Styling Techniques to Make You Look Taller

Gloria Gao
by Gloria Gao

Sometimes when people see my photos on social media, they think that I’m at least 5’5’ or 5’6’. I’ll let you in on a secret - I’m 5’3’. This tutorial is for all of the shorties out there. I know that many short girls want to look taller, and it can be achieved by the way you dress. Before I dive into that, I want to emphasize that there is nothing wrong with being short, tall, skinny, or curvy. Women come in all shapes and forms, and we should embrace body diversity. So the question is not how to look like something you’re not but how to play with proportion and wear clothes that work for your body type. I’m going to show you exactly how to do that.

How to make yourself look taller

Tuck in shirt

Let’s start with the most basic t-shirt and jeans. How do you look more proportionate in that? Well, simple. The first step is to tuck in your shirt. That’s it? Well, the answer is yes, and it can make a huge difference. You can see my legs instantly look longer.

Look taller

High-waisted jeans

The next tip is to wear high-waisted pants because they visually make your legs look longer in proportion to your torso. The optimal fitting is when the waist of your pants sits right at the slimmest part of your natural waist. But don’t go any higher than that; otherwise, you’ll look like you’ve got no torso!

Make yourself look taller

Clothing fit

The next tip is to do with the fit of your clothes. As you can see, both my t-shirt and jeans are quite fitted. But fitted clothes don’t necessarily have to be tight. For example, this blazer is quite relaxed, but it still fits right at my shoulders because I had a tailor take it in to fit me better. It used to be more oversized, and it just looked like I had stolen somebody else’s jacket, but making some small tweaks really makes the difference. Tailoring can be very useful for shorter girls.

How to dress to look tall

Roll up sleeves & pants

A good tip to look longer and leaner is to roll up your sleeves and your pants. This will create an illusion that you are so tall that your shirt and your pants even look a bit short on you. 

How to make a short girl look taller

Wide-leg pants covering heels

Here I’m intentionally wearing a pair of wide-leg pants that are longer than my legs. I’m pairing them with my block heel booties to add literal height. This creates an illusion that my legs are longer than they really are. 

How to make you look taller

Pointed toe

Another great tip to make your legs look longer is to wear pointed-toe shoes. These pointed toes black pumps visually extend the length of my legs. I also love the fact that they’re super sleek. 

Monochromatic look

If you want to look longer and slimmer at the same time, nothing beats a monochromatic look - especially all black, because we all know that black has a slimming effect. Here I’m using my black turtleneck to create this one extended line. The high neck extends my upper body, and the wide-leg pants with heels underneath extend my lower body. It’s like this outfit is pulling my body longer from both ends.

Add belt to cinch in natural waist

Another trick you can use is to add a belt to cinch in your natural waist - this visually brings up your waistline and defines it. The same thing for coats and jackets, you can see that this coat tied at my waist makes me have a more defined waist.

Above the knee skirt

Above the knee, skirts are perfect for shorter girls. First, they’re cute, and they also expose more of your legs so that people can see you actually have legs. Usually, I would wear flats with miniskirts, and I would look proportionate enough. But these pointed-toe pumps I’m wearing make the elongation effect even more dramatic.

Add a hat

You can also wear a hat to add some more literal height. Here I’m wearing a newsboy cap and it makes my head look a bit longer.

I hope you can see that there are so many ways that you can play with proportion. Before I go, I have a final tip for you. Sometimes you see a tiny person with a very strong presence, and this has nothing to do with how big they are or how they dress, but how confident and secure they are in themselves. When you dress for your body type and have that oozing confidence in you, you will look, act and feel powerful.

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Join the conversation
  • Janet Glaze King Janet Glaze King on May 08, 2021

    Taupe shoes will help your legs look longer too.

  • Leslie Leslie on May 09, 2021

    Hi Gloria, I have read a couple of your posts and you really know how to put your clothes together and how to wear them so that the line of your body is not chopped up. I especially appreciate you saying to wear wide legged pants to cover the heel of your shoes. To many people wear the look with high water hem pants and they look awful. Thank you for sharing your good taste and knowledge.