How to dress to look taller, according to a stylist

JB Lacroix / ContributorAt 5’1 Vanessa Hudgens has mastered the art of dressing taller.
  • The stylist that has worked with the Haim sisters and Noah Cyrus has some tips for how to dress taller.
  • She recommends avoiding cropped pants and jackets and instead opting for long, flared pants and longline blazers.
  • When it comes to shoes, pointed-toe pumps are best.

If you’re looking to appear taller, it’s all about visually creating a smooth, unbroken line from your head to your toes, said stylist Mecca Cox, who has worked with the Haim sisters, Noah Cyrus, and Shannon Purser, as well as men like Wilmer Valderrama and The Backstreet Boys. In other words, certain pants styles, shoes, and even jackets can “cut you off,” while others help elongate your body, mostly due to proportion.

So what are some clothes that the petite crowd should steer clear of? What should they embrace? Cox – who also noted that, of course, there isn’t anything wrong with being short and looking short – shared a few great tips, ahead.


Say so long to cropped pants.

Gotham / ContributorLong, flared pants will elongate your legs.

While some may assume that cropped pants can make legs look longer, Cox warns against anything flared. “A cropped flare is going to draw your eye out and cuts off your length,” she said.

However, this rule doesn’t mean all cropped options are a no-no. “If you’re going to wear a cropped pant, they should just be straight,” she advised, recommending “a high-waisted trouser that cuts off at the ankle, but is a straight leg,” instead. “If that runs into an ankle boot, it’s still one continuous line.”


There are some things to keep in mind when choosing ankle boots.

Christian Vierig / ContributorOpt for sock boots.

“A lot of female clients won’t want to wear ankle boots because they feel it cuts them off,” Cox told INSIDER, adding that she agrees. Still, it mostly depends on the length. “If you get an ankle boot that cuts just below your ankle, it won’t cut you off. If it goes above your ankle, it does.”

She also said a trick is wearing a boot that is skin tight. “Like a sock boot, or something that zips where the ankle is so that it gives you the contrast from your foot to your ankle.”


There’s one shoe in particular that always works for shorter women.

Gabe Ginsberg / ContributorConsider investing in a pair of pointed-toe pumps.

A pointed-toe pump is a no-fail option, since “you want something that’s going to keep your foot open and elongate the length of your leg.”


Also a must-have? High-waisted pants.

Edward Berthelot / ContributorHigh-waisted jeans might make your legs look longer.

Cox said that when it comes to pants, she prefers a certain combination. “A boot cut pant that goes to the floor is very elongating, especially if it’s high-waisted or a mid-rise.”

And although cropped flares are a don’t, regular flares are a do. “If [the pants] are long, they make you look longer. It’s basically just about where your eye goes.”


Skirt wearers should choose a mini or a maxi.

Raymond Hall / ContributorOpt for a skirt above the knee.

According to Cox, the key is avoiding any mid-length. “A skirt that hits between the knee and the ankle is going to make you look a little bit shorter. It’s going to cut you off before you get to the floor,” she warned.


Jacket choice matters as well.

Christian Vierig / ContributorA longline blazer is a great choice.

“Cropped jackets have the same effect [as cropped pants] – they kind of chop you in half,” the stylist told INSIDER, offering a quick switch. “Instead, longline blazers are good for making you look taller.”


The good news is that patterns don’t have an effect when it comes to height.

Neil Mockford / ContributorIf you’re going to wear strips, consider vertical stripes.

Although, if you ask Cox, “vertical stripes are good.”


And yes, some pieces make men look taller as well.

Frederick M. Brown / StringerTailoring is important.

If there’s one thing men should avoid, it’s definitely cargo shorts – for multiple reasons. “It does make them look shorter because everything kind of drags down and out,” Cox said. “It just looks frumpy. Even in an ironic way, I haven’t seen a cargo short really worn well.”

Rather than preferring certain styles, Cox reveals that her male clients are more concerned with tailoring. “When they’re shorter, they feel like things need to be a bit more fitted so that they look slimmer, which elongates them,” she said. “That’s a thing for sure.”


At the end of the day, Cox said “it’s more about the length and cuts of things.”

Christian Vierig / ContributorFeel free to break some rules.

Which means the rules aren’t set in stone and that it really depends on where the pieces hit. “If you’re going to do a cropped pant, for example, maybe your shirt is a little bit longer and you keep it untucked,” she said. “Then you kind of have a balanced proportion.”

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