How to make your short legs look longer

make your short legs look longer

Now that you’ve determined you have a long torso and short legs, I want to talk about how to look taller and slimmer. It’s all about creating optical illusions, the magic of fashion!

Although there are countless possibilities for flattering styles, I’ve had many clients and readers tell me that fewer options are easier to keep in mind when they’re out shopping.

So today I’m offering up 7 stylish solutions for balancing your figure vertically, so you can get dressed with ease. Here are styles to look for and avoid with tips for styling them. I’m also giving simple explanations so you can understand the “why’s” and feel confident you’re doing it right!

High waisted skirts:

By raising your waistline to a spot above your natural waist, your waist appears higher and your legs look longer.

High-rise/mid-rise pants and jeans-Avoid low-rise pants:

A similar concept…pants with a higher rise elongate your legs. Low-rise, or hip huggers, mimic your body proportions and emphasize your short legs.

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How To Make Your Short Legs Look Longer

Tuck whenever possible:

Tucking tops in (and wearing belts) creates a horizontal line across your torso, breaking it up, making your mid-section look shorter and your body as a whole appear more in balance.

Empire waist dresses:

Like high waisted skirt or pants, an empire waist dress allows the eye to bypass your natural waist, making your legs look a mile long!

Ankle length and longer pants:

Your legs only look as long as your pants. By wearing long pants, with heels if possible, your legs look much longer than they truly are. You can see in the photo above, her pants are almost touching the ground! We can’t see her feet at all, and her legs look a mile long!

Capris/crops aren’t great, but if they’re high-rise and you tuck your top, it’s doable in warm weather.

Low vamped shoes:

These are low cut, slip on styles without any type of strap on your ankle, making your leg look as long as possible. An ankle strap or high vamped shoe, i.e. covers most of your foot, cuts off your leg, right then and there…similar to a capri pant.

Pointed toe shoes: 

Pointed toe shoes extend your leg line. If you’re wearing pants, go for a similar color, like the shoes shown above. The entire clearly isn’t teal, but the toe is, so the eye will jump to it. While a solid color pump would pump up the optical illusion of lengthening your leg line, it’s also fun to mix it up from time to time!

Over to you…how do you like these styles? Will you wear them to help balance your figure?

How to Make Your Legs Look Longer


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23 comments on “How to make your short legs look longer

  1. That’s true about skirts. Above the knee is a good proportion, and midi skirts are very difficult to wear. The thing that’s a little difficult about skirts is that you can’t wear a longer top with them.

  2. I am muslim and cover, but what I found works so great for me is wearing a full floor length jean skirt that is tailored to the waist – with a petticoat underneath and a slim tunic. The petticoat adds body and flow to the base of the skirt while simultaneously slimming the waist, and also elongates the legs by creating a long “A” shape that goes from just above the hips all the way to 1″ above the floor, so the foot is pretty much included in the look of the leg length. I’ve always had short legs and this look is so flattering and underused!

    1. Great tip! Thanks! I think the key is as you said, making sure the foot is covered for the most part. Ankle length or midi lengths will cut the leg line.

  3. I like the long torso effect. It makes me look thinner and the higher belts just make my mid mid area so big that I look like I’m made of 3 tiers instead of two halves.

    My biggest issue in dressing is finding shirts long enough to cover my belly. Most shirts show skin every time I move… It’s crazy annoying in winter. I’m always cold and I spendy days pulling on shirts. Tunics are strange too .. they stop right under my butt.

    My best option so far… find tube dresses and wear them as shirts. They are usually tight enough to hold to any length you want. It’s been hard on budget though. Dresses are often 3 times the price of shirts. It also takes a long time to find something suitable… Plain dresses without decoration are hard to find.

    For sports shirts, I buy men extra small. Shirts in the men departments are longer for the same width.

    It doesn’t work for anything business though.

    1. haha totally! I found like I’ve found my people reading these comments :). I’m long and smaller (rib cage) on top, short large (like 2 sizes larger) on bottom. If I buy men’s or larger sizes to try and get length I’m balanced, but swimming. My new trick is to buy extra long tank tops (many, whenever I can find them) in a variety of colors, so I wear “cute” shirts but have a protection against the hip flesh reveal

      1. Hi Anna,

        I’m glad you like the advice! Since high waisted pants are in style, I completely suggest trying them out. Then you will get more coverage on your torso and should be able to wear a bigger variety of tops than just the long tank tops. As I’d suggested to another reader in the comments, try looking for “longs” even in tops. (I’ve listed stores in the comments.) Also check out this post,, about dressing for your body type. Also, be sure to sign up under “stay connected” so you’ll see any posts about dressing for your body type. I’m considering creating a program around the topic and you’ll get notifications with all the details.

  4. My suggestion is to look for tops that are available in Tall lengths. Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic and White House Black Market all sell Talls. I imagine you’ll find a much better fit than with the men’s department.

  5. Im long torso, short legs and curvy… I love the ideas you mentioned. Will try the high waist tucked in shirt with capris!

  6. I actually have a question, I just turned 16 and I’m 5’7 , 5’8, and I have a long torso and my leg below my knee is normal length, it’s just my thighs are super short, do you think my thigh will grow out or am I forever stuck with the long torso short leg figure? Only my thighs are short 🤔 please pleas reply

    1. Hi Rio,

      First off, I GUARANTEE you that no one is analyzing your legs the way you are! I’ve been helping women for over 15 years and I’ve never compared someone’s upper and lower legs looking for perfect proportions.

      I’d say your very best bet is to have fun with fashion! You’re perfect the way you are!!

      Right now high waisted pants and skirt that are so in style are perfect for your body type!

      You’re probably still growing, but it’s hard to know if you’ll “even out.” More than anything…don’t worry about it and enjoy being young.

    2. Rio Woods.. Please don’t worry about the length of your legs.. As a person who works as a physical therapist some people would kill for legs that just “work”… Love your legs and be happy they take you for point A to B 🙂

      1. I agree with Crystal! I wrote this post with love to give ideas of how to create flattering looks with your body type. There are so many different body types and proportions…we are ALL unique! There isn’t one body type or proportion that is better than another.

  7. I am stuck. I don’t feel 69. I don’t want to dress old but my teenage granddaughter says you can’t wear shorts no jeans no no no . What am I to wear? I would love for someone to shop for me.

    1. Oh Patty! I’m sure your teenage granddaughter is a wonderful girl, but she’s wrong! You can wear shorts and you can wear jeans…and pretty much whatever else you want to! One of my very best clients is also in her late ’60’s, and she is probably more stylish than me! Why don’t you set an appointment with me so we can talk. Here’s the link to my calendar, I would love to support you on this!

    2. Patty, I’m 71 now and I choose not to wear shorts, but I wear lots of jeans, especially colored jeans such as black, burgundy, dark green, brown, and in summer pink, mint green, lavender and white. I also wear standard denim jeans when they feel appropriate. Jeans jackets are also popular with our age group. Teenagers have their own opinions, but they will change their opinions over time.

  8. I have this body type. I took off a lot of weight and now am able to wear more styles than before. I think flowy midi skirts are so good. I think it’s the flowy fabric that makes it work. Any skirt conceals where your legs start and seems to be more flattering than pants.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Yes, you’re totally right! The flow fabric which is good for your body type even further disguises where your legs start. Good call, Shirley!

  9. Long pants–especially with wide ankles–don’t work for me at all, because of the horizontal apple shape. The just make me look like an elephant-leg umbrella stand, and hide my ankles, which are one of my better features. (Yes, I have to reach for ankles in the good feature department. ;p) Capri leggings under a peplum top, on the other hand, are just about perfect. Skirts just above the knee are great, but weirdly hard to find on the rack; I always have to take them to a tailor. Long pants, though, just make my legs look shorter and stumpier.

  10. Yes, wide leg pants aren’t for everyone, especially if you’re not wearing a considerable heel. Skirts in general are fairly hard to find, but it sounds like you’ve found a solution.

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