We all know there are certain things that simply can’t be changed—as much as you might want to.
One great example: your height, which can sometimes feel like a serious impediment to your style — especially for the vertically-challenged, who often complain that a certain street style star’s look would “only look good on someone tall.”
READ: Hats Off to the Topknot
Until science comes up with a way for petite folks to add a few extra inches, your best bet is to rely on a few clever fashion tips and tricks to fake those extra inches. Below are 14 ways to instantly look taller using nothing but what you’ve got in your closet.
(Anita Bohemian Flared Jean from Gilt.com)
Try Flared Jeans
Fitted jeans with a distinct flare at the bottom create the illusion of a longer leg — especially when the hem hits the top of your shoes (heels, of course!) The trick here is to keep the fit of the jean super-slim through the leg, and to make sure the waistband hits your natural waist — not any lower. For optimal height, be sure to pair your flares with a waist-length top, or a blouse you can tuck in.
Don't Discount Maxi Skirts
It’s common fashion folklore that small women simply cannot wear floor-grazing skirts and dresses, but luckily that’s been proven entirely false. In fact, a well-cut maxi skirt can actually give you the appearance of looking taller, as evidenced by petite gals like Rachel Bilson, Rachel Zoe, and Mary-Kate Olsen. Choose solid versions that skim the length of your body, which will create a long vertical line (forego anything with thick pleats or too many layers.) Be sure to keep your top fitted—a tucked-in T-shirt and a cropped leather jacket, for example—so as to not drown in fabric. Also, make sure the skirt’s hemline is as long as you can go without tripping, and add a pair of wedges or heels underneath.
(Cole Haan Chelsea Patent Low-Heel Pump from NeimanMarcus.com.)
Choose Heels With a Low-Cut Vamp
Here’s a small trick that can change the way you shoe shop: Shoes that have a low-cut vamp instantly elongate your leg (and make them look slimmer, as well) when you’re wearing skirts, shorts, and dresses. What’s a vamp? It’s the portion of a shoe that cuts across your foot at the front. So, a low vamp cuts across the base of the toes, while high vamp can come up the foot and possibly up to the ankle. If you’re able to find a pair that matches your skin tone, like the image above, that’s even better to give the illusion of mile-long legs.
If You're Going Short, Go Short
When you’re petite, it’s just a fact that — when it comes to skirts and dresses — you should either go super-long, or super-short (translation: avoid calf-length and knee-lengths). Mini-skirts show more skin, which creates the illusion of a longer leg. While ankle straps typically aren’t ideal for short ladies (they cut off your leg), they can work with super-short skirts since more skin is being shown. Of course, if you’re wearing a mini, make sure it’s not offensively short—let’s keep it chic, ladies.
Rock a Topknot
Obvious, yes, but piling your hair on top of your head really does gives a taller impression, again creating a more vertical line. Same goes for hair that’s simply voluminous—it adds inches! Time to put away that flatiron, friends.