The truth: the only way lengthen your legs is a painful surgery that requires 9 months of hospitalisation. Another truth: you can fake slender, sky-high pins – regardless of how short your legs are! Here are 8 style cheats petites can use to create the illusion of long legs.
1. Nip and tuck
Style every outfit using the acronym: SULL – short upper (body), long lower (body). The waist serves as the visual divisor between the upper and lower body. Thus, a higher up waist will create the illusion of longer, slimmer legs.
A shirt-and-pants ensemble can be "elevated" by just tucking in the shirt. Mid to high-waisted trousers or skirts are your best bets. But, this trick may not work for low-waisted bottoms, which may emphasise a belly and shorten the legs!
2. Don’t go below the belt
A belt is a great way to demarcate the visual position of the waist. Check out the example of the girl in the green dress below. By tying the belt higher, she’s not only lengthened her legs but slenderised her figure as a whole! Plus-sized girls and petites should opt for thin belts; wide ones can occupy too much real estate on a small frame.
3. Skirt around it.
We all know that skirt length affects body proportions, but did you know that shorter is not always better?
For above-the-knee skirts, it's true that the shorter the skirt, the longer your legs will appear.
Below the knee, it’s the opposite - the longer the skirt, the longer your legs.
A common misconception among petites is that maxi dresses are a big no-no because they may dwarf a small frame. In fact, height isn't the issue - proportion is. With SULL in mind, simply raise the waistline. Column silhouettes like the one pictured are particularly effective adding visual height.
Avoid hemlines that fall just below the knee or at the ankles, which will make your legs look stubby. This principle applies to trousers too. Capris and cropped pants will usually shorten you.
4. Crop up
Just how a belt can alter the position of the waist, a cropped blouse can help you achieve SULL. Take a look at A and B below – whose proportions look better? If you’re not into crop tops, rest assured that a short cardigan or jacket will have the same effect.
5. Be well-heeled
Heels obviously add height, but the front of the shoe needs careful deliberation. The comparison chart below reveals the impact of the shoe straps on the perceived length of the legs.
Shoes without straps at the ankle (A) give the longest legs. Straps and decorations essentially segment your legs at the shin, producing a stumpy look. Basically, keep your bottom half clean with a solid, uniform color. You can create an uninterrupted leg line by matching the color of your leggings or socks to your shoes and pants. Wearing nude shoes that blend in with your skin tone is a fool-proof way to fake a long, continuous leg line.
Some of you may say, “It’s impossible to find/wear a pair of heels without some kind of strap.” The trick: find the exterior-facing bone where your foot connects to your shin – it’s called the fibula. Don't wear shoes that extend above the fibula. Look for shoes with V-shaped bevel cut, rather than a straight one. Just check figures A and B: which pair of pins looks longer?
Many girls like Converse high-top shoes and boots. Petites with short calves shouldn’t wear these. They make the legs appear short, thick and accentuate unappealing curves like bowed legs.
Yup, heels aren’t necessarily the most practical shoes to wear. In that case, ballet flats with a wide opening are your best friend. Remember that the length from your hips to your toes should be one continuum, so avoid loafers that interrupt that.
Friends don’t let friends commit fashion faux-pas. Share this article with a petite amie!