How to Look Taller

Three Methods:Gender Neutral AdviceAdvice for WomenAdvice for Men

For vertically-challenged men and women, the desire to look tall may seem like an unreachable dream. While you may not be able to change the stature that nature gave you, the right clothes and accessories can actually help you appear taller than you are. Vertical patterns, solid colors, and snug fits are among the many garment details that can create the illusion of height.

Method 1
Gender Neutral Advice

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    Wear vertical lines. To the same end, avoid horizontal prints. Think pinstripes, pleats, and vertical zippers. Vertical lines draw the eye up and down, which causes the eye to take in more height than width. Horizontal lines, on the other hand, draw the eye side to side, causing the eye to take in more width and less height.
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    Match tones or colors. Wearing different colors divides a person’s body into separate segments. Wearing the same color, or tones that are within the same range, creates one solid line for an observer’s eye to pick up. Having your body divided into fewer segments creates the illusion of height.
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    Stick with solid colors and small patterns. Avoid large patterns. Large patterns have a tendency to overwhelm the person wearing them, especially if that individual is slightly built. Solid colors and small patterns avoid this issue.
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    Avoid baggy clothing. People who wear loose, over-sized garments may end up looking “lost” inside their clothes, which may make them seem wider and shorter than they actually are.
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    Practice good posture. If you are slouched or hunched over due to poor posture and bad core strength, you will inevitably look shorter than you really are. Exercise such as yoga, rowing, and other conditioning exercises can help immensely.
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    Act confident. People who are confident come across as "taller" than a person of relatively similar size, but act without confidence.

Method 2
Advice for Women

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    Keep it short and sassy. Long hair can "drown" shorter women. A hairstyle that stops above the shoulder prevents a woman's locks from overwhelming her stature.
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    Put your hair up. If you prefer or must wear long hair, consider putting it back in high ponytails, buns, and other up-do's. Hair styled several inches above the head adds inches to your height.
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    Add layers or highlights to your locks. Long, straight hair that hangs down in a single layer has the most overwhelming effect. Adding choppy layers or highlights breaks up the monotony of long hair, which may help prevent it from dwarfing you.
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    Wear heels. Whether you choose half-inch heels or three-inch heels, these shoes add height and make you look taller. Opt for skinny heels over thick ones, since skinny heels are more effective in creating a slender vertical appearance while thick platforms can make your feet look weighted and heavy.
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    Stick with open-toed shoes or sandals. Showing more skin on your foot is a simple way to extend the appearance of your height. The more skin an observing eye notices on your leg, the longer your leg will seem. The longer your leg seems, the taller you look.
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    Avoid shoes with ankle straps. Ankle straps cut your leg off with a horizontal line at the top of the foot, reducing the length of your leg as well as the appearance of height.
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    Look for blouses with vertical necklines. A great, classic option is the v-neck. A deep v-neck keeps the eye looking up and down, while crew necks, scoop necks, and other horizontal necklines draw the eye side to side.
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    Shorten your skirt's hemline. A hemline that stops at the knee or above it looks flattering on women of short to average height. Showing more leg makes your legs look longer, which maximizes the illusion of height.
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    Stick with bottoms that balance your legs. Think A-line skirts and boot-cut jeans. Styles that flare out at the knee or lower leg help balance out the natural width of your hips. Tapered styles may make you look top heavy which, in turn, can make your legs look shorter. Shorter-looking legs may make you look shorter overall.
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    Keep your legs the same color as your shoes. If you plan on wearing a dress with bare legs, consider a nude shoe. Alternatively, if you plan on wearing dark-wash jeans or black slacks, try a black shoe. Keeping your shoes and leg coverings in the same color range makes it more difficult for the eye to distinguish where the leg ends and the foot begins, making your leg look longer as a result.
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    Wear high-waisted bottoms. The eye naturally assumes that the leg starts at the waistline. By having a waistline that rests above your hips, you help your legs look longer, helping you to look taller. For this reason, you should also avoid low-rise pants that may only make your legs look shorter.
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    Stick with skinny belts over thick belts. A skinny belt tied around your natural waist can help define your figure, and may look flattering. A wide belt will define your figure, but the heavy horizontal line will also divide you in half and cause you to look shorter, rather than taller.
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    Opt for long, draping accessories. Try long scarves and necklaces that drape down your front. These pieces draw the eye up and down, causing it to take in your entire height.
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    Avoid over-sized bags. Bulky shoulder bags and fanny packs cause you to look wider at the waist and hip. Anytime you cause the eye to take in width, you reduce the amount of height it takes in. Small clutches and tiny shoulder bags on narrow straps are much better alternatives.

Method 3
Advice for Men

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    Add height to your hairstyle. Keep the sides of your hair neatly trimmed, but leave plenty of hair on top. The extra volume on top, when matched with the decreased volume on the side, adds inches to your overall height. This trick works especially well if you use gel to create a spiky style.
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    Wear heel inserts. Heel inserts slip inside your shoe and lift your foot an inch or more, physically adding height. Avoid heel inserts if you anticipate taking your shoes off in public, however. Also avoid inserts if you already have a shoe with a thick heel.
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    Try a dress shoe with a moderate heel. Some men's shoes look fine with a half-inch heel, but you must be careful about choosing the right style. For best results, stick with black loafer-style pumps or boots. Avoid wearing athletic shoes or regular dress shoes that simply have an extra heel.
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    Wear cropped suit jackets. In general, jackets build up the shoulder, broadening your stature and creating the illusion of height. To maximize this illusion, consider a cropped jacket where the bottom hem cuts off at the same point as the wrists. A jacket that stops at that point shows more of your legs, making your legs look longer. Longer-looking legs will help you look taller overall.
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    Try out a narrow necktie. A narrow necktie creates a slim, vertical line that draws the eye up and down. Thicker ties have more width, which reduces the effectiveness of this tactic.
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    Opt for narrow folds and a smaller cuff on your wrists. A taller man typically wears a suit coat so that a half-inch of the shirt cuff shows beyond the edge of the jacket sleeve. Wear your suit so that only a quarter-inch of your cuff shows, instead. The narrower horizontal line makes your arms look longer than a thicker line would. Likewise, narrower folds along your collar or lapel also reduce the widening effect of these horizontal folds. Generally, the less wide you look, the taller you look.
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    Keep your casual shirts moderately short. Shorter shirts expose more of your leg, creating the illusion of both leg length and overall height. Look for shirts that end somewhere around the base of your thumb. Shorter shirts may look as though they are too small for you, however.
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    Tailor pants to brush against your shoelaces. Pants that are too long will bunch up at the bottom, which draws attention to your short stature. Trousers and jeans should have a lower hem that strikes around your shoelaces. Also avoid pants that "turn up" or fold over at the bottom hem, since this has a tendency to create thick horizontal lines that shorten the leg.
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    Wear pants that hit your natural waist. Low-slung jeans make your legs look stout and stubby. Keep your pants snapped and belted at your natural waist in order to maximize the length of your leg.
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    Gravitate toward dark colored pants. Dark colors have a slimming effect, which make your legs look lean and long. Think black dress pants and dark wash jeans.
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    Wear details higher up. Wear a pocket square or bright tie to add detail to a suit, or look at casual shirts with epaulets and upper pockets. When you wear details higher up, it encourages an observing eye to move up from your feet toward your head, causing the eye to take in more height.
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    Avoid shorts and short sleeved shirts. Short men are typically short because they have shorter limbs. Shirts and bottoms that draw attention to your limbs only emphasize the fact that you lack long limbs. Consider wearing longer garments made of lighter materials when the weather just barely begins to warm up, since these will keep you cool without drawing attention to your limbs. Save your short sleeve shirts and shorts for unbearably hot weather.


  • Maintain good posture even when you sit. Make sure your back is firmly pressed against the chair.
  • Stand up straight. Good posture can add a few inches onto your height, but slouching makes you look shorter and stouter. Stand tall with your shoulders down and slightly back.
  • Stay lean and fit. Slimmer individuals tend to look taller, while plumper people look shorter and more compact than they actually are. While standing, the human body is like a vertical line. A slim figure creates a narrow vertical shape that is easy to spot, but this vertical shape is less obvious on a wider figure.
  • Especially if you are a male, spike up your hair.

Things You’ll Need

  • Fitted clothes
  • Heels
  • Open-toed shoes
  • V-neck tops
  • Short skirts and knee-length skirts
  • High-waisted bottoms
  • Accessories
  • Heel inserts
  • Cropped jackets
  • Narrow neckties
  • Tailored pants
  • Long-sleeved shirts

Article Info

Categories: Body Type and Fashion