Remember the old Randy Newman song about short people? Yeah, I’m glad it isn’t played anymore, too. But I was reminded of it when contemplating my own fashion nemesis: a short waist, paired with a not-so-small torso.
When the distance between your breasts and your waist can be measured between thumb and index finger, you’ll understand. A perfectly ordinary blouse tucked into fitted pants or a belt minding its own business on your natural waistline can look ghastly. I asked Lizzi which items in my wardrobe weren’t the most flattering and she immediately named a favorite nubbly tank top that is too short for me. It hits right about my waistline and immediately turns my entire figure into a rectangle. I keep thinking of my grandpa Ted, whose trousers seemed to reach up to his armpits. Us kids used to snicker about that but the image comes back to me disturbingly sometimes when I look in the mirror.
There is good news, though. I never thought I’d say this, but today’s lower-waisted pants are actually flattering for short waists. Look at the pants in the opening photo. This clever woman used a Vogue pattern to make these pants and simply moved the waistline down on the pattern by an inch or so. I think they look really good on her short-waisted figure. Here is a pair of jeans, from Boston Proper, that would also work well on short waists:
The other piece of good news is that while your waist is off limits, you’ve got two other prime areas to highlight: the hips and the breastbone. Empire-waisted tops and dresses look really pretty and tend to elongate the torso. Here is a sweater dress from Boston Proper, paired with tights and boots, that I really like:
I see lots of petite, short-waisted women wearing short- or waist-length jackets–likely because they think they would be overwhelmed by longer lengths. In my opinion, it’s not the best choice. You don’t want to look like a little girl wearing her mom’s clothes…but if you have any excess middle weight, longer hemlines almost always look better. This jacket, for example, would look good on a petite, short-waisted woman. The 3/4-length sleeves are a stylish touch:
Lizzi and I both think the shirt I’m wearing below is a winner. I think I got it at Macys:
Empire waist, nice cleavage, little ruffles (my new obsession)…this comfortable top is great for summer (as seen here in Verona, Italy) as well as peeking out under a cardigan or jacket. And yes, that is an empty beer mug in front of me. I’m aware that beer does not a small waist make. But it was Italy in July–I didn’t care!