How to Look Taller and Slimmer

I want to look short and wide said no woman ever. At 5’4″ I like to use proportion and shape to help me look taller because that makes me look slimmer. Today I’m sharing some tips the petite woman can use to help her look taller and slimmer.

1- High heels

This one is obvious, high heels elongate your look and make your legs look longer. Many women’s feet, back or knees can’t tolerate them so if you can’t, fear not – there are 11 more petite fashion tips for you.

2- Fit

Oversized and baggy clothes can appear overwhelming and make you look shorter than you are. Choose garments that are fitted and lay closer to your body. This doesn’t mean tight, it means slim rather than voluminous.Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life showing how nude shoes make your legs look longer


3- Handbag

Carry a smaller handbag. Petite women can be overwhelmed by totes and larger handbags. Scale your bag to your size and height. Avoid having your bag hit the widest part of your body which will create a horizontal line that makes you look wider.


4- Shoes

A nude shoe lengthens the look of your legs helping you to appear taller. A dark shoe with dark pants or tights has the same effect so match your pants and shoes for the longest look.

5-  Draw attention to your face

V-necklines draw the eye vertically to make you look taller. Round and crew necklines have a more horizontal line that moves the eye sideways and make you appear shorter.


6- Scarves and necklaces

Long necklaces and scarves draw the eye up and down. It often feels you should wear a necklace that fits inside the neckline of your top but that can shorten your look so play with proportions and check in the mirror.Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life showing why a v neck help you appear taller and slimmer

7- Monochromatic

Wearing a column of color head to toe elongates your look. This works with any color. They needn’t match exactly, but the closer they are to each other the stronger the effect.Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing a column of color to show tips to look taller and slimmer

8-Long outerwear

Long duster length cardigans and jackets elongate your look. Fingertip and mid-thigh jackets and cardigans can make you look shorter by cutting your silhouette in half. Go for long or short and avoid the mid-length.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life showing why a long sweater makes you look taller and slimmer

9- Vamp

Wear shoes with a shorter vamp. The vamp is the upper portion of your shoe that covers your foot. Shorter vamps show more foot and help your legs appear longer. A pointed toe also elongates the foot.


10- Pattern

Avoid large scale patterns which can overwhelm you. Opt for solids or smaller patterns in proportion with your size. Vertical stripes, seams, pleats, and necklaces all help you look taller by drawing the eye up which creates the illusion of height.

NYDJ linen pants and Nic&Zoe linen sweater


11- Sleeves

Wearing narrower sleeves is a more streamlined look which helps you look slimmer. The 3/4 sleeve will also help you look taller so the simple act of folding or pushing up your sleeves helps you appear taller by showing some extra skin. It also allows you to showcase your bracelets.

If I did all these things together, I still wouldn’t look 6″ tall but I would look taller and slimmer.


What tips can you add to look taller and slimmer?

Thanks for reading ladies and remember to wear what makes you feel confident and fabulous.


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  1. Katherine
    January 15, 2021 / 8:54 am

    I’m new to your website and am enjoying the information. Your tips for wearing clothing that make you look taller/slimmer are very helpful. Do you ever wonder why there are not more tops with vertical stripes (vs. horizontal) for women — especially when the horizontal stripes emphasize the hip area? Maybe it’s because clothing designers have only super trim and tall women in mind.

  2. KC
    December 28, 2020 / 8:15 pm

    You look amazing. What size do you wear? I wear a 4 but I think I look much bigger than you. Are you a 2 or zero? Anyway you size it, I love your style and you look amazing!

    • Jennifer
      December 29, 2020 / 6:25 pm

      Thank you! Depending on the brand, I wear an 8 on top and a 6 on the bottom.

  3. Sabrina
    August 25, 2020 / 4:25 pm

    Great tips!

    • Marianne Haas
      December 27, 2020 / 8:15 am

      Considering I am 5 foot tall all the tips to look taller are much appreciated.

  4. Carole
    March 12, 2020 / 5:28 pm

    2 things will help you look taller and slimmer…
    1. Wear a good fitting bra. Make sure your breasts are well supported and not drooping
    2. Stand with a straight back as much as you can. Always be aware that you have good posture.

  5. Cynthia D
    February 18, 2020 / 9:15 am

    Carrying a smaller purse was a good tip for me, although a tote is necessary sometimes.

    Is it acceptable to carry a vintage, small beaded wedding purse when wearing jeans and a white shirt?

    • Jennifer
      February 18, 2020 / 10:07 am

      Of course! That sounds fun. I love the idea

      • Cynthia D
        February 18, 2020 / 2:13 pm

        Thank you, I may just try that, it does sounds like fun.

  6. November 6, 2019 / 3:36 pm

    Love this site. The tips for short women were so helpful and the pictures showing examples made it all come together.


  7. Unanimous
    October 10, 2019 / 12:28 pm

    Please add do’s and don’ts pictures of shoes for petite women over 50. Hard to find comfortable shoes that make me look polished with my nice clothes.

  8. January 31, 2019 / 5:23 pm

    These are great tips! I’m only 5’1″ so I was pleased to read that I’m already doing some of these things! One I had not thought about was carrying a smaller bag. I always seem to carry HUGE bags that look like they are holding everything but my kitchen sink. Hmmm… I totally see that this is NOT a good idea any more. 😉

    • March 11, 2019 / 11:49 pm

      It’s all about proportion Camille. I love large bags but their size does not flatter me.

      • Nicki
        March 17, 2019 / 5:25 am

        Jennifer, this is a great post. I am 5ft tall, due to age related shrinking. Used to be
        5ft 2 1/4 … so this post is the equivalent of receiving a lovely gift
        Thank you????

  9. Anon
    January 16, 2019 / 8:48 am

    Looking taller has never been my objective. I do follow some of these suggestions simply because they are good proportion principles and pleasing to the eye. The human eye likes balance. Face it: everyone knows if we’re petite or plus size or whatever. Clothing won’t change that (only in our own minds), but well-chosen clothing can help us look sharp, feel better and put our best foot forward. That’s a worthy pursuit.

    • January 17, 2019 / 7:22 am

      Humans do prefer visual symmetry, Binky. For those of us with less than perfectly symmetrical shapes, the choice of garment can give the illusion of balance which alters our appearance to everyone. Line and proportion are powerful tools we can use to change much about our appearance.

      • Anon
        January 18, 2019 / 9:38 am

        Yes! ❤️

  10. January 16, 2019 / 8:39 am

    Thanks for the tips Jennifer, at barely 5′ on a good day I can use all the tips I can get. I’m still smitten with that linen duster!

  11. Janet
    January 15, 2019 / 6:24 pm

    Great tips! The one I hadn’t thought of is the size of purses. I’ll have to give that more thought. I too find long cardigans challenging to wear in cold weather because of the coats that are suitable to wear over them but I think they are great to wear!

  12. Yvonne
    January 15, 2019 / 11:42 am

    Great informative post. At 5’7″ I’ve never felt the need to try to look taller, but instinctively have followed a few of these suggestions.
    Someone asked about what coats to wear over long dusters. I wear long dusters all year long and I will wear a long wrap coat in fall over top or a heavier long wool coat in winter. I guess the advantage of living in a cold climate is that I’ve accumulated many different style coats over the years.
    BTW – I think you look great in the white jeans and top with the denim jacket.

    • January 15, 2019 / 1:01 pm

      Thanks Yvonne. I have lots of coats too because we’ve lived in many different climates.

  13. Connie
    January 15, 2019 / 11:40 am

    I’m 5’8″ and I still dress to look taller or really, thinner. I love long cardigans and have many that I use as a lightweight coat. Column dressing has become my style along with long over lean. I like the look, but my small hips are my best asset and I’ve realized I need to wear closer fit jackets as well. I now always buy a matching top or tee with new slacks if one is available, since a column color is flattering no matter the length of jacket or sweater. I think this is why I’m addicted to Chicos for my basics. Thanks for this post, I’m going to the closet to get a scarf right now…

    • January 15, 2019 / 12:59 pm

      Column dressing is one of my favorites too.

  14. Jill
    January 15, 2019 / 11:25 am

    Great blog today. Please answer Susan B’s question as it is one that I ask too. What outer wear can one wear with a long duster cardigan?

    • January 15, 2019 / 12:58 pm

      I wear my trench. When it’s not raining I wear a wrap.

  15. January 15, 2019 / 9:41 am

    I love the long cardigans and have many. My problem is what kind of outer wear to wear over them when it’s cold and rainy. A long black raincoat seems so formal, but that’s about all I can find that’s longer than the cardigans.

    • January 15, 2019 / 12:58 pm

      I would wear a long trench coat for the rain. Mine happens to be black but they do come in other colors. Tan or beige is classic as is navy.

  16. Maggie Morris
    January 15, 2019 / 9:24 am

    Hi Jennifer,

    I just bought my first long cardigan from Talbots and I love it! I am going to look for more. I don’t do a lot of monochromatic dressing since I find it a bit boring, but now that I know it’s slimming I’m all in. Need some more long necklaces though, any suggestions>

    • Kathy
      January 13, 2021 / 7:41 pm

      I look for vintage necklaces such as Money or other brands. They seemed to offer a lot of longer inexpensive jewelry.

  17. January 15, 2019 / 9:09 am

    I’m short? 5’4″ I didn’t know that. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe everyone around me is kinda short also. That helps. I still think I’m tall.

    • Denise Pfahl
      December 9, 2020 / 2:49 am

      5’4″ is actually slightly above average, so you are not short. I think 5’0-5’3″ is considered short for a woman. But consider that the heavier woman at 5’4″ will look shorter, and a slim woman at 5’4″ will appear taller because of the slender appearance.

  18. Joanna
    January 15, 2019 / 8:31 am

    I’m 5’8” so looking taller does not apply. Now, looking thinner – yes! I do dress in a column of color most often.
    I don’t think big boxy clothes look good on anyone. They make one appear bigger than they are, your advice on slim fitting clothes everyone should follow regardless of size. I love these posts that give styling advice.

    • January 15, 2019 / 8:41 am

      You’re so lucky to nice and tall Joanna. I’m glad you like these type of posts. I’ll try to do more for you.

      • Susan
        January 16, 2019 / 11:18 am

        Ditto for me, please, Jennifer. I’m 5’9″, so I’d love posts about dressing for taller women, particularly for slim fitting clothes. I look terrible in boxy things, like a giant walking rectangle. (I love every inch of my height, but it’s such a problem to fit. I’m too tall for most regulars, and too short for most talls.) Thanks!

  19. Lily
    January 15, 2019 / 8:12 am

    And posture. Don’t forget posture! A full length mirror is a real eye-opener.!

    • January 15, 2019 / 8:42 am

      Great point! Our posture is critical.

  20. Tina
    January 15, 2019 / 8:09 am

    I love these ideas, especially about the shoes. I can no longer wear heels, so this gave me some new ideas.

  21. Eleonore Zanette
    January 15, 2019 / 7:17 am

    Thank you Jennifer! I found your advice to be informative.

  22. Diane
    January 15, 2019 / 7:16 am

    Being 5’1″, this post has given me a lot to think about when shopping and dressing. I love every tip you shared and you certainly portrayed each one with success! I have two questions that your post raised in my mind.
    1. I noticed you wore elongated earrings with each outfit. Are long, dangly earrings another trick I should be using?
    2. I love the stripped full-leg pants in the cover picture. Can you share where you found them?

    • January 15, 2019 / 8:47 am

      I have a very square jaw so prefer earrings that stop below jaw level. It doesn’t make me look taller but it visually narrows my jaw. The striped pants are by Nic+Zoe from Nordstrom several years ago. I love them!

  23. BeeeBeee
    January 15, 2019 / 7:08 am

    I do most of these things, but it is nice to see this list. I appreciate seeing the lighter column of color, thank you. I hope to see more of it in the Spring and Summer. You look wonderful in all of the photos.

    I really like the shoes with number see 6 and 7, could you please share what brands they are.

    • January 15, 2019 / 8:45 am

      There are only 5 images of me in this post. What am I wearing in the pictures of the shoes you’re interested in?

      • Patsy McMillan
        October 23, 2019 / 10:11 am

        I , too, am 5’4″. Do you wear petite clothing? Sleeve length is better for me , but sometimes, I struggle. I have a long torso though. Sometimes xs . I have a small frame so I really struggle with sizing. I am 65. I do not feel comfortable in petite bottoms. Needless to say I am so frustrated trying to find clothes. I joined Stitchfix to try to help, but I have to use my own judgement when I receive the items. Any help would be so Very Appreciated!!!

        • October 23, 2019 / 7:57 pm

          I have a long torso and long arms. My legs are short but most petite pants are too short on me after I wash them! Crazy.
          It’s a pain but I determine each and every garment on fit. I can not generalize and buy petite or not. I can always shorten things but I can’t lengthen them.
          I’m happy to help you. Shoot me an email.

  24. January 15, 2019 / 6:52 am

    Excellent reminders Jennifer! You look fantastic in these photos.Have a great week.

  25. Cyndi
    January 15, 2019 / 6:24 am

    Great advice! Thanks

  26. Eileen
    January 15, 2019 / 6:23 am

    I have always loved monochromatic looks. Also, jumpsuits, and one piece dresses. My friend and I were just commenting on how we were tired of being “ cut in half” with two piece dressing, and we are both 5’5”!

  27. Anne
    January 15, 2019 / 5:40 am

    Well done! You “nailed” it. I wish wish I had known these tips long ago, but at least I do them now. You look fabulous in every picture. I especially enjoy the lighter column of color. It proves that you don’t need o hide under darker colors to look slim.

    • January 15, 2019 / 8:19 am

      I’m so glad you liked it. Any color works for column dressing 😉

  28. Sandy A.
    January 15, 2019 / 5:38 am

    As a 5’0″ woman I really appreciate these tips. THANK YOU!

    • January 15, 2019 / 8:17 am

      So glad you liked them Sandy

  29. Julia
    January 15, 2019 / 5:35 am

    Really loved this post! It is advice you have given all along but nice to see it all in one post and illustrated so well. Thanks Jennifer!

  30. January 15, 2019 / 4:39 am

    I’m 100% in on the monochromatic look. The Vivienne Files did a series showing a typical Breton striped shirt, one white background with black stripes and the other black background with white stripes, and then pairing each with white pants and black pants. These were catalog photos of just the clothes, no models, mind you, so there were no humans involved. It made the exercise even more clear–predominately white top with white pants and predominately black top with black pants looked markedly longer and thinner.
    On the duster length topper, I haven’t had much success–they tend to be too long on me. However, I do avoid mid-length jackets and prefer something cropped.

  31. Linda LeClair
    January 15, 2019 / 4:29 am

    Your tips sound great! I’m 5’0.

  32. Beth M.
    January 15, 2019 / 4:14 am

    Good tips, and you look really put together in these outfits, Jennifer!

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