10 Ways to Make Your Legs Look Longer


10 ways to make your legs look longer

1. Keep your skirts shorter, to just on or above the knee. Once you cover your knee your legs look shorter
2. Wear your trousers as long as possible without dragging on the ground
3. Fake them with heels if you’re happy to wear them
4. Fake them with wedges and flatforms which will give you height
5. Wear a column of colour which allows you to create a visual vertical from shoulder to foot without breaking up the body.
6. Wear a dress or skirt as this stops you from seeing where your legs start (unlike trousers which show exactly how long your legs are).
7. Wear vertical stripes on your lower half as verticals create the illusion of length and height.
8. Avoid cropped pants because they cut down the apparent length of your legs and make them look even shorter.
9. Avoid high vamp shoes with skirts and dresses as they will visually cut down the length of your legs.
10. Wear a nude shoe with skirts and dresses (when you’re not wearing coloured hosiery).




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  • Hi Imogen,

    Could you explain why textbooks on visual design recommend wearing the skirts longer than knee length to elongate the legs?

    For example, in Visual Design in Dress, 3rd Edition by M.L. Davis: to make legs look longer and thiner one needs to wear “long skirts, pants; longer street-length skirts; ankle interest” whereas to make legs look shorter one needs “knee or above skirts and pants” p. 343 – quite the opposite from the recommendation #1 (“Keep your skirts shorter, to just on or above the knee. Once you cover your knee your legs look shorter”).

    In Looking Good:… by Nancy Nix-Rice: “To lengthen short legs… DO Keep skirt lengths flattering; just below the knee and just below the full calf are safe spots” p.52

    Visual Design in Dress, 3rd Edition by M.L. Davis explains: “Usually, the longer the unbroken vertical area, the longer and narrower the effect; the more evenly it is divided, the shorter it seems” p. 119 – it seems quite a logical conclusion. What about knee length skirts then – it turns out that this length divides legs evenly, thus shortening them most?
    (Keira Knightley is first who strikes my mind wearing skirts and dresses below the knee and just below the full calf to elongate her proportionally short legs. I would say this is her signature skirt/dress length.)

    • No idea about ML Davis – I think that Nancy Rix-Rice is probably just old fashioned (just below the knee and the full part of the calf was classic in the 80s). It can depend on your proportions, but in general seeing some leg in a skirt makes them look longer. Also, in the olden days when those books were written waistbands were higher (now we tend to wear clothes much lower on the hips than up on the natural waist) so the length of the garment was longer if it was a longer skirt. If you have short thighs, which is really really common, and you wear your waist on your hips not your waist with everything tucked in, then a knee length skirt shows off the longer part of your legs (ground to knee) and we assume the top part of your leg is the same length. If you wear a lower rise skirt and the top untucked and it’s past the knee to the calf, it will make your legs look shorter as you show no leg. You have to take so much more than just skirt length into consideration – it’s how we wear them now, as compared to how they were worn when those books were written. So Keira Knightly probably is wearing a long skirt, with a tucked in top, that sits on her natural waist and she’a also wearing heels! Can I tell you – they always assumed heels were worn when those books were written, now few wear heels and you have to adjust proportions for flat shoes.

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