Case study: Kaley Cuoco

Kaley Cuoco, The Big Bang Theory's blonde bombshell, also belongs to the longer torso-shorter legs body type. Kaley has a rather muscular frame with broad shoulders, and is blessed with a voluptuous upper half. Although at 1.68 she is not petite, she appears shorter than she is due to her enviable curves.

Let's see how she dresses and what we can learn from her.

Kaley likes to be relaxed in her everyday life and often wears very laidback outfits. Although they are not her best look whatsoever, her muscular frame carries off skinny jeans pretty well. Note how she always pairs them with looser tops, often with cardis/blazers added to provide balance:

Jeans or trousers worn with fitted tops are a much less fortunate choice on her, especially if they are low-waisted, as they lengthen her torso further:

And the same applies to skirts. The too tight top with a hipster midi skirt, yellow shoes and cropped cardi is a clear disaster [apologies, Kaley!], and the paperbag skirt and fitted top combo, although it does change her proportions, unfortunately also makes her look much bigger than she is. For a straight comparison, have a look at the two midi pencil skirt outfits on Kaley -- although the heels help too, the loosely tucked roomy top gives a much better illusion of long legs than the skin-tight one:

Kaley - absolutely rightly - likes to balance her figure by highlighting her cleavage, but needs to be careful with this as by drawing too much attention to her torso, the look can easily become disproportionate, and plunging necklines only serve to further lengthen her upper body:

We can thus safely say Kaley's torso is best flattered by roomier tops - see some amazing examples below. The key to each of these is that her upper body is not over-emphasized by tight fitting items but slightly shortened thanks to the width in the tops - see how even when her top is cropped, it is wider than her actual frame.

Another key detail is the length of her bottoms. Kaley looks best in very short or very long hemlines; midi only rarely works and requires straight cuts and masterful tailoring to do so [see the pink outfit above]. Compare these looks side by side, and see for yourself how much longer hemlines help:

Now have a look at the outfits below. The red column dress works perfectly thanks to the strapless bodice shortening her torso and the heels hidden under the maxi skirt further elongating her legs. The short dress is the perfect length and cut and also features clever colour-blocking, all of which help to carry off its high neckline. The short shorts with a wide-cut jacket [again, with colour blocking] give the illusion of leaner, thus longer legs despite the less than ideal choice of shoes. And the tricky, ankle-length trousers are just about rescued by the lengthening effect of the same colour worn all over, coupled with the unusual, strapless, floor-length hi-lo top that all eyes are immediately drawn to:

Volume is a question too. As Kaley is quite curvy for her height, too much volume, fabric and too large patterns can completely overwhelm her and throw her figure off balance:

At the same time, completely straight cuts can also visually shorten her legs:

Overall, lovely Kaley's most figure-flattering looks tend to be short or maxi, and fluid rather than tight, with barely-there heels, as the below gallery further demonstrates -- lower but not too low necklines score extra points. A quick final note goes to the peplum dress, saved by the peplum and the clever, torso-shortening colour blocking - worth taking a note of.