Style Tips for Looking Taller and Leaner

Style Tips for Looking Taller and Leaner

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 embrace their body, whether it be tall or petite, slim or plus, or some combination thereof.

For those of us who are petite, plus, or petite plus, occasions still arise when we want to look taller and leaner because body positivity notwithstanding, when it comes to job interviews, for instance, unconscious biases still exist. That being the case, read on for some style tips on looking taller and leaner.

Choose the Right Colors

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, 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 is to have the outer bottom layers 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.

Pick the Right Pants

Some styles of pants work better if you’re trying to look taller and leaner. High-rise jeans that hit at the waist are more flattering than low cut, which tend to hit closer to the hip, which is wider. Another trick is to wear long, flared pants or bell-bottom jeans, especially with heels. These pants hug the body in the hips and 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.

Select a Complementary Top

It’s also important to pick a top that will work with your pants. For example, if you’re wearing high-waists, try a crop top, which helps make your legs longer. Also, always tuck your top in. Having your shirt hang out just adds bulk, which will not help you look leaner. Similarly, it’s best heavy textures. While pullover sweaters will certainly keep you warmer in winter, those made of bulky yarn can also make you seem heavier than you actually are. 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.

Patterns Matter

It’s well known that stripes can have a slimming effect. However, that’s true for vertical stripes only. Vertical stripes elongate the body, and the eye is follows the line of the stripes. Horizontal stripes have the opposite effect, so save them for the times you don’t care whether you look leaner or taller. It’s also a good idea to avoid large prints, such as cabbage roses. Instead, opt for smaller prints, such as ditsy florals or gingham checks.

If the Shoe Fits

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 parents. For example, if you’re wearing black dress pants, wear black heels. Not breaking up the 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.

And it’s not only shoes when it comes to accessories that help you look taller and leaner. Skip the choker and go for long necklace. 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. A long necklace will draw the eye downward, and the V of the chain will elongate your body If all else fails, use shapewear to tame your bulges, which, in turn, will have you looking thinner.

In addition to the above style tips, there are some common-sense things you can do. Pay attention to your posture, and make sure you stand or sit up straight. Hunching over will make you look shorter, not taller. Proportion is also important. Ideally, you want a clothing ratio 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. These tips and more, when incorporated into your wardrobe choices, will make it simpler for you to look leaner and taller.


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