Reader Request: Outfits for girls with height challenges

Okay, I tried to be politically correct and polite about it.

But if you’re a short girl, you’re going to want to read this Reader Request because girl, you have height challenges!

By the way, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with short girls. I’m about an average height (5’4″) but with heels on, you’d be surprised how many guys I tower over.

Being short (and cute without trying), you are still short with heels on when you stand next to most guys.


Let’s start.

Your goal is to ELONGATE your body

The most frequent mistake petite women making in terms of clothing is cutting their bodies by using pieces of clothes as jackets and belts in the wrong proportions. 

Wearing large belts on top of pants or skirts together with blouses of different color is not the best choice as it cuts the body in two parts, drawing attention to the shortness of the figure.

So avoid capris or anything that cuts your body at all costs


<—- Even Pee Wee Herman doesn’t want you to wear capris! 

You can argue all you want with me on this, but I have never seen a short girl wear a pair of capris and look cute.

Girls, if you’re into shorts, then buy shorter shorts, or even Bermuda shorts. But please, do NOT buy capris and wear them as if they’re pants.

For one thing, you’ll look like you’re sporting flood water pants, and that look is never attractive. Especially not on Pee Wee Herman, which is the image you conjure up for me when I see you on the streets.

You want shorts that are ABOVE your knees, because the more leg you show, the leggier and taller you will look.

Plus, capris are not proportionate to your body size. It’s like an Alice in Wonderland look gone wrong.

Let me show you a couple of examples.

Sure this was a catalogue photo meant to sell these pants. But I’d never buy them, at any height because they look AWFUL. 

You are just showing ankles, and unless you want to wear long pants while clam digging, these are inappropriate and they make an otherwise tall model look shorter, if that was possible.

Again, capri pants only work on tall girls with legs that go on forever. But in this shot, she has pants that are tighter fit to the body, and she even had to wear heels to give herself a bit more height. 

If you are short, this is NOT a good look because there just isn’t enough leg on you to pull it off.

Your legs probably end where the pants on this model ends.

These are capri bants on a pre-teen model who’s about your height. It’s cute on girls, not so cute on grown women unless you’re going to pair it with a set of high heels and consider cropping the pants another inch or so.

A good trick to elongate your legs is to wear straight pants that cover your shoes. This will definitely add some extra inches to your legs. 

But do show some leg

These super tall models are about the same height. Which one looks taller to you?

If you don’t feel comfortable wearing miniskirts (like me), then wear a skirt that hits JUST above the knee. 

If you at least show the knee and the thinnest part of your leg (other than your ankle), it’s going to make you look taller as a result.

Here’s a fashion-y example of skirts that universally flatter short and tall women – just above the knee.

I certainly don’t recommend this, by the way even if tunic tops come down that low on you to act like a super micro miniskirt. 

I know I said show some leg, but not this much!

As for long skirts, it’s a myth that long skirts make you look taller. I’ve never really seen a short woman pull it off successfully unless it was at a wedding or a party where formal dress was required, where the skirt was tighter/straighter to the body and it hid the super high heels they were wearing. 

Anything super puffy as a skirt down to your ankles should be avoided at all costs because you’re going to look like a little girl who tried out for ballet, and the puffy skirt cannot be carried off on a petite frame unless you wear some high heels under that.

Avoid super long tunics and baggy tops

Same deal for the top as the bottom. Why would you want to cover your butt and have a top that comes down to your thighs?

It just looks ridiculous.

No need to wear belly tops or anything super short or tight, but look for something that hits mid-hip so that it covers your stomach if you’re uncomfortable, but isn’t so long that it covers your butt and makes you look like a lump up top.

Wear it slightly fitted, to mid-hip.

Avoid the baggy clothing look

Couple of ground rules:
Avoid bunching up fabrics around your waist. It doesn’t work on shorter women because you have less real estate space up top and below to balance out the bunchiness.

Avoid wearing thick fabric clothing as it adds extra weight to your figure and since you’re smaller, you can’t hold it.

However, if you’re a starlet who doesn’t care, go for it.

But oversized, baggy clothing on women looks ridiculous. If you’re short, it looks even worse, like a child who tried to dress up in Mommy’s jeans.

You want to show off your cute shape, not cover it up and look like a walking bag lady. Baggy clothes have never made anyone look smaller or cuter. It just makes me think you lost a lot of weight and didn’t know how to embrace your body.

Avoid oversized acesssories!

Huge bags, huge belts, huge patterns, huge prints. It can all certainly be done tastefully but many women never seem to pull it off. 

Let’s start with purses. Keep them to the right size.

I have to giggle sometimes seeing short women with HUGE bags running around Canada. The bag covers half their body! I almost wonder if she could fit herself into the bag, being so small against a large massive bag.

Plus they’re bad for your back.

As for patterns, smaller prints work better than larger prints because a larger print can eat your entire body and look funny.

Smaller prints don’t look so oversized on you. However, I do like to break this rule because sometimes a larger print can be really interesting as a top or as a skirt, but not as a dress.

It’s up to your discretion. Just keep an eye out for it.

Vertical patterns for example look cute as prints on shorter women by the way. It makes you look longer because the eye follows the vertical line from top to bottom.

But let’s keep in mind not to look like a zebra in the end. One or two lines is enough, don’t try mixing many vertical lines thinking more is better! Less is more in this case.

On to belts. Why would you want to cover your waist in a huge belt?

It looks like a cobra is trying to eat your body if you’re a short woman (see above). All you see is just boobs, a huge belt over your stomach, and then suddenly it’s your pants, because unless you’re wearing a long tunic (no-no!) you’re just creating a disaster of proportions.

Shorter women, should look for accessories in proportion to their body, this includes skinnier belts, smaller purses, smaller prints that fit their body.

Wearing a large belt just cuts your body in half, drawing attention to your height.

A slim narrow belt shows both parts of your body (top and bottom) while giving you some curve.

Ashley Olsen seems to have pulled off a great looking skinny jean style, which is surprising considering the Olsen twins’ personal style but the bag is way too big for her size. She looks like she’s going to the gym, but the shoes give her the extra 5″ of height to pull it off. 

Imagine her without the shoes. She looks a bit funny.

Go ahead. Put your hand on the screen and cut out the shoes. The bag now looks too big for her height, without her shoes on.

Speaking of super high potted feet: avoid the potted feet look

You want to be tall, but you refuse to wear wedges or heels. So you wear a pair of clunky pot-sized shoes at the ends of your feet to give yourself height.

Sound familiar?

It shouldn’t!!!

Before you consider shelling out for super high so-called comfortable shoes that give you an extra 3″ of height without the pain, think about how ridiculous you’ll look.

A short woman toddling around on a pair of super high lifts? I’d rather see you in a smaller wedge that gives you a bit of a lift, or a pair of heels.

There’s no need to fake your height. We can see you’re short. So rock it. And wear stuff in proportion to your body so that you don’t end up on some fashion misfit list.

That also includes wedges that are too high. Unless you’re a maiko (geisha in training), avoid at all costs.

But do consider a bit of a heel

No need to tower around on 3″ heels if you can’t do it.

Honestly, I find it a bit funny when I see super short girls in 3″ heels when they can’t work it confidently. The key to heels is confidence. If you don’t have it, work on it, or wear what feels comfortable to you.

I’d suggest a slight wedge, or a pair of heels that are around 1.5″ or 2″ if you’re inclined to wear them. 

Even a slight bit of height not only gives you a bit of a lift, but it looks like you have more leg than in a pair of flats.

Consider a pointy toed shoe as well. I know some of you think it looks ridiculous like a witch’s shoe (I did too at first, when I was 12 and started noticing shoes), but it makes your leg look longer and leaner.

Why? Because your shoe goes into a POINT rather than being squared and capped off so abruptly. Your leg line is extended with a pointy shoe, and it avoids the potted look.

Want to know how to buy a pair of high heels? Check out this FB Read: Heels in the Workplace.

What about colours?

This is where I disagree with a lot of people.

They say that monochromatic is the way to go for short women, but I don’t agree in dressing all monochromatic just to look taller.

Iit does seem to work because the colour palette is the same, so the eye is comfortable in imagining the person is taller, but I am not sure that’s a good reason to dress like a big ol’ blueberry gone wild since I’m the type that likes to mix it up with colours a lot especially in accessories.

Being so one-note is BORING!!!

So give it a try, but if you’re going to be monochromatic, please don’t go all matchy matchy and wear ONLY blue in your entire outfit (top, skirt, accessories shoes).

Try wearing a small patterened blue top for example that gives a pop of colour by mixing with other colours, some dark blue jeans and let your accessories be bright and fun, like a pair of yellow earrings, or yellow shoes..

Lastly, tailor your clothing

Even if you ignore my advice and buy a pair of capri pants, get them tailored. Don’t wear them just the way they are because they’re probably going to hit just at the ankle and look really WEIRD.

This goes for all of your pants and skirts. Buy what you love and what fits on you, but get them tailored so that it hits YOU at the right spot – just above the knee, or so that it doesn’t bunch up at the foot.

Tailoring can get expensive, so buy less pieces in higher quality and don’t forget to add in the cost of tailoring (around $10-$20). Read the FB Post on Tailoring here.


That’s all I’ve got so far. Any other tips from readers?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.