Nikki’s Inbox: Long Torso, Short Legs

Ask Nikki!

I’m currently shopping for new clothes for my first year of university. I have trouble finding the right clothes to suit my body shape. It seems that I have a long torso and short legs. I’m currently 5’4 and 54kg. I want clothes that would allow me to give the illusion of longer legs.

I considered wearing heels in university but I worry about being uncomfortable to wear them every single day.

Could you suggest outfits I could get for this upcoming term?

Emilice, 17/United Kingdom

I’m sure you may have started your classes at university already, dear Emilice, but I’m sure you haven’t stopped shopping.

There is the horizontal body shape, e.g., pear, pencil, apple, and there’s also such a thing as “vertical body shape,” largely due to genetics which determines how short or long your torso is. Like you said, you have shorter legs compared to your upper body from the waist up and I promise that the solutions are easy!

Focus on your upper body
Because you look longer on top, that’s what you should take advantage of, darling. Ensure that the attention is always on your upper half by wearing interesting prints and patterns, and employing color contrast (brighter on top, darker at the bottom) all the time. Necklines like V-necks and scoopnecks flatter your decollétage while lace, ribbons, bows and embroidery on the sleeves, neckline, shoulders or bust area ensure the spotlight is all on top. For fall and winter layering, your coats and jackets can hit hip-length while your inner layers can go progressively higher. Don’t forget that tucking in also elongates your lower half!

Print PulloverFox Print Cropped Pullover

Open-Front Patterned CardiganPaisley Print BlouseAbstract Print Jacket

Keep waistlines and hemlines high
When it comes to bottoms, aim high. Medium to high-rise trousers, jeans and shorts are necessary while saggy, low-crotch and low-rise cuts are a no-no. High-waisted skirts and jeans will make you look taller, Emilice. As much as possible, make sure not to break the line of sight from waist to toe so with pants and jeans, and avoid those with too much visual distractions like side pockets, zippers or distressed details.

Mock Two-Piece DressKnit Mini DressColor-Block Sweater Mini Dress
Bootcut JeansBootcut JeansBootcut Jeans

High hemlines will do you good so whip out those cute mini skirts and mini dresses. As long as they’re above the knee (it really depends on your comfort level), the length should flatter your legs.

A-Line Denim SkirtPaperbag Waist Floral SkirtKnit Mini Skirt

The advantage of accessories
If you weren’t an accessories kind of girl before, well, now is a good time to dip your fingers into it! A statement necklace, cute earrings, hairband or a fistful of bangles can make a difference to your outfit even if it’s your “lazy day” T-shirt, hoodie and skinny jeans. Remember that we want all the focus on top so all the ones I mentioned are your best bets. Ear cuffs and hair accessories draw attention to your face and hair while necklaces are great for necklines. You can also wear multiple rings on your fingers, a toy watch or vintage-style one, or a sleek leather or metal cuff for adornment.

Filigree Ear CuffCrocheted Hair BandTriangle Statement NecklaceKnuckle Rings

Sweet and low for shoes
Next to accessories, shoes are a little easier to shop for. Again, if you want to look long, go for short! This means ankle-high or lower-cut footwear as much as possible, and nothing that breaks the visual line of sight. If you’re wearing dark jeans or trousers, make sure you wear shoes that are of the same color so you look taller and leaner. With skirts and dresses, something as close to your skin tone or ones that match your tights are best. Heels are your best bet but they don’t have to be sky-high. Wedges and platforms are more sturdy options and you can get them as sneakers, pumps, Mary Janes and oxfords. With boots, you can go for ankle boots or as high as mid-calf, but again, best to pair these with a shorter skirt, dress or shorts so you show off lots of leg for balance.

Platform Patent Slip-OnsKitten Heel PumpsStackable Insoles
Hidden Wedge Platform SneakersBuckled Ankle BootsTasseled Patent Loafers

Don’t forget to rock these outfits with confidence because I have no doubt you’ll look good!


P.S. Dear readers, if you have style questions, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body, your tastes or personality. Unless you include a photo (link only please) of your clothes or of yourself (with your approval to post), I can’t answer anything that only includes height, weight or skin tone. Thank you!

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