Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Long & Short of It...

 Can you tell if I'm long or short in the waist?

For some reason women always think their bodies are not quite right, rather than--the clothes are not quite right. Do you try on pants only to have them rest practically under your bust? If you are short-waisted this can happen. On the other hand, if you have a long waist the pants are snug in the rise and you find yourself constantly pulling them down. Why do some jackets make you appear shorter or heavier? Or, why do some shirts never seem long enough?

It is all about your body proportions. How each part of your body relates to the other parts is what makes up your unique proportions. Generally speaking, you are always going to have the same basic body shape whether you gain weight or lose weight. That is why following the fit guidelines at will  help you dress your best. Along with your body shape, there are unique proportions like a tummy, long arms, short waist, etc. These are also something you need to take into consideration when dressing.

The most common proportional issue that women face is being long or short-waisted. Knowing how to “correct” your proportions will help you know what to look for when shopping.

Grab a tape measure and decide if you are long, short or balanced in your waist line. Measure the area between the bottom of your rib cage and the top of your hip bone.

Short-waisted—the space will be about 1-2 inches
Average-waisted—the space will be about 2-3 inches
Long-waisted—the space will be about 3-4 inches

A balanced body will have a crotch that is halfway up the total body length. Your waist is balanced when it is at the halfway mark between your armpit and crotch. If your waist is above halfway you are short-waisted, if it is longer, you are long-waisted.

Rule of thumb: when you have a body part that is short—look for long. When you have a body part that is long—look for short. For example, short-waisted? Look for a longer jacket. Get it?

Don’t forget your jacket. One of the best articles of clothing that a SYSter can have in her wardrobe--is a jacket. The right jacket for your body type (and waist proportion) can help correct your body imbalance and make it appear balanced and in proportion. Not only can you disguise an undefined waist, but you will make it appear more “hourglass” with a structured jacket that is “body skimming”. The right length of jacket can make your waist or legs appear longer. Generally speaking, if you are short-waisted, a longer jacket is needed. If you are long-waisted, a shorter jacket works for you. If you are petite in stature, then you do not want to go too long with the length of your jacket or it will drag you down.

Experimentation along with the fit guidelines for your body type will help you correct your proportional dilemmas. Learn more about long and short of your waist and dress better than ever before!

Love, Leslie


  1. Thanks for this helpful information, MSP!

    Please help me though, I'm "measurement challenged."

    Do we do the measuring down the side of our torso?

    I think I'm longer from armpit to waist than waist to crotch, is that LONG or SHORT waisted?

    I'm just trying to get this straight... thank you so much!!

  2. Hi Leslie! I'm long waisted but enjoy that it's easy to disguise it! LOL Love your tip: long waist, look for short. Easy to keep in mind when I'm out shopping. Thanks! :)

  3. A dilemma I always get stuck with:
    Being a "C" and short waisted I find it very challenging if not impossible to find a good length of jacket. If it is longer, it generally hits at the hips which emphasizes the wrong spot (widest), but then if it's shorter it doesn't help balance out my!

  4. Diane,

    I'm a bit long in the waist too ;) Knowing how to dress to adjust it makes you always look your best.


    Try petites in jackets they should be a better fit for you (you don't have to be petite on the bottom half.

    If a jacket is in a simple design, buy the longer jacket and have it altered up a bit.

    What is important is only wearing the best proportions and styles for your body type!

  5. Mary,

    Since you are confused...Measure from the bottom of your rib cage to the top of the hip many inches? Do that measurement first, it should tell you which you are, long or short.

    It sounds like you might be slightly long waisted since you are longer armpit to waist, compared to waist to crotch...

  6. Oh I always have a hard time with this because I just want to wear what I want and the rules are kind of hard to follow ;-)

  7. HELP! I am slightly long in the waist too (3 1/4 inch rib to hipbone)but I have long legs too (34 inch inseam)

    I still struggle with finding size small jackets that fit although maybe it will be easier in the spring since I won't be having the sleeves hitting an inch too short like I do with long sleeved jackets.

    Leslie, do you still say I should look for a short jacket when my legs are already long and I don't need them to appear longer? (I am thin too - adorable A)


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