Petite Styling Tips to Look Taller
If you’re petite or just want to feel and look taller, this post (and corresponding video) is for you! I’m sharing 15 tips to help you look taller and feel more powerful. These tips are geared toward petite women, which means 5’4” and under…but they’re applicable for anyone, really. I’m 5”4’ so I’m at the high end of the petite range, but I am still petite. I have found so many useful tricks over the years to help elongate my frame and look taller and slimmer. I like to look taller because it always makes me feel more confident and powerful. Let’s dive in…
Tip #1) Match Shoes to Pants
We’re going to start at the feet and work our way up. So first, we’re talking about matching your shoes to your pants. It’s a seemingly small detail but it really does have an impact. In the look on the left, I’m wearing a beige bodysuit with white jeans and some brown booties. This look is totally fine but if I want to look taller, swapping the brown booties for a pair of beige booties is the way to go. The beige is in that white color family that goes with the rest of the outfit and makes my legs look so much longer.
Note: Remember that there’s nothing wrong with the “before” outfits…I’m simply showing you tweaks you can make with the goal of looking taller.
Tip #2) Pointed-Toe Shoes
This may seem like another small tip that doesn’t matter. But if you want to maximize the length of your legs, a pointed-toe shoe will really help. More specifically… a closed-toe, point-toe, matching-tone shoe. You can see in the look on the left, I’m wearing a pair of high-rise jeans with an open-toed, contrasting-colored sandal. It breaks up the length of the denim. If you swap the gold sandals for a pair of black pointed-toe pumps (right), the shoes kind of disappear, and my legs are elongated by at least two inches. This is a super simple way to add length to your frame! If you can’t wear pointed-toe pumps, you can get the same effect with an almond-toe, round-toe, or square-toe…as long as it’s closed-toe and in the same color family as your pants or jeans.
Tip #3) Wear a Low-Cut Shoe
Wearing low-cut shoes with skirts or dresses as opposed to high-cut or ankle-strap heels will make your legs look much longer. On the left, I’m wearing a mini dress with some very high, black platform heels with an ankle strap. Even though these shoes add 5”, they’re cutting off my leg at the ankle. The color is also truncating the length of my leg. When I swap those out for a pair of lower heels with a lower cut in the front (middle), it looks so much better! The look is more streamlined, and my legs are elongated even though the heel is technically shorter than the platforms.
Ankle Strap Tip
Ankle straps in general will cut off the legs. But if you want to wear ankle strap shoes, make sure you go with a pair that’s in your skin tone so it kind of blends into your legs. You can see above on the far right that the wedges I’m wearing are closer to my skin tone and aren’t breaking up the long line of my legs like the black ankle strap platforms are.
Tip #4) Match Your Shoes to Your Skin Tone
Similar to what I mentioned in the last tip, you want to always think about the color of your shoes. When you wear skirts and dresses especially, you should wear shoes that more closely match your skin color. You can see on the left that the black heels still cut off the leg and make them look shorter. On the right, I’m wearing shoes that match my skin more closely and make my legs look much longer.
Tip #5) Wear High-Rise Pants & Jeans
Now that we’ve covered shoe choices that are best for petite women…let’s move on to pants and jeans! These next two tips are the most important in this entire post…wear high-rise pants and jeans versus low-rise! When you wear high-rise pants and jeans, you create the illusion of more length and longer legs. (Note: this doesn’t mean you wear high-rise jeans and then cover it up with a tunic…you have to wear the high-rise jeans with a top that still highlights the waist.) Some rises will look different for different body shapes because we all have varying lengths of legs and torsos. You can be petite with long legs or petite with a long torso. It really just depends. So, it’s important for you to find what rise works best for you. In general, high-rise ranges from 9” and up, mid-rise is around 8”, and low-rise is 7” and lower. You should stay in the mid to high-rise range to create the most length.
Tip #6) Leg Silhouettes
Make sure your pant or jean silhouettes are straight, bootcut, wide, or flared. Those leg shapes will fall further to the ground…it sounds like a no brainer. But if you have this longer silhouette, it creates the look of a longer leg. When I want to feel really tall, powerful, and confident, I pull out a pair of high-rise, dark-wash, wide, straight, or flared jeans. On the left, I’m wearing a pair of ankle-length pants with a cropped blouse and black booties. On the right, I’m wearing the same top and shoes paired with some high-rise, dark-wash, straight-leg jeans and I look SO much taller!
Tip #7) Wear Similar Colors from Head-to-Toe
I’ve talked a lot about wearing monochromatic outfits in the past. For this post and video, I wanted to focus on spring and summer colors, but you can wear a head-to-toe look in any color you prefer. But I do challenge you to try a monochromatic look in some spring/summer-like colors instead of the typical black or navy.
In the look on the left, I’m wearing a pair of bright pink high-rise, flared pants with a gorgeous white crocheted sweater and some pink pumps. To make myself look taller, I swapped the pants for a pair of high-rise wide-leg white jeans and neutral-colored shoes. One of my biggest tips for monochromatic dressing is to vary the tones and textures of whatever color you’re wearing. You can see on the right that my sweater, jeans, and shoes don’t all match perfectly…and that’s okay because it adds more depth to the look and is much more stylish.
Tip #8) Try a Jumpsuit
This is one of my favorite tips for petite women. Jumpsuits can be tricky if you have a long torso or are really tall. But they’re great for shorter women! You might have to get a jumpsuit hemmed depending on how it fits you, but there are so many cropped jumpsuit options now too. Plus, they’re SO flattering and can make you look really tall. On the left, I’m wearing some separates…a pair of Mother wide-leg jeans, an Ulla Johnson blouse, and some heels. This look is fabulous but there’s room for improvement if I really want to look taller! On the right, I’m wearing a comfortable Paige jumpsuit that’s perfect for spring, cropped, super soft, and so chic. It’s one piece so it creates one long, lean line. I paired it with some neutral, low-cut heels to continue the line and add even more length.
Tip #9) Wear a Shorter Hemline
For petite women, wearing shorter hemlines is much more flattering than wearing longer midi-length hemlines. Sometimes, a maxi hemline can make you look taller, but a mini dress or skirt is almost always the most flattering. On the left, I’m wearing a midi-length dress that hits me at mid-calf. This exact dress is neutral, so it does elongate my frame a bit. But a midi dress will truncate your legs. On the right, I’m wearing a mini dress by Maje that has a really flattering vertical print (another tip: always go for vertical stripes versus horizontal stripes to look taller). You can see that the shorter hemline makes my legs look so much longer than they do with the midi dress.
Tip #10) Cropped Jackets
The next tip is to wear cropped jackets versus mid-length or long jackets and blazers. On the left, I’m wearing a Veronica Beard jacket that’s mid-length and comes to my upper thigh area. I love this jacket SO much but it does kind of separate the body and make me look shorter. There are a few options…I can wear the jacket open and tuck my top or blouse into my jeans and add a waist belt to accentuate the waist. OR…I could wear a cropped jacket to really highlight the waist! On the right, I’m wearing the same jacket, but I zipped off the bottom part to make it a cropped jacket. Yep, this is a convertible, 2-in-1 jacket…SO cool and chic!
Tip #11) Tuck In Your Top
Tucking in your top will make your legs look longer. But I know that many of you either don’t like to tuck in your top or feel that you can’t because of the tummy area. In that case, wear a top that’s shorter (not super long like a tunic), and then add that cropped jacket we just talked about to help accentuate your waist. If you can tuck your top, I highly recommend it. Then, add a waistbelt, and BAM…legs for days!
By the way, I’ve done an entire video on how to hide a tummy if you’re interested you can watch that here.
Tip #12) V or Scoop Neck Tops
If you’re petite, it’s better to wear a V or scoop neck shirt versus or crew or mock neck top. They V or scoop are more elongating for the torso and minimizing for the bust (if you have a big bust). It’s not a hugely impactful detail, but when you add this to some of the other tips I’ve shared, they really add up to create the perfect, lengthening look! On the left, I’m wearing a crewneck tee I love. But on the right, you can see that the v-neck is much more elongating.
Tip #13) Small to Mid-Size Handbags
For those of you who are shorter, you probably want to carry a more mid-sized handbag versus a huge, oversized tote. You can definitely still wear your big totes, but for better proportions, smaller is better. On the left, you can see I’m carrying a giant Fendi tote that I bought for travel, and love how much space it has. BUT, if I want to look as tall as possible, I’d go with something like what I’m wearing on the right!
Tip #14) Wear Heels
One of the easiest and most impactful things you can do to look taller is to wear heels. It’s a fail-safe way to add some inches. If you don’t love wearing heels, try to find a pair that are super comfortable and make you feel supported like wedges, block heels, or smaller platforms. On the left, I’m wearing a pair of Sam Edelman metallic flat sandals and there’s nothing wrong with this look or these shoes. But the wedges I’m wearing on the right definitely make me look taller!
Tip #15) Tailored Clothing
If you’re petite and you wear something super oversized, it can swallow you up and make you look shapeless. I’ve found that often, women wear these billowy oversized pieces to cover something up. But unfortunately, those oversized pieces have the opposite effect. You can see that on the left, I’m wearing a gorgeous zebra print Sezane dress that I really do love, but it doesn’t offer a lot of shape for my frame. I could add a belt or some outerwear to make it work for me, but I wanted to show you an example of a dress that’s even better. On the right, I’m wearing another dress by Sezane that has the same amount of coverage, is still billowy, and still feels summery. But because this dress is a little more tailored in the shoulders and waist, it creates more shape, is more flattering, and makes me look taller and leaner.
By the way, I shared a bonus tip in the corresponding video to this post so make sure you head over to YouTube and watch that! 😉
Which one of these tips are you going to try next? Is there a petite styling tips you use and love? Please share in the comments below!
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