The waist measurement we’re talking about is the length of your upper torso, not the circumference of the narrowest part of your midsection. It’s a vertical measurement, and not a horizontal one. It’s what we’re referring to when we talk about being short, regular or long-waisted.
Here’s a simple definition of rise and waist measurements:
- Rise is the distance from your crotch point to your natural waist
- Waist is the distance from your shoulder neck intersection to your natural waist
It’s easy to figure out if you’re short or long in the waist. Stand up straight (don’t sit!) and see if you can fit two hand widths between the under bust and the natural waist. If you can fit more than two hand widths, you have a long waist. Less than two is a short waist.
People who are short in the waist tend to prefer wearing mid and low rise bottoms with tucked, semi-tucked or untucked tops because it visually lengthens the upper torso, and feels more comfortable on the midsection. In other words, the waistband of the bottoms is far enough away from their bra strap. They tend to avoid exposing the waistline of high-rise bottoms because it visually shortens an already short waist.
While this is true, it’s not so black and white. You might be short in the waist, but regular or long in rise measurement. When that’s the case, wearing exposed high-rise bottoms — with a tucked, semi-tucked or cropped top — will look relatively in proportion with a short waist, especially with a smaller bust. If you’re larger in the bust, longer in the rise, and short in the waist, you can wear exposed high rises without looking too short-waisted if you add a top that has lower neckline like a V-neck or scoop neck into the mix. The lower and open neckline will lengthen the neck and upper torso thereby offsetting a short waist.
Wearing exposed high-rise pants or jeans when you’re short in the rise AND waist, AND have a larger bust is the trickiest because you’ll feel square and squat unless you’re very tall. It’s easiest to stick to mid rises, lower necklines, and wearing tops untucked with this body type, especially when you’re petite. That said, a mid-rise can be your high rise, and exposing it the same way you would high-rise jeans and pants can work when you wear a semi-tucked fluid top with a lower neckline.
Of course, none of these visual proportions matter if you wear high-rise pants and jeans with an untucked regular top because you’re covering the length of the waist, rise and torso. Many of my short-waisted clients — some with short rises — are enjoying the high-rise bottoms trend because it girdles the midsection, and they can wear untucked tops if they want to.
It sounds complicated, but it’s a simple visual illusion that can be manipulated to your advantage if you want to wear exposed high-rise bottoms with a shorter waist. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section if you’re unsure.