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I Tried To Look As Tall As Humanly Possible For A Week

I wish I was a little bit taller.

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I'm a short person. See below.

Jon Premosch / Zoë Burnett / Buzzfeed

I have a theory that tall people are in a secret club like the Illuminati. The Tall People Illuminati. They get all the respect and the opportunities, and they hold secret meetings where they grab things out of tall cabinets and rescue cats from trees with their bare hands. It’s just a theory. But height seems to be held as a valuable trait, an element of attractiveness. There are studies that say tall people make more money. And it must be really damn nice to be able to see at a concert. I wouldn’t know.

When I was a kid, being short really bothered me. Other people always pointed out my shortness. I didn’t want that to be my identity. And don't even get me started on how soul-crushing it is to be a short child who loves roller coasters. As an adult, I eventually stopped caring about how tall I was. Mostly because dwelling on something you can’t change is exhausting. (And they finally let me on the big roller coasters.) Plus, tall people have problems too. I know tall women who felt awkward in grade school for being the tallest girl or endured rude comments or felt pressure to find a really tall partner. And I’ve heard shopping for jeans is challenging.

All these “tall person problems” convinced me that maybe being tall wasn’t so great. But then one day I overheard a tall person talking about being tall. “It’s awesome,” she admitted. Something snapped inside of me. I KNEW IT. I KNEW BEING TALL WAS AWESOME. No one brags about being short. You hear the tall-ies complain about how it’s slightly more uncomfortable to sit on an airplane, but at the end of the day, being tall is awesome. I can’t think of any benefits to being short. Maybe you’re less likely to hit your head on the ceiling of a cave? But that’s it.

My desire to be taller was renewed. Aside from going back in time to get some taller parents (Thanks a lot for the dumb genetics, Mom and Dad!), there’s not much I can do about it. But there are a few ways to look a little taller, so I decided to see what works the best.

Jon Premosch / Zoë Burnett / Buzzfeed

I know that good posture sounds like a hack from your grandmother or a 1940s etiquette guide for polite young ladies, but standing up straight is no joke. I'm really bad at it, as one of the slouchers of the world. It's so hard for me to remember my posture that I actually wrote "posture" on my hand the day I tried to keep my back straight all day.

Having good posture made me feel like I was trying to be way too fancy. Who did I think I was? The Stand-Up-Straight Princess? But that is the secret. When you act like you're better than everyone else, everyone starts to believe it. You start to believe it. I felt like I should've been dumping champagne over my head because I was a classy person with good posture. (Is that what classy people do? I'll just assume yes.)

Keeping my back straight throughout the day was one of the best techniques for making me feel taller, in spirit. I hate to admit that. When people say things like "Standing up straight is the fastest way to look like you lost 10 pounds," I want to scream. Because gross. I don't want those people to be right. But they're right. And I hate them.

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Jon Premosch / Zoë Burnett / Buzzfeed

There are tons of style tips out there to give the illusion of height. The most common one is probably "wear vertical stripes." I usually ignore these rules, thinking, If you're resorting to magic tricks to try to look taller, you've already lost. But they do work.

I tried to combine as many "look taller" tips as I could into one outfit:

• Tall hair

• V-neck

• Long necklace

• High-waisted skirt

• Short hemline

• Pointy shoes

I did look taller in this outfit, but I didn't feel different.

Jon Premosch / Zoë Burnett / Buzzfeed

You can get inserts to stick in your shoes to make you look taller. First I tried foam inserts (pictured below). They promised an extra 2.6 inches of height.

These technically made me look taller, but I wasn't a fan. I struggled to find shoes they would fit inside. I tried a wide variety — boots, loafers, flats. The only shoes they fit inside (while also leaving room for my feet) were sneakers. So I basically created my own wedge sneakers. And they weren't very comfortable. Any feelings of being a cool tall person were erased by the feeling of something weird in my shoes.

Jon Premosch / Zoë Burnett / Buzzfeed

Next I tried gel shoe lifts (pictured below). They looked like they were made of some kind of futuristic space alien material, which was a major bonus. They promised an extra 1.6 inches of height. That's not a lot of extra height for the trouble of jamming space gel into your shoes. But these were pretty comfortable. They made each step feel kind of bouncy, in a nice way.

But these shoe lifts only fit inside my sneakers. And when I'm wearing sneakers, I've usually already adopted a casual "not caring about how tall I am" attitude. So I'm not sure when I'd ever use these.

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Jon Premosch / Zoë Burnett / Buzzfeed

I know that wearing high heels is the most obvious way to look taller. But let's be real. They're uncomfortable. And it sucks that looking taller requires pain. That's why I've pretty much given up on heels. A few years ago I made the decision to never wear high heels again. I wear flats to weddings and fancy parties. I put my feet into early retirement.

But I missed heels, especially as a short person. I remember my first pair of really tall shoes. I got them from Target in seventh grade. They were penny loafers with a 5-inch heel. I still remember how great it felt to be taller. I wore them to school every day and they made me more confident.

So I decided to give really tall heels another chance. I searched for the tallest, most walkable-looking platforms I could find. They had a 5.25-inch heel with a 1.75-inch platform. I didn't expect to get through an entire day wearing them. I expected to ditch them pretty quickly from pain.

But I was wrong. I loved wearing them. At first, it was terrifying, especially going down stairs. But they soon became like an extension of my body. I felt like I was towering over things. It feels great to tower over things!

"You look so tall," one of my co-workers said. "Whoa, shoes!" said another. I was a little embarrassed to be seen wearing such tall shoes. But if anyone judged me I could just step on them because I was a giant. Lesson learned: Comfortable heels exist.

What Worked the Best

The biggest surprise was that platform heels don’t have to be painful. I still won't wear them often, because they make me look a like a baby horse learning to walk when I go down the stairs. But, like, a confident baby horse.

I feel guilty for caring about how tall I am. My body works really hard every day with all its organs and stuff to keep me alive. And that’s amazing. Wishing it looked different feels ungrateful. I’m sorry, body. I appreciate you. But it’s hard to ignore the standards of beauty that are shoved down my throat. And it’s hard not to wonder whether people take you less seriously if they’re literally looking down at you.

But I learned that looking taller is rarely worth the effort. I’m just too lazy. Laziness is perhaps the fastest path to self-acceptance. And the best method for looking and feeling taller is just trying my best to straighten my spine.

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