Several of you commented, in regard to the way you wear skirts, that you are short-waisted, which seems synonymous with high-waisted or having a short torso. So I began to wonder if I was short-waisted as well, and how this effects what we wear and how we alter what we sew.
In sewing patterns, I always assumed I had to take into account my small bust, since most are made with a B-cup in mind. I'd assume this meant the twins "pulled" up the fabric, and on me, with a smaller cup size, that resulted in a lower garment waist. It hadn't dawned on me that my waist may actually be shorter than average.
According to what I've read (here and here), you can tell you're short or long waisted if the underarm-waist:waist-bottom of bum and/or head-waist:waist-floor ratio is unequal.
So I used a yard-stick, since we're talking figure ratios and not curves. The first ratio is 9:12 and the second 23:40. So I am short-waisted!
Funny, I also measured the length from my natural waist to where I like my jean/trouser waistband, and it's 3-4 inches, just about halfway on my torso. Perhaps I've been unconsciously choosing items that balance my figure, even though I assumed they were "high waisted" because I can only find them in the Old Lady Section of the store (as my baby sister calls it), on the one rack labeled, "Classic." [Am I the only one who finds the super-low slung jeans disturbing? They seem to intensify muffin-top and undies-flashing probability. I mean, if you need a Brazillian just to wear them, they're simply too low.]
From the Dummies.com site, here's a photo that emphasizes the short-waist in comparison:
And here's a visual depiction of a suggestion on how and why you should balance a short-waist:
I agree with those of you who say that these fashion-rules are made to be broken. I, however, am finding that I'm approaching style the way I learned to cook. I begin with a recipe and, once I understand the basics, experiment freely from there. So, first, what's the recipe to make a short-waisted woman look proportional?
The idea is to visually lower the waistline and to lessen all that leg. These suggestions vary widely, but they include: Opting for a lower waistline in bottoms, untucked shirts and/or sweaters and jackets that fall at the hip. Sounds like contemporary, casual fashion to me. And maybe in that way we're lucky.
Yet, for those of us who are interested in retro styles, this brings up a problem. Most styles, I'm thinking the 40s and the 50s specifically, highlight the natural waist. But on a short-waisted woman, that line is closer to the bust, conceivably making her look out of proportion.
So, what do you do? If you're short-waisted, how do you accommodate it? When you sew, do you shorten the torso to your natural waist or do you let the waist linger lower creating a visual balance? (In some styles, though, wouldn't you want to show off all that tres feminine hip?)
To complicate matters, a short-waist is only one issue. In my last post, I focused on trying to find clothes that flatter my square-shape frame. So I throw in a small bust and a short-waist to the mix, each with different and sometimes conflicting suggestions, i.e. a square-shaped gal should wear big, clunky belts to emphasize the waist but a short-waist gal should avoid them at all costs.
I suppose this is what makes fashion—and all the control we have over it through sewing—such a fun journey. We need a little playfulness to find a style that works on our unique bodies (Toria wrote a wonderful post on the topic here). My full skirt, for example, may be a no-no with a short-waist but I'd like to think that the fullness hides the bottom of my torso, leaving me leggy (which I like!). That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
But I'd love to know: What works for you?