When the distance between your shoulders and your natural waist is shorter than average, you are short-waisted. You’re long-waisted when the opposite holds true. Being short-waisted is not to be confused with being short in the rise. When the measurement from your natural waist to crotch point is short, your rise measurement is usually referred to as “petite” or short (even if you’re regular height which is 5′ 4″ and above). To complicate matters even more, you are not necessarily short-waisted if your rise measurement is petite. It’s a miracle that that we find pants and skirts to fit us at all (which is why it’s essential to get your mind around having clothing altered if it doesn’t fit). 

When you’re short-waisted, you’ll want to wear clothing that elongates your torso. Here are a few guidelines:

  • Wear a supportive bra. This empathizes your waistline and pulls everything into proportion.
  • Wear pants with lower rises if you intend tucking your top into your bottoms.
  • Choose paneled skirts with low slung waistlines and strong vertical seaming.
  • Longer length tops and knee length A-line dresses are ideal. 
  • Keep tops and tunics fitted on the shoulders and  torso to accentuate your shape. Refrain from wearing broad waist cinching belts over tunics and opt for loosely slung narrower belts instead.

My point is clearly demonstrated in the pictures below. The model on the left has effectively shortened her torso with the wide, cinched waist belt. The model on the right wearing the loosely slung narrower belt looks like she has a long torso because of the shape of the belt and the way that it’s slung.

B-Low the Belt Bamboo Clasp Patent Leather Belt  Michael Kors Metallic Woven Belt