Short legs is one of the most common issues for petite women. Some petite women are lucky enough to be blessed with very good proportion and appear to be taller than they are, even though they are under 5’4”. However, most of us wish to make our legs look longer and leaner. Even though we cannot change our height, we can learn some useful styling tips to create the illusion of longer legs through our outfit. Some of the things to avoid might be very trendy, but that does not mean they will look good on girls with short legs. Since not everyone is blessed with mile long legs, it is important for those of us with short legs to understand what works and what doesn’t.
#1 Wearing too many colors
If you have short legs, your focus should be to create length in your outfit, which can be achieved through wearing a column of colors. That means if the colors of your top and bottom are tonal (i.e. from the same color scheme), they will make you look taller. The opposite is also true, i.e. wearing too many different colors will only overwhelm your petite body frame and make your short legs look shorter. Now, you may ask how many colors is too many? The answer depends on what you are wearing. If you are wearing solid top and bottom, they will look most flattering on girls with short legs if they are monochromatic. However, it is not end of the world even if they are different and contrasting colors. On the other hand, if you are wearing prints, then you may want to wear a printed top with a solid bottom, or vice versa, so that the outfit won’t look too busy.
Compare Mira Duma (5 feet) in two outfits and it goes without saying the one on the left has too many colors going on and the one on the right is simple and chic, making her legs look a lot longer.
It is important to integrate your stockings and shoes in your outfit, when you are considering how many colors you are wearing. If the color of your skirt, stockings and shoes are all of similar color such as black to dark navy, then that will make your legs look longer.
Wearing a printed dress is an exception of this rule, as the dress itself is already a continuous column of colors. In fact, wearing a dress is one of the most useful tips for girls with short legs, because showing off your bare legs actually works wonder in terms of making your legs look longer.
#2 Mid calf boots
If you have short legs, you should be very careful about boots that reach your mid calves. Mid calf boots are an awkward length and they make your legs look shorter than they are. Worse yet, they end at the widest part of your legs, thus make your legs wider than they are. The problem is even more exaggerated if the mid calf boots have fluffy furs around the openings, which will draw all the attention to how short your legs are. Uggs are one of the most popular winter brands in recent years, but unfortunately a lot of their mid calf styles are not flattering to girls with short legs. Your better choices are knee high boots or over the knee (OTK) boots, as they draw people’s attention upward and make your legs look longer. If you wear them with similar color skirts as mentioned earlier, they will make your proportion look better and make you look taller.
Compare Lucy Liu (5’1″) in mid calf boots on the left vs knee high tall boots on the right.
#3 Wide leg ankle pants
Ok, if you have short legs, wide leg pants could be tricky for you. They horizontally expand you and make your legs look even shorter. If you absolutely love wide leg pants, you should go for the long style and wear them with high heels of similar color. That way, the length of the pants and the heels will add a few extra inches to your height, and people cannot tell if that comes from your legs or your pants and heels! Avoid wide leg pants that end above your ankles by all means- they make your legs look cut off and shorter.
#4 Midi dresses or midi skirts
For those of you not familiar with the term, “midi” is a dress or skirt length that is halfway between the knee and ankle (mid-calf). The hem is at an awkward length and they make your legs look cut off. Sounds familiar? This is very similar to the concept of wearing mid calf boots, as they also draw attention to the widest part of your lower legs and make your legs look shorter. Whether it is midi dresses or midi skirts, they are not the most flattering style to girls with short legs. You are much better off dresses or skirts either longer or shorter than the midi length, i.e. a mini skirt that ends 10 inches above your knees or a full length maxi dress that covers your ankles. Either way you will look taller than you are and your proportion will look a lot better.
#5 Slouch pants
If you have short legs, please stay always from slouch and loose pants. They will make your bottom half look bulky and shrink you vertically, the opposite of what we want. If you really love the casual feel of boyfriend jeans, go for an alternative version, i.e. the girlfriend jeans.
#6 Gladiator sandals
Gladiator sandals have been extremely popular in recent years, thanks to all the celebrities and fashion bloggers in the wake of the block buster Hollywood movies. Although they can look very trendy and fashionable, they are not flattering to girls with short legs. If you have short legs, any horizontal straps will make your legs look cut off, let alone gladiator sandals with numerous straps. The worst is the tall gladiator sandals which normally are the height of tall boots but they have straps all over. They will make your legs a lot shorter than they are.
Chi is 5’2″ founder of Petite Dressing, an online petite clothing store dedicated to women under 5’4″. Petite Dressing blog is here to help you understand yourself, such as your petite body type, and look your best ever. If you are new, start here. Connect with me today by sending an email to email@example.com.