Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Petite reader seeks bootie style advice

A girlfriend of mine asked for advice on a potential bootie purchase.

She is 4 foot, 11 inches (tiny, aka petite) and very slim (due to a very disciplined gym addiction!). In fact she runs marathons. Scary stuff.

She found this baby & asked me "what can I wear with it so that my legs dont look too short".

I am going to answer her question in 2 parts.
Firstly, this post will provide some suggestions as to how a boot shape can slim (or fatten legs/feet).

Next, I will do another post with suggestions on how to style a black suede bootie. This lady's wardrobe is about 95% black (God bless!) BTW. 

So here we go on the first part.

Let's be honest - there are about a gazillion black suede booties on the market ATM. Each high street store has a huge selection and Sammy has many many sisters.

But not all siblings are created equal in the weightloss department. 

That's why I want to point out some features in the way a shoe/boot is cut that will make significant differences to the weightloss factor.

The vamp

The main one is the length of the vamp. 

I had difficulty finding a good photo, but here, the vamp is the whole length from to tip of the toes to where the laces start (where the laces start, at the toe end, not the heel end).

In this case, the vamp includes the "toe box" and the "toe cap". 

The longer the vamp and the higher up from the narrowest part of the ankle that it extends, the more it will "cut" your leg (aka, create horizontal eye movement) & the shorter (& fatter) you will look.

Notice how Sammy has a very long vamp? hhmm...

The clothes

If you wear black tights the same shade as Sammy, the effect of a long vamp is reduced. But in practice its very hard to get an exact match for the stockings/tights & the shoe.


In terms of vamp length, something like Wittner's Perform would be the best. See how the vamp at the heel end is so much lower than the back heel of the shoe? That's what will allow her ankle silhouette to be shown off.

Wittner Perform

Why do we like showing off the silhouette of the ankle?

- because its one of the narrowest parts of our body.
Narrow = slim = tall = thin, even if you're not slim/tall/thin.

NB: While my friend is very slim, she is also very petite & any extra cm of height (or illusion of extra cm) is a good thing. So when I talk of "slimming", I also include "adding cm in height".

I am not suggesting my friend go out & buy the Perform. She is after all wanting suede (not stretch fabric) & a lower heel. But there are SO many black suede booties on the market, it wont be that hard to find something similar to Perform's cut but in suede.

Even Wittner's Trinny is a better choice weightloss wise, although not as good as Perform. See how the vamp doesnt sit up above the back of the heel? That's what we want & the lower down the vamp sits (like Perform), the more flattering it will be on her petite frame.

Wittner Trinny

If you go for a lace up, make sure the tongue of the shoe doesnt sit too high above the laces (as per the diagram above). So as far as lace ups go, Wittner Dallas is pretty good.

Wittner  Dallas

Here is another interesting one - Wittner's Faline.

Vamp wise its terrific.
Its also clever in that the narrow elastic is sewn at a front feature which moves the eye up & down the foot (not horizontally). Score!

If that elastic was really broad across the foot, then it would be a different story, weightloss wise.

Wittner Faline

Other features for weightloss

Generally, any kind of stitching or cuts in the leather which are vertical along the vamp will slim. Conversely horizontal cuts & stitches will fatten.

A pointy toe will tend to slim more than a round toe which will slim more than a square toe.

A platform will add instant height.

The higher the heel, the more slimming.

Some brands & style are cut wider than others. Unless you need that width, go for a narrower cut. Unfortunately high street brands dont state the width - the easiest way to assess width is by comparing with other shoes, side by side.


This section is not anything requested by my friend. However I feel I should mention it because I cant help myself (as usual!). The overall style of the bootie also contributes to your look.

When a bootie has a masculine feel about it, I dont think it adds to the illusion of height/slimness. I am not suggesting she gets a stiletto with a pointed toe, but there may be a middle road compromise. I guess I am saying that the Sammy reminds me of a masculine bootie & my friend may want comfort, but she isnt a girl who is into masculine styling in general.


In the next few days I will post styling suggestions for booties, for a petite & slim frame. 

Stay tuned.

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