How To Tuck-In When You’re Short-Waisted

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Blazer – Theory Amanda B., size 00 (similar)
JeansPaige Blue Heights skinny, size 23 (hemmed)
ShoesCole Haan Carma suede pumps, size 5
BeltAnn Taylor Factory (Outlet), size XS (similar)
Jewelry – Honora pearls, Jet beads, Vintage pin, Sterling silver bangles

Ahhh…body types…we all have one…and depending on which one you have, you may or may not be able to pull certain looks off.

I believe I’ve only mentioned on this blog a million few times that I have a short torso, which is both a blessing and a curse. Short torso’d ladies usually have long legs to compensate for their lack of a body, which is great because it gives the illusion of being taller than we really are (sorry my long-torso’d readers…that means it’s way easier for you to look shorter than you really are…not fair…I know). But, what we have in long legs, we lack in an upper-body, so we often have a much harder time defining our waists, and generally look awful in styles that are high-waisted or tucked in (I call it “spider-body”…ick!).

For a very long time, I thought it just wasn’t in the cards for me to ever wear anything tucked in. I avoided it at all costs, and it was only very recently that I gave it a try with the determination to make it work.

Well…I think I have a magic formula that I’d like to share with my fellow short-torso’d ladies out there…and it goes a little something like this:


1. Low-rise bottoms – The lower the bottom waist-band lies, the longer your torso looks. These Paige jeans have a very low rise, so they help to deceive the eye in thinking my torso is longer than it really is. When wearing skirts, one that sits at the high hip rather than the actual waist works best.

2. Add a belt – The belt adds a lengthening effect when it’s in a similar color palette to the top. It doesn’t have to match, but it should be a similar color, brightness, hue, etc. The second photo above shows just how much the belt helped to elongate my torso. The belt can also be added last, to nip in the waist on a cardigan.

3. Add a longer top layer – Adding a top layer that falls past the bottom’s waist-band also helps trick the eye into thinking the torso is longer than it really is. Here I used a blazer, but longer cardigans work great too (try buttoning the cardigan into an “X” shape, or use the belt from tip #2 to nip in the waist.

4. Add long necklaces – Long necklaces just finish off the look, and works once again to elongate the torso.

Wallah! This short-torso’d gal has just tucked-in!

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I’d love to hear if this “formula” is successful for fellow short-torso’d ladies! Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure – Clicking or purchasing through the links in this post may yield commissions for See the Alterations Needed Disclosure for more details.

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Kelly

    Great post! I have a short torso AND short legs…hehe
    Actually, I have a short torso and am pretty top heavy, so tucking things never seem to work. Any tips?

  2. says: Rosanna

    I know exactly what you mean. I own a lot of regular tees and tops that would fit fine on a person with a regular length torso, but they look ridiculously long on me. And if worn untucked it would look very sloppy so I found that belting the pants really helped. I wouldn't normally do a long necklace though because mine end up hitting right where the belt is.

  3. says: Cher

    Great tips! The belt and low rise pants are so crucial. And so cute that you said, "Wallah!". I think what you mean to say is: Voila! It's actually a french expression. ;)

  4. says: Banhannas

    Boo, not a short torsoed gal either. I was so pissed one time when I heard someone say, "asian girls have a hard time wearing fashionable clothes because of their long torso." I used to hate tucking myself, just all those non memorable events during gym class and my t-shirt was a dress on my frame. Could not tuck that shit in COACH.
    Heehee, so I probably take your formula and with the exception wear high waisted bottom. Love the petal shell on you too!

  5. says: R.L.

    Oooh, this was a simple yet really helpful post! I've always been a fan of the tuck-in but it always truncated me since I have a very short torso. I'll have to see what I can do about finding some low-rise bottoms since I'm a fan of the high to mid-rise jeans. Well done on the outfit. The petal shell is just darling!

  6. says: PetiteAsianGirl

    I'm not short torso-d, but these tips are excellent. I think the most important part here were your low-rise pants and a belt in a contrasting color that continued to draw the eyes down to add balance. That little skinny belt made a huge difference!

  7. says: Tamara

    I love the way you broke this down and then solved the problem step-by-step. I've always felt kind of awkward with a blouse tucked in and now I now how to solve it! One other thing I sometimes do is put a belt over the top of a longer blouse – as I'm wearing today. No tuck, but still get a waist, hooray! I'd love to hear your thoughts on wide vs skinny belts. You seem to prefer the skinny ones – is that a torso thing too?

  8. says: Alterations Needed

    @Really Petite – I don't think you have a short torso…if anything, you're closer to proportional. Maybe you're comparing your torso length to other, taller people than yourself? For your height, you don't look visually long torso'd or long legged to me.

    @Kelly – That's a tough one! My mom is busty, so I know what you mean! Being top heavy often makes your torso look even shorter than it really is, and it also often makes ladies look heavier and squat-er than they really are. I'm not exactly sure if this will help…but my instinct says a top layer that defines your waist is the golden ticket. My mom always looks slimmer, and shapely when we can find a jacket or cardigan that nips at the waist. Otherwise, clothing just kind of falls straight down, off the bust, and your waist is gone! Try tucking-in, with a long cardigan as the top layer, belted to define your waist, and let me know if it works!

    @Rosanna – LOL…I've had long necklaces hit my belt too. There's lots of ones that have adjustable lengths (extra chain at the clasp to either lengthen or shorten), which usually work better for me.

  9. says: ShortBlonde

    You and I have the same short-torso'ed body type, and I can't agree with you enough that a belt does wonders! No outfit of mine is complete without one.

  10. says: Cori

    This post is brilliant. Whenever I tuck my shirts in, people seem to notice even more how petite I am. I love it when I am not getting lost in my clothes. The key, definitely is the rise on the pants and the right belt. Skinny belts are my friends!

  11. says: curls-and-pearls

    Love this post! You know, I don't even know if I have a short or a long torso LOL! So much I learn from you!!!

    I really like the side by side before and after pictures, you can REALLY see the difference!

  12. says: kileen

    you're so lucky to have such long legs!! i have a long torso so i do end up looking especially short. great tips though with layering with long necklaces and the skinny belt. love the look on you!

    cute and little

  13. says: Irene

    Great tips! I always stick to a lower rise in my dress pants for work (the only pants I tuck shirts into), and you're right! It helps even out the short-torso, long-leg proportions so much! I'll have to try the long necklace trick next…thanks, Kelly!

  14. says: Maddy

    You are so luck you have a short torso. I wouldn't mind looking taller than I actually am.

    Anyway, no matter how I tuck in my shirt, it always looks funny. It either comes undone or pops up in a weird looking way.. >_<

  15. says: Anonymous

    Thank you for the great tips. I never thought I could tuck in but I am going to try your suggestions. Can you please do a post about tucking tops into skirts in more detail? Thank you-I always find your site to be a great resource.

  16. says: eveange66

    Well I am a short torso kind of girl but I also have an hourglasse shape.. at the bottom I mean till the waist wich is thin and well define. So despite my short torso I definitely prefer and chose to enhance my waise by wearing "natural" wait skirts and pants which I usually belt.
    As I do for cardigans.
    And it works although I am petite (same size as you are).
    Clearly low waist garment are at best weird but most often a waste and horrid on me.
    I have well say round hips and …bottom so I should be careful of what I wear in this area and espacially avoid: ruffles, drapes or other things too "feminine".
    Anyway as a working girl I just can't wear clothes too fancy so often work attire looks good on me… with a lot of coulours if I can.

  17. says: maryeb

    I had figured out that low waist pants worked better on me, but I wasn't sure about the top layer. I thought longer cardigans and jackets might make me look shorter, frumpier; like I was wearing my mother's clothes. I thought maybe cropped jackets and cardigans were a better choice

    I can see on you, though, that the longer length jacket looks wonderful, creating a great, balanced look. And the addition of the long necklace is genius.

    What are your thoughts on petites wearing cropped top layers, jackets and cardigans? Is this something you do?

    I'm so glad I found your blog. It looks like it will be very helpful to me.

  18. says: Christina

    I'd rather have nice long legs than a long slender torso… Less hemming for pants or skirts!

    I wouldn't say a long cardigan would elongate your torso… Maybe one that reaches past your waistline for pants, but not one that's very long in general. If the cardigan is too long, it may hide whatever curves you have at the hips or tush.

    However, your blazer hits you at the perfect spot. Around halfway between the waistband of your pants and your crotch area. Or I would say right above the fullest part of your hips. This works best for short torsos, based on what I've on my friends with longer legs. :]

  19. says: Amy

    I'm behind on blog reading, so I'm a little late seeing this, but THANK YOU for the post!! I'm the one who asked you about this dilemma on your forum. :) It's great to see you break the outfit down with pictures…visuals are so helpful! I also wanted to let you know I tried out your formula and it totally works!! I looked great with a tucked in top for the first time! lol I found some OOTD pics on my computer (seeing yourself in a picture is so different than seeing yourself in the mirror!) where I had on a tucked-in top with a longer layer on top and it still didn't look right. The culprit? I was wearing a wider belt. The skinny belt is the key with this look! Thank you SO much! Your tips like this are so fantastic! :D

  20. says: PetiteXXS

    I'm not short-waisted (unfortunately?), but I can see how these tips would work really well for those who are! Your pics are fun and make it easy to follow as always.

  21. says: MyFashionAddictions

    Thanks for this post!!
    I'm short waisted with long legs… Never realised this was a body "type" till recently.
    I did notice that I could never pull off high waists or tucked in, but chalked it up to my small tummy pooch.
    I'm doing my best to lose it and at least now I have a way I could wear things tucked in.
    I've seen so many outfits for work where people tuck in outfits so it's nice to know that if I just loose those extra pounds I can pull the look off too. :)

  22. says: lifelong sunshine

    Great post….but my big question is: WHERE did you find bangles that stay on your wrists????

    I love bracelets, because I have really skinny wrists, and they "camouflage" them I think…BUT I have a really hard time finding ones that stay on!

  23. says: Becbecdashorty

    I’m so excited to find someone else with the same body type! I love your outfit and know it would work for me. I also love your style. It’s very similar to mine. Thanks for posting this! I’m 4’9 and have no waist or no long legs, ha! I understand your frustration over finding cute outfits that work!

  24. says: Danzrs3

    I am not petite anywhere but my short torso!! At 5’9″ all my height is legs. Plus broad shouldered, athletic body type…. You get my drift. I have never been able to tuck in. (Junior high was awful because one of my uniforms was a bib buttoned into our skirts.) I always love wearing blazers w jeans and dared tuck in, but the coordinating belt??!! Looks wonderful!! Most of my tops are blousened/gathered at the hip line.

    1.  Thank you for the comment! No need to be petite to use this trick…hehe. You poor thing, junior high is traumatic as it is…let alone making a short wasted girl wear such an unflattering outfit! Best of luck in your future tucking-in endeavors! =)

  25. says: olga

    thanks for inspiring s-t wwoman like me…i love your body and how to front tucked your blouses and shirts. it was so sexy! 

  26. says: darkschoolnight

    Wow! So glad to see someone posting about the dreaded “tuck-in” situation for short waisted ladies. It seems like nowadays everything fashionable is high waisted! Ugh! Thanks SO much for this article and the awesomely helpful pictures! :D

  27. says: Carm Geller

    Looks like I’m late to the party. :) I love this formula in theory, however… I have a little roll of flab just beneath my belly-button (the rest of my belly is thankfully flat), which turns into very a noticeable muffin top when I tuck in a shirt into a low-waisted pant. A belt just sadly emphasizes it. :$ I can see myself tucking in a boxy or loose-fitting top, but then there comes the challenge of trying not to look boxy or frumpy. I will have to keepy trying until I find what works for my body! :)

  28. says: skyepark6

    Yeah I am short waisted with long legs and when I tuck in my tops I usually pull out a bit so there is a overhang so it disguises my short waist, caridgans that hit the hips also work well.

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