How to Look Taller and Make Your Legs Look Longer

Shoe Vamp – what is is and why does it matter?

I’m always going on about low vamp shoes to my clients, and most people have no idea about what a shoe vamp is until I explain to them what it is.

So I thought, if my clients have no idea, then there are probably lots of people out there who also have no idea.
The vamp of the shoe is where it cuts across your foot at the front. Thus low vamp shoes cut across the front of the foot near the toes, and high vamp shoes come up the foot and possibly up to the ankle. Straps and other details affect the shoe vamp.
Low and High Vamp Shoes

Low and High Vamp Shoes – by imogenl on Polyvore.com

So with what and when do you wear low or high vamp shoes?
Skirts that are knee length or longer generally look best with a low vamp shoe. It elongates the legs and makes you look taller. So if you’re already really tall, you don’t need to worry about this rule.
Skirts that are shorter than the knee can work with both low and high vamp shoes as there is enough leg showing that the few inches that are cut off by the high vamp doesn’t matter so much.
Trousers work well with both low and high vamp shoes, as the leg is already cut off by the trouser hem and the extra horizontals on high vamp shoes are irrelevant. Because the trouser is a long garment this helps to elongate your legs anyway.
Cropped trousers REALLY need low vamp shoes to work, they are notoriously bad at making legs look shorter, and teaming them with a high vamp shoe cuts about 6 inches off the length of your legs.
If you know that your legs are on the shorter side, try and stick with low vamp shoes for everything bar short skirts and trousers. This is why the ballet flat is such a great all purpose flat shoes, it’s ususally pretty flattering and leg lengthening for a flat shoe (heels help to lengthen legs).
So the reason why you see all those gladiator heels on the sale rack is that they shorten your legs and are not flattering for many women.
How about boots you may ask? Knee high boots are low vamp, as the leg appears to start at the toe – so we LOVE them for their flattery. Ankle boots are best worn with trousers or mini-skirts (next time you see a pair in a magazine editorial or advertisement, notice how they’re always teamed with very short skirts or shorts, never knee or calf length skirts).

Comments

  1. sallymandy says:

    I spent some time today looking at my favorite resale for low-vamp shoes. Unfortunately it’s still pretty much boots and winter stuff. I’ll find something sooner or later.

    As much as I love my Chucks, I just don’t like how they look on me anymore. I guess “vamp” is the problem.

  2. Another informative post. I have short legs and now I see why I shunned the Gladiator Sandal last summer.

  3. oh – this is fantastic information! Being that I am short…I am always trying to make myself appear taller!

    By the way – I love your name…it was my g’ma’s…and one that I plan on using when I have a little girl!

  4. kellygirl says:

    Very enlightening post, Imogen. I read your comment on the clamdigger length at YLF and thought to myself that heel meant vamp. I’m so glad you clarified this. It makes so much sense and yes, now I understand why that Gladiator style looks best on thin models with mile long legs! This info will make me more confident choosing shoes for my skirts and clams this summer–I had a few outfits that were a bit off but couldn’t figure out what was wrong (I think it was a vamp issue.) Many thanks again!

  5. lunarossa says:

    This post is sooo perfect, Imogen. Thanks for the previous one as well. All printed out and stuck in my diary as a promemoria. Invaluable. Thanks again. Ciao. Antonella

  6. Imogen Lamport says:

    Sallymandy – keep your chucks for yoru trousers!

    Jane – this is probably why you love knee-high boots so much.

    Alison – thanks so much for coming by and commenting. And thanks for the compliment on my name – it was very unusual when I was growing up, but there are a few more Imogen’s around now!

    Kellygirl – thanks for the compliment – glad I could clear up this misconception (I used to think the vamp was called the ‘last’, but the last is actually the sole of the shoe).

    Antonella – you are forever exceedingly kind and gracious!

  7. This is just amazing–I had absolutely no idea. Very informative. Thank you.

  8. Andrea's Sweet Life says:

    I’m short and have, apparently intuitively, stuck with low vamp shoes so YAY ME.

    However, I hear people complain about toe cleavage and what say you about that, in relation to low vamp shoes?

  9. Wow, now I know what you meant on the other post you did …. the YLF site.

    thanks,

  10. Thanks for this. I tried this out today and felt great. Also, thanks for the info on cropped pants– as a short woman I am all about them. But I tried on a pair earlier and had that ah ha moment. What a dunce I am!

  11. Very helpful IMogen–I have realized women who are shorter are just going to keep on wearing capris and cropped pants, so they might as well learn which shoe will help cancel out the stump leg effect…

    How do you feel about narrow capri pants (above ankle) with a little sandal with heel? better than a flat, even a low-vamp flat like a ballet? I just think any chance you get to lift the heel is going to elongate the leg.

    This is all just a game of robbing from Peter to pay Paul, isn’t it?
    Yeah, what about toe cleavage? How do you feel about it?

  12. Why do those darlings Princesses Beatrice and Eugenia always look misdressed.. I have never liked their special occasion dresses. They always seem so unflattering. Would love to read your analysis.

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