The Vertically Challenged Professional

The Vertically Challenged Professional

 “I’m so small, so if clothes have too many
buttons or pockets or color-schemes I get lost in them.” 

– Priscilla Presley

I work with a lot of high level male and female clients who
are vertically challenged and want to stand out in today’s world. Your height
is part of who you are – so accept your given stature while finding some
innovative ways to look your best.

 That’s where a professional image consultant comes into
play. We are very different from personal shoppers because we know how to really
elongate specific areas of your body, based on your proportions. Maybe it’s
your legs that are out of proportion and need to appear longer. If you are short
in the torso, we may need to look at various ways to wear jackets to give your
upper torso that lengthening look so you appear more powerful. It’s all about the
tricks of the trade, and people like myself are trained to know how to make you
appear taller. Take advantage of our secrets and you can step you up a few
inches, even if you are height-challenged. 

Remember that if you are short, every extra pound is
emphasized because you have less body architecture and space for these extra
pounds to hide. I encourage you to think of how to dress according to the art
of color, line, fabrications, and details to create a more powerful appearance.

Color Me Taller

When you dress in monochromatic tones you look taller. To
dress in this fashion take one color tone like brown and then dress from top to
toe in hues and shades like camel, khaki, coffee or chocolate. When you dress
in mid to dark tones, you appear taller as there is little dressing contrast to
stop the eye – so it just keeps scanning vertically, up and down your

Line Me Powerful

Think of internal and external lines in your professional
wardrobe. Internal lines are vertical seams, princess seams through a blouse,
or a well-pressed crease through a pair of men’s dress trousers. For women it
could also mean vertical piping lines along the collar and front of the jacket.
For men, it could mean you need to wear a commanding thin-lined pinstripe suit.
External lines are the strong silhouette shapes like those in a suit or jacket.

Exquisite Fabrics

Shorter professionals always need to look more powerful and
influential by wearing more exquisite fabrics. Tighter weave fabrics are always
a win versus bulky or heavy sport coats which can create the illusion that you are
wider, not taller. Shop for fine silks in blouses or summer weight sport coats,
light-weight wools in skirts and trousers, and fine pinpoint dress shirts or
tailored shirts.

Details, Details

As I mentioned earlier, since you have less body canvas to
creatively decorate your silhouette, you need to stay clear of wide lapels,
decorative pockets, big prints, large accessories, wide legged pants and cuffs.
That’s because wearing those you will project a presence of clutter on your
small frame. I recommend the shorter your stature the less adornment and
frills. Use the KISS rule here, keeping it simple in your dress and wearing
only elegant accessories which are in correct proportion to your body

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Sarah Hathorn is a professional image
consultant, certified personal brand strategist, speaker, and author.

Her company, Illustra Image Consulting, works
with high-achieving future leaders and large businesses by enhancing their
corporate and personal brand image to take their businesses and careers to the
next level.

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Copyright 2010, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS

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