The 25 Best Wedding Guest Dresses for a Short Torso

The key is to visually elongate the waist.
Three wedding guest dresses for a short torso
Photos, left to right: Rent the Runway, Anthropologie, Eloquii
Elle Cashin headshot
by
Elle Cashin
Elle Cashin headshot
Elle Cashin
The Knot Fashion Contributor
  • Elle writes for The Knot online with a focus on fashion, covering gown design trends and shoppable accessories.
  • Elle is a contributor to wedding publications across the country, including Brides, The New York Times Vows and Modern Luxury Weddings.
  • Prior to shifting to weddings, Elle covered lifestyle, culture and celebrity across Chicago as the editor of the Chicago Tribune’s SPLASH magazine, where she interviewed cele...
Updated Jul 01, 2024
We have included third party products to help you navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments. Purchases made through links on this page may earn us a commission.

The key to good styling, no matter what the look or occasion, is identifying your body type and learning how to balance your proportions. The best dresses for a short torso, for example, will elongate the waist and balance the torso-to-leg ratio. But what is a short torso? "A short torso can also be referred to as short-waisted," says bridal and wedding stylist Beth Chapman of Beth Chapman Styling. More technically, here's how to tell if you have a short torso: "You can typically tell if tops are usually long on you," Chapman says. "Another way to tell is by stacking your hands under your bust, one on top of the other. If your belly button is covered, you have a short torso." Whether you're shopping for a wedding guest dress, workwear or everyday attire, there are a few simple style rules that will help you find the best dresses for a short torso. Here, we explore those rules and share 25 stunning short-waisted dresses for any wedding dress code.

How to Choose a Dress for a Short Torso

In searching for how to dress for a short torso, many tidbits of advice focus on short torso outfits made up of pants and a shirt: Avoid high-waisted pants, wear shirts untucked or half-tucked, and so on. But how does this advice translate to dresses? "The goal is to elongate your proportions visually," Chapman says. "You may want to select a dress with a slightly dropped waist, or no waist, to elongate your torso visually." A-Line dresses work great for this, as well as shift or column dresses with no defined waist. "If you are wearing a top and a bottom, opt for a slightly longer top to elongate the look of your torso."

In addition to the silhouette, consider the neckline. "V necklines are good for a short torso, as they help to create length visually—but not too low!" Chapman says. "Dresses with ruching also will be your friend." As for color and pattern, monochromatic looks are a yes, and vertical stripes help draw the eyes up and down, elongating everything. When in doubt, "a wrap dress is always a good choice," Chapman says.

Dresses for short torsos help elongate—but what to do about jackets for cooler-weather weddings? "Shopping for petite tops and jackets is best if you have a short torso," Chapman suggests. "Although, be aware that your sleeve length will be shorter as well."

The same rules apply for accessorizing. Elongated accessories further draw the eye down: Think scarves or pendant necklaces. For midi and mini dresses that show off your shoes, try heels with an ankle strap. Not only will they visually shorten the leg and create a more balanced appearance, but they'll also help stabilize you on the dance floor.

And finally, don't forget the undergarments. "A proper supportive bra is key for a larger bust with a short torso, as you want to lift your breasts to allow your waist definition and space," Chapman says.

What to Avoid If You Have a Short Torso

  • High Waistlines: "High-waisted bottoms are not good for a short torso," Chapman says, referring to both pants or skirts in the case of wedding guest dressing. "Opt for lower-rise pants to create the length in your bodice." For jumpsuits, especially if you have long legs and a short torso, "opt for a wider pant leg," Chapman suggests.
  • Wide Belts: "Avoid wide belts at your waist, as those take up too much space in your torso," Chapman says. If a dress is belted, make sure it's a thin belt that doesn't take up too much visual space.
  • Unsupportive Bras: Keeping your girls supported will help balance the body's visual proportions (and, most likely, be more comfortable for you!).
  • Anything You Don't Like: Yep, we said it. If the rules above don't make you feel your absolute best, throw them out the window. While basic styling principles can help you put together an outfit that looks fabulous, always remember that loving your look—and therefore feeling confident in it—is the true key to style.

25 Best Dresses for a Short Torso

Taking into account the styling suggestions for how to dress a short torso, we scoured the internet (and some of Chapman's favorite wedding guest dress retailers, like Anthropologie, Tuckernuck and Mestiza) to round up 25 dresses that elongate the torso and balance the body's proportions.

Tuckernuck Poppy Stripe Marlowe Dress

Tuckernuck mini short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Tuckernuck

Florals are a garden-wedding classic, and this oversize poppy print gives the timeless trend an updated twist. But more important is the silhouette. A-line minis make great dresses for long legs-short torso body types. If you're looking to further emphasize or elongate your legs, pair this with a nude pump or sandal; to visually shorten the legs and create a more balanced appearance, try heels with an ankle strap or a pop of color.

Size Range: XXS-XXL

Mestiza Heidi Ombre Midi Dress

Mestiza midi short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Mestiza

One of Chapman's favorite brands for wedding guest attire, Mestiza is a splurge-worthy retailer with countless stellar options. We especially love many of the dresses for short-waisted figures: This one in ombre printed chiffon has an airy A-line silhouette and vertical stripes that elongate the center body. Sleeves can be worn on or off the shoulders for a transitional look from day to night.

Size Range: XS-XL

BHLDN Laila Deep V Flutter Sleeve Gown

BHLDN green floral short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Anthropologie

The best dresses for a short torso elongate the body, rather than cut it off in the middle. Empire waists are a great example: They raise the waistline and elongate the torso, balancing the body proportions. This empire dress is wedding-ready in pretty floral prints (there are four color options, each with a unique design), with flutter sleeves and an A-line skirt.

Size Range: 0-26W

Likely Marullo Dress

Likely pink mini short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Revolve

Who doesn't love a feathered detail? This short-waisted dress is subtle and chic on the top with demure short sleeves and a crew neck, but feathers adorning the mini-length hem say you're ready to party. Pair it with strappy sandals and fun statement earrings.

Size Range: 00-12

DVF Blade Floral Long Sleeve Midi Dress

DVF floral long sleeve midi short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Nordstrom

"A wrap dress is always a good choice," Chapman says. And no one does wrap dresses better, of course, than Diane von Furstenberg. Her wraps come in just about every color, hue and pattern you can imagine; for fall weddings, this one has long sleeves and a dark background—but still boasts a pop of color.

Size Range: 00-14

Azeeza Lucas Dress

Azeeza pink short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Revolve

V-necks are highly recommended in outfits for a short torso because they draw the eye down and elongate the torso. But elongating the torso up—say, with a high neck—works just as well. That's what this magenta Azeeza stunner does with its high halter neck; the unfitted silhouette and ruffled high-low hem help, too. Finish the look with diamond studs and a cool shoe to show off.

Size Range: XS-L

Petal & Pup Tillie One-Shoulder Maxi Dress in Pink Floral

Petal & Pup pink maxi floral short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Petal & Pup

A fresh pick for spring weddings, this asymmetric maxi taps on trends and disguises the look of a shorter torso by not defining the waist. The draping is somewhat Grecian, but the pastel palette and pop of pink say East Coast wedding. Add hoops and a bangle or armband on the exposed arm.

Size Range: XS-XL

AMUR Belle Dress

AMUR green pleated short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Rent the Runway

Vertical stripes are a helpful design element in short-torso dresses; in this style, vertical pleating has the same elongating effect. The deep green hue is a stunner at fall and winter weddings; style it with gold jewelry and a faux fur wrap.

Size Range: 0-14

Banana Republic Factory Organza Tie-Waist Midi Dress in Blue Stripe

Banana Republic striped midi short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Banana Republic Factory

It may be a surprising choice for wedding guest attire, but classic retailer Banana Republic has some sweet summery options. This super-breathable organza midi is great for warm-weather weddings and features vertical stripes that lengthen short torsos. Wear it without the included fabric belt for greater effect.

Size Range: XS-XL (regular and petite)

Eloquii Satin Puff Sleeve Pleated Dress in Marine Blue

Eloquii blue satin short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Eloquii

In dresses for big bust-short torso body types, it's important that you're able to wear a regular bra. "A proper supportive bra is key for a larger bust with a short torso, as you want to lift your breasts to allow your waist definition and space," Chapman says. This sleek navy wrap checks that major box while also exuding major elegance. This is also a beautiful dress for mothers of the bride or groom.

Size Range: 14-32

A.L.C. Rio Halter Wide-Leg Jumpsuit

A.L.C. wide leg short torso wedding guest jumpsuit
Photo: Neiman Marcus

If you're a jumpsuit-over-dresses girlie and have a short torso, fear not. While most fitted jumpsuits have a tailored high waist (something short-waisted body types should avoid), this party-ready pants look has wide legs and no defined waist. Plus, there's the added bonus of drapey vertical pleats, which further elongate the frame. Lean into its '70s vibe with big hoop earrings and gold booties.

Size Range: 0-14

Alexis Saab Dress

Alexis Saab yellow short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Rent the Runway

Drop-waist dresses are everywhere right now, and it's good news for short-torso fashion. The silhouette quite literally extends the waist down, balancing the proportions especially if you have long legs and a short torso. This Alexis dress is fresh and sunny in vibrant yellow and stunning as a short-torso summer wedding guest dress.

Size Range: XS-XL (0-10)

House of CB Dorothy B Pima Cotton Blend Cocktail Midi Dress

House of CB blue short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Nordstrom

Channel Bridgerton in this something-blue House of CB piece, one of our fave dresses for short torso-wide hips figures. The ruched square neckline and subtle puffs of the skirt at the hips are Victorian-era details with a modern twist. Plus, keeping an ensemble monochromatic through various design elements is a trick for elongating short torsos.

Size Range: XS-XL

Lulus Asymmetrical Maxi Dress

Lulus black asymmetrical short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Lulus

Everyone needs a classic long black dress in their wardrobe as a go-to for weddings, and while black in general is a flattering color on all body types, this style is an especially great choice among short torso outfits. The high leg slit and flared skirt bring attention downward, while an interesting and asymmetric neckline draws it up.

Size Range: XXS-XL

Reformation Winslow Dress in Lucerne

Reformation floral short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Reformation

A wrap dress is widely known as one of the most universally flattering styles for all body types, and shorter torsos are no exception. Though the wrap does define a waist, it also creates a diagonal line that elongates the torso—in this case, all the way down to the maxi-length hem. This formal dress for short torsos comes in a pretty blue-and-white floral that's super on-brand for weddings.

Size Range: XS-XL

Porridge Short Sleeve Linen Printed Mini Dress in Green Motif

Porridge short sleeve printed mini short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Anthropologie

Short-waisted dresses for a more casual wedding can check off similar requirements in a less formal way: A scoop neck instead of a V is playful and feminine, and an A-line skirt can stop at the mid-thigh, instead of the floor. Add a fun print and it's the perfect daytime wedding guest dress style for short torsos.

Size Range: XXS-XL

Club L London August Halter Neck Mini Smock Dress

Club L London navy mini smock short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Club L London

Whoever said shapeless was a bad thing? This smock dress' lack of a defined waist makes it all the more flattering; it's one of our favorite dress styles for a short torso. It comes in navy for more formal affairs or a cool watercolor blue floral we love for destination events.

Size Range: 2-12

ASOS EDITION Extreme Chiffon Gathered Waist Maxi Dress

ASOS EDITION striped chiffon short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: ASOS

Beach weddings call for something breezy, and this semi-transparent chiffon maxi dress is exactly that, with vertical stripes that draw the eye downward. Dress it up with a sparkling diamond necklace: Pendant styles even further elongate the body visually.

Size Range: 0-14

Petal & Pup Meg Dress

Petal & Pup floral short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Petal & Pup

If you typically prefer a fitted bodice, opt for black to aid in the illusion of a longer torso. This style is pretty and on-trend for wedding guests, with shoulder-tie straps, an A-line midi skirt and a high slit.

Size Range: 0-16

Abercrombie & Fitch The A&F Giselle Clasp-Back Pleated Midi Dress

Abercrombie & Fitch green pleated short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Abercrombie & Fitch

A high empire waist and long vertical pleats are two great answers to how to dress a short torso, and this A&F dress has both. Pair it with espadrilles for a daytime garden wedding or strappy heels and fine jewelry for nighttime. Psst, it also comes in a jumpsuit version.

Size Range: XXS-XXL (petite, regular and tall)

Lulus Joyful Tie-Back Mini Dress in Red Orange

Lulus mini tie back short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Lulus

Here's our destination-wedding version of the best dress for a short torso. It features short-torso design elements like an A-line silhouette but has Italian flair in the form of a poppy red-orange hue and silk-scarf-inspired ties across the back. Style it with white ceramic jewelry.

Size Range: XXS-XXL

Auteur Zadie Dress

Auteur printed short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Revolve

A consistent pattern across the dress means the eye doesn't naturally stop at the waistline but rather flows down with the design—and this one is super unique in a pretty cafe au lait palette. The silky fabric is breathable for warmer weddings, but the maxi length and long sleeves transition it seamlessly to fall. Pair it with off-white mules and hoops.

Size Range: XS-L

Eloquii Strappy Paillette Column Dress

Eloquii sequin silver short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Eloquii

Bling, bling! This shiny silver sequined dress is perfect for New Year's Eve weddings (or any black-tie fête!) and features a column silhouette and consistent allover detailing that allows the eye to travel up and down rather than stop at the waist. The mid-calf hem is stunning for evening and shows off a stellar shoe: We suggest doubling down with more shiny silver.

Size Range: 14-32

Mint Velvet Pink Ombre Tiered Maxi Dress

Mint Velvet ombre tiered short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Mint Velvet

When considering how to dress for a short torso, the key is to draw the eye away from the waistline, elongating the gaze up or down. This dress does both: A V neckline draws the eye upward (especially when amplified with a statement necklace—add a chunky gold one here), and the downward pointing ruffles and color-dipped ombre lengthen down. Plus, it's simply a fun and unique wedding guest dress with its eyelet detailing and pop of pretty color.

Size Range: 2-14

STAUD Julie Striped Dress

STAUD striped beach short torso wedding guest dress
Photo: Bloomingdale's

Nautical beach wedding attire gets an elegant upgrade with this floor-length STAUD stunner. The undefined sheath silhouette is great for shorter torsos, and the chevron stripes lengthen the look—but our favorite detail is the unique twisted halter neckline. Pair this with statement chandelier earrings and bracelets to dress it up.

Size Range: XS-XL

Up Next
  • Three petite wedding guest dresses
    23 Petite Wedding Guest Dresses for Women Over 50