"Though she be but little, she is fierce."
My Hermia impression.
Anyway, a couple of months ago, I received not one, but four different emails from readers asking this exact question: How can I make my legs look longer while wearing flat shoes?
So I googled it. And the number one answer? Wear heels.
Um. Ok. Thankyoufornothing?
Leaving Google behind me, I started playing around. And I think…I THINK…I'm on to something here. There are a few styling tricks and a few key pieces I keep coming back to. Per usual, I've created something ponderous (on par with a dissertation, because YES I take all of this fashion stuff very. seriously.) so I'm breaking it up into multiple parts in the hope that one can actually read it over morning coffee. At this point, it's looking like a three part series? Hopefully not more, but no promises. Sometimes I think I should've named this blog 'an engineer's approach to fashion' just so there were no surprises, and I could then feel free to use charts.
But enough blathering. First up, the key pieces….
Clockwise, from top left:
1. High-Waisted Denim (or Shorts)
Nothing will visually elongate your legs faster than high-waisted denim. Of course, you've gotta show off that waist, so tuck (or half-tuck) your top.
Featured: MiH Nouvell High Rise Straight Leg, Love Culture Denim Shorts
2. Nude Ballet Flats
In general, the more of top of the foot you show, the longer the leg line. So ballet flats are a better choice than, say, loafers, simply because they show more foot. Nude ballet flats kick the illusion up a notch further, and are like leg-lengthening magic shoes when wearing shorts or skirts. The key is to find a pair of nude flats that are in the same color family as your skin. I'm a sunburn-easily kind of girl, so I had more luck with a blush pink than with a true nude.
Featured: Tieks in ballerina pink
3. Trapeze Dresses or Tops
The trapeze silhouette is perfect for leg lengthening because the swing starts above your bustline, completely obscuring where your waist actually starts. Perfect for the short-waisted – especially with a pair of high-waist denim.
Featured: Topshop Chiffon Tank, Mango Chiffon Panel Dress
4. Drapey Cardigan To Create a Long Line
A cardigan that creates a sharp vertical line has overall elongating powers. Just be sure (if you are on shorter side) that it doesn't overwhelm your 'small but fierce' self.
Featured: Llove Short Sleeve Geometric Cardi (currently 40% off for a grand total of $28)
5. Two-Button Blazer
You are trying to fool the eye into thinking your waist is higher than it actually is, to give the impression of longer legs. Buttoning the top button of two-button blazer does this perfectly.
Featured: J.Crew Schoolboy Blazer
6. Black Sneaks, Black Laces
In general, sneakers are not leg lengthening. They cover up the entire foot and add bulk. However, sneakers are sofreakingpractical for Mamas trying to chase their kids around a park that I had to figure something out. Here it is: Skip the contrasting laces. Black sneaks with white laces? No. Red sneaks with white laces? No. But…if you can find cute sneaks with laces that are the same color – BAM. It'll work for leg lengthening. I like the black/black combo.
Featured: Onitsuka Tiger by Asics (lots of non-contrasting laces options – the lighter pairs would be perfect with light wash denim for spring)
7. Over-The-Knee Flat Boots
Not only does this trick work, but it works really, really well. And it almost doesn't matter where the boot hits – anywhere between above-the-knee and mid-thigh makes your legs look longer. The trick is to make sure the boot is sleek, and fits well (slouchy boots should be avoided for leg-lengthening purposes).
Featured: Chinese Laundry OTK Boot (if price is no object, the boots you really want are Stuart Weitzman's 5050 in any color. I like black suede.)
8. Disco-Band Tops and Dresses
Those tops and dresses with the elastic waistbands sewn in? Some – some – will hit slightly higher than your actual waist, making your legs look miles long. However, some won't (maxi dresses often are too heavy and pull the elastic down). But keep your eye out – it's worth a shot, right?
Featured: Ruffle Dress, Floral Dress
9. Peplum Tops
Some peplum tops are fitted through the waist, flaring out at the bottom. You don't want those. Look for peplum tops that flare just above the waist.
Featured: Petunia Peplum Cami
Use accessories to draw the eye up towards your face. A little cleavage, a stunning statement necklace, a scarf or a cool hat will lift eyes up. This whole feeling of up will help to elongate your body.