I was recently asked by one of the bolder members of the GQ fashion team – someone who isn't shy about making his voice heard but also absolutely knows how to dress – what he should wear as he has, in his own words, "freakishly short legs".
Now, being of a body dysmorphic disposition myself (in my mind I, like a praying mantis, have very long legs, flappy saplings and an embarrassingly truncated torso) I well understand the travails of dressing an unusual frame. Personally speaking, I focus on enhancing the length of my torso by wearing carrot-shaped trousers to draw down the eye, drop the crotch and create the illusion of shorter legs. Simple.
Making legs look longer, however, can be a trickier business. If you're slim, as the aforementioned member of the GQ fashion team is, the key is to focus on a higher rise trouser, which creates the illusion of a longer leg – a straight or tubular cut rather than skinny one that skims the skin of the thigh and calf rather than cling to it.
It's also an idea to opt for a trouser that reaches the top of the shoe or even breaks over it, as this will produce a longer line, whereas a cropped trouser will only draw attention to a shorter frame. The final requisite is that you take your trousers to a tailor; it's a regrettably expensive business to achieve the aforementioned cut.
Up on top you're best going for something that crops relatively high. A bomber jacket, for instance, or a short postman-style three-button jacket. Anything that sits too low will lengthen the torso and undo the good work done by your trousers.
If you're on the larger side of things, I would, in fact, recommend going even slimmer in the leg and keep things quite loose on top. An illusion of length will be created by the slight imbalance in proportions. A wide-lapelled, oversized double-breasted jacket, for example, worn with some slim-cut (never skinny or spray-on) jeans.
Here, to get you started on your journey into leggy nirvana, are a few of this season's looks for creating the illusion of a longer leg:
Trousers by Michael Kors, $578 at michaelkors.co.uk
Trousers by Lanvin, $963 at matchesfashion.com
Trousers by Dior, $655 at dior.com
Jacket by Prada, $2202 prada.com
Jacket by Officine Generale, $462 at matchesfashion.com