Bobbie Thomas

Bobbie's Buzz: Find flattering looks for your legs and torso

Sep. 3, 2013 at 3:28 PM ET

Video: TODAY style editor Bobbie Thomas explains how you should consider the length of your legs and torso when selecting styles and shows off outfits for people with varying proportions.

You may already know about your body type, but did you know there's a whole different set of tips to consider? TODAY style editor and author Bobbie Thomas explains all about "vertical body types."

In an ideal world, your upper half would be the same length as your lower half, but because we're all wonderfully unique, there are actually several different torso types: short, long and balanced. And for those with shorter and longer torsos, getting dressed can be a bit tricky if you don't know what to look out for.

Short torso, long legs (à la Cameron Diaz)
While it's fun to show off your gams in a great pair of pants or a short skirt, those cuts may make your midsection look short and squat by comparison. Instead, try slipping on a blouse with vertical seams or details to draw the eye up.  

High necklines and collars can also elongate your upper half. Even simply leaving your top untucked can make a world of difference. When buying bottoms, opt for items that sit lower on the hips, and make sure you have a supportive bra and flattering footwear: ankle strap styles, booties and flats are all good choices.

Long torso, short legs (à la Rachel Bilson)
There are a lot of reasons to love a long torso. You have a great canvas to adorn with scarves, necklaces, wide belts and bold blouses, all of which can help create the illusion of a shorter upper half. Gals with this vertical body type also have the perfect excuse to embrace above-the-knee skirts and shorts (mid-waist or high-waist will be best). 

A few other tips for achieving balance? Tuck in your tops, seek out a cropped jacket or two, and finally, rejoice! High heels are highly recommended for this torso type (remember: nude or flesh tone shoes are especially effective at lengthening your legs).

Balanced torso (think: Kate Beckinsale)
Even if your upper and lower halves are in sync, there are still a few things you can do to maintain that balance. First, learn to love low contrast. The more visual "breaks" in an outfit, the more "broken up" your body will look. Keep things streamlined by wearing items from the same color families.  

Also, be careful when you step out in "silhouette-shifting" styles (e.g. over-the-knee boots will shorten your legs, so you'll want to balance with interest up top).

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