Nikki’s Inbox: The Long and Short about Boots for Petites

Hi Nikki, I really like your matching style! I am a student who is studying in university right now, and I am from Hong Kong. I am around 5 feet tall, and I would like to ask which boots should short people wear? Would long or short be better? I want to try to buy long boots but I really don’t know how to match. Help me, please! Thank you so much!

Sharon, 20/Hong Kong

Thank you for the compliment and for dropping by, Sharon. It’s always nice to hear from someone in the “neighborhood”! I don’t know if you’ve read the advice I gave a few months back regarding boots, so let me just elaborate on that some more.

As a petite myself, I know how hard it is to buy boots that are the right length for your legs. And that’s because most of us aren’t born with perfectly proportional bodies. Most store-bought boots usually reach mid-calf or just below the knee on average-height or tall people. On us petites, it’s more likely to be at the knee or even above. Short of getting your shoes custom-made, you can work around the issue of footwear by adapting your outfits. Which is definitely more feasible, right?

Show some skin
While we may not have mile-long legs, Sharon, we do have every right to show them off, too. I’ve seen petite women who wear long skirts or dresses with tall boots, thereby really blurring the line between the clothes and the shoes. Where does the skirt or dress end, and the boots begin? I couldn’t tell!

Remember the rule of inverse proportions: the shorter the boots, the longer your hemlines can be, and vice versa. Always leave a gap at least three inches between the hemline of your clothing and the top of your boots. Try this out with cowboy boots or rain boots, which can complement denim shorts and a plaid shirt. Meanwhile, heeled ankle boots light up a sweater dress or flared skirt that ends just below your knees.

Aim for the right size and fit
I continue to advocate dressing for your shape and size, and to avoid the oversized trend. Anything that’s saggy can weigh you down visually. As a petite, you don’t want to get swamped and rendered invisible by your outfit. Tucking slim-fit or skinny dark-wash jeans into tall boots makes you look longer and leaner. Steer clear of wearing super loose tops or bottoms, or humongous outerwear, with your boots. Try figuring out the optimum length your top needs to be when you wear jeans and boots together. It may be upper thigh, hip-length or mid-thigh, depending on your height. I find that some dip-back tops work because of the asymmetric hemline.

Mind the boot!
Just as not all bodies are created equal, the same applies to boots. Some styles look good on certain body shapes, some don’t. Personally, I’m not a fan of the slouchy boots or the sheepskin ones as they make thin legs look like chicken legs, and thick legs even chunkier. Shoes should always be the right size, and boots should have just enough room so you can wear socks or tights with them. They’re too big if you can insert two or more fingers between your leg and the boot shaft (opening), and definitely too tight if the skin spills out (creating the dreaded “muffin top”).

Remember, knowing your body measurements (including the circumference of your calves) makes your shopping easier, more fun and hopefully headache-free!


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