How to Dress for a Short Torso


Dressing a short torso can be challenging, but you can choose from a world of clothing styles that flatter your frame. Shoes with high heels -- whether a pair of stilettos or a man’s boot with a little lift -- give you extra inches and the appearance of a longer midsection with any outfit. Learn which garments flatter your body shape. If you have a hard time finding clothes that fit, have a tailor alter pieces you love so they fit perfectly.

Dresses and Skirts

  • Some dress styles flatter women with short torsos such as garments with an empire waist, which hits just below the bust line and creates the illusion of a long midsection. Dresses with details around or above the bust, like shoulder epaulets or embroidery, draw the eye away from the torso and create balance. Almost any skirt style flatters a short-waisted woman but avoid ankle-grazing maxis, which truncate your upper half.

Stripes and Colors

  • Vertical stripes make anyone’s torso look longer, while horizontal stripes have the opposite effect. Men look thinner and taller in a dress shirt in a thin, vertical-stripe pattern, while women with short torsos benefit from wearing a similarly styled dress or top. Be wary of wide belts, which steal inches and make your torso appear shorter. Go monochrome -- wearing a single color lengthens the appearance of your frame.

Easy Tips to Lengthen the Torso

  • A high bust line does wonders for a short torso, lengthening the midsection and making you appear slimmer, so invest in a good-quality bra. Tucking your shirt into your trousers or skirt visually cuts your body in half, so guys and gals alike should let their tops hang freely. Avoid baggy, oversized clothes, which make it seem as though you're too small to find something that fits.

The Best Pants

  • Women with short torsos should wear low or mid-rise jeans. High-waisted jeans “eat up your middle” according to the Fabulous After 40 website, which recommends mid-rise pants that control your tummy. GQ recommends trousers with a low waistline for men and adds that a slim tie elongates the appearance of the torso, as does a thin belt.


  • Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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