Six surefire ways to look taller

I’ve recently had a few requests to post tips on how to look taller. 

This is a topic close to my heart being so petite myself. My love of fashion means that I’m constantly falling in love with different styles, shapes and trends. And if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years it’s that you need to be straight up with yourself that not all styles and trends will suit when you’re petite and short.

Now, I make better shopping decisions and put down the pieces that are better for someone with height. I pick up things that I know will suit my petite frame, and came up with these six surefire ways to look taller. 

1. Dress to your advantage 

I wear dresses a lot and for good reason. Dresses tend to elongate more than separates. 

Whether it’s a long, boho inspired maxi or a tailored shift for work, just ensure you’re not “cutting” yourself (visually not figuratively!) off through things like big belts (small thin belts still work well!). 

Dresses are a great way to look tall, instantly – whether you’re wearing a solid block colour or patterned. (Pictured with my beautiful friend from Exactly This at her wedding)

A thin belt works well – but avoid large belts that can visually cut you off at the waist.

2. Curate separates carefully 

Separates are fantastic but if you’re aiming for true elongation, the colour combination of your separates needs to be considered carefully. 

While dressing monochromatic top to toe is an easy hack for height, if you don’t want to dress in the same colour (or shades of the same colour) then stick with the good old “light or dark” principle. 

All this means is that you just need to decide if your outfit will comprise mainly darker colours (eg black and a dark khaki, or charcoal and navy) or if it’ll be lighter colours (eg white and blush pink or a light grey and light wash denim). 

This will give you a similar elongating effect but with a bit more variety in colour choice. 

Monochromatic separates (i.e. all in shades of the same colour) is an easy hack to look taller

how to dress taller

Another alternative to monochromatic dressing is to choose colours that are all “light” (or dark) like I’ve done by wearing a light pink skirt and light grey top together.

3. Beware the swamp 

When dressing taller, a good rule of thumb is to stick to more fitted, tailored outfits. 

Smaller frames can get “swamped” by very voluminous shapes and styles. 

This doesn’t mean you can’t wear a looser shape or cut, but you’ll want to avoid very big, full skirts or big batwing blouses – all of these add unnecessary fabric (and therefore volume) which can weigh you down visually and make you appear shorter. 

This gorgeous dress from Leina Broughton is the perfect amount of volume. Loose and comfortable over my tummy and hips but not too voluminous.

4. Offset any volume 

Following on from tip no 3 above, if you are going to wear anything with lots of volume, for example a full skirt, offset the volume with a more fitted top. 

This will help show off your figure and therefore not make you look too “heavy” and short. 

(You can swap this around by the way, and wear a voluminous blouse offset by more shapely trousers or skirts.)

This very big skirt could have made me look larger and shorter, but works when paired with a fitted top.

5. Compensate for trends

As a stylist I’m always experimenting with new trends and trying to make it work for my height. 

For example : the midi trend. Midi length skirts, dresses and culottes are currently all the rage. Ordinarily, this length cuts us off mid calf – which is not normally a flattering place to end especially when your goal is to create length.

To make tricky trends like this work for me, I compensate for the lack of length in other ways. 

In the picture below, I’m wearing a midi length jumpsuit but I’ve kept the colour all black so that I’m not exacerbating the midi length by cutting off the outfit at any other point than my calf. 

Plus, I’ve kept my neckline nice and low to add some elongation to the upper half of my body. Finally, the tried and trusted surefire trick? Heels!!! 

This midi jumpsuit works with heels and an elongating neckline. Pictured here after guest speaking at The Style Vine’s morning tea and with fellow speaker, designer Katie Perry.

6. Dare to raise 

You know what? Sometimes it’s fun just to be bold and if you’re short, go short! 

Having short legs, I find that I can get away with shorter hemlines that expose my knees help to show off legs, while longer lengths make my legs look even shorter. 

So if you have the legs for it, dare to raise your hemline!

Raising the hemline in a summer mini

Like everything in life – dressing to look tall is all about confidence! So hold your head high, recognise what works for you and strut with confidence using these six surefire ways to dress taller. 

With wardrobe happiness,

By | 2017-12-02T17:17:58+11:00 December 2nd, 2017|Fabulous Fashion, How to fashion|3 Comments


  1. Wendy Mak December 2, 2017 at 11:26 am - Reply

    Let me know your questions or share your tips to look taller below!

  2. Jennifer Bennett December 4, 2017 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Thanks Wendy, being on the shorter side I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind. It will also help me when advising my customers on their purchases.

    Cheers Jen

    • Wendy Mak December 5, 2017 at 10:25 pm - Reply

      You are so welcome Jennifer, although I’m sure your tips for your clients are already spot on! 🙂

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