How to Look Taller: Know your Lines
Updated: Dec 21, 2020
*Disclaimer: Purchases made through the links provided on thefinerefine.com may result in a commission to us at no additional cost to you. For more information please read our full disclaimer.
Chapter 1: Know your lines
Let's begin by stating that whether you stand on your tippy-toes at 4'10 or you tower at 6'8 it is extremely valuable to have a general understanding of how the lines we create when we get dressed impact our appearance.
Understanding these concepts should help you put cohesive and balanced outfits together that elevate your appearance. Perception of length or height is all about the lines we create with our bodies.
We are going to start with a very basic concept:
In order to elongate your silhouette, you need to know where to create lines.
So what makes a line on our bodies?
Color blocking. (pictured)
Where the shirt ends and the skirt begins.
Design. Ruffles, hemlines, pleats (pictured), slits, ties, zippers, ruching, etc..
Texture. Flowy details can make you look taller than stiff textures and fabrics.
Accessories. Shoes, jewelry, scarves, hats, and belts are some of the easiest ways to appear taller, you just have to choose the right ones.
Patterns. Stripes, abstract print, logos, and letter prints can either bring the eye into focus (interruption) or create the illusion of length when used correctly.
Self. Posture, habits, confidence and the way we style our hair and make up all contribute to our overall look.
Related: How to Always Look Put Together
Lines Can represent a visual interruption or a visual guide.
When trying to look taller we want to let the eye go up and down an outfit easily with as little interruptions as possible.
The art of looking taller lies in knowing where to place visual guides and interruptions.
01. Vertical Lines are Visual Guides
Uninterrupted vertical lines are the easiest way to create a longer, leaner appearance.
Vertical stripes or patterns.
RULE: The vertical stripes/patterns MUST match up perfectly at the seams and the garment cannot be wrinkled.
Dressing in 1 color creates a seamless head to toe transition without any color borders interrupting the lines.
All black is a popular and super easy monochromatic look.
02. Horizontal Lines are Visual Interruptions
Horizontal lines create blocks or sections on your body and then split your body into halves, thirds, fourths, etc..
Essentially the fewer sections you divide your body into, the taller you will look.
RULES: always try to make your lower body your longest section and always try to place your horizontal lines on the narrowest parts of your body.
Necklines. V-neck, Square, Crew, Scoop, Mock and boat neck are favored since they don't tend to shorten the neck.
Avoid turtlenecks that make the neck entirely disappear and off-the-shoulder that throw off your symmetry.
Waist. This is where we want shirts to end, belts to lie and bottoms to begin at.
If you are narrower above your waist opt for empire waists.
Stay away from hip-hugging bottoms as they tend to make you look wider and shorter.
Tuck your shirts into your bottoms or opt for crop tops to avoid a long torso and short legs combo.
Mid-thigh. Short skirts and shorts should land mid-thigh (or shorter if you dare) to give the appearance of elongated legs.
Stay away from the knees as this tends to divide your body into thirds instead of halves.
Ankles. Midi Skirts should fall below the calf almost at the ankle and skinny jeans/pants should fall at the ankle without ruching.
Shoe. Maxi skirts, dresses, palazzo, flared and boot cut pants should all fall below your ankle.
This gives you enough fabric to cover your shoe without the hazard of stepping on your clothes.
03. Diagonal Lines Direct the Eye
Diagonal lines can create direction and guide the eye up or down.
Rule: Symmetric designs will elongate your silhouette more than asymmetric ones.
Necklines. V necks and deep necks are great for elongating your neck and also drawing the eye down to give the illusion of length.
Off the shoulder and asymmetrical necklines tend to shorten the torso.
Waist. Waist cut-outs are perfect for one-piece swimsuits and long dresses, these accentuate and bring in the waist so your bottom half looks longer.
Avoid skirts with volume, high-low hemlines, and asymmetric hemlines.
High slit. Show. That. leg. High slits elongate your legs and make it easier to walk with long dresses. WIN-WIN.
Pointed toe shoes. Make your legs look longer.
Have any tips to add to this list? Comment below! We’d love to hear them!