Photo: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
If you top out on the teeny side, flats may feel like a fashion taboo -- but reaching for the stars in 4-inch heels can wear out even the fiercest fashionista. You can (and should!) wear flats whenever the mood arises -- you just have to know how to stretch the truth to push your style sky high.
Color Yourself Taller
Going matchy-matchy will help you make the most out of your limited square footage. Choosing flats that match your dress, skirt or pants will visually lengthen the leg and make you appear taller, even without the added heel height. And match your hose to your flats and outfit too -- nothing makes a short leg look shorter than hose that stands out from the rest of the outfit. When choosing which color should dominate, keep in mind that draping your bottom half in black will not only make you appear taller, it can also smooth out and lumps and bumps and dramatically improve your rear view.
Skip the Strap
If you opt for flats, the last thing you want to do is to wear shoes that shave precious inches off your pint-sized silhouette. Petites want to create a long, unbroken line from hip to toe, so straps that chop your legs off at the ankles won't do your teeny bod any favors. Your best bet is to find flats that reveal more than they conceal, showing as much of the foot as you can to trick the eye into thinking there's plenty of you to go around.
Everything should be smaller when you're petite -- even your flats. No matter how ginormous your actual tootsies are, your flats should appear diminutive. So no clunky high tops or big, boxy loafers for you, short stuff! You'll want sleek flats that make your feet fit right in with the rest of your itty-bitty package. Ballerina-style flats are simple and elegant enough for day or night, but to make the leg appear even longer, opt for a flat with a pointy toe.
Head to Toe Petite Perfection
Knowing how to style the rest of your bod is key if you want to cut corners on your shoes. Pint-sized honeys who want to max out their vertical should wear form-fitting clothes tailored to their precise dimensions (shapeless, droopy duds are a big no-no). Steer clear of flowing maxi dresses, ankle-biting prairie skirts and other styles that swallow your bottom-half whole. Give a pass to big prints, cuffed pants or anything that hits in that mid-calf no-man's-land.