Even when my winter weight is clinging to my bootay and tender midsection, I can generally count on my legs to remain lean. So, on days when it’s above zero, I do my best to accentuate those gams. Nothing makes me feel quite as powerful and strong as an outfit that makes my legs look a mile long. Especially because my legs are NOT a mile long and I get such a charge out of the optical illusion. I am fake-tall! Check me OUT.
Here are some of the tricks I use for artificial leg-elongation. Take a peek and see which ones might work for you.
When more leg is exposed, it’s easier for the observing eye to comprehend the entire figure. And even if you are long in the torso and short in the leg, wearing a shorter skirt or dress will create the illusion of long, lean gams. I’m a big fan of miniskirts, especially in winter when they can be paired with tights for a more cute/demure and less sassy/sexy look. But even if you aren’t comfortable with a true mini, scope out some above-the-knee lengths and see what works.
IN THE SAME COLOR RANGE
Since a high hem isn’t always desirable or comfortable, here’s a trick that works even with slightly longer skirts and dresses. If you wear tights and shoes that are the same color or very close in color value, the eye travels all the way down the leg to the floor without stopping.
IN THE SAME COLOR RANGE
If you’re a pant or legging tucker and looking for a way to elongate your legs while wearing tall boots, simply wear dark boots and very dark jeans, pants, or leggings. Black/black and brown/brown are the obvious choices, but any color will work. It’s the same concept as the tights/shoes: A long, unbroken line all the way down to the ground.
If you like the look and can walk in a platform, give your height an actual, factual boost and elongate your legs while you’re at it. And remember that a heeled platform won’t feel as tall as it looks – subtract the platform height from the heel height to gauge perceived height. (A 4″ heel with a 1″ platform will feel like a pair of 3″ heels.)
Now this one is ALL optical illusion. Pulling the eye up higher than your natural waist gives the impression of superlong gams, even with a longer hemline. If the observer thinks your waist is up near your armpits, the assumption is that your legs start just below your armpits. Cool huh? And a wee bit weird. This holds true for certain styles of high-waisted pants, too.
Yes, my torso is shortened up a good deal by this look, but the payoff is in the legs.
High waistlines are the least universal of all of these suggestions. Apple-shaped women, petite women, and extremely tall women often hate this style of bottom, and it’s so stylized that many women shy away from it regardless of figure flattery. But I wanted to include it because, as a medium-sized pear of average height, it is a favorite look of mine … and I’d bet it works for some of you as well.
Many of these tricks may seem cool- and cold-weather contingent, and that’s certainly true of any tights-based look. But if you’re comfortable doing a shorter hem with a bare leg, go to! Platforms sandals are just as effective as platform shoes and boots. And high waists can be worn year-round.
Now, I know what you’re gonna say: “Where are the nude pumps?” The nude pumps are in every other guide to leg elongation in the history of time. I love the idea of some cute sandals that match your skin tone and create the same to-the-floor sightline as same-colored shoes and tights. But I don’t own any nude pumps, don’t generally love the look of ’em, and don’t often recommend practices I haven’t implemented personally. So know that bare legs and nude pumps* are a great tool for long leg lines … but also know that you don’t have to go that route. (I doubt I ever will.)
*As always, “nude” means “matching to YOUR skin tone.” If you’ve got brown or yellowish or super-pale ivory skin, be sure to match to your own specific brand of “nude.”
Top image courtesy Helga Weber