The Long and Short of It

One of the first things we do with a client — before the closet work, shopping, or outfit creation — is sit down and define their personal style. We walk through a slew of mood boards of style archetypes. Are you classic, preppy, ladylike, boho, French chic, etc.? We just want gut reactions. No negative self talk. No logic of where you are wearing this stuff. No asking yourself if your body shape can pull it off. Inevitably, the client will say, “Oh, I love this look, but that wouldn’t look good on me because <fill in body critique.>”

I ask them to set aside what they believe they can “pull off,” and what will fit their body shape. If you are drawn to a certain style and would love to wear that style, there is always a way to do it, no matter your height, shape, or size. The secret to pull any style off? Proportion. It has to be cropped, draped, boxy, fitted, etc. to your height and shape. It is why we encourage becoming best friends with your tailor.

This season there are so many fun silhouettes that shorten our leg line, make our torso disproportionately longer, and add volume…and I love them all. I want you to as well! Here’s how you do it:


The Cropped Wide-Leg Pant


Pants from TSALT. Jacket, tee, boots, and necklace from The Hive and The Shoe Hive


I did a post in February on how to wear the cropped wide-leg in warmer and cooler seasons. It’s a denim/trouser silhouette at almost every shopping appointment, at least to try. Any height or body type can pull this off. They key is to shorten your torso and lengthen your leg line.

  • • Select a wide-leg cropped pant that has a dramatic high rise, pull them up, and tuck and blouse your top. If there is gapping at the waist when you pull them up, take the pants in at this point so they stay up on your natural waist, right below your rib cage. This will immediately give the illusion of longer legs. Your body line should be ⅓ above the waist and ⅔ below the waist.
  • • Crop the pant to the right spot. The crop should be cropped 2 to 2-and-a-half inches above your ankle bone. This is the most purposeful, flattering spot for this style of pant to hit.
  • • Wear with a shoe that has a longer toe box and in a lighter shade like camel/caramel, taupe, a metallic, or grey. Again, this lengthens the leg line.


Long Layering


All from The Hive and The Shoe Hive


Long layering — either a cool, slouchy boyfriend blazer or a cardigan jacket — is a garment I have most of my clients at least try. That longer profile can have a cool borrowed-from-the-boys effect. It can also add a sophisticated touch to an uber-casual look like the one above, which is something I would wear on a field at one of my kids’ sporting events. 


The key to wearing a longer layering piece — and not having it wear you — is two-fold:

  • • Wear with a higher-waist bottom and tuck your top in. Again, this shortens your torso and lengthens your leg line.
  • • Draw attention up with a scarf. The longer layering piece draws the eye down, shortening your leg line. Adding a scarf counteracts this, drawing the eye up and away from the leg line. 
  • • Push up sleeves to elbow. This tempers some of the length and volume as well, drawing attention to the waist. 


📸:: Emma McAlary 


  • The latest from Rosana
Founder, Chief Stylist | DC Style Factory
Rosana has 18 years of fashion and retail experience. Her team has worked on more than 1,500 closets and wardrobes since she launched DC Style Factory 10 years ago. She has been featured by the New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, Washingtonian Magazine, Northern Virginia Magazine, and more. Her clients include U.S. politicians, lobbyists, authors, lawyers, and corporate executives.

DC Style Factory is a personal shopping and styling service for men and women looking to add polish and individuality to their wardrobes. We believe personal style is for anyone who wants it — regardless of age, size or budget.

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