Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Height Perception

This little lacy black dress is another one Mark and I use a lot for our Etsy shop photos, but that I rarely wear. I've actually owned it since about 1993, but with this season's resurgence in the lace trend, I figured it was high time I pulled it out again. These days I wouldn't wear it as a dress because it's so short (somehow it seemed ok when I was 24, even though it barely covers my butt), but it makes a great layering piece.

I've noticed  from time to time in the comments that people will assume I'm petite, and I wonder why this is. I'm actually 5'8" in bare feet, and the other day I got to thinking that I must subconsciously assume other bloggers are all roughly the same height I am, because I'm surprised if I find out they're considerably taller or shorter. Do we perceive height differently depending on how tall we are ourselves? I wonder also how much of our own body image plays into it; if someone feels they're too short, for instance, does everyone else automatically get perceived as taller, whereas someone who is comfortable with her height (or simply doesn't care) assumes everyone else is the same size?

Why do people care so much about height anyway, other than difficulty in finding clothes that fit? My only gripe about shopping for my own height is that sleeves are often too short, hence I push them up to my elbows a lot. Other than that I wouldn't say I spend much time thinking about it; until of course someone says I'm petite and gets me ruminating on the subject.

How do you perceive the height of people you see on the internet or on TV? How much do you think your own body image plays into those perceptions?   

Brown dress: from Ruby on Haight Street
Black dress: Betsey Johnson
Necklace: from Ambiance on Haight Street
Belt: Audra Jean
Skirt: thrifted and shortened
Bracelet: Leslie Danzis
Tights: Falke
Shoes: Fly London

31 comments:

Katie, Interrobangs Anonymous said...

At 6 feet tall, I'm taller than most women I meet, so I tend to assume that women on television and the internet are also shorter than I am. I do find it amusing, though, when people who've only seen my pictures don't realize how tall I am since it's the first thing most people who meet me in person comment on.

Rad in BK said...

I love these shoes and I like even more how the red tie belt matches so well. Everything about this outfit is amazing and so Audi.
I don't know why some people are perceived as petite. I actually have always thought you were taller tall- like 5'10". I was right about you being on the taller side.

Scicurious said...

I actually think in this case, the height perception of your readers may be influenced by the bookcase behind you. The book case there is a weird height, you expect it either to be really short, or taller than it is. And if you're expecting it to be taller, you might be perceived as shorter standing against it. I think you do look a little shorter than when you were in your previous place for photos, though I know that can't possibly have changed!

littlenashua said...

I've been lurking on here for almost two years now, but I really haven't commented yet.

I'm only 4'11", so I always assumed you were tall, because everyone is taller than me. But I based it on the fact that you can wear outfits that I would look silly in because of my size. Your style is a lot more creative and you can pull off a lot of runway inspired looks because you are tall. I love so many of your outfits and try to draw inspiration from them but my height always limits me somewhat. Skirt length is tricky when you're under 5', and layering can also be difficult. Whenever I try to do a long cardigan I always look like I am wearing a bathrobe.

I do not mind my height - it makes me who I am. When I was a teenager, I hated it, but as an adult in my 30s I am quite content with being short. I do refuse to wear flats to work, however. I guess that says something.

Anonymous said...

I assumed that you were shorter than me (5ft6) but I think that's because you're "cute" which is something I've always aspired to, but don't succeed in. and I've always associated "cute" as being a short trait.

(Then again, for most of my childhood I was very tall for my age, I was so thankful when I ended up fairly normal height - I'm actually the shortest of my entire extended family with the exception of my grandmother!)

Marie said...

I don't usually think about people's height in pictures unless they're obviously very short or tall, and even that can be hard to tell sometimes. I'm average height (5'6") so maybe I assume most others are too.

bonincontrus said...

Well, I got the impression you were tall, and if you were not tall then you certainly made wonderful use of clothing style to make you appear taller.

Cel said...

I always assume other women are about my height, and imagine most men to be my father's height haha... I'm 5'4" tall and that's pretty average so far as I can tell, and my father is 5'11" and he's midways up in height for a man... I guess I never really pay too much attention to it unless I see some EXTREMELY tall or short.

Cynthia said...

I figured you were about average height. Where people put their cameras really has an effect on height perception; I met a fellow blogger from Charlotte who I assumed was about 5'10" based on her photos, and she turned out to be much shorter than that.

Megan Mae said...

I assumed you were petite when I first came across your blog because you have a similar 'build' to me so I assumed you were probably similar in height. I also thought the same about Diya from In Her Stilettos, but she too is really tall!

I realized from your group photos that you were taller than I had thought..

I think we assume by measuring against ourselves but also people in relation to other things, your bookshelf for example.

Kat said...

The bookcase throws me too!

Also I think you look a bit elfin, with the pixie hair, delicate features, and slim build; I usually associate that with petite women.

(I would have guessed you were a few inches shorter than me at 5'7".)

Gracey said...

Like Katie, I'm six feet tall, and I have to say that I thought you were a bit taller than 5'8". To me, you actually photograph taller than your actual height - maybe because of the slim lines of both your body and your clothes.

In general, I don't think much about height, mine or others, until it comes to clothes. As a fashion blogger and just a person who wears clothes, I look at the clothes in pictures on blogs and online shops and see where hems come to on the model or blogger, try to calculate their height and figure out if it would fit me.

Anonymous said...

i love that question! i do think that our own height creates the lens that we imagine through, you can see that just by reading the previous comments. i am short, and didn't realize that i assumed you were petite until you asked. although i did look at the photo of you and your husband at the recent event and thought how you were almost the same height.

En Bouton said...

Scicurious has a good point about the bookcase! For some reason I thought you were 5'5", but I could have been mixing you up with Sal of Already Pretty. I'm a poor judge of height, both online and in person. I'm sure body image does play into it, because I used to be insecure about my own height (5'7") and subconsciously decided that "tall" began at 5'8" and nothing less! I just didn't want to think of myself as tall, for all sorts of bad-teenage-body-image reasons. These days, I like my height and I'll even play it up with heels and short skirts, though it helps that I'm no longer at school surrounded by girls who hadn't hit their growth spurt yet. By the age of 10-11 I was as tall as some of my teachers, which made me feel a bit awkward.

I think other aspects of someone's physical presence - weight, proportions, bone structure, even their hairstyle - can play into how their height is perceived. I know some people have taken Audrey Hepburn or Keira Knightley (both 5'7") for petite women, for example.

poet said...

I think it's in part because of your extravagant style (which, evidently, I mean as a compliment ;). I have the feeling that it's more usual for petite women to wear unique clothes in vibrant colors that say "look, here I am", and also more high-quality and elaborate clothes if they can afford it, as a means to not be overlooked. I certainly do (I'm 5 ft. 4, at the upper end of petite)!

Cheers,
poet

JavaChick said...

You look tall to me, but I'm only 5 feet, so I tend to assume everyone is taller than me. :)

I don't necessarily mind my height, but clothes shopping is a challenge, especially since I live in a small city, so there are not a lot of options for Petites...And I'm even on the short side for Petite length pants, so I have to get most things hemmed.

Becky said...

I'm also 5'8" and I tend to assume everyone is short. I actually perceived you to be around my height, give or take an inch, so I'm glad to see I was close. When shopping, I also have issues with sleeve length (long limbs here), shirt length, and shoulder width. I don't think about height too much, but I often am pretty insecure about it and on bad days all I can think about is how gangly and lanky I am.

Love the lace dress btw!

Erin said...

I tend to think that thin bloggers are taller than me (5'4"), probably because their slender lines lead me to think that. Of course, I also tend to think that EVERY woman under 50 is taller than me, because this is generally true. (Better nutrition in later generations led to taller females.) So, I guess, unless someone actually mentions it, I assume they're at least 5'5".

http://librarygirl9.blogspot.com/

ashe mischief said...

At 5'7, I assumed you were around my height. Maybe because of factors like the bookcase, (because I look similar against them), or it's that I am comfortable with my height & assume that everyone is the same height as me! Esp men. Men are never as much taller than me as they say they are. Unless they're the Beau & about 7 inches taller, in which case I KNOW he's taller.

Ana - Toil and Trouble said...

I do agree with some of the comments about the bookcase making you look a bit shorter - but I am really short and tend to assume everyone is taller than me. I am actually surprised to find out that a lot of the bloggers I follow are short too. Well, not you obviously.

Heather said...

Like a poster above said, I always imagined you as being about the same height as me (5'4") and I think it's because your build seems very similar to mine.

A-C said...

I blame it on the bookcase. I figured you were probably a bit taller than me and I'm 5'5. This is because I've seen pics of you and Mark and it just made mental sense for you to be a bit taller than me.

Jen said...

I'm 5'7, and rather self conscious about my height. I think because I grew before my friends, so everyone always commented on how tall I was, and somehow in my mind being tall turned into a bad thing. It didn't help that I was usually taller than the boys too, at least until they got their last growth spurts. I also seem to look taller than I really am (possibly due to a love of high heels, and good posture that was long ago drilled into me), which used to add to the awkward feeling.

As I've gotten older (pushing 30 now), I've come to terms with my height, and I've begun to enjoy it. I feel like less of an Amazon, or freak of nature, and more proud. I enjoy wearing sky high stilettos and towering over people. I've also begun to appreciate the advantages my height gives me in terms of fashion. I know now that I can get away with a lot of things that a shorter person couldn't carry off.

I tend to assume everyone on TV is short, because, well, it's usually true. I use things that don't vary much in size, like specific models of cars, or standard doors, to guess at their height, but it's not always easy. One of my absolute favorite TV actors is at least 6'5 though, and I know to take that into consideration when I'm visually judging everyone around him, because they all look very petite. If I really want to know, I go to IMDB and look up their bio. For the guys I usually deduct a couple of inches, and add a couple for the ladies, since everyone on there seems to lie.

Bloggers are harder to judge, especially if they tend to take photos in front of walls with no distinguishing features. I think you personally, Audi, do look a little shorter, at least in front of the bookcase. But I had long ago figured out that you had to be fairly tall, or there's no way you could wear some of the things you wear, and wear so well.

Between Laundry Days said...

It's funny that you say that, since almost every blogger I've met has said that they expected me to be taller (I'm about 5'2"). It's always puzzled me as well.

Sheila said...

I base my assumptions on other bloggers' heights on:
a) if they seem to be about the same build and proportion as me
b) how big things are around them (your dog, your bookcase, Mark)
c) where skirts hit on their legs (often a dead giveaway).

So based on these, I figured you were my height (5'4") - boy, was I wrong! :)

You are beautifully proportioned, though, Audi.

Emma at Daily Clothes Fix said...

I think it's because you look petite and therefore people think that's the same as short (which it isn't). Your proportions seem to be perfect.

I get the same thing in reverse, where people think I am taller than I am (5' 1"). So I think it happens both ways.

I'm not sure my height influences my decisions on other people's heights. I think it's a question of proportions that make me decide how tall people are.

Audi said...

Sheila: It's so funny that you say that, because I always figured YOU were MY height!

Meredith said...

I think the bookcase can create the impression you're short, but 5'8 sounds about right for what I thought of how tall you were.

Compared to the other details in the picture (e.g. the books or the details like boots you wear that aren't "sized" for height) you certainly didn't strike me as a short person.

I'm 5'9 myself so maybe it is projecting back.

Denise said...

I would wonder if we think you're short because your bookshelves are very tall? Your built ins are rather higher than most built ins and half height bookshelves. I think that makes you appear shorter out of context.

La Historiadora de Moda said...

I commented on another blog the other ay that I always more or less assume everyone is the same height I am (5'7"ish unless I know otherwise). Strange... I love the obi!

fleur_delicious said...

Yes, as some other commenters have noted, your slimness and the long lines of your clothing always led me to assume that you were taller than I am - and I'm 5'11"! That might also be influenced by Sal, though. I could've sworn she uses you as a model for dressing a "tall" figure.