Monday, May 21, 2007

How To Dress Yourself Taller

Shopaholic sweetie, Catlin, writes in a bunch of questions related to the same idea - how to make yourself look taller:

"I am only 5 ft 1 and I weigh 90 pounds.
Are there any clothes that are definite no-no's when you're as short as me?
What should I absolutely have in my wardrobe, to make me look a bit taller?
I really like prints but in lots of magazines they say that short ppl should stick to one color to make it more lengthy. What do you think about that?
Is a one piece swimsuit flattering for my small body? I just bought one but I really don't know if a bikini is a better idea. I took pictures but I still don't know if it's a good choice. I'm afraid it makes me look bulky.
The big bags are in right now and I do like them but I always opt for smaller/medium sized bags because I think a big bag will look too big on me. Do you agree?
I also think wintercoats a bit over the knee are not a good choice for me. I have a beautiful coat but I never wear it because I think it doesn't look as good as a short one. Do you think so too?"


As I've said before, I claim no fashion expertise, I can only offer up my personal opinion, and if any readers disagree, then comment on with your take on the question. Now then...

Hey Catlin,

This is a good question - I'm sure there are lots more petites out there like you who are wondering the same things. First of all, I think you shouldn't worry so much about being short. You can only cover up or hide so much, so sometimes you just gotta work with what you have and by that, I mean, rock your pretty petite figure, girl! After all, being petite isn't such a bad thing. That being said, there are definitely a few things you can do to add some height to your look. Let's go over your questions in order:

"I am only 5 ft 1 and I weigh 90 pounds.
Are there any clothes that are definite no-no's when you're as short as me?

I've heard before that shorter ladies shouldn't wear skirts that hit mid-calf or a bit below the knee - they cut off your leg line, making you appear shorter. Opt for skirts that hits at or just above (i.e. maybe a half inch) your knee.

What should I absolutely have in my wardrobe, to make me look a bit taller?
A good pair of heels - not necessarily 5 inchers or anything - go with your comfort level, but heels instantly add inches to your height.
Also, look for vertical stripes and V-neck tops - they add visual length and will make you appear a bit taller. For work, opt for a pinstripe suit - they'll lengthen you and they're super chic.
Shop for clothes that fit really well - While well-fitting clothes add visual length, baggy clothes add visual width, making you look shorter.
Look for accessories that add visual length - long necklaces, stiletto earrings, maybe try a long scarf? Play around and see what you really like.

I really like prints but in lots of magazines they say that short ppl should stick to one color to make it more lengthy. What do you think about that?
Again, you can only hide your height so much. If you are dying to wear some prints, I say wear them! If you feel haute in prints, then wear them - who cares what anyone else thinks? Just because you're short, you should be banned from wearing fun prints? I think not!

Is a one piece swimsuit flattering for my small body? I just bought one but I really don't know if a bikini is a better idea. I took pictures but I still don't know if it's a good choice. I'm afraid it makes me look bulky.
I just saw my friend (who is about 4'10") at the pool rockin' a bikini and I thought she looked good and would have looked equally chic in a one-piece. I say wear whatever makes you feel beautiful, but if you go for a one-piece, keep the previous tip in mind and opt for a V-neck top.
Here's a cute suit - slight V-Neck and vertical stripes in the bamboo:

MICHAEL Michael Kors One Piece Bathing Suit - $98

Here's another one - solid color (in case you don't want a print) - deep V:

BCBG Max Azria One Piece Bathing Suit - $138

Images and items from nordstrom.com

The big bags are in right now and I do like them but I always opt for smaller/medium sized bags because I think a big bag will look too big on me. Do you agree?
I agree - I'd stick with the smaller/medium size. I think the super-huge bag isn't that attractive anyways.

I also think wintercoats a bit over the knee are not a good choice for me. I have a beautiful coat but I never wear it because I think it doesn't look as good as a short one. Do you think so too?
Same thing with the skirt (see above). However, if you have a beautiful coat and you love it, there's no reason to not wear it just because you think it makes you look a tad bit shorter. Of course, now that you know you don't like the slightly longer coats, you'll know better what type of coat to shop for in the future.

Live & learn, but rock those looks you love in the meantime! I think you should wear the clothes that make you feel fabulous. If you're super self-conscious about your height, then maybe stick to the fashion rules you've heard, but if you're so-so and just trying to add height, in addition to some of the tips you've heard before and read here, I'd stick to clothes that make you feel confident and happy. Afterall, you can't please everyone, so why not make yourself happy?

Anyone else have any tips for looking taller?

28 comments:

Catlin said...

Wow thanks! You really helped me out, and I'm gonna bear this all in mind when I go shopping this week. Thank you very much, D.

Shopaholic D said...

Hey Catlin,

You're very welcome! Hopefully, some of the other readers will have some more good tips for you - check back for new comments later tonight.

:) D

NormaGail Morag said...

Hi Catlin,
I am 5.2 and have some of the same problems.The worst is yet to come....the newer fashions have higher waists and make you look squat!!So wear a vertical stripe tee/top/shirt with them.High heels... good bet!
Also remember good things come in small packages!

Shopaholic D said...

"Also remember good things come in small packages!"

Good call NormaGail!

:) D

Sarah said...

These are all really good tips, I just wanted to tell Caitlin that you don't have to cover being short. I'm 5'1 so I understand. Enjoy being short, it's more fun to embrace it than try to cover it up, I promise!

Anonymous said...

Hi Catlin,

I am only 4'11 3/4in. So, I totally understand where you are coming from. A tailor is a great camoflauge for those things that don't fit you. Also, wearing clothes that bring out your personality and are fun to wear is key to a great wardrobe. The advice given by the other ladies are great rules to live by. You may also want to watch shows such as TLC's: What Not to Wear, Stacey and Clinton give great advice for all the problem areas you mentioned. I hope I have helped you.
Cheers!

Anonymous said...

i have lots of short friends and they rock the capri pants and shorts but remember a little above the knee w/ the shorts and go for capris w/ vertical lines(adds height)

Anonymous said...

i have lots of short friends and they rock the capri pants and shorts but remember a little above the knee w/ the shorts and go for capris w/ vertical lines(adds height)

Anonymous said...

I recommend 3 quarter length sleeves too-seems to flatter the smaller frame!

Shopaholic D said...

Good tips, Sarah and Anonymous commenters!

:) D

Anonymous said...

I am tall so I dont really know where you are coming from but I do have lots of short friends and will tell them about this article! Thanks so much D!

P.S. D was right you should love you're petite figure! (Being tall can be annoying too!)

Anonymous said...

Hi Catlin,

I've read and also experienced on myself that a nude pair of heels is fantastic for elongating legs when worn with a short skirt. I went out last week in a short denim mini, some self tanning lotion on my legs and a nude pair of heels and my legs instantly looked longer, thus adding height. Try it, I'm sure you'll get the same effect as well. Good luck! Loosh.

Anonymous said...

Who cares if you're short?? I am too, and I wear whatever I think looks good. There are good things happening at our 5 foot height.

Anonymous said...

i'm 5 1' and 90 pounds too! and you know, i only stumbled upon this article accidentally. i've never given thought or concern to my height before. i like vertical stripes but that's because they look cool! i don't ever wear heels no matter what - they are bad for your feet! i might reconsider on my wedding day, though, i'll need to practice first. i just haven't thought there was anything wrong with being 5 1' until right now, reading your letter. But at 90 pounds, we have pretty hot bods anyway. so i say wear whatever you want and show it off, cute stuff!:o)

pollox said...

just go bikini :) OR commando

Anonymous said...

Hey Catlin,
I'm 5' 1/2" and worked at a petite clothing store several years back. I agree with all the tips given so far but would also add that I have several longs skirts (ankle length) that I love and I don't think they make me look shorter. The key thing is to make sure they aren't too full. Fullness makes you look heavier and shorter.

Also with prints, try and choose the smaller prints. And keep your clothes in the same tone as much as possible. You want the look to be a vertical as possible.

My last piece of advice is to make sure that you are standing and sitting tall and straight. Get comfortable with who you are and exude confidence.

Stacy said...

Catlin, It could be slightly worse... I'm 5'1" and 145 lbs! The basic rule I live by - no skirts longer than the knee, and always have a good pair of heels to go with 'em. As you might imagine, it's difficult finding things that look good on my body!
-stacy

Anonymous said...

I just thought of another tip for those of us who are vertically challenged.

Balance between the lengths of your tops and bottoms. What I mean is that if you are wearing a longer top, you should wear a shorter skirt or shorts. If you are wearing a long skirt or pants, your top should be shorter.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Catlin, we could totally be sisters. Great tips, D, but I'd add that if you're going for skirts, don't be afraid to get the longer ones as well. The flowy, bohemian skirts have been most popular among the smaller girls, I've noticed, and if you wear them with a form-fitting tank top, it elongates your arms and torso.

I've also had people compliment me quite frequently when I wear fitted capris that go just below my knee and a fitted shirt (always with a slightly low collar; high collars shorten your upperbody). It tends to make me look more proportionate and then everyone thinks it's so cute when they get close enough to realize how small I really am. I also tend to push my jacket sleeves up to my elbow. The jacket makes me look a little bigger and the half-sleeves make my body look a little longer.

<3 A fellow petite chick

Scarlet said...

Hey Caitlin!

I'm 5'2" and I definitely feel your distress, lol. I hate being short, but I hate the media even more for always defining "attractive" as not only being blonde and thin, but also being much taller than the average 5'5". Ugh. Be happy with who you are!

Anonymous said...

Hi caitlin,
I'm a shortie too, only 4'10 and ppl make fun of me for it all the time! Anyway being short can be a lot of fun, but i totally understand your fashion issues. Depending on where you're shortest, a one-piece actually can be very lengthening. I have a very short waist and relatively long legs, so a one piece makes my waist look longer. I wear bikinis anyway though!

Like everyone said, there's only so far you can go covering up your "problems". Better just to not see it as a problem, and rock it as best you can! I also find that the hip belts that are very chic now make me look stumpier, cause they cut me off at the widesst part (I'm short but also very curvy). Empire waists or belts worn at the ribcage make me look longer though, so that's a good style to look into. Also, bermuda shorts are EVERYWHERE this season and I love them, but I usually wear them with heels because they cut your legs in half, making them look shorter.

Happy shopping!

Anonymous said...

hey im 5'2 140 pounds, so im quite chubby for my height and i barely have a waist. is there anything that i should or shouldnt wear?

Anonymous said...

i'm 4' 10" so i can sympathize. i would actually stay away from capris and bermuda shorts, i've found that they make me look squat. also, go for heels whenever possible, but stay away from an ankle strap if it's going to show - they cut off the line of your leg and make you appear shorter.

Shopaholic D said...

Wow - look at all these fab comments and tips. Thanks to everyone for leaving extra feedback. I'm sure Catlin will enjoy it, as well as our other shorter friends (myself included).

Hey Anonymous 6:50PM, I think the same tips from this post will not only make you look taller, but slimmer too. Of course, black always makes everyone look fab!

:) D

Anonymous said...

About not having a waist. If you accentuate the smallest part of your torso- u'll create a waist. I am short too 5'1, and a little chubby myself. If you take like a sash or ribbon and tie it around the smallest part of u're torso, you'll have a waist :). I love baby doll tops too, but only go for those if you have boobs too- if not, they may make you look larger.

Shopaholic D said...

Hey Anon 10:43 - nice tips...thanks for sharing!

:) D

Catlin said...

Hey you guys, I don't know what to say, you're comments are the greatest!!!

D, you have the best readers! But you already knew that;-)

:o)

Shopaholic D said...

Hey Catlin, I like to think so! :) Glad you got lots of extra feedback!

:) D