Outfit of the Day, Vol. 3: Call Me Cat Lady (and a Trick to Look Taller)

Published in: Just For Fun

I’m pretty short at 5’1″, but in my mind I’m taller.

How much taller?

On a good day, at least 5’8″. Of course, the rest of the world disagrees.

Once, years ago when I worked in San Francisco, I was walking through China Town on my lunch break in four-inch heels when I found myself behind a group of middle school students on an historic tour of the neighborhood. I was heading to my favorite greasy spoon for lunch, a place in the same direction the group was heading, so I tagged along (hey, free tour!), listening to the group’s tour guide.

When I finally arrived at my lunch spot and broke away from the group, one of the volunteer moms started yelling.

“Get back with the group!” she barked, and I could hear her footsteps pounding behind me.

I slowly turned around, looking up at a much taller woman. “Dude…” I replied, more confused than amused, “I don’t go to school with these kids.”

She pursed her lips and raised an eyebrow quizzically, probably thinking she had a troublemaker on her hands. “Where do you go to school?”

“Uh…” I saw an opportunity I couldn’t resist. “The school of life?”

I think that’s where she figured it out. :)

Over the years, I’ve picked up a few height-enhancing tricks. One of my favorites? — pairing nude heels (more accurately, heels in a color close to my natural skin tone) with an above-the-knee length dress.

When my shoes and leg color sort of blend together, I think it creates an illusion of height, and when the dress rests above the knee, it enhances the overall effect.

Dresses in solid colors or with detailed prints, like this leopard one from Audrey, seem to work best with the nude heel/above-the-knee dress trick, and I think the opposite is also true. Prints with large details make me look shorter. In general, when I’m shooting for height, I try to keep my dress as simple as possible; the simpler the dress, the greater the height-enhancing effect.

Things like this leopard-print dress are relatively recent additions to my wardrobe. I’d avoided them for years, thinking they were too Peggy Bundy, but I blame my level of cat lady craziness for my new outlook on prints.

I also like to pair bright accessories, like in the multi-colored necklace I’m sporting here, with neutral colors, and you could do something similar with a hot pink or turquoise ring, earrings or bracelets.

If you’re already taller than I am, a pair of fuchsia or coral pumps would look really cute, and you could play up your natural va-va-va-voom! by wearing your hair down and doing big, sexy Victoria’s Secret curls, or, tone it down by putting your hair up in a ponytail with a tortoise-shell headband like I’m wearing here.

A breakdown of the outfit…

  • Dress — Audrey (available now online)
  • Shoes — L.A.M.B. (no longer available)
  • Necklace — Lulus.com (available now online)
  • Headband — Goody (available now exclusively at Target stores)

Do you ever employ outfit tricks to make yourself look taller (or shorter)? What are your best ones?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen

P.S.

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  1. Kim says:

    I checked back in just in time for a good giggle (Peggy Bundy). I’m not a print kind of gal myself but they definitely look awesome on a lot of other people. They tend to make me look like a grandma for whatever reason. I think your skin-matching shoe tip is spot on, and I also agree with lengths at about mid-thigh. I’d say wearing straight-leg pants or those with a slight boot cut that hit about a half inch to quarter inch from the ground (with shoes on) help give me a longer looking leg. :) On a side note, I’m OK with my 5’6″, but wouldn’t turn down a 5’9″ or 10″, esp since the Hubs is 6’4″. :)

    • Karen says:

      LOL, remember how she’d wear those crazy leopard print capris? I sorta love them now.

      Good call on the boot cut… am I the only person who’s beyond thrilled that they’re back in style again?

  2. Larie says:

    Those heels are fierce, Karen! I don’t do animal print myself…it makes me feel self-conscious, like I’m trying to make a statement, or something, and I wouldn’t know what that statement would be :P I love that dress, though, and I really need to get myself to Target to pick up those headbands!
    Larie recently posted … The Moment of Truth: June

  3. astrid says:

    You definitely look 5’8″ in those pictures!!

    I try to look taller with my outfits, or more precisely, leaner. I’m not friends with heels though, so I mostly go with ballerinas + leggings or strappy sandals + short skirts.

    • Karen says:

      Ahh, when it comes to looking leaner I’m all about the Spanx! They are a minor miracle.

      You’re so lucky that you can wear ballerina flats. I love how they look, but they hurt my feet.

  4. Crystal says:

    I’ve got one word for those heels…HOT! You look great!
    Crystal recently posted … NOTD: OPI Spark De Triomphe

    • Karen says:

      Thanks! I bought them on sale at Marshalls about a year ago. The one near my house has am AMAZING shoe section. It’s like my home away from home. :)

  5. karo says:

    And the OOTD OSCAR goes to….
    KAREN!!!
    you look so amazing!
    So HOT!!!
    WOW!!! :)
    xoxo
    karo recently posted … Top 5 in Juni

  6. Casey says:

    Love, love, love the dress! I also completely agree about neutral colored heels. I have several pairs of nude heels – all to match my skin tone at any given point in the year. My husband thinks I am nuts (but what does he know?).

    I am off work a little early today – so I am heading to Target to pick up a fab headband and check out Marshall’s for some heels. Thanks for another great post!

    • Karen says:

      Yeah, what do you boys know? El Hub can’t fathom why I need more than one pair of black shoes. I’m like, dude, they’re all different shades, and shapes, and heights! Completely necessary.

  7. Instant Karma says:

    That dress is fabulous! You’re absolutely right about the smaller print, too; it’s best to have prints correspond to your size. Considering how tall I am, I’d need bigger spots! Man, I want to go shopping now :).

    On the topic of kitties, I’ve been trying to pose Tigger with my tube of EvRev, but he keeps moving around to inspect it. The photos have all turned out blurry. I’ll try again when he’s asleep!

    • Karen says:

      What kind of camera are you using? If you’re using a point and shoot you could probably put it into “sports” mode if he’s moving around a lot.

  8. Lisa says:

    Karen, I have the same “problem” — I’m short (well, average at 5’4″) and in my mind, I’m at least 5’10″! I don’t know why, I just feel so tall! It takes standing next to a legitimately tall person to bring me back down to earth! Lol! Anyway, glad to hear that you share this random affliction :)

    • Karen says:

      Haha! Isn’t that funny? El Hub makes fun of me all the time for insisting that I’m taller than I actually am. So glad to know I’m not alone in this!

  9. Vonvon says:

    I like that leopard print dress especially the plunging back.

    And I like your ‘incident’ with the Mom! ;)
    Vonvon recently posted … Dinner Look: NARS Dogon Duo Eyeshadow, MAC By Candlelight, et al; Outfit Of The Night

  10. BeckBeck says:

    I’m a tall-girl wannabe too – 5’3.5″, but I almost always wear heels. AND I’ve been on a quest for a simple open-toed nude pump, but I’m very fair, so most of the “natural” shades are noticeably tanner than my legs.

  11. Grace says:

    I love being 5’2″ and fitting perfectly in my honey’s arms <3 I live in flats and sandals but there's nothing like a killer pair of nude heels…hot!

  12. Nina says:

    omgggg i love the dress — that little surprise at the back is so smexy! :)

    you look great, karen!

    today i had the day off, and we went to lunch at a colombian place. i wore an off white tank w/ grommet detail from f21, a pair of rust shorts with a ribbon tie detail and a pair of nude sandals! it was nice to not feel hot in the 102 degree weather!

    • Karen says:

      GURL, I know you’re going to tell me in great detail what you had for lunch.

      As for your outfit, super cute. I wish I could pull off shorts! I feel weird in them. :(

      • Nina says:

        omggg! the lunch was awesome!

        we had empanadas to start – and they were different. the crust felt like it had cornmeal in it – so crispy and awesome paired w/ their house sauce (peppers, onion, lime juice).

        i had the lunch special – a piece of flank steak, a piece of deep fried pork belly, a fried egg, avocado, rice and beams – YUM!

        the hubs had a whole fried fish served with rice and beans and about half of the meats in my plate.

        best part was the mango smoothie – fresh mango + crushed ice + milk === dessert and drink all in one!

  13. Saffron says:

    That dress looks terrific on you! Be glad you aren’t tall – it intimidates the shit out of men and a cute dress like that would be a tunic with 3/4 sleeves on a 6 footer like me!
    I’m into weightlifting so I’ve never had thin legs – the nude pumps trick is also good for making athletic legs look more feminine.

  14. Brian McD aka Roulette says:

    Wow girl!! You just made a gay guy go ‘DAYUMN!!’ from lookin at your legs. The shoes and the leopard print dress probably helped (!) but still…I gotta say, all that running you do is paying off because you look FEIRCE!!!

    –Bri

  15. Julia says:

    Hahahaha! I’m sorry, but I had to laugh at your story. I’m barely 5’2” and have a baby face so I look younger than I actually am. When I was about 24 or 25 I joined a program where I mentored a junior high student. I went to her school to visit her one day and was wandering the halls looking for the cafeteria when a teacher yelled at me, “What are you doing out of class? Do you have a hall pass?” She was a little surprised and embarrassed when she realized I was wearing a visitor’s pass. I’m 33 and think I look closer to my actual age now, but it’s always nice when people tell me I don’t look like I’m in my 30s.

  16. Diana says:

    LMAO! I have you beat at 4′ 11″ and I get the, “You look like you’re sixteen…” all the time. At this point (31 years) it’s a compliment!!! Ha-ha! Whatever. I own it!

  17. Vixen says:

    That leopard-print dress is love! I’ve been looking for one exactly like that! But most of the ones I’ve found are sheer >.<

  18. Liz! says:

    I feel bragadoscious saying it, but I’m 5’9″…..and I kind of love it. I tend to down play it though- I pretty much live in flats. On occasion I break out the heels. I like the way heels look, but when I wear them, I feel like a giant :D. Even with shorter heels, whenever I push 6′ I start to feel a bit self conscious. Not to mention my dear husband is 5’7″, which I”m comfortable with, but I really don’t feel the need to be towering over him lol.

  19. sarah says:

    at a precise 5″, heels and high waisted jeans make my legs look like they go on forever. I feel like a slicked back high pony tail adds a little more height as well. At 25 with 2 kids, I still get asked if im baby sitting my little sisters when im actually out with my lovely daughters, so im enjoying the compliment while it lasts. I’ve always known i was petite… i just call it FUN SIZED.

  20. Olivia says:

    I like using pointy toes on shoes for some leg extending. They don’t have to look witchy-poo in their pointiness but a taper really helps. I avoid rounded toes! I look like a short minni mouse.

  21. Elle says:

    Guuuurl, you are SMOKIN’! I do the same thing with the nude heels/short skirts. We’re the same height, so you I feel ya on that ;) I also stay away from skirts that hit mid calf. I have muscular legs and anything that isn’t at the knee or shorter, or all the way down to the floor, just makes me look stumpy as hell.

  22. Phyrra says:

    I like the suggestion on the skintone shoes to help enhance height. I’ve never tried that!
    Phyrra recently posted … Wednesday’s Day Look

  23. Alyse says:

    Oh wow! You’re 5’1″?!?!? I always thought you were taller from the pictures you post. Maybe 5’7″ or 5’8″. I am 5’2″ myself. It’s nice finding other bloggers who are around my height! Hmm, perhaps I should try nude heels myself.

  24. Sharon says:

    I’m 4’11″ and have a youngish-looking face — always have — and oh, what I wouldn’t give for six more inches of height. It has led in the past to some funny situations (being carded until hitting 30) and some not-so-funny ones, too (casually dating a guy many years ago who thought I was his age, and I thought he was older, and neither of us were thrilled when we learned each other’s ages!). But now it’s great to have people be way off on my age.

    Excuse me while I go shoe shopping. :)

  25. Denise says:

    Now I need to buy a pair of nude shoes! I want to look taller too :)
    Denise recently posted … Unicorns Dream’s Swag Box Giveaway!

  26. Joy says:

    I’m 5’9″ but I’ve always wanted to be 5’1-2″. I missed that goal by fifth grade. I will switch with any of you, any day of the week. :-)

  27. Britney says:

    Karen…You look absolutely gorgeous, and I will have to agree with the other girls…those heels… I have been looking everywhere for a pair of heels just like them to wear every day when out and about. Because they are natural, i can pair them with a dark bootcut denim. I have a leapord top that would go great as well, but afraid that if I wear it…it will make me feel like I am the center of attention, but being here in Las Vegas…I geuss everyone really just blends after a while…lol… You look fabulous though..Hugs to you.

  28. Britney says:

    Karen..You look gorgeous, and I adore those heels. I have looked everywhere for a pair just like, but to no avail. They would look awesome with a dark denim bootcut and leapord print top. Include a little “Bling Bling” and create the sexxiness….lol. Not sure if this posted earlier, so tried again….hugs

  29. Christina says:

    I love this whole ‘outfit of the day’ series! Your style sense is really unique, la la loving it!

  30. Rachel says:

    So cute! I love LAMB stuff but have never bought her shoes, are they comfortable? (comfortable for 4 inch heels that is!)

  31. Iris says:

    I’m just about your height, Karen! Unfortunately for me I can’t really pull off the heels — I got me some flat, flat feet with no arches and it pains me to walk in anything but flats. Therefore, I think I’ve just basically accepted my shortness and live with it!

    I love the look of those nude heels though, such a pretty color!

  32. saku says:

    Hotness Karen. I’m around 5’9 and scared to wear heels. I’m so awkward in them.

  33. Stephanie says:

    I’m 5’8″ and I love looking taller! I wear above the knee dresses with platform pumps and wedges and end up being like 6’2″ it’s awesome. I love towering over everyone. :]
    I love your dress in this post, it’s super cute. I think the cut keeps it from being too over-the-top. And you do look rather tall here, mission complete.

  34. Linda R says:

    I read most of the post’s so far and for the ladies that stated they’re like 5’8 / 5’9, I’ve got you all beat @ an even 6′ & I hate it. Have hated being tall my entire life, I always felt very awkward, never wore heals, I always felt like I was falling forward. I’m 46 now and at times I still feel awkward / embarressed about what I’m wearing and how it fits. I can never buy anything thats “current” because tey don’t make it in a “TALL.” My legs themselves are a 36″ inseam. I can’t even got o a store & buy clothes, everything gets ordered from a cataloge & we all know how much fun that ISN”T!!! I didn’t even have a pair of pants/slacks/jeans that were even long enough for me until I was almost 28yrs old. Never mind having a long sleeve anything, whatever i bought got pushed up to the elbows :( I would trade in a hearbeat to be a little shorter. Thank goodness I had boys and not girls ( my boys are 6’2 & 6’3 1/2)……………….wanna trade off some height Karen? You look marvelous.

  35. Iram says:

    you look gawwwwjussss!
    Iram recently posted … Haul Time! New Look, MAC & Claire’s Accessories

  36. Barbara says:

    Karen you look great!! How tall is El Hub? I am 5’1 and my hubby is 6’1. Our son is tall for his age and our daughter is short like me. My daughter will be in 8th grade this fall. When she was in 5th grade she was a safety for the kindergarten class. She was highly offended when the new principal told her to go off and play with her little friends!!!

  37. Jay says:

    I’m 5’2″ (and a half!) and have a pretty youthful face…so even though I’m 23 I get carded and even get asked if it’s a fake lol. I’ve been told I look 15…. seriously. Being short doesn’t help. But yes, I’m pretty much the same way – I feel way taller in my head.

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