The distance between the shoulders and the natural waist will vary, even among people who are the same size in other respects. If you are outside the norm and either “short waisted” or “long waisted“, it will be just a little harder to find clothes that are flattering because most clothes are designed for people with average proportions.

I find it relatively easy to judge this with my clients. I don’t apply any complicated formulas, but no doubt there is one built into my brain that has developed over years as a buyer and fashion stylist. I have noticed that other people often struggle to judge whether they are short or long waisted though. It is a frequent question on the YLF forum.

Imogen of Inside Out Style recently proposed a shortcut that appears to work quite well:

“A very quick and easy way to tell if you have a short waist is to stand up straight, and see if you can fit two hand widths under your bust to your waist (narrowest point). If you can fit more than two hand widths you have a long waist, less than two, a short waist”.

I can fit exactly two hand widths between my under bust and waistline, so I’m average according to Imogen’s method and this is in line my own assessment of being neither short or long-waisted. Over to you. How many hand widths can you fit between your under bust and waistline and is the result in line with your own assessment?