Stylist Advice: How to dress a short torso

q Dear Sharon: Hello! I have a short torso on top of being only 5’2″. I am definitely not a size zero but I am not on the big side either.

I have a terrible time finding clothes (mostly dresses) that fit right. It is so frustrating I can’t leave a store without crying or being very upset and EMPTY HANDED!

What kind of dresses would you suggest? (via Fashion Advice)

 >> RELATED: How to Dress For Your Body Type Guide, the most popular posts on what to wear for a flattering tip



Whew, don’t cry. No body is perfect.

When you want to know how to dress a short torso what you want to do is visually lengthen rather than foreshorten or obviously define your waist.

If you try dresses, or tucked in tops, that have a set waist what happens is that your torso automatically gets split in half with the belt  appearing to be way up there near your boobs and not very flattering. I can think of a First Lady who often wears her belts way too high… wink, wink.

To lengthen a short torso, you need to look for tops or dresses that don’t have a defined waist, yet a bit a  of seaming that nips in a bit. It’s more of an undefined waist yet not a baggy, oversized one.

Look at both the A-line sheath below or tunic at the top to see what I mean.

Look for dresses without a set waistband, like this A-Line sheath from Tahari at Nordstrom
Look for dresses without a set waistband, like this A-Line sheath from Tahari at Nordstrom


Both these looks have a little “nip” at the waist but nothing obvious to break the line.

The less defined your waist is, the longer your legs will appear and that puts it all in visual balance.

Key to dressing a short torso is to absolutely avoid belting in the waist at the natural waist line.

If you want to wear a belt, opt for more of a low slung, hip style that draws the eye down to further visually lengthen your torso. Do you want to dress to look taller? I have a video full of style tips here.

JUST ASK: Do you need some quick stylist help to amp up your style?  Email us for Fashion Advice.

Lead Image: Tunic from Nordstrom

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