I am all about positive self-body image. To be honest, I am a huge advocate of loving yourself the way that you are. However, I must admit I have height envy towards my taller friends (you know who you are). There is just something majestic, powerful, confident, and elegant about appearing taller. I am 5’ 4.5”. The little height I have is all in my torso. I have stunted short legs. You would know this if you were my husband or you worked as a car valet. No one can get into the driver’s seat after me as I have to move the position of the seat more forward than usual, just so that my feet can touch the pedals.
Even though I’m 5’ 4.5” (I am not giving up my .5”!!), people perceive me as being taller than my actual stubby height. It has to do with the way I wear my outfits and carry myself, which gives me the appearance of someone with a lengthening silhouette.
Simple Tips to Look Taller
- Hair Up
- Shorter and Longer Jackets and Sweaters
- High Heels
- Pointed-Toe Shoes
- Neutral Color Footwear
Pillar, Pole or Column Outfit
Pretty much as it sounds. You are trying to look like a long, lean pole. Not a pole dancer (that is a totally different kind of blog post), but a tall pole. This straight line will make you look taller and slimmer because of the uniform color and columnar shape it brings to your body. Read more about slimming outfits here. Several wardrobe items qualify as a column outfit, such as a slender jumper or maxi dress. For this look to be pulled off successfully, the hemline must be longer (not cropped, capri, or midi, which cuts off the length of your legs). Luckily this outfit tends to flatter almost every body type. It is the one-pot wonder of wardrobes. Just prep, zip, and go.
A kissing cousin to the column outfit is dressing monochromatically. It elongates the body by having a continuous color spectrum from head to toe. Versus clothes which the body is cut into halves like a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt. Although this outfit with a few modifications (see below with high-waisted) can also make you look taller. Monochromatic does not have to infer black all the time. Vivid blues and lighter blacks, like a deep gray, will look better on shorter women than black that “shrink” the total appearance.
A pretty obvious one, yet difficult to carry off without looking like a candy striper. If you have been following me for anytime now, you know that I am not a fan of stripes or patterns. Stripes are typically a bold statement, and they can easily steal the show. If you are fearless (which I am not), then vertical stripes are for you. However, there are minor ways to incorporate vertical lines positive attributes, so work toward your taller appearance without being so daring. Opt for a thin or straightforward stripe pattern on the garment. A fan favorite recently is one stripe down the outside seam of jeans, pants, and skirts. It is a simple way to incorporate a vertical line without being obtrusive.
Stealing this practice from menswear will help to elongate the body. Shorter men (like Tom Cruise or George Clooney) keep the button stance of a sports jacket above the navel. This technique draws the eye higher up on the body, as well as lengthens the appearance of the legs. A high waisted jean, pant, or skirt has a similar effect. Because your waistline is typically the smallest part of your torso, it also flatters your silhouette. You are welcome.
Create a waistline with your outfits. Avoiding baggy, boxy, and oversized clothing is crucial if you are aiming for the appearance of height. Tuck your shirt in all the way or at least do a french tuck (just the front area is tucked). Tucking your top will highlight the waist, therefore lengthening the legs, and generally make your figure appear more delicate and slender. If wearing a belt, make sure it blends in with the color of your outfit as to not cut your proportions into two different sections.
Anytime you can extend your hemline as close to the floor as possible, it will make you look taller. I shopped my early adulthood in the petite section of retailers until I realized I was doing my short legs a disservice. I was wearing most of my pants too short, instead of a tiny or no break at my hem. I was cutting off my shorter legs instead of elongating them and with a longer hemline.
Shorter and Longer Jackets and Sweaters
Wearing voluminous or elongated jackets or sweaters shorten the legs and make the silhouette blurred and unwieldy. Choose jackets and sweaters that are small in volume, cropped, and fitted up to the waist or slightly below. On the flip side, longer cardigans present an easy solution to adding a few inches to your height without the help of high heels (similar to the pole outfit). Such clothing does a perfect job of creating that all-important uninterrupted vertical line, which visibly enhances your length. However, make sure the cardigan’s hemline extends almost to the floor and is not bulky. If not, you will be creating the mistake of cutting off your legs similar to capri pants.
V-neck and Hair Up
V-necks work great to make your neck look longer, add height, and stretch out your frame. Buttons from a button-down help to create an additional vertical line that will add length to your frame versus just a v-neck t-shirt. If you have long hair and you are trying to appear taller, pull your hair up. Long hair hides the neck, which you are trying to elongate. Furthermore, if you add a topknot, you will be adding several inches to your overall frame. If you do not want to pull your hair up, then draw attention upward with a stylish fedora.
Pointed-Toe and Neutral Color Footwear
Pointed shoes elongate your leg. This tip is super-practical because it does not only apply to heels. Pointed-toe flats are still a huge trend, especially in the form of slides. If your shoes are a similar color to your skin (neutral), they sort of blend. In turn, this makes your legs appear that much longer — especially if you’re wearing heels. Although, if you are wearing a longer hemline that is a darker color, then selecting a similar color shoe will extend the entire outfit to the floor and create a taller stature.
High Heel Shoes
Heels obviously lift the body. My staple high-heel was 4” for most of my adult life. However, now that I am a bit older, I hover around a 2-3” heel just because they are more comfortable (not that any high heel is comfortable). Which still puts me at 5’ -6” to almost to 5’ -8”. I am still a force to be reckoned with.
Simple Tips to Make You Look Taller
These were some simple ways you can dress to look taller, and the formula for dressing taller is not really that difficult to learn. It’s just a matter of sticking with a few of these rules when buying clothes, and putting an outfit together.
Of course, kindness, confidence, a big smile, and a good intention will surpass any formula for dressing taller.