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How to Misdirect Your Appearance to Appear Taller: Female Clothing Edition

Updated on January 6, 2015

Apollo Robbins: The art of misdirection


Misdirection and perception is not a new concept. As a person living in a predominantly visual world that is how we situate our understanding of life. Most of these cues are subliminal and cross our minds without conscious thought. You may encounter a new situation that unsettles you and when asked why the answer is not quickly apparent. The mind is constantly barraged with information that the brain sorts in milliseconds. A friend will not consciously think you look taller but already in their mind the changes have been imprinted. Your appearance will not make you grow taller, but it gives you back the control. Control the presentation of your height. Optimize that perception in your favor so that you can misdirect your appearance to appear taller with these changes.



Heels are the obvious (duh) way to increase height. Slip on these magical contraptions and your height will rise by the inches. In an environment of motion, your shoes will appear to be a natural extension of your body. Of course, like many things all heels are not created equally. Heels are a science and the keyword is low vamp. A low-cut vamp is a lower cut part of the shoe that goes across the front. Think of it like a low cut t-shirt revealing toe cleavage -- and the long lean line of your legs. Match your skin tone and misdirect your appearance further to look taller.


The rule of thumb is slim: the skinny belt, skinny necklace, slim watch and small handbag. Accentuate your outfit with small details and you will appear taller in comparison. A larger accessory swallows your visual height. You see a woman with a large purse (something that is supposed to be small) and assume she is so small that a purse appears bigger in comparison.



In the wise words of TLC’s Stacy and Clinton: you must dress the body you have not the one you want to have. Slick tailored pieces make you appear smaller in the waistline. It comes down to simple shapes. Baggy, untailored clothing make you look closer to a circle. Tailor along the natural lines of your body and you change into a rectangle. You may be a shorter rectangle, but still taller than your previous circle incarnation. Tailoring might feel strange in the beginning but in moments of doubt remember Jennifer Aniston tailors her t-shirts.


Black makes you slimmer and sticking to a tonal color group will make your body appear like it holds equal weight from head to toe. In contrast, a lighter pair of paints will make you appear shorter as if your legs are fading into the ground.



If you follow anything, follow the proportion rule. The way the fabric stops and cuts at certain parts of your body will directly influence the perception of your height. Trends come and go, but the proportion that is the most flattering will always look better. To appear taller you must embrace the short skirt (to the happiness of men everywhere) and reveal long length of your legs. Of course you can go on the route of the floor length dress if you want to channel a Nicole Richie vibe. She is only 5 feet 1 but a wardrobe full of maxi dresses make her appear like a tall column goddess.

Avoid the mid-calf length as it cuts awkwardly on the legs and makes them appear stocky. If you are conscious about work appropriate attire, choose a high-waisted pencil skirt so that the higher waistline compensates for cutting at the calf.

How high are your heels?

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A previous power trend that has not lost it’s sway is the top knot. A sophisticated finish to any outfit that hides hair that desperately needs to be washed and adds inches to your crown.

Top Knot Tutorial: RockettLuxe


One word: vertical.

They misdirect your perception so that the eye travels in an up and down movement signaling to the brain that the person is more vertical than reality. For this very reason, avoid horizontal stripes for they are the bane of every shorter woman and those that want to avoid attention at the midsection.


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