If you´re looking for tips on how to dress when you are short, this style guide is for you. I will teach you how to look taller.
Regardless of your body type, if your height is less than 5´4″, you´re on the petite side. Although there´s no way you can (without invasive surgery) change your height, there is one thing that you can do to make make yourself appear taller than your actual height—maximize your vertical silhouette.
Because unlike taller women, you need to work more on your vertical line to create an illusion of a taller height. Whether you´re dressing for the office or just a day-out shopping with friends, once you learned how to maximise your vertical line and avoid the clothes that will cut off your line, you will look slimmer and longer.
Being petite shouldn´t stop you from looking fabulous. Follow these styling tricks for petite women and be ready to rock that magical tall look.
1. Wear Monochrome
In order to achieve an un-broken vertical line, go for a monochromatic look. Having the same color in your outfit creates a longer line because the eyes are able to skim through your look from head to toe without being distracted.
If you find monochrome a bit dull though, you can easily create interest to your monochromatic outfit by combining different textures and fabrics for your top and bottom. For example, if you wear a red silk tank top, pair it with some red denim skirt.
2. How to Dress When You Are Short: Create Tonal Combination
This is another way of highlighting your vertical line, similar to tip #1. But this trick is not about monochrome, it´s about combining together different separates in the same family of color and of almost the same shade.
They´re not exactly the same color, yet they are very similar because they`re just lighter or a bit darker hue of each other. Continue the tonal look down to your shoes.
3. Choose Vertical Stripes
This is very obvious. If you’re wearing garment with vertical prints and patterns, you look taller than your real height. The eyes are made to believe that your line is longer. Opt for a vertically printed halter dress or vertical striped (preferably thin stripes) tunic top, paired with some dark skinny jeans.
However, if you are short and voluptious, you have to be careful in wearing stripes. Studies have found that vertical stripes can make the wearer appear wider.
Check this guide for more tips on how to wear stripes.
4. Opt for Clothes with Vertical Lines or the Illusion of …
Some garments are made with clear vertical line designs. These clothes, for example, are more elegant and professional looking than stripes. The side panels or subtle contrasting layering is effortless yet effective in giving you those coveted vertical lines.
5. Wear Smaller-Scaled Graphics and Prints
Oversized or exploded multicolored prints will subdue your size, making you look smaller and shorter than you really are. Your best picks are smaller-scaled graphics and prints such as smaller dots and floral.
6. Choose Garments that Fit Close to the Body
In choosing clothes, go for narrow silhouettes worn close to the body. Meaning, clothes that fit right. Avoid oversized clothes even if they are trending because they will overwhelm your small frame or make you appear small and stout.
7. Wear Your Print on Top
Draw the eye upward by wearing prints and patterns on top. This prevents your audience from focussing on your legs, which are not long. For example, wear a cute pastel print top with white skinny jeans. Tucked in.
Make sure that your shoes match your bottom in order to avoid cutting the vision of your legs.
8. Choose Seaming, Single Breasted or with Zip Front Coats and Jackets
Fake your vertical line by opting for single breasted, seamed coats or zip-front jackets. These coats create a longer vertical silhouette than their double-breasted associates.
9. Wear Above-the-Knee, Knee-Length or Drape Long Skirts that Reveal 3-4 inches of Legs
You can also wear a knee-length skirt or a drape long skirt that shows off 3-4 inches of legs. Steer away from maxi skirts that hit around your ankle.
The skirt lengths in the picture above are ideal for when you are short. But ignore the ankle strap shoes, they´re not ideal.
10 The Right Hemline When Your Are Short
For most women, the perfect hemline is just on the knees for both skirts and dresses. This is because the eyes of the beholder look for that narrow pattern where the hem meets the legs. The knee is the thinnest point. By contrast, if you hem a skirt at mid-calf, your legs will appear heavier.
What about mini dresses? Well, it’s perfectly okay to wear mini dresses as long as you pair it with some skin tone color or create a monochromatic look because this is what makes the legs look long.
11. Wear the Right Shoes
As a petite woman you´re often advised to wear high heels to supplement your height. But be careful, extra-high heels or skyscraper shoes defeat the purpose. They are completely disproportioned to your height, which make you appear shorter.
The perfect heel height if you are short that might be proportioned to your height are 2-3 inches.
Choose shoes with pointed toe, they´re more leg lengthening than the rounded toe. Look for styles with low vamp, that is, the opening near your toe is long and narrow. This elongates the appearance of your leg and foot.
12. Avoid ankle straps
A Shape Magazine stylist once said that ankle straps make your legs look shorter. But “What about gladiator shoes?“. Aren’t these shoes always trendy?
“This is all about style temptation!” the stylist exclaimed. “But okay, if you really wanna wear gladiator shoes, make sure you wear them with jeans.”
13. Wear Nude D’Orsay cut shoes.
I knew that D’Orsay shoes are really sexy but I used to NOT know that they work best in making the legs look longer and leaner. The reason mainly is that they visually continue the line of your leg to the toes, thus tricking the eye into thinking that your legs are longer than they actually are.
14. How to Dress when you are Short: Go for Pants with the Perfect length
Hem pants should be ½ inch off the ground. If you keep your pants as long as possible, you create a thin line. You should as well wear high heels. The heels are hidden by the pants and this is a very effortless way to fake long legs.
What about capris? Avoid them, at all cost!
15. Create an illusion of long and lean legs
How do you do it? Make up and tanner! It’s not about visiting to tanning saloon or heading quick to the nearby beach and spread some blankets for a whole day tanning session with the sun. Nope.
It’s about strategic way of applying shimmering body lotions, make up and tanner and especially just on the front of your legs, the shin part, because that create reflecting lights that make the legs look longer and leaner.
If you’re kind of confused how it works, just think of how you use make up—dark shades—to fake a pointed nose.
Let me know what you think of this trick in making your legs look longer. Would you give them a try?
16. Do Not Colorblock Your Top and Bottom
When color blocking became a trend, everyone hurried to copy it.. However, if you are petite, color blocking your top and bottom brokens your vertical line, making you appear shorter.
But if you really love to color block, you can create a colorblock combo of analogic colors (colors in the same family/shade) instead of clashing complementary colors. See tip #2.
17. Avoid Thick Horizontal Lines
The thicker the horizontal lines, the wider the body appears. Petite women should opt for vertical designed prints and pattern to lengthen their vertical silhouette instead.
18. Be Careful of Oversized or Exploded Multicolored Prints
Florals and boho prints are still one of the hottest trends of the season however, petites should be careful in choosing the prints to wear. Oversized and exploded multicolored prints will wear your height making you appear shorter. Instead, go for smaller-scaled graphics and prints.
19. Do Not Wear Long (Ankle Length) Skirts When You Are Short
Long ankle length skirts will make you appear shorter. Knee length skirts and dresses would look great on petites. If you feel the urge to wear long skirt or a long maxi dress, go for something that hits halfway your shin. The sight of your lower legs down to your ankle will do the trick.
20. Don´t Push for Too High, High Heels or Rounded Platform Pumps
Being height-challenged, we sometime lean to high heels to add a few inches. However, if you´re height is 5´2″ and you wear shoes with 5 inches heels, the shoes would look disproportioned to your height. Shoes with 2-3 inches heels are perfect for you. Also, avoid rounded shoes, go for pointed toe shoes to give you even taller silhouette.
Which of the above fashion tips for petites are most helpful to you?
I hope these twenty tips on how to dress when you are short will empower you to dress up with the goal of maximising your vertical line. Because although you are short, you are stylish.