They say every gift comes with a curse. While the inverted triangle is often gifted with long legs and an ample bust, the inverted triangle (especially the petite) is “cursed” with a short torso and a lack of curve at the hips. So Rule #1? An inverted triangle must define the waist. This is key for ‘tops’ – by which I mean pieces for the upper body: blouses, shirts, dresses, sweaters, and jackets. Examples are: flare hems; nipped and waist paneled styles; belted outerwear; vertically pleated styles; wrap styles such as wrap cardigans and sweaters. Waist-defining pieces will also add curves to your hips.
Indian Kurtas, as Soumya Parker correctly notes, are a very forgiving choice of clothing. A kurta is typically a loose tunic shirt worn in India – it may be collarless, or with collar. Worn at a hip to knee length and form-fitted, kurtas soften the shoulders and nip in at the waist to create a cleanly defined waist. This leads us to Rule #2. Kurtas and Western knitwear made out of cotton fabrics, linen fabrics, and/or silk fabrics with a fine gauge will be better because thick knits will add bulk to your upper body.
Rule #3. Widening necklines bad. U-neck, V-neck, and scoop necklines are good. Especially compared to the wide scoop, square, and other widening necklines, they will slim down and elongate your torso. Keeping the top relatively simple and smooth will help you avoid drawing attention to your upper body. Wider necklines must be accessorized with something slim and vertical down your chest. Try a long pendant necklace or a simply styled scarf. Rule #4. Showing more of your skin, as with a deeper neckline, will elongate your frame. There’s less contrast to visually cut you up. Conservatively, try wearing clothing similar to your skin tone or wearing a fitted camisole (also similar to your skin tone) underneath; these will give you the same long and lean look.
Rule #5: soft and drapey fabrics will soften the shoulders. Raglan, dolman, dropped shoulder point, shoulder slit and cutout sleeves will all minimize your shoulders. Try to stay away from shoulder pads and strong shoulder details, unless it’s for costume. In a professional setting, make sure your sleeves aren’t even half an inch shorter than your arms. It’ll distort the length of your arms visually to make them appear shorter. Showing off some skin makes you look longer and leaner, but not when the extra skin is your wrist in what is supposed to be a long-sleeved blouse.
Have you ever noticed that thin straps make your shoulders and upper body look relatively wider? So for sleeveless, Rule #6 – try wide or large straps, or even multiple thin straps. You could layer a few tanks in complimentary colors one on top of the other to achieve this look.
Strategically work with prints, shapes and details to make the eye go up and down. Trust me; vertical details are your best friends. And that’s rule #7. This means: Zip fronts, cable knit patterns, pleats, visible vertical stitches.
Soumya Parker mentions, “I always wear long tops or layer with a long camisole. Other wise, my torso looks too short; this, at least adds an illusion of length.” She is absolutely right. Rule # 8. When these ‘tops’ extend past your hip-line, they balance out your wide shoulders by drawing attention away from that area, as well as elongating your torso. She’s also right about putting short tops on her list of things that don’t work that well for her, unless worn with high waist jeans as a look. There are better alternate options that would balance Soumya’s body type because these both would deter from elongating the torso. Her two lists, as mentioned in On the Two Lists, already look pretty sound.
Of course. Last but not least. Rule #9. Simplicity is key. Less is more. You’ll look taller without too much fuss. This matches Soumya’s personality and style anyway – classic, simple, and fuss free.