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Fab Body Guide: Making Short Look Tall

I was looking at the most recent Rachel Bilson pictures when something occurred to me: Were she taller, her disheveled, London-inspired outfit would have been flawless. But since Rachel can't make herself grow, there has to be a way to rock this outfit and make it look more flattering.

Before I offer up some obvious and not-so-obvious solutions for shorter gals who want to mimic her outfit, let's dissect what's wrong with her look. Rachel's not quite 5'4", so an overly-layered ensemble makes her look frumpy and stout. The tiered dress is too long for her petite frame, as is her leather jacket. The Jovovich-Hawk for Target frock is A-line, so it makes the actress look like she has wide hips. To top it all off, she's wearing flats.

To see some of my solutions for making short look tall,


  • A shorter version of the dress or jacket would have given the illusion that she's taller.
  • A narrower dress bottom would have made her look less wide.
  • Assuming her dress and jacket don't come in shorter versions, all Rachel needed to do was throw on a pair of high heels or wedges to make the outfit more flattering.

Squint your eyes and imagine Rachel's look with lace-up heels. Much more flattering, right? "But what if wearing heels to the supermarket isn't my idea of fun, Fab?" you may ask.

  • If that's the case, shorter girls who want to wear flats should don shorter hemlines and cropped jackets.
  • Don't overlayer unless it's cold outside! The more you layer, the frumpier you look.


birdy-jane birdy-jane 8 years
I disagree - I think she looks fantastic...she pulls off the alternative quirky girl style perfectly.... no need to turn her into a trendy-heels-wearing-hollywood-knock-off!
svenska svenska 8 years
Yeah, since when is Rachel 5'4"? I seem to remember a quote from her about always having to get jeans hemmed or something saying she was 5'2" or thereabouts. Even imdb, as futonfighter pointed out, has her listed as just under 5'2". I know it's standard in Hollwood to add an inch or two to your height but 5'4" or almost 5'5" is ridic. Also, I think she looks cute here. Not my style, but cute nonetheless.
myystque myystque 8 years
Speaking as a short girl who's just under 5' (I feel an affinity with you, foxie), I'm happy that Fab posted this. I think her comments are right on--well, maybe Rachel doesn't look stout, but I get Fab's point. She could've looked way cuter doing what Fab suggested and I intend to follow those guidelines. And I'm happy that celebs choose to shop at Target. In fact, that info came as a welcome surprise. It's pretty cool that she's not too stuck up to shop at such an "ordinary" place.
amber_castaldo amber_castaldo 9 years
i think she looks cute and casual. I don't like the shoes though.
tulipsaki tulipsaki 9 years
I think she looks fine as well. She's slim and she looks cute. If she was heavy-boned, I would agree with Fab, but she's tiny, and all this just makes her look adorable, if not rocker chick.
linday_love linday_love 9 years
syako i never said fab wrote down that rachel should start dressing like eva longoria.I was just saying that she is a few of a bunch that doesn't wanna look/feel tall.I was just putting down my comment down on this subject that's the reason there is a comment box,right?
futonfighter futonfighter 9 years
What the hell? IMDb lists her as: 5'1¾" and usually they add an inch or a half. Just looking at pictures of her she doesn't look near anywhere near 5'4" - Alyssa Milano looks (and is) taller. I thought the proportions were off for her to be the height mentioned above. She's shorter. It's why she looks like (no offence) a doll most of the time.
phree2b phree2b 9 years
YAY! LikeThoseShoes, YAY! Well said, Ditto, Right on, Oh H*ll Yeah, etc. etc. It's how you put it together and how it makes you feel. Rock that Fashion with your Bad self!
LikeThoseShoes LikeThoseShoes 9 years
*** OH and FASHION is FASHION!!!! whether your peices be from Target, Neimans, your Grandma's attic or a Thrift shop. its all about throwing good looks together... not how much you spend.
LikeThoseShoes LikeThoseShoes 9 years
the dress could DEF be shorter and i think if she were to alter the hem at the bottom... take it in and make it look a little asymetrical that would be awesome!!!!
catita85 catita85 9 years
I think the jacket could be a tad shorter, but I like that dress and the overall look.
oblio000 oblio000 9 years
i think rachel looks absolutely fine. and the dress is already short so there's really no need to shorten it, especially since it was the daytime.
phree2b phree2b 9 years
Hi FabSugar! Yes, of course it is a guide and I took it in a positive light. I think we are All ready to go on to the Next topic. Nicely! Come Children, Hold the hand of the person next to you...
Fashion Fashion 9 years
Hi girls. I want to clarify that I think Rachel looks great. I wouldn't have featured her if I didn't ;) I'm just saying that she would have looked even greater with heels and a slightly shorter dress. This is merely a guide for shorter gals who want to make themselves look taller. xo.
lovelymess lovelymess 9 years
Why is the solution to every dress problem "Shorten it!"? I am so SICK of knowing what the tops of everyone's thighs look like. I think Rachel's skirt length is fine. I'm excited some people are still wearing dresses that look like dresses (as opposed to looking like shirts...or in some cases, actually wearing shirts and forgoing pants altogether). Hate to be hostile, but it does get frustrating.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
I think she looks great! Not frumpy at all! Whatevs! :LOVE:
phree2b phree2b 9 years
SmallTownFab SmallTownFab 9 years
I am always drawn to celebs who are shorter when it comes to fashion choices. I am only 5'4" and it's not that I need to look taller, I'm happy being petite, but i do have an issue looking frumpy. I hardly ever wear skirts or dresses that are past my knees, unless they are full length and i wear flats with shorts, minis and skinny jeans. Another celeb who dresses well for being a little on the shorter side is Leighton Meester from Gossip Girl. She always looks great, even when she's standing next to tall, gorgeous Blake Lively...just like Rachel Bilson did next to Micha Barton.
syako syako 9 years
I don't think that's the insinuation at all!!!! You guys are just ripping this apart way too much. I'm also 5'1 and I don't feel offended or pressured to "look tall" by this post. I also don't think r-bils needs to "look tall." She looks FRUMPY with the way these clothes fit her. No one said you HAVE to wear heels if you're short --- Fab said that if she wanted to wear those items as is it would have been better with heels. Flats work for short people too and dressing for your body type does not mean that you "want to be tall" it means that you want to look put together and appropriate. geez.
EkaterinaBallerina EkaterinaBallerina 9 years
I think she looks adorable. I'm 5'3" and I also have to be really careful about what I wear. However, I live in ballet flats. I wear almost nothing else. And having been someone who's been rather short for most of her life, I don't see anything wrong with it. Why do we have to look tall? I never wanted to be tall! Towering over people just seemed weird. Plus it makes public transport a cinch to ride! I think what bothers me most about this post is the insinuation that there is something wrong with being short and we need to constantly fake being taller.
absolutely-fab absolutely-fab 9 years
I agree. She looks frumpy. Its too much and all the layers overwhelm her. I'm 4'11 and extra conscious about the clothes I wear--sometimes to a fault. Thank God for heels! Great tips, Fab.
jennyjenny jennyjenny 9 years
She looks great. I don't think she looks frumpy at all.
ranksubjugation ranksubjugation 9 years
people shouldn't razz her for wearing clothes from target! sure, she's a star, but she isn't even lined up for anything right now (as far as I know). Hollywood is so finicky; it would be dumb to spend every penny you make on designer clothes when the money isn't guaranteed to keep coming in forever.
syako syako 9 years
I think that this is an excellent case of a woman not dressing for her body type. While the dress may be cute on the model or at the store or on someone with longer legs, it does really CONSUME her. The fact that it is tiered like that and goes to her knees does make her look really weird. And the jacket/tights/flats does nothing for her. I don't think that Fab is saying she should start dressing like Eva Longoria. I think she's pointing out that women are all different and so the way one clothing item looks on you will look totally different on someone else - hence the need to know what your body type is and what is flattering on you. Plus, this is the first time (in my memory) that Fab has ever called R-bil out so it's not like she's picking on her and actually she usually dresses really well for her petite frame. Instead of dissecting this, let's take it for what it is - help for us to look even MORE Fabulous! Which is why we're on FabSugar right? ;) :kiss:
ur_momm ur_momm 9 years
I think all she should change about this is the jacket length, cropped would be better... but seeing these pictures, i would never think wow she looks short or she looks frumpy.
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