Hey, Imogen, I’ve got a reader question for your data banks, perhaps you’ll have a slow month over the holiday season or something. 🙂
…I’ve searched your blog and found very little joy for the long-torsos amongst us. (though the blog’s fantastic, and I’ve really learned a ton!).
Here’s the sitch: I’ve got a very long torso, with average waist length and very long rise (I’m a seamster, so I happen to know it’s ~2″ longer than average–that’s a LOT in a vertical body measurement!). I’m also very thin, so tall sizes are unavailable to me, and I have no bust to speak of, so it does nothing to balance the hips.
With my long rise, I have to wear lower rise pants, which are very low rise on my body. Higher rises give me instant long-bum, plus they are SUPER uncomfortable, because they expect my waist to be 2″ lower than it is! I imagine tall women have this problem a lot too. As a result, the distance between shoulders and the visual “waistline” is incredibly long and looks very strange.
I work in a nearly all-male, conservative, business casual environment, and I’m really having trouble making all this look halfway professional. I must wear long pants, sleeves, and close toed, low or no heel shoes. I feel my long-torso coping mechanisms just look sloppy (untucked button-down over a tucked shell) or ill-fitting (a blazer that shows a wide flash of white shirt above my belt every time I move).
I’m willing and able to make things to fit me, but I’ve about given up trying to figure out what to make. Any ideas to mitigate the long-torso pain?
Thanks for your question. This body shape can feel tricky to dress, and ideally one of the aspects you need to consider is finding (or making, have altered) jackets and pants to fit your shape, rather than accepting you currently have in your wardrobe if they are ill-fitting. Anything ill-fitting will not make you look professional.
A higher rise pant in a straighter cut (rather than something curved) is more likely to work better on you as it doesn’t assume that the waistband is to sit on a narrower waist.
OK, a long torso and long rise will look something like the body proportions of Natalie Gruzlewski which you can see on the left below is wearing low rise jeans with an alternate coloured belt, which makes the torso look even longer. When she’s wearing a skirt and top like on the pic on the right, you can see that suddenly her proportions appear balanced. I understand that many feel they need to wear pants, but really can’t you wear a skirt every now and again as it will make you look professional very easily and also work better on your proportions. There are many skirts made of stretch fabrics that are easy to fit and don’t look like suit skirts.
13 Ways to Flatter a Long Torso with a Long Rise
A long torso and in particular a long rise can make your upper body look unbalanced. Here are 13 tips on how to flatter your long torso and long rise.
- Wide belts a the waist or even curved at the hips over the top of longer top or blouse will help to break up the space, of your longer torso.
- Leave your tops untucked so you don’t see the length of your rise.
- Make sure your jackets are long enough to cover the hem of your tops
- Draw attention up to your face with a statement necklace, brooch, scarf or earrings
- Wide horizontal stripes on your top will help to balance your body shape.
- Uneven hems – curved either concave or convex are also a great way of disguising your long rise without making your legs look short
- Scattered patterns can help to distract the eye and make your torso look shorter
- If you have shorter legs, pinstriped pants will make your legs look longer – balancing your long torso. Blending your shoes to your pant colour will also help to make your legs look longer
- Look for tops that are made to be worn out rather than tucked in.
- If you love to tuck, then ensure that any belt you wear tones in colour to your pants rather than your top
- Wear a mid-rise – if you can find (or make one) that is comfortable for you rather than a low rise as it will break up the long rise proportion
- Wide waistbands on higher rise pants also help to break up this space
- Wear skirts rather than pants as you can’t see the length of your rise at all – honestly wear skirts – it’s way easier to get them to fit and your long rise issue will disappear
This is not my body type, but I read everything you write b/c I always learn something. To me, the no-brainer idea for any length torso is a dress!.
Dresses can actually be quite hard to fit with these kinds of proportions as the waist may be in the wrong spot.
I agree Imogen. I am a petite with short legs and a long rise and I can never find a dress with a waist in the right place. A great article.
IT can be tricky to get the right proportions if you’re not evenly balanced
I have a long torso/short leg combo & find that dresses with set in waists often are about 2 inches above my waistline. To deal with the issue, I find that dresses without a set in waist, like a shift or princess style work well. I have also had success with the “tall” sized dresses Ann Taylor and Banana Republic sell. The extra length in the body allows the seam at the waist to come to the level of my natural waist. Then, I just hem the dress to the correct length for me.
Regarding the question about wearing skirts occasionally: from the sound of the dress code she describes, the person asking for advice may work in a lab or medical center. I had a colleague who tried to finesse our (identical) dress code with long skirts + knee high boots. Unfortunately when a beaker hit the ground the solution splashed up underneath her skirt and gave her legs a chemical burn. Since then there are no exceptions allowed (people have been sent home.)
Bingo Dorothy! I submitted the question, and yes, I have to be able to go into laboratory areas, so long pants and closed shoes are not optional. At this point I haven’t worn skirts/dresses (or been around people who do) for so long I would never do it–but Imogen’s right, it would solve the weird proportion problem!
Think about them for your casual/non-work clothing Scooter as it would solve a host of issues!
Hee hee, I probably shouldn’t admit this on a style blog, but though I try to look good at work, my non-work clothing follows the “whatever random items happen to be clean” school of “fashion”. 🙂
I am long waisted so I can identify with this issue!! So many good suggestions that I haven’t thought of. I am posting this on my Pinterest page!
Great advice! I’m long and thin also, with the length coming from my torso & rise, not legs. Skirts and dresses almost every day. I find that a moderate empire waist can work on a slightly flared dress. Attention stays at the shoulders, bust, neck, and face, while the exact placement of the waist is vague. Feels very pretty.
I also wear a lot of tone-on-tone with mixed textures, for example a cream, ribbed, cotton pullover sweater with light-oatmeal heathered pants and light brown boots is a favorite outfit.
I feel like muslimahs have raised this look to an art form, the dress/tunic with a slightly raised waist. There are lots of great muslim fashion blogs with looks for inspiration.
This explains why, even though I’m a V shape, I love patterned and wide-striped tops, and why tucking in just feels wrong. Thanks for solving my fashion mystery!
Oh, Imogen, thank you, thank you!!! I have struggled with a short waist, long rise, all my life. Pants are impossible!! Would you please take this untucked concept a little further with a variety of skirt styles for your petite, long rise fans?
You are the best!
A faithful fan,
Skirts are easy as they don’t show where the rise is. You would just want to make sure they fit at your waist and the shape would relate to your body shape.
What would do you call term where there is a long space between neck and bust, the decollage area (sp?) I mean? Often in pictures I notice that my bust looks VERY low apart from my neck, I dont have “hangy granny boobs” though! Haha (D cups with a small underbust and 27). But I wonder does this area affect your torso or neck as far as clothing and accessories goes?
Apart from this, my body shape is rather balanced and my neck is also average. (Turtleneck & Collars looks better than crew/off Shoulder necklines while Necklaces doesn’t matter much). So I find it a bit tricky what clothing guidelines this area applies to. My torso is certainly not long rise, but its not exactly a neck issue either.
Lina – this is called a Long Decolletage – https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2009/06/body-proportions-explained-small-bust-but-long-decolletage.html Even without a small bust most of these tips would work!
I looked at the link and it was very similar my clothing dilemma. (So it was called a long decolletage.At First I thought it was about my neck)
And make sense why I love wearing detailed necklines and statement necklaces. Although I heard open and low necklines works better on broad shoulders/bigger busts, they tends to looks a bit “off” when I’m not wearing any accessories with them. ?
Please do a post on short torsos!!!
Thanks, Imogen!! I LOVE the green jacket that you paired with the pinstripe pants!! How would you describe that jacket?
Kate Middleton has a super long torso, and is nearly always dressed sort of business casual when you see her in pants. Admittedly, she uses high heeled shoes most of the time – but still, you could google and get a few ideas.
I have the same issue except short legs. I don’t quite understand why the writer says she has to wear low rise pants. I wear stuff labeled as high rise, and it ends up being more mid rise for me. Absolutely nothing labeled as low rise. That’s my best solution (also work in a lab), though I admit it may not be perfect for everyone.
I think this is to do with her finding it hard to find the right waist size so that high rise are not comfortable. And high rise is more often mid-rise on a long rise!
I know this is an older posts but I just have a question for you. Where do you find clothes for someone that is said to have a balanced body type however she is 6 ft tall 36 inch legs 36 inch torso 36 inch 72 inch wingspan she is 18 years old and has a very hard time finding thing to fit her
Have a look at this post Sonya https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2016/08/what-to-wear-and-where-to-shop-as-a-tall-woman.html – make sure you read through comments too as other tall readers may share their shopping tips here as well.
This article helped me so much with dressing to my own long rise (only 1 inch, but it mskes a fifference!). And, yes, I ,find wearing dresses as a solution. I too find that low rise pants are more comfortable because the waist doesn’t end up in an uncomfortable spot on my torso. That being said, they still are not comfortsble nor do they look good on me–accentuating my wdse low bum from behind. The writer wears them for that reason, not because she “must” wear low rise. The “must” is that she has to wear pants at work, so she dresses as comfortably as she can in that respect. So suggestions to wear a dress really don’t address her issues. I think in her case, column of color might help more. As well as more monochromatc outfits, which will tone down the differences between her upper and lower torso–unless, again, she must wear white tops with her pants. Sounds like a required uniform of sorts to me.
This is such a great blog. Great suggestions and comments from readers too!
What I am learning is that we are all built differently so 1 prescription does not fit all. Not all tips will work for everyone. I have a hard time finding dresses that work for me and I can’t wear a skirt- ever. They don’t look good or feel good. Skirts are just not my style.
I have a long torso, very short waist, 1 inch and a long rise, 12 inches. I have short legs and my overall height is average/short at 5,5. I have long skinny arms.
My outline: Looking straight on, I have a straight figure, no curves, my shoulders and hips are the same measurement- 34 inches, and my waist is wide (but not wider than shoulders and hips: 28 inches). I have hip dips. My legs are short, straight, and my ankles are thick, my feet are average but square.
From the side, I have an S shape and long butt. My biggest bug bear, is my lower abdomen. It curves out. When I was younger, I longed for a flat stomach but now know it will never be- no matter how many crunches I do-having a curved abdomen is just part of my shape. It is not fat, it’s just curved.
I have been confused about finding a body type to follow because I don’t fit perfectly into one category. From the side, I look like a pear and from the front I look more like a rectangle or H shape. At times, I thought I might be an apple or a figure 8 considering my round bust and belly, but I just don’t have the waist for an 8 or an apple for that matter.
Not all of the above style tips will work for long torso- short legs, because we have to take into consideration our body shape and other proportions as well. For example, I can’t wear a belted shirt. I just don’t have enough room between my ribs and hips. Not only that but my waist is very straight, cinching it looks odd and doing so makes my curved abdomen more pronounced. Empire waist styles can be tricky too- they are usually too tight under my breast- some people find their under breast measurement is their smallest. Not me- I’m straight.
Finding what works takes a lot of trial and error. The most important thing is to get out there and try things on. I think we are more fortunate today than in the past- retailers offer many styles and also most provide garment measurements which in my opinion are more helpful than size guides. Tip: For pants, when ordering online, I usually purchase based on the garment’s hip measurement, rise and inseam. Knowing your best inseam is also helpful but know that its easy to hem pants as long as it doesn’t interfere with the line of the design.
For pants, I also often order tall to get the perfect rise and sometimes the perfect inseam- tall cropped pants often fit me perfectly as full length pants. Some retailers offer smaller sizes in tall: Madewell and JCrew come to mind.
For me with a 12 inch rise, I find a garment with- a 10.5 inch rise fits best and doesn’t shorten my upper body. A 10.5 inch rise ends just below my belly button. As Imogen pointed out, very high rise pants ( 11-12 inch rise) can tend to be made for those with smaller waists and bigger hips or bottoms so be mindful of garment style and measurements.
For pant leg style, I look best in a full length, slightly wider straight leg, a boot cut or a slight flare. I also like pants that fall from the butt instead of clinging to it. Anything tapered or cropped above 28″ is a no go for me.
Shirts and tops: To tuck or not too tuck. I was never able to tuck in shirts without looking sloppy or feeling uncomfortable. Body suits don’t work for me either because I’m not curvy. However, I have recently found trouser style pants that I can tuck a shirt into and I love the look. One of my favorite looks last fall was wearing a button down collared shirt over a turtleneck, tucked into trousers. For me, blouses with darts are a must for tucking because they eliminate the extra fabric at the waist.
If I wear a more slim fitting legged jean or pant, I have to camouflage my long rise. I do so by wearing a long line or wrap coat that covers my butt- the coat just cannot be too long. I have a gilet on my must purchase list as it will give the same effect. With slim pants, I also wear a shell tucked in, with an oversized button down on top for more casual days.
Another trick for elongating the leg is the half tuck. Find shirts, that have slits on the side so you can do a little tuck in the front, it elongates the leg. The technique is a little over done so maybe too trendy for some.
Wearing high heels is not practical or comfortable for me. And to be honest, I don’t look good in super high heels. When I do wear heels, I go for a blocked heel the same color as my pant. This definitely helps elongate the leg. The block heel also makes my ankles appear smaller, Kitten heels have the opposite effect. I also stay away from high vamp shoes – thanks Imogen.
Back to tops including jackets and blazers, Sorry for jumping all over the place. To compensate for no waist and a shorter upper torso- I keep my tops simple and plain, I find too much detail makes my upper body appear smaller by breaking it up and drawing attention. However, I do like a horizontal stripe. I also avoid the 3/4 look sleeve look on tops and jackets as it just doesn’t look right on my long skinny arms and I feel accentuates my proportionally wide waist and long rise.
It has taken me 2 years to get to this point of better understanding my shape and proportions and I have a long way to go. Before, I just avoided shopping altogether and have very few clothes, accessories etc to show.
To avoid stress and frustration over what to wear, I simply avoided events requiring a dress code beyond jeans and t-shirt. This is not healthy- I have no social life! I wear a uniform to work, so I don’t have to worry about finding outfits for work. I really feel for Scooter, the original poster,- the pressure is real. Scooter- you said you are thin, I am too. I have found sweaters and such in the kids department- boys and girls: Ralph Lauren.
I came to the internet for style help a couple of years ago out of desperation, my clothing needed to be replaced. When I saw the price of clothing had risen, and that the quality of clothing had gone down, I decided I was going to make smart purchases- I can’t afford nor do I want a disposal wardrobe. I want things that look good and more importantly feel good. Imogen’s site is one of my favorites for styling.
Finding my colors is a whole other ball game!