8 Tricks to Dressing Taller (That Don't Involve Heels)

Under 5 foot 4? Here's our gift to you

Did you know that over 70 percent of women in the United States are considered petite (meaning, five foot four inches tall and under)? Mind blown. If you’re a shortie out there, we’ve got some clever tips to help you fake a few more inches--and one of them is actually wearing flats. Mmmhmmm. You’re welcome.


1. Try A V-neck Top

The open, upside-down triangle creates a high focal point up and away from your midsection and gives the illusion of a longer, slimmer upper body. The more skin displayed between chin and chest (within reason), the more elegant your proportions will seem overall.

2. Go Monochromatic

Wearing all one color is a clever way to enhance your body by creating a vertical line. This distracts the eye, and often gives you the appearance of being taller. Who knew?

3. Befriend The Cropped Pant

Open your eyes to the life-changing magic of a cropped pant. A hint of ankle is always flattering (it’s your leg’s smallest part) and seeing that extra inch or two of skin will trick the eye into thinking that your limbs are longer because they don’t fit in normal clothes. (It's funny because it's true.) Pro tip: Make sure they’re not too cropped--anything resembling a Capri pant is a no-no.

4. Master The Cuff

Speaking of cropped pants, cuffing your boyfriend and straight-leg jeans is also a key trick. The sweet spot where your pants should land is about a half inch above your joint--the aforementioned smallest part of your leg.

5. Opt For Flared Denim

Bell shapes create the illusion of a longer leg--especially when the hem hits the top of your shoes. (Heels are a must here, sorry.) The trick is to keep the fit of the jean slim through the leg and to make sure the waistband hits around your belly button--not any lower. For optimal height, be sure to pair your flares with a waist-length top or a blouse you can tuck in.


6. Don't Shy Away From The Miniskirt

When it comes to skirts and dresses, it’s just a fact--you should either go super-long or super-short. (Translation: Shorties should avoid calf-length and knee-lengths.) Mini-skirts show more skin, therefore creating the illusion of a longer leg. But of course, make sure it’s not an offensive illusion.

Song of Style

7. Take Solace In Pointy Flats

Since nobody can be expected to wear sky-high heels every day, the shorter set should invest in a pair of pointy flats. Why? Because it’s a simple fact that shoes with pointed toes elongate your leg line.

8. Ditch The Gigantic Tote

Keeping your accessories appropriately scaled to your body size is always a smart move--starting with that oversized bag. Here’s why: Every time you cause the eye to take in width, you reduce the amount of height it takes in. That means smaller cross-body bags, clutches and small top-handle totes are your best bets.

susan waits

Lousy baker, stellar shopping buddy

You can find Susan either blissfully buried in a pile of clothes or on a plane between L.A. and NYC.