In the June edition of our fashion advice column “Ask Megan,” Style Coach Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Megan LaRussa tackles readers’ questions about dressing your body type, wearing “high-low” fashion and knowing the difference between culottes, capris and Bermuda shorts — and which ones are in style. Read on for this month’s fashion scoop …

Style Coach Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Megan LaRussa

Style Coach Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Megan LaRussa

I’m 5’3”, size 6 and I’m a classic pear shape with a size D cup. I have long legs and a short torso. Pants can be a challenge when you’re short. For example, tucking in a shirt can leave me looking “cut off” at the waist, and midi-length dresses are often unflattering because of my height. Do you have some styling suggestions for short pear shapes?

I love that you asked this question, because knowing your real body type — and then what to wear and what not to wear based on your silhouette — is one of the most important elements to achieving effortlessly chic style.

I often see with new clients that they have a general understanding of their body type, but often don’t understand why some items work and others miss the mark. Without this knowledge, shopping and making outfits can feel a bit frustrating and overwhelming at times. Also, more often than not, clients deem themselves “pears” when they might actually be an hourglass or even an inverted triangle. Taking your measurements is the only way to truly know what your real body type is, and then how to dress it. (If you’d like to know your real body type and my top styling tricks and tips for your specific silhouette, then I invite you to join the Style Yourself Chic Society.)

Regarding being short-waisted with longer legs, the most important styling trick is finding a way to create balance. Balance is very pleasing to the human eye, and thus balancing out your body will give you the most flattering look possible.

A way to create this illusion is through elongating your torso by drawing the eye into your body and down. Ways to accomplish this would be selecting v-neck tops and dresses, trying out a peplum top or jacket that elongates the waist, and even focusing vertical stripes on your top half only. Instead of tucking in your tops, opt for tops that hit right above the widest point on your hip to elongate your torso without adding bulk to your hips. Last but not least, dressing in a tonal colorway is such an easy and fun way to elongate and balance your silhouette overall. This can be done in neutral shades like white to camel to brown tones, or even navy with cobalt blue.

Bermuda Shorts

“Instead of tucking in your tops, opt for tops that hit right above the widest point on your hip to elongate your torso without adding bulk to your hips,” says Megan. Image: Ann Taylor

bermuda Shorts

Dressing in a tonal colorway will elongate your silhouette. Image: Massimo Dutti

Bermuda shorts

Vertical stripes on the top half is another visual trick that draws the eye in and down, so that she silhouette does not appear choppy or “cut off.” Image: J.Crew

RELATED: Flattering Summer Dress Styles, Warm-Weather Layering & Pattern Tips: Ask Megan

Bermuda shorts

This look incorporates an all-white colorway with vertical lines and another trick for elongation — a V-neck, which gives length to the neck and chest area as well. Image: Ann Taylor

I have read on your blog that capris are out, but culottes are in. Then, we also have cropped pants and ankle pants, as well as “clam diggers” and “pedal pushers.” What is in and what is out? Are some of the names being used to define the same style?

It can feel like the Wild, Wild West of pants out there with so many different names and cuts, and then knowing what is in and out and flattering for your figure! But not to worry — let me define the basics and share with you what’s in and what’s out!

Capri pants, a.k.a. clam diggers, are pants that typically hit at the calf muscle. This style pant may be in stores, but it is never flattering or in style. Anything that draws attention to our calf muscle only makes the rest of our leg look less than it’s best.

A culotte-style pant or jean is one that a-lines away from the leg and may hit at various places on the leg. The most flattering length is somewhere at or a few inches above the ankle bone. Culottes are very in right now and look fresh as a pair of jeans, a jumpsuit or even a pant for work.

This image of the culotte perfectly illustrates how the pant leg has an A-line. This look makes for a nice workday pant. Image: Anthropologie

This culotte jumpsuit can be dressed up or down for summer days. Image: Anthropologie

Bermuda shorts

Here, white culotte jeans hit just a few inches above the ankle, nicely showcasing her strappy heels and easily pairing with a lightweight blouse and scarf. Image: Anthropologie

An ankle pant is actually different from a cropped pant. An ankle pant should hit at or right below the ankle bone, which is flattering on most people and is in style too. And a cropped pant typically hits a few inches above the ankle bone. This style pant is only flattering on some ladies.

Pedal pushers typically hit right below the knee, whereas Bermuda shorts hit right above the knee. A pedal pusher, unless it’s activewear, is not in style currently, so instead opt for a Bermuda short if you are looking for a shorter pant length.

If you are more of a visual learner, then check out my Instagram video explaining the difference between culottes, capris and crops.

If you are a classic dark-wash jean gal, these summery Bermuda shorts are the ones for you. Image: Anthropologie

These khaki Bermuda shorts look slick and modern when paired with a beige top. Image: J.Crew

RELATED: 3 Simple Ways to Streamline Your Style & Fall Back in Love with Your Closet

This cinch-waisted Bermuda short is both elegant and playful. Image: Anthropologie

I follow a few fashion bloggers, and they all seem to pair inexpensive items with investment pieces. Do you have any tips for incorporating both in your outfits? I want to look pulled together without necessarily spending a lot.

Mixing “high and low” items has to be one of my personal favorite styling techniques! It is a very effortless way to look stylish, uniquely you and pulled together. Not to mention it’s a fantastic way to have a versatile closet full of easy-to-mix-and-match items.

To start curating a high-low wardrobe, you have to first invest in the basics. These are items that you’ll wear all of the time and won’t date themselves quickly. Think dark wash jeans, white tees, neutral ballet flats or sandals, black pants, etc. You are going to want to invest a bit more in these items based on the rule of cost-per-wear.

Next, it’s time to add in those “low” pieces that are more trend-driven and add personality to your basics. You can snag these items seasonally based on your personal style from fast fashion retailers and boutiques. They should not cost as much as your basics since they won’t have as much longevity.

By having a wardrobe that consists of solid investment basics and personality-packed less expensive items, you’ll find endless, pulled together looks every day!

Bermuda Shorts

This A-line dress combines the on-trend feel of denim patchwork with the still-hot midi-length craze. Pair this look with a closet staple sandal, and enjoy the trend until it fizzles out. Image: Zara

bermuda shorts

A gorgeous white blouse never goes out of style. Every woman needs to find a few that really express her personal style. Image: Mango

Bermuda shorts

Another must-have closet staple is long-sleeve and short-sleeve tees in neutrals. They serve as a great versatile foundation for layering fabulous third pieces like statement skirts or necklaces, vests, moto jackets and more. Image: Mango

Have fashion questions? Ask Megan! Submit your own fashion-related questions for possible inclusion in this monthly column by emailing [email protected]

To learn more about Megan LaRussa, or to view style-coaching options, book an appointment or sign up for the Style Yourself Chic Society, visit


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