In this video I talk about Perceived Height vs your Measured height, and how various factors can come into play in determining how tall you look to other people. I also mention a few areas that you can work on to improve your height in public.
Everybody has a barefoot measured height. No matter what anyone says or thinks about your own height, you know yourself exactly how tall you measure and nobody can take that away from you.
There's another type of height, one that I call Perceived Height. That is, the height other people around you, in public, see you as.
As grown adults, we can't really alter our barefoot measured height much - unfortunately the only option is leg-lengthening surgery - but we can, to a certain extent, change or influence our perceived height.
Factors Effecting Perceived Height
Your Body Frame. Whether it is narrow and thin, or a wider frame.
Your Leg Length. Whether it is short or long. Longer length adds to an illusion of greater height.
Your Physique. The amount of muscle you have, especially in upper body and around shoulder area.
Your Head Size. The longer your head, the more shorter you can look to people. In photos, if two people are of similar height, but one has a longer head, invariably that person is thought/seen of as being smaller. It ties in a bit to the Muller Lyer Illusion and how the brain interprets visual clues (like chin/shoulder/eyes) and makes a judgement that is different than reality (the actual top of the head).
Your Hand Size.
Your eye-level. This is probably the most important aspect effecting perceived height. When you think about height, most people are judging other heights based on their own eye-level. On average a man has a 4.5 inch eye-level, with ladies slightly smaller. Imagine the scenario of 2 people the exact same measured height, but one person has a head size that is small and an eye-level closer to 4 inches. The other person has could have an eye-level closer to 5 inches. The person with the higher eye-level might view the person with the lower eye-level as nearly an inch smaller, whereas the person with the lower eye-level may see the person with higher eye-level as nearly an inch taller, even though they are both the same physical height.
How to Look Taller - Influencing Your Perceived Height
Footwear is an important part of that. If you wear thin sneakers or shoes, like half inch styles, you are typically lowering your perceived height, because your footwear is less than the typical average that people wear (close to an inch).
This is why lifts and elevator shoes (and high heels) were invented. They are designed as a means of influencing and raising your perceived height in public. A 2.5 inch elevator shoe might be giving you 1.75 inches above the average type of shoe, which is quite significant in altering your own height in public. In this photo below, I am wearing 2.3 inch elevator shoes and because I'm a little taller than Jenny I am a comfortable 2.5 inches taller than her.
5ft 8 Rob and 5ft 8 Jenny
Of course the percentage of people who wear lifts or elevator shoes is quite small. As an alternative, many men choose to wear boots (timberland or caterpillar) or thick running shoes (like Nike Shox) or Cowboy Boots (giving 1.5-2 inches).
The kind of clothing you wear can also have an effect. The smarter you dress, the greater the influence you might leave with people.
Also, how you groom yourself can be important. Being well presented, having a nice shaped or even voluminous hairstyle can all add to the illusion of height.
Measured Height vs Standing Height - Improving Posture
Everybody has a measured height, but we also have a standing height. The kind of height you normally stand at. That is one are we can work on to improve our perceived height. On average, people might stand a half inch or even 3/4 inch shorter than what they measure. If you begin or take up some basic stretching routine or hanging routine, which helps your muscles in your core and back, you may be able to hold yourself taller and have a standing height that is much closer (and feel natural) to your measured height.
There are various celebrities who have worked on their posture and look to have a standing height that is very near their measured height. People like Tom Cruise, Sly Stallone, Vin Diesel and Henry Cavill spring to mind. This certainly can influence how tall they look in public to their fans. Here I am demonstrating tall pristine posture beside Jenny who is at a normal type of standing height:
5ft 8 Rob and 5ft 8 Jenny
Subconscious and Conscious Factors that Influence Height
Your own personality. If you are a confident individual, well-spoken, friendly, positive, these all help leaving a lasting impression with others. In their mind they will think of you as taller. The reverse can be true; if you are more downbeat, negative, have a chip on your shoulder, are a bit timid or mumble a lot, these kind of personality traits may well be leaving am impression with people of you being a smaller individual.
The pitch of your voice can also influence how others think of you. Typically, the taller you are, the lower your pitch. So if you have a higher-pitched voice, you may be leaving a shorter impression. Can you work on your voice? Yes, with practice you may be able to change it slightly and testosterone levels could effect it.
Your circle of friends. You could be average height, but your group is of friends is taller, so people in your group think of you as the short guy. Other people seeing you in this group may also remember you as the short guy, even though you are 5ft 9 or 10.
In films this can be important as many stars want to be seen taller, so casting directors may hire shorter or average individuals to make it appear the star is taller.
Summary of Perceived Height
Those are some of the factors to consider when we talk about perceived height.
Unfortunately we can't really change our barefeet height much. But we do have the scope to alter or influence our perceived height in public. Whether it's your clothing, footwear, posture, personality or group you surround yourself, you may not physically be able to grow, but there is room for growth in height perception.