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Unfortunately, not all of us were destined to have sky-high legs. That’s not to say we don’t love our petite bodies, it’s just that it would be nice to buy a pair of pants for once without having to get them altered. And while we’ve embraced the fact that we probably won’t be strutting down a high fashion runway anytime soon, we’re still constantly on the hunt for easy tweaks that will make our legs at least appear a little, well, longer. Luckily, fashion cures all ills, and we figured out some style hacks that make our stems look like a Victoria’s Secret model—even when it’s winter and we’re doomed to wear a million layers of clothing, lest we freeze.
1. Nude shoes are your best friend
It should come as no surprise that the style of shoe you wear can have a big impact on lengthening your legs. A simple way to get those gams looking great is by picking a simple nude pump. Easy.
2. Pull-on pointy-toe boots
Send your square and round-toe shoes packing. Those shapes do nothing for short legs, so stick to slick, pointy boots for a more flattering winter style.
3. Pick a color and stick with it
It’s no secret that head-to-toe black will make you look slimmer and taller. But a trick you might not be as familiar with is that this idea really applies to just about any shade, particularly darker colors. This simple layering trick will make getting dressed on a brisk December morning an absolute no-brainer, which means more time sleeping. Win-win.
4. Wear wide-leg pants
We understand wide-leg pants can seem daunting, but we suggest getting over your fear of them, and pronto. We suggest taking them to the tailor so they fit just right (you want the hem length to graze the top of your foot) and be sure to always pair them with heels.
5. Match your shoes and your pants
Pulling on those black jeans today? Do yourself a favor and get maximum impact for minimal effort by pairing those dark denim threads with boots in the same shade. That strategic use of color will create a longer, leaner line through the body—also known as a one-way ticket to Gisele legs.
6. Invest in highwaisted pants
Nothing screams “legs for days” like a high waistline. Tucking a shirt into a high-waisted skirt or pants will create some confusion (in the best possible way) about where your gams actually start. This is a very, very good thing and is particularly great for women with a longer torso and shorter legs.
7. Buy boots with a v-shaped cut
In the same way pointy-toe shoes work so well for petite women, a v-cut at the top of your winter ankle boots will create a more flattering transition from your legs to your feet.
8. Embrace high-waisted skirts paired with cropped sweaters
We can’t hammer this home enough—high waistlines work like wizardry on short legs. That power intensifies when high-waisted skirts meet cropped tops and towering heels.
9. Step out in vertical stripes
You already know vertical stripes are seriously flattering, so why haven’t you jumped on the bandwagon yet? Painting your legs in the elongating print is a foolproof fashion tip. If you’re scared of the attention-grabbing style, pick a black and white print and keep the rest of your outfit on the muted side.
10. Avoid ankle straps at all costs
Sure, they’re super cute, but ankle straps cut off your legs visually and have the power to shorten even the slimmest of legs. Seriously, avoid them at all costs, and stick to flattering pointy pumps instead.
11. Wear thigh-high boots whenever you can
An over-the-knee boot with a bit of heel will do you wonders by creating a longer visual line. Pint-sized Russian style icon Miroslava Duma knows what we’re talking about.
Originally posted December 2014. Updated October 2017.