I’ve always admired tall women; there’s something regal and elegant about being statuesque, just look at Taylor Swift (5’11″), Nicole Kidman (5’11″) and Jordin Sparks (6′) to name a few. For those of us nearer 5′ who like the idea of adding a little extra height to their appearance I thought I’d share a few clever styling tricks with you.

Draw attention to the top half of your body

Looking taller is all about drawing the eye upward and, the higher, the better. Use eye-catching statement accessories, bold colors, high-shine textures, and finishes, and/or interesting and detailed necklines and collars to draw attention to the area above your bust line.

eyes up1Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

 Wear a solid color or go monochrome

A monochromatic with your outfit will instantly makes you look taller since it does not break up your silhouette at any point. Wearing one color creates one long fluid line from top to bottom that is very flattering and makes for an impressive statement that tricks the eye into one continuous visual.

monotone

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Avoid too many horizontal blocks of color

favorite technique of many stylists is managing color blocking within an outfit. The more horizontal blocks of colors within an outfit the shorter and heavier you will appear. In the photos below the number shown is how many blocks of color within each outfit, clearly demonstrating this effect.

How to Look Taller_Color BlockingSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Wear a light/bright color above your waist

Wearing a lighter color above the waist; again draws the eye upward. To increase the effect make your bottom garment a dark color.

This Not This

Keep clothes close to your body

If you wish to look taller, highlighting your frame will serve you better than hiding it in baggy clothes. Loose clothing actually makes you look shorter than you are since it doesn’t show off the shape and it tends. Today’s stretchy fabrics are a far cry from those of even 5 years ago, with many having superior stretch within firm fabrics. These qualities provide larger girls with the perfect balance of slim fit and a flattering silhouette.

How to Look Taller_Keep Clothes CloseSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3 

Wear V necklines and open shirt collars

These slimming and height enhancing necklines draw the up and out, making you look taller.  The wider the V, the broader your shoulder will look.

Our eyes are naturally drawn to color contrast and so, by wearing a V-neck top in a contrasting color to your skin, it further enhances the look.

How to Look Taller_V Necks

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3.

How To Look Taller_V Neck Contrast

Source: Image 1, Image 2

Wear high hip or shorter tops

Not for everyone, Hip length or shorter tops create the illusion of a longer torso. These are best worn by women who have a long torso.  The more youthful and slimmer you are the shorter the top can be and look good.  However, be mindful not to drown your torso; shaped tops or cinching the waist will work best when an illusion of extra height is desired.

How to Look Taller_Short topsSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3  

Wear heels the higher, the better

This one is a no-brainer. Is there a better way to look taller than slipping into a pair of high heels? If you want to create the illusion of even longer legs, opt for nude or skin tone heels that’ll blend into your coloring like a second skin.  

How to Look Taller_High heelsSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Wear platform shoes – but not chunky styles

If you’re uncomfortable with stilettos or high heels, platform shoes are a great option to get that height you’re coveting. Be wary of chunky styles though since they add bulk to your ankles, therefore shortening your legs and consequently, your overall frame.

How To Look Taller_Platform Shoes

Source: Image 1, Image 2

Add height to your hair or style it short

Adding height to the top of your head via full hair is a great way to look taller since it forces the focus to the top of your head. You can even magnify the effect of your short hair and emphasize your face even more with bold makeup looks like a bright lip or smoky eyes. When you chose to wear your hair up you will create not only extra visual height but you will also elongate your face, neck and slim your upper torso. Try a topknot for casual events, or add height with a front pouf for that undone glam look.

How To Look Taller_Hair Styles

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Wear an upturned hat or hair accessories

The main aim of looking taller is to make the viewer’s eyes move upward and focus there. Hats and hair accessories are helpful for this purpose. These outfit accouterments are also a great way to give your look a dash of the current trends. In addition, wearing hats that are wider than your shoulder width will also make you appear shorter.

How To Look Taller_Hats1

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Wear medium-small to small to small prints

Oversized prints can overwhelm your body and make you look shorter (easily seen with the dress on Keira Knightly below), especially if you are petite. Medium-small to small prints are the best in lengthening. Medium to small prints don’t scatter the eye, and it’ll keep the eye focused on the overall silhouette.

How To Look Taller_Print SizeSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Match the color of your belt to your outfit and keep them medium to narrow

Wearing a belt can break up your body length (see the first image below), so when added height is your goal, it’s best to blend the color of your belt with your garment/outfit to not to disturb the continuity of your outfit. Lastly, when choosing belts keep it medium to narrow. 

How To Look Taller_Belts

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Wear full-length pants, short shorts or knee length and higher hemlines

To begin, long, slim to straight leg pants will always trump skirts (even long ones) when it come to creating an illusion of greater height.

In between silhouettes, like midi skirts or culottes, can confuse the eye and cut up body length as evident with the pants below (same wearer). Full-length pants and/or skirts and short shorts or dresses will give you a solid silhouette and create the illusion of longer legs. Anything in between can be tricky and may make you look shorter.

How To Look Taller_Pants and Skirts Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Wear high waists; dresses, skirts, and pants

Applying the same principle as wearing hip length tops, wearing high waist dresses, skirts, and pants will lengthen the torso producing an overall slimming and elongating effect.

How To Look Taller_High Waists

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Go vertical

What better way to look longer and taller than using vertical patterns? Don’t limit yourself to stripes. Use button front garments, pleating, and slits, open front jackets to create a singular line that effectively makes you look tall and sleek.

How To Look Taller_VerticleSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

 

Keep your breasts high

Making sure that your girls are properly supported is more than just an issue of comfort. Saggy and ill-fitting bras will destroy even the most flattering streamlined silhouettes. Keep your breasts high and upright. Invest in great underwear, and believe me, this will help in your posture as well.

How To Look Taller_Correct BraSource

Stand up straight, with your chin up

 Even if you follow all these tips to the letter, faltering on this last tip may be your downfall. Posture is everything. Standing straight with your chin up and shoulders back is the quickest and easiest way to look instantly taller. Slouching does no one good. Standing upright lets you avoid back problems, all while radiating confidence and giving you a taller and more elegant appearance.

How To Look Taller_PostureSource

Apply these tips, and put on your widest smile. You’ll be the center of attention. Are there any tips I missed? If I have, feel free to add your own in the comments below.

Ann2015Blue

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Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP
Author


16 Comments

  • Dana says:

    These tips are exactly what I need! You’re a genius Ann!

  • Barbara Ann says:

    These tips are very suitable for me I am of average height and a little chubby. Although I know the basics of dressing up to look taller and slimmer I learned more by reading this. Tips about the hats are very new to me though. =) This is great Ann..Thanks..=)

  • Jenn says:

    This is a pretty comprehensive list of useful tips for someone like me who only stands 5’2″. Totally agree with posture and confidence too – should always go hand in hand in looking extra fab!
    Just a question though,, could you recommend what type of shoes will work for shorter girls who are not used to wearing high heels and platforms?

    • pretastyler says:

      Hi Jenn,
      The thing I love about having so many options to look taller is that any of them will help get you there. Sure, high heels are the first thing we all think of but if you employ several of the other tips you’ll still get the desired effect.

    • Wendy says:

      I love ballet flats and read somewhere to wear pointed toe shoes instead of rounded toes. I’m 5’3.

  • Hermina says:

    Great tips Ann! I thought only tall heels would make me look taller but as someone who loves flats, I now realize I have more options.

  • Joanne says:

    Great post! I didn’t know about most of these styling tricks. I will definitely try some of these. Thanks Ann!

  • Joan Padilla says:

    This blog is very helpful, especially for people who are not so keen in fashion like me. I never knew that subtle changes like making your belt match slightly to the color of your dress can make you look taller. I hope you can give more tips that will help a casual dresser like me, make my casual wear somewhat fashionable. A great blog!

  • Pat says:

    Great suggestions, Ann.
    Your tips can be applied in so many ways and for different reasons. Straight skeletal body types look best with fewer blocks of color or pattern change. Since monochromatic dressing also makes one look taller, this is a win win mode of dressing for a variety of effects.
    Thanks for all your hard work and for your generosity in sharing your knowledge with us.
    A faithful fan,
    Pat

  • Ellen says:

    Thanks for the helpful tips on how to add more height for a petite like me. I’ve learned so much from you, Ann. Thanks again.

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