Much has been made during the past decade or so about the idea of body positivity and learning to love the skin we’re in. This has allowed women—and men, as well—to celebrate their body, whether it be tall or petite, slim or plus, or some combination thereof.
However, we might still look for different ensembles that allow us to embrace our height and shape--whether we're talking about 5 feet or 6 feet and up.
Dark colors make you look leaner. While basic black is always a safe choice—you can’t go wrong with women’s black jeans —you’re not limited to that one color. Other rich shades, such as burgundy, hunter green, and navy, have the same slimming effect. For example, you can sport pair dark gray wool pants with a dark gray silk shirt, or a wine pencil skirt with a wine cashmere pullover. You can also achieve this by simply wearing a solid-color dress or jumpsuit.
Another color-related trick is to dress in columns of color. To create this look, start with your monochromatic outfit, and then layer on a second, complementary color. If, say, you’re wearing a navy pants and top combo, add a blazer or ladies’ open-front cardigan sweater in a different color—for example, fuchsia. The navy pieces under the blazer create a column that both slims and lengthens. A variation of this look involves the outer bottom layers in the same color. So, you might wear a fuchsia top with navy pants and a navy blazer, but the navy garments still create the column of color. The advantage of dressing in columns of color is that you’re not limited to darker colors to achieve a taller and leaner look.
Some styles of pants work better if you’re trying to look taller and leaner. High-rise jeans that hit at the waist are flattering because they hit at your natural waist instead of your hips. Another trick is to wear long, flared pants or bell-bottom jeans, especially with heels. These pants hug the body from the waist or hips through the thighs, then widen from the knee downward. On its own, the wider flare will make the rest of you look slimmer. In addition, the flare will pretty much hide your heels, adding the illusion of height.
It’s also important to pick a top that will work with your pants. For example, if you’re wearing high-waisted pants, try a crop top, which helps make your legs longer. Also, always tuck your top in. Having your shirt hang out just adds bulk. Similarly, it’s best to limit the use of heavy textures. While pullover sweaters will certainly keep you warmer in winter, you might try a smoother texture and material as opposed to a bulky knit. Another trick is to wear a V-neck top. Although shirts with a shorter V will draw the eye upward, a deeper, narrower V will lengthen the torso and draw the eye downward, helping the wearer seem taller and leaner.
It’s well known that vertical stripes can have a slimming effect. Vertical stripes elongate the body, and the eye is follows the line of the stripes. It’s also a good idea to avoid large prints, such as cabbage roses. Instead, opt for smaller prints, such as tiny florals or gingham checks.
Believe it or not, the shoes you wear can also help you look leaner and taller. One way is to match your shoes to your pants. For example, if you’re wearing navy dress pants, wear navy heels. Keeping one continuous color on your legs causes the shoes to extend your leg length optically. In contrast, when you’re wearing a skirt or dress, go for a nude-color shoe. (By nude, we mean whatever color matches your skin tone.) In this case, the nude tones will do the job of elongating your length.
Shoes aren’t the only accessories that help you look taller and leaner. Skip the choker and go for a longer necklace, which will draw the eye downward. Also, like a deep V-neck top, the V of the chain will elongate your body. Instead of a large tote bag slung over your shoulder, opt for a small crossbody bag. If you’re going to wear a belt, make sure it’s the same color as your pants so the belt doesn’t visually pop and bisect your body.
In addition to the above style tips, there are some common-sense things you can do. Pay attention to your posture. Slumping or hunching over will make you look shorter, not taller. Proportion is also important. Ideally, you want a clothing ratio of 1/3 top to 2/3 bottom, which will make your legs look longer. By contrast, a 50-50 proportion will visually chop your body in half and make you look shorter. However, the most important tip is to dress for yourself. If you prefer clothing with horizontal-stripes and large floral prints, rock them with confidence! At the end of the day, your self-assurance will help you feel confident no matter what you have on.