Don’t take that headline about dressing to look taller the wrong way—here at StyleCaster, we’re all about body positivity. We love our bods just the way they are! But we’re only human, so sometimes that means lusting after things we can’t have. Namely, a few extra inches of height.
If you’re anything like us, you have a love-hate relationship with your height (or lack thereof). Some days, your petite frame makes you extra-squeezable, which works wonders in the S.O. department. But other days, you just want to pull a Karlie Kloss in a mini and some pumps—and, if you’re not 6’2″, the look can seem difficult to achieve.
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If you totally relate to that feeling, join the club—lately, we’ve been longing for length. But since there’s no way to actually gain (vertical) inches overnight, we’ve resorted to creativity—in the form of fashion, as usual.
Luckily, fashion stylist and editor Audree Kate is the most creative person we know, and she offered to help us out by sharing some of her fave fashion tips. Turns out, if you’re not naturally blessed with Kloss’s legs, the secret to looking super tall lies within your wardrobe.
Since we know fashion advice is easier given than followed, we decided to put Audree Kate’s top Dos and Don’ts to the test. Scroll down to see how each of her tips can give you the length you’re craving.
DO: Try Column Dressing
“Look for straight, tailored pieces that create a ‘column’ feel,” Audree Kate says. “It will create straight lines up and down your body, making you look taller.” She’s not wrong—have you ever noticed how parallel lines tend to make an object (or, in this case, your bod) look slimmer and longer?
This is probably my fave of her tips. Column dressing is just so dang flattering—on everybody. Plus, it’s super versatile. You’ve probably got a bunch of things in your closet right now that qualify and you didn’t even know it!
DO: Wear Vertical Stripes
Vertical stripes pretty much do the same thing as column dressing—they give the illusion that you’re super tall, even if you’re not. Stripes in general aren’t my fave, but if I’m going to wear them at all, you’d best believe they’ll be vertical.
DO: Opt for High-Waisted Jeans
High-waisted jeans are shamazing for multiple reasons—including their ability to make anyone look taller. “They hit you at your waist, which is typically the smallest area of your stomach,” Audree Kate adds. In other words? “It’s very flattering.”
And there’s nothing better than a flattering pair of jeans, except maybe the fact that you probably already have, like, 12 pairs, so this tip is a total freebie!
DO: Go Monochromatic
A monochromatic outfit creates a cohesive look, which keeps the eye running up and down (It’s basically the column logic all over again), The result: legs for days!
I’m definitely going to use this tip on the reg—monochromatic outfits are so in right now and they’re virtually impossible to screw up.
DO: Choose the Most Micro of Prints
Especially if you’re petite, teeny-tiny prints can make a surprisingly big statement. Whereas big prints tend to minimize, micro prints maximize (ahem, elongate).
On occasion, these micro prints can hit you in the wrong places, causing parts of your body to look wider than you’d like. If that’s the case for you, switch this tip out for another one on the list.
DO: Opt for Super-Tall Boots (Or Super-Short Ones)
According to Audree Kate, it’s crucial to pay attention to where your boots hit your leg. “Anything that hits mid-calf cuts your leg off,” she says. So it’s better to opt for shoes that land at your ankles. Over-the-knee boots are also a win—they never fail to make you look tall AF.
DO: Try Pointed-Toe Shoes
“Pointed shoes elongate your leg,” Audree says. And now that we think about it, that makes total sense. Pointed toes literally add an inch or two to your foot; in heel form, this translates to, like, four inches of extra height—two on the heel, two on the toe. (Or more, if you’re feeling ambitious.)
This tip is super-practical, because it doesn’t only apply to heels. Pointed-toe flats are a huge trend right now especially in the form of slides.
DO: Tuck in Your Shirt
Avoiding baggy, boxy, oversized clothing is crucial if you’re aiming for the appearance of height. You know how big prints tend to minimize? Big silhouettes do, too. So when it comes to cut, we’re going for tailored here, people.
If you’re in the anti-tuck camp, we totally feel you—it can definitely feel uncomfy at times. If you’re not interested in the prim-and-proper look, opt out of this one or settle on a French tuck. We’ll forgive you!
DO: Don a V-Neck
V-shaped necklines give the illusion of a longer torso. Longer = taller and taller = goals. Can’t argue with that math! Plus, V-necks are a super-easy way to incorporate the illusion of height into your wardrobe. You probably already own more than you can count.
DO: Choose Neutral Footwear
Think about it: If your shoes are a similar color to your skin, they sort of blend. In turn, this makes your legs appear that much longer—especially if you’re wearing heels.
This is another of my fave tips—and one that I already implement all the time.
DON’T: Wear Capris
We sort of mentioned this earlier when we told you to monitor your boots: Anything that cuts off your leg at the calf makes you appear even shorter than you actually are. In this instance, the capri-length jumpsuit (though adorbs) is not doing me any favors in the height department. So, thank u, next.
DON’T: Wear Anything Too Tight
Tight-fitting clothes, like bodycon dresses and skirts, attach themselves to the natural curvature of your body. This is the exact opposite of column dressing, so Audree Kate recommends avoiding anything skin-tight if you want to appear taller.
DON’T: Even Think About Horizontal Stripes
“Thick horizontal stripes draw the eye across you,” Audree Kate says. What you’re really aiming for is to draw the eye up and down, instead—hence our recommendation for vertical stripes. Like I said, stripes aren’t my favorite look regardless, so I’m happy to ditch them altogether.
DON’T: Wear All-Over Busy Prints
A busy print can be cute—in small doses. When worn all over, they can draw your eye across the figure instead of up and down it, making you appear slightly shorter (It’s a lot like the horizontal stripe thing).
However, I do love a good camouflage jumpsuit, so I’ll probably use this tip sparingly—or maybe just avoid prints on days when I want to channel Karlie Kloss.
DON’T: Try Chunky Accessories
Chunky accessories are fun and bold. But they’re not great for adding the illusion of inches. For height, Audree Kate suggests opting for daintier jewelry and more delicate footwear.
But, of course, you’re going for a maximalist look, screw height—own those sparkly eyeglasses, girl.
DON’T: Always Go Mini
In some cases, mini skirts and dresses can make your legs look a mile long. But Audree Kate recommends erring on the side of caution. “The goal is to create long lines on your body and not chop it up with a lot of skin throughout the look,” she says. Fair enough.
A version of this article was originally published in April 2013.
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