boning and corset-style tops are an on-trend-top style we’ve been seeing recently. I talked about it in a recent YouTube video found HERE. But the reason these tops might not look the best on short torso women is because the top might be longer than the actual torso.

Because these tops have so much structure, there’s little room to maneuver the top up or down, depending on where it hits at your natural waistline.

Ultra High-Rise Jeans

straight jeans with puff sleeve top


The next style tip for women with short torsos is to avoid ultra high-rise jeans. There are some high-rise jeans that work well on me and some that don’t, so you have to know what will work for you. It helps to know your maximum inseam length when shopping for jeans.

I recommend starting from the most flattering part of your waist you want to accentuate and measure straight down to learn what your ideal rise is. Mid-rise to low-rise might even work better for you.

My sweet spot when it comes to the rise of jeans is somewhere around 10.5-10.75 inches. I can go up to 11 maximum, anything else is way too high-waisted on my short torso.

Shop Denim Jeans

Certain Necklines

There are even certain necklines that work better than some when thinking about how to dress a short torso. The first neckline to try to avoid is a boat neck. This neckline has a wide opening and hits just past each collarbone. This creates the illusion of a horizontal line, and it can emphasize a shorter waist depending on the pants or bottom you choose. I find this neckline works if it’s a dress without a defined waistline.

The other neckline you want to avoid is an off-the-shoulder top. If you enjoy wearing this style of top, then I suggest just having one shoulder out and one covered. That way it’s not creating a horizontal line across your chest, and more of a diagonal line to help lengthen your top half.

Shop One-Shoulder Sweaters

Low Back Tops and Dresses

Low back tops and dresses are fun to wear, but generally I find they always bunch up on me. Because you don’t want to reveal anything other than your back (obviously), the material just pools and has nowhere to go. So you’ll want to be cognizant of how low these styles go.

Smocking Styles

Smocking is known to accentuate. With tops that have longer smocking, it can accentuate areas like your hip bone.

On the contrary, you’ll also want to watch for smocked waists especially if they’re thicker. This can also draw more attention than is really necessary to the torso area, making your torso to look even shorter.

Drop Waist

A drop waist can also look odd on someone who has a short torso. Typically a drop waist hits around the mid-thigh. However, if you’re like me, the drop waist can look like it hits more on the upper thigh. This can accentuate the largest part of your hips. This style can work great for short torsos since the drop waist creates the illusion of a longer waist, but for me, I find most of them don’t work when I try them on.

Styles That Sometimes Work or Sometimes Don’t

Peplum Tops

peplum sweater top and white jeans


Similar to smocking, peplum tops can hit in odd spots with a shorter torso. A peplum top has a fitted silhouette and then flares out at the bottom. They’re normally supposed to hit at your natural waistline. If they dip below that, it may look too long and throw off the balance of the overall look.

Bodycon Dresses

brown bodycon dress with a longline cardigan, style tips for women with short torsos


A bodycon dress can be a figure-flattering silhouette. However, it depends on the thickness and compression of the material.

If it fits too loose, the material typically bunches at my hips, accentuating the widest part of my body. However, if it fits with a little bit more compression, the material stays in place, creating a streamlined look that bodycon dresses are known for.

Shop Bodycon Dresses

Styles That Look Great on Short Torsos

Now that we’ve covered what might be hard to style with short torsos, let’s talk about what looks good on a short torso.

A-Line Skirts

A-line skirts are a great option if you have a short torso. They’re more fitted at the top and flare out towards the bottom, balancing the overall look. This style is also a great option for pear-shaped figures. With this style of skirt, you can position it to sit right below the belly button. As the skirt starts to flare, it draws the eye there.

Shop A-Line Skirts

Monochromatic Look

Who doesn’t love a good monochromatic moment? Another style tip for women with short torsos is to try a monochromatic look. This is where you wear a similar color shirt and bottom. Because the colors are the same or very similar, it’s hard to distinguish the top of the bottoms and the end of the top, giving an elongated look.

Styled Looks for A Short Torso

A-Line Pleated Skirt with a Blazer

pleated mini skirt, style tips for women with short torsos


This a-line pleated skirt sits right at the belly button, making it the perfect skirt to style for a short torso. I styled a white button-down shirt and tucked it into the skirt for a defined waistline. Then added a crisp white blazer to create the perfect business professional look for the office.

Bodycon Dress with Knee-High Boots

bodycon dress


This has got to be one of my favorite bodycon dresses. It’s the perfect amount of stretch and compression, and love the midi length for fall. I like to style knee-high boots with a midi-length dress instead of booties. This streamlines the overall look.

A-Line Mini Skirt with a Bodysuit

a-line mini skirt, style tips for women with short torsos


This skirt is one I admit I kept scrolling past. However, I ended up purchasing it, and so glad I gave it a try. Normally with a drop waist skirt like this, it would accentuate my hips. Because I have a shorter torso, my hips curve out at a higher point. But this skirt actually works perfectly, and think the a-line shape at the bottom helps balance it all out.

Low-Rise Denim Jeans With a White Tee

low-rise Abercrombie jeans, style tips for women with short torsos


When we hear the words low-rise jeans, I think millennials kind of cringe. However, I’m here to tell you some low-rise jeans don’t in fact go THAT low as we may be thinking. These are a low-rise pair from Abercrombie, and was impressed with where they hit on the hips. I styled a plain white crewneck tee and mules for a casual fall look. I tried on and reviewed most Abercrombie jean styles in this post!

What style of clothing looks best on your body type? Let me know in the comments below!

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