Do you have long torso and short legs? You are at the right place!
I am 5’2″, so, my frame is short to begin with and that means my legs are shorter than girls who are not petite. In the meantime, I also have long torso and short legs. So, as you could imagine, learning how to dress long torso and short legs have always been my focus.
That’s why I have put together this article to share with other women with long torso and short legs the best styling tips.
I started writing about petite styling tips for short women since 2016, and my articles have touched the lives of millions since then. Based on my own fashion trial and errors and feedback from numerous petite readers, I have published a book “The Petite Style Bible“, first of its kind dedicated to petite fashion. Click here to learn more.
Before I get into the details, I want to first take a step back to look at the foundation.
Long Torso Short Leg Body Type
When we talk about body types, the most widely used theories are the 5 common body types which includes the following.
- Inverted triangle
There are some body type theories that divide these into further subcategories, however, that is still trying to address the same body type theory, which is determined by the relative ratio of our shoulders, waist and hips.
There is another body type which is focused on a whole different perspective. That is the vertical body type I’m talking about in this article.
The vertical body type is focused on the balance of your torso vs your legs. In other words, do you have short torso? Or long torso?
In my view, the vertical body type is just as important as the other body type theory, because it is focused on body proportion, which is critical in determining how we look when we wear clothes.
I have summarized the key points on how to dress if you have long torso in this video. I suggest you watch this video and also read the full article to get all the details.
How to Know if you have Long Torso and Short Legs
It sounds obvious that if your legs are short compared to your upper body, then you have short legs and a long torso vertical body shape.
This sounds like a very straight forward definition, but how do you know if your torso are longer than your legs?
There are two ways to determine that.
Measuring Your Torso and Legs
This is the most accurate way to determine how long your torso is and how long your legs are. In order to do this, you will need a measuring tape (obviously), and probably a friend’s help.
While you are standing with no shoes on, have your helper measure the length of your torso and the length of your legs. .
- The length of your torso is the distance from the top of your head to the crotch.
- The length of your legs is the distance from your crotch to your feet.
Next, calculate the ratio of your torso and legs by dividing each by your total height.
Typically, a woman’s torso is 55% of her height and legs are 45% of her height. If your torso is longer than 55%, that means you have a long torso and short leg body type. And vice versa.
If your torso is shorter than 52% of your height (i.e. your legs are over 48% of your height), then you are considered to have really long legs.
In my case:
- My height: 62 inches
- Torso: 35 inches, 56% of my height
- Legs: 27 inches, 44% of my height.
That is how I know I have short legs and long torso body type.
What is your result?
Two Hand Measuring
If you do not have a measuring type, or if you don’t have someone to help you measure, don’t worry, here is an easier way which could also help you figure it out.
All you need to do is to put your hands below your breasts, put one hand first and then another below the first hand.
Now, is your belly button pretty close to the edge of your second hand? Or is your belly button much lower (at least 1 inch lower) than your second hand?
If the latter, that means you have a long torso and short legs!
In my case, the gap between my left hand and my belly button is about 2 inches. What is your result?
Go with Your Intuition
Other than the two methods above, you may already have noticed if you have long torso, because it is quite intuitive. In case you are not sure, ask yourself these questions to find out.
- Is your hip-line height is less than half your height?
- Do you have a low waist? Normally a long torso means your waist will be lower than your bent elbow.
- Do you will put on weight first on your thighs and hips?
- Is your bottom low and heavy?
If your answers to the above questions are mostly yes, then you are most likely the long torso and short legs vertical body shape.
Celebrities with Long Torso and Short Legs
Long torso and short legs actually is a quite common body type. Although women with any body type could have long torso, it seems among the pear shaped women, this seems to be especially more common.
The most famous celebrities with the long torso and short legs are
- Olivia Wilde (5’7″)
- Rachael Bilson (5’2″)
As you can see, having a longer torso and shorter legs could be women of any height. Someone could be tall but with long torso, just as much as someone could be petite and with a long tors.
The list I mentioned above are some of Hollywood’s most popular and beautiful actresses. As I have always stressed in our body type styling tip articles, each and every body type and body shape has their own beauty and we can all find the best way to balance it out through smart styling.
How to Dress if you have Long Torso and Short Legs
If you have long torso and short legs, it could be very challenging to dress. If you are also petite (under 5’4″), that challenge doubles! I know that from first hand experiences.
Well, first of all, regardless of height, in general, if you have long torso, it implies your legs are relatively short.
Now, if you are petite and you have long torso, that means not only your absolute height is below average (5’4″ and under) but also your relative leg length is on the short side as well.
But don’t worry, over the years I have figured out some quite useful tips to style the long torso body type which I am about to share with you.
The key for styling a long torso is to play with proportion, which is all that matters.
Because unless you are standing right next to someone, there is no way for someone to tell her height. The eyes will judge someone’s height through the relative leg length and torso length, which gives us the reason to focus on proportion and create our desired illusion of height.
Here is a few key tips that will make your legs look longer!
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Wear One Piece
Let’s start with the easiest strategy. If you have a long torso and short legs, then one piece is your best friend.
By one piece, I am referring to dresses, jumpsuits or rompers.
The reason is when you are wearing one piece, there is no clear definition of top or bottom, so, no one will know your torso is longer than your legs!
Besides, one piece design forms an unbroken vertical line, which is very flattering for women with short legs.
While dresses are the go-to outfit for a lot of women, jumpsuit is a relatively new trend. If you have never tried them, I highly recommend you do. Not only because they are automatically dressy and easy to style, but also they can make your long torso look less noticeable. Be sure to wear jumpsuits with heels, in order to double the effect of leg lengthening!
Rule of Thirds
Now, let’s talk about one of the most important concept in styling.
Have you heard of the Golden Mean Ratio? That is, 1/3 to 2/3 ratio is the most aesthetically pleasing division of space to our eyes.
If you wear the top and skirt of equal length, that visually divides the body into ½ and ½, which is not flattering to woman with long torso and short legs.
Now, let’s play with the rule of thirds by wearing a considerably shorter top, which divides the figure into 1/3 up top and 2/3 on the bottom.
That will instantly make your legs appear much longer!
This is not just limited to a shorter top and a longer bottom, and it can also be applied the other way around, i.e. longer top and shorter bottom. This is flattering to your long torso because it makes your figure appear more proportionate.
Our outfit should focus on the thirds, instead of halves or the quarters, and the same rule applies to both pants outfit and skirt outfits.
This rule applies to women of any height. If you are petite, mastering the skill of “Rule of Thirds” dressing is number one of the “Best Petite Fashion Tricks of All Time”.
If you have long torso and short legs, high waisted style should be a staple in your closet! can speak from first hand experience that high wasited bottoms are the ONLY thing I wear.
Whether it’s high waisted jeans, skirts or dresses, they draw people’s attention above your natural waist line and make your torso look shorter and legs look longer.
As you can see in this picture, I was wearing a high wasited jeans to make my legs look longer. In addition, I also used a belt to define my waist, which I will talk about later in this post because it’s another important tip you should use to make your torso look shorter.
Define Your Waist with a Belt
Since our torso are naturally longer, that means our waist is naturally “lower” than our friends who have short torso and longer leg body type. So, to counterbalance that, we need to find a way to direct the eyes away from our natural waist.
The best way to do it is to use a belt to define our waist HIGHER than our natural waist.
For instance, you can wear a wrap dress to lift your natural waist line. That way, it will make your legs appear longer is to make your torso look shorter.
Since the eyes will assume anything under the waist is legs, then you can use a belt to break up your body into better proportion by wearing it higher than your natural waist line.
This trick works on dresses as well as sweaters and jackets. That’s why in the summer, I live in wrap dresses, while in the winter, I switch to wrap sweaters to achieve the same result. A wrap sweater with the strap higher than your natural waist line will make your legs look longer just as much.
If you don’t own any wrap dress or wrap sweater, try add a belt to any outfit to define your waist.
Here is the caveat, if you happen to have a midsection you do not want people to notice, then you should skip the belt, or only use a belt that is the SAME color as your bottom to define your waist. If you use a belt of contrasting color, it will immediately draw all the attention to your waist, so don’t do it if you don’t want people to notice your belly!
Color Blend Pants and Shoes
Women with long torso and short legs should always color blend the pants and the shoes.
If you are wearing dark color pants, then dark color shoes will make them look like your feet are the extension of your legs. This works the best if you are wearing long pants that reach the back of your feet and pair them with skinny heels.
In the winter, you can also wear black jeans (or dark wash jeans) and wear black color tall boots (could be knee high boots or over the knee boots) with the jeans. That will achieve the same effect of making your bottom look longer to balance out your long torso.
Bonus tip, high heels with pointy toes will maximize your leg length!
Wear Cropped Top
Wearing a cropped length top is very flattering to women with long torso and short legs.
I am referring to not just sweaters, but also jackets, blazers and even coats- basically anything you wear on the top.
Cropped jacket with high waisted pants is another go to outfit in the colder whether, when I need to layer a jacket on. I ALWAYS wear a cropped jacket because it is so much more flattering to women with long torso than a regular length jacket.
The eyes assume the length of the jacket is the length of your torso. So, when you are wearing cropped jacket, it make your upper body looks shorter, meanwhile, it creates the illusion that your legs are longer.
Remember the “Rule of Thirds” theory I mentioned earlier? You should combine that with this tip.
When you are wearing cropped top, the best is to pair it with longer skirts (at least hit the knees) instead of mini skirt. This is the one I’m wearing in the picture.
That will create the proportion of 1/3 on top and 2/3 for the bottom, a perfect ratio for our yes!
Or, you could also wear cropped jackets with full length pants (at least hit the ankles), that will also make your legs look much longer than your torso to balance your natural shape.
Skirts better than Shorts
If you have a long torso, then skirt is much more flattering to you than shorts or pants. The reason is quite simple. When you are wearing a skirt or dress, people cannot see where your legs begin thus there’s no way for them to notice you have long torso and short legs!
So, I have always found skirts look better on me than shorts. And the rest of the time, I pretty much live in dresses instead of wearing a blouse and jeans!
Paper Bag Shorts
So, I just mentioned skirts work better than shorts on women with long torso. That said, if you still want to wear shorts (which I understand and I do sometimes too), you can wear shorts with high waist (for the reason I mentioned earlier).
The paper bag bottoms are a huge trend right now, which is great news for us! These are very flattering for women with long torso and short legs. So, your strategy with shorts can be paper bag shorts which have a super high waist.
Vertical Details in Jeans and Pants
This is a tip to lengthen your legs. Having long torso implies your legs are relatively shorter than your torso. So, you could be a tall woman, but your legs are shorter than your peers who have a short torso and long leg body type. That’s why it will be beneficial for you to understand what kind of pants can make your legs appear longer to balance out your long torso.
I presume you have heard that vertical lines lengthens. That is why you should look for vertical details in your jeans and pants, which can make your legs look longer.
The most obvious is to go for vertical prints. if you are not a big fan of the black and white zebra looking stripes all the time, you could opt for vertical prints that are more subtle.
Other than stripes, there are also different things that could count as vertical details.
For example, jeans with vertical hemline will extend your legs and create the illusion of height. Jeans with piping on the sides of the legs will also make your legs look longer
Finally, learn how to style mono chromatically is very important for women with short legs. I am leaving this to the end of this post, not because it is of lesser significance, but quite the opposite. Monochromatic dressing is such an important concept in styling that I can’t give you the full details in a few paragraphs here.
Simply put, to apply monochromatic dressing does not necessarily mean you should be wearing one single color from head to toe- that would be boring to wear all the time, wouldn’t it?
It just means if the colors you wear are all from the same color scheme with less contrast, you will appear to be taller. When you wear coordinated colors from the same scheme, that will camouflage your long torso because less focus will be on your torso and more will be on your overall lengthened figure.
I highly recommend you read my other post on “Why Short Women Must Learn Monochromatic Dressing”, even if you may not be under 5’4″ tall.