Body Proportions Explained – Long Body, Shorter Legs


Discover How to Flatter the Longer Torso Shorter Legs Proportional Body

Further from my general explanation of body proportions the other day, let’s look specifically at some of the common issues for the longer body, shorter leg.
One of the more common body proportions is the longer body and shorter legs.  Now where you gain your length may not be the same as the next person, but overall when you look at your head to leg-break measurement, it’s longer than legbreak to foot.
If you’re long in the chin to mid bust point – and this is very common, avoid strapless or spaghetti straps as you will appear to have a very low bustline.  A well fitting bra that keeps ‘the girls’ up high is also a must, as it will give you the appearance of a longer, slimmer waist.
If you’re long from mid-bust to waist, avoid empire lines as they further elongate your body.  Wide belts are usually really flattering for your body, they will break up this long proportion and draw attention to your smaller waist.  Wear higher waisted garments.  Avoid low-rise trousers and jeans.  Look for tops with ruffles, pattern or detail through to distract if you feel very long through this proportion.
If you are long in the rise (that’s the crotch to waist) measurement, don’t wear waistbands on your natural waist as you will appear unnaturally long in this measurement, instead opt for mid-rise pants and tops that end around your hip bone.  You can layer two tops if one is cropped.
As a longer bodied person, avoid ending tops at or past your leg break, keep them shorter to the hip bone, or for longer line jackets, down to just above the knee.
To elongate your legs, wear pants with no cuffs and avoid pocket detail.   Look for vertical creases, seams and pattern (such as pin stripes).  Match shoes to pants, and wear your pants as long as possible.  If you like heels, they’ll add length and balance to your body, but they are by no means compulsory!
For skirts, keep them around the knee (just above or just below, depending on your legs and knees), knee high boots are great in winter, and nude shoes and sandals are perfect in summer.  Low vamps on shoes will add extra inches to your legs.
Long Body, Short Legs


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  • I love these looks– inspires me to go shopping but I loathe to leave the house and I have come to realize that shopping on line is always a bad idea. But I am finally strating to realize what my body type might be– long legs–short torso, big boobs, big hair. Yikes! Oh Imogen, when are you coming to Hong Kong? I could use your help!!!

  • I love the outfits you posted! The black and white polka dot dress with the pink (or red, can’t totally tell) belt and cardigan is amazing! Gonna have to recreate that!

  • Nic – hope they help!

    SWC – you and I sound the same – though I don’t have the big hair, but I do have the short body. long legs and big boobs! I hope to get to Hong Kong one day! We have the same birthday and same body – how weird!

    Lmac – thanks – it’s pink – but you could do it in red too!

  • So happy to learn that being “long in the chin to mid bust point” is common. What about when this is unfortunately paired with a big bust such that 1) v-necks reveal too much chin/bust skin and 2) a higher necked top minimizes the skin but makes your boobs look huge! Turtlenecks? Necklaces? Help!

  • Anonymous – go for large scale necklaces, they take up the space and distract from a large bust.

    Alternatively, collared shirts, unbuttoned to just above the cleavage line with a necklace. See my post on big busts.

  • Thanks for the tips Imogen! What other kinds of necklines look best with large scale necklaces for the
    long chin-bust/big bust combo?

    This is my first trip to your blog and I am SO IMPRESSED! Keep it coming!

  • Anon – go for V necks, and wrap tops, avoid crew necks and turtlenecks.

    Also, wear a cami or tank under tops to cover the top of your cleavage, whilst still leaving an open neckline.

  • Imogen, I get the nude shoe concept, but I think it keeps one from looking ‘grounded.’ It sort of looks like you are walking on air, unanchored.

    I wish I could emphasize my waist to make my legs appear longer, but it’s not my best spot.

  • Imogen … its great to read HOW to dress with these proportions. I had done these measurements once and knew my proportions, but didn’t know how to use that information. Thanks.

  • Brilliant! This has helped me so much. With your other posts, I’ve learned so much about my body and how to dress it.

    I wish you were coming to New York, or that I could fly to Australia and be “made over” by you.



  • I have to say, I love how you analyze shape/proportion and such…I think about these kinds of things and every time I try to talk to others for advice and opinions, they basically say I’m thinking too much about it, when really, I just want to know what looks best. I’d never thought about proportions before, just body shape, but proportions really make sense!

    I feel that some of the information, for me, is conflicting.
    I am a pear shape, longer in the body(32in), shorter in the legs(30).

    As a pear, and thus having a defined waist, I am told to accentuate the waist, cropped tops. But, I am also short-waisted, which then says avoid defined waist, and medium length cardigans. (in case you are wondering, my head length is 8.5, chin-bust: 9; bust-waist:6.5 (!) waist-leg break:8.5; leg break-mid thigh, and mid thigh to bottom of knee: 7.5 (that measurement is a little tricky where exactly it should hit, even with the diagram) and knee-mid calf, mid calf-floor: 7.2.

    So, on the top, I’m long, short, proportional, and the bottom half is short all around.
    Maybe it would be best to bring definition to my defined waist with a thin belt if the rise on my top is high? (like a boatneck, just under collar bone? one specific outfit looked wonderful on me, and really visually lengthened me…long leopard print skirt that went in slightly around knees but flared out a bit, with a solid black 3/4 sleeved boatneck top) If that is what works, should I try to find more outfits like that, just in different patters and stick with it? Having such short legs that are also pretty muscular, especially the leg itself (bottom of knee to ankle) it doesn’t seem right at all to wear a skirt right at that length, just under knee, to display that very short proportion.

    One complicating matter though is that I strive to dress in a way that is feminine and modest, and don’t wear pants/shorts or anything above the knee unless I also have leggings, or low-cut tops without something to cover above cleavage. (not sure if doing that eliminates the point of creating the line, such as in a deep v though)
    Lastly, I always hear about playing up the arms of a pear, but I’m rather self conscious of mine. the 3/4 sleeve really looks great, but it is summer and that might just look silly.

    Any tips would be much appreciated.

  • Hi Imogen,
    The first picture with the belt under the natural waist seems to create a longer torso thus shorter legs? what do you think? I still haven’t figured it out whether or not I am a short or long waisted…my measurements do not match with your suggestions I am afraid. I appear to be shorter from head to leg break and longer from leg break to feet and at the same time I tend to put weight more easily on the bottom part of my body. Also the two handwidths tricks: I can fit two hands between my mid bust section and natural waist…what am I?:)
    thank you!

    • That whole outfit was more coloumn of colour, so not breaking the body between torso and legs. The belt is probably a little too low (that’s my fault in creating the picture). You may be a short mid-body – longer in the decolletage and knee to ground, a little shorter through the middle of your body from bust to knees.

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