By now, we all know that Simone Biles is one of the most accomplished athletes of our time. Since she began her competitive gymnastic career in 2011, she’s taken home seven Olympic medals along with a myriad of other titles, cementing her legacy as one of only two American gymnasts to pull off this major accomplishment. Throughout her career, she’s also been an advocate for mental health awareness and was even the youngest person to ever receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2022.
Now, alongside her other massive accomplishments, Biles is also becoming a source of fashion inspiration, especially for short girls. At only 4 feet 8 inches tall, this gymnast takes petite dressing to the next level, constantly experimenting with new silhouettes that honor her height while still looking fashion-forward. Thanks to beauty standards and the fashion industry consistently designing for taller models, it can be difficult to find pieces that work with a shorter frame, but Biles’s outfits prove that you can be a style icon at any height.
After a brief scroll on her Instagram, you’ll learn that Simone Biles is no stranger to a matching set — and for good reason. Sets are a simple way to create a cohesive-looking outfit without having to put in a lot of extra effort, but they’re also a great choice for shorter girls. Consistent colors and patterns throughout your outfit — like a top and skirt in the exact same material — create a more elongated look than two conflicting pieces.
Looking taller is all about creating longer vertical lines. A typical outfit, like a top and pair of pants in two different colors, divides up the body, interrupting this vertical line, but matching sets do the opposite. Smaller silhouettes also have the ability to rock bolder patterns, brighter colors, and more stand-out pieces without seemingly taking over the room, so don’t be afraid to go for an all-over print or saturated monochrome look.
Get creative with going out looks
If you’re petite, it’s understood that most clothes will fit slightly larger, longer, and show less skin than when they’re displayed on taller models. Because of this, it can be difficult to find going out or date night pieces that actually show off your body. A crop top on a person that’s 5 feet 10 inches tall is just a normal shirt for someone shorter that’s wearing the same size, so, when you’re on the hunt for the perfect clubbing outfit, you might have to get a bit more creative with your selections than a stomach-baring tank.
The solution, as Simone Biles demonstrated in a recent Instagram post, might just lie in cutouts and unique silhouettes. Try out clothing that features an open back, cutouts at the chest, or sheer paneling to up the sexiness. This can be as bold as Biles’s long-sleeved top with string detailing, or it could be as simple as a halter that shows off a bit more back and shoulder than your typical tank.
Show a little leg
Denim shorts might be all about length this season, but if you want to look taller, it’s best to stick with something that shows a bit more skin. Shorts that hit mid-thigh or longer cut off the natural line of your legs, but shorter silhouettes show off their full length, as Simone Biles shows us. Additionally, shorts that look like they have a normal inseam on the model might appear much longer on someone that’s shorter, leaving you feeling like you’re drowning in denim when all you wanted was a more boyish cut.
To prevent this from happening, consider measuring the inseam of your leg, from crotch to ankle. This measurement will give you the perfect length for jeans, but it also provides a better view of how different lengths of shorts will look on your body. You can also measure the inseam of your existing shorts to get more of an idea of what length you gravitate towards and wear often. Then, when shopping online, check out the garment’s extended details — most brands will provide more precise measurements so you can compare before ordering.
Embrace high-cut bottoms
In the same vein as sticking to shorter denim shorts, it’s also a smart idea to try out higher-cut bikini bottoms. This vintage-inspired silhouette has been seen everywhere lately, and for good reason — higher cut swimwear extends the look of your legs, making you appear taller and more elongated, even with a small piece of fabric. Of course, Simone Biles will look fit in even the frumpiest of swimsuits, but you don’t have to be an Olympic gold medalist to pull off this look.
If you want to also create the look of a longer torso at the same time, consider going for a bottom that features a V-shape at the front or ties at the sides to show a little more skin while still giving you that elongated look. If you’re not comfortable showing off your lower stomach quite yet, however, the same cut can be applied to one-piece suits or even high-waisted bottoms to get a bit more coverage.
Try out a wide leg
Many petite women tend to shy away from high-waisted and wide-leg pants so they don’t feel like they’re drowning in fabric, but Simone Biles proves that anyone can rock this look with the correct styling. High-waisted pants extend the line of your legs, and wide-leg cuts can add volume and enhance the look of your natural waist. With a shorter stature, however, it can be hard to find pants that fit out of the gate and don’t require extra tailoring.
To combat this, consider sticking to the petite selection at your favorite stores, or try out a pair of pants that were designed to be slightly cropped. On the model, these pants might have been cut to graze the ankle, but it’s likely that they will fit shorter women right at floor length. If you also have a shorter torso, it could be beneficial to measure your rise in order to better determine what high-waisted actually means for you. For some, pants marketed as high-waisted might end up being more like an empire waist, cutting off at the ribs. Instead, try out a mid rise for something that hits your natural waist.