fashion

"Always tuck, never hang": The 7 best styling tips for short girls.

I long ago accepted that I am not a tall gal. 

I was never going to be a back-row bandit in the school picture. 

I had no shot at any kind of defence position in netball.

And I would forever need help reaching stuff on top of high cupboards.

Watch: One scarf, three ways.


Video via MM.

As a young fashion writer, I always felt self-conscious standing backstage with a bunch of models or watching them fold their limbs into all sorts of positions on photo shoots. 

But from years of observing stylists at work, seeing divisive trends come and go, and finding out what works for my body, I've learnt a few tricks that I stick to every day.

Here are the best styling tips for short girls, IMO.

Important caveat: There are always exceptions to the rules, and honestly, these aren't rules. They're just suggestions. Don't let me or anyone else on the internet tell you what to wear. And if you've found a way to make knee-length pants look sexy, please share it with me?

1. Always tuck, never hang.

Have you heard of the 'French tuck'? The styling trick fashion editors use to make their shirts and tees look effortless? Basically, you take your top and sort of half-tuck it into your bottoms. It works especially well with an oversized shirt worn with high-waisted shorts or jeans, and the look can be emphasised with a belt. I live by the tuck because it gives me more of a defined silhouette at the waist, and makes my legs look a little bit longer.

READ: The 'French tuck': How to nail the style trick that'll improve any outfit.

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Here's my French tuck. Image: Supplied. 

2. Go for cropped jeans.

This is controversial, and people are going to argue with me - but a long time ago I realised full-length jeans were not doing my short stature any favours. It might seem to go against logic, but I find slightly cropped jeans that show a bit of ankle are just more flattering on my shape. Hot tip: I look for jeans that are a standard women's 7/8 crop. They look like pedal pushers on a tall lady, but fit my 5'4 frame perfectly.

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READ: Apparently you need to put your skinny jeans in the bin and get these instead.


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3. A low neck draws the eye down.

Ok, this is my favourite hack. It's not to say that tees or singlets with higher necks don't suit you (because they really do), but doesn't a shirt unbuttoned a little lower look sexy? And just ~do something~ for your confidence? If I'm wearing a midi skirt or jeans that cover up my lower half, I'll often choose a top with a lower neck that shows some decolletage. It draws the eye down and creates the illusion of length.

A combo you can't go wrong with. Image: Supplied. 

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4. Pick shoes with a lower vamp.

What is a vamp, you ask? Good question: it's the place that the top of your shoe hits your foot. Why is it called a vamp? No f*cking idea.

This tip also comes back to proportions, and I'll use Converse shoes to demonstrate it. By choosing high-top sneakers, to the eye, you're cutting off your leg at your ankle. Whereas going for low-tops only cuts your leg off at the top of your foot. The same goes for boots, mules, high heels, even sandals - I choose heels with a strap a little further down the foot, rather than around the ankle. See?

Bonus trick: Pair them with high-waist paints for extra lengthening. Image: Supplied. 

5. Generally avoid anything knee-length.

Last year, quite suddenly and terrifyingly, long shorts made a comeback (my fiance's dad calls them 'short longs', which shows you about how cool they are.) Anyway, it's my humble opinion that cargo shorts shouldn't be allowed near anyone's body, but the rude people who brought them back "in" were Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, and given they're 7 foot 11, it's not surprising they looked kind of OK in them.

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Avoid, avoid, avoid. Or don't, but just know my fiance's dad will be cracking jokes about your shorts.

6. Or any top that calls itself a tunic.

Remember when Marissa Cooper made long tops cool on The OC, and you spent a whole year trying to figure out how to layer a tunic over a singlet over a miniskirt? That only looked good on Marissa Cooper and anyone else with her body shape (about six people, at my count).

Cropped tops look great on shorter girls, as do regular-length tops - but anything that tricks the eye into elongating your torso can have the effect of making the rest of you look shorter (see point one.)

7. Look for high-waisted styles.

I'm a big fan of high-waisted bottoms, and I know a lot of shorter women are too. Midi-skirts, shorts, jeans and yoga pants can be really flattering when they sit at the waist because they give your shape more definition while adding some subtle leg-lengthening benefits.

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These are my super high-rise Kmart jeans, which I more or less live in. Image: Supplied.
 

Got a tip to share? Pass it on in the comments below!

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Feature image: Instagram @lisonseb / Instagram @sincerelyjules