10 Dressing Tips To Slim Heavy Calves and Ankles

wide-calf-boots-3Can you barely fit into a pair of boots because your calves are so wide?

Have you given up wearing dresses because you don’t want anyone to see your huge ankles?

You may not be able to change the muscular legs mother nature gave you, but you can make them a lot less noticeable.

Here are Six Dressing Tips to magically slim heavy calves and thick ankles.



Flats and ankle straps make wide legs and calves look wider.

1. Avoid Flats

You may love flats, but they don’t love you. Flat shoes emphasize big calves and ankles and make you look squat. Instead, choose a mid-height heel to fool the eye and make your legs look long and lean.

2. Choose the Right Heel

A thicker stacked heel, wedge or platform shoe balances out heavy legs. Avoid skinny stilettos which create too much contrast and exaggerate huge calves.

3. Low Vamp is Better

The lower the vamp and the pointier the toe on the shoe, the longer and slimmer your leg will appear.

4. No Ankle Straps

These too much attention on your thick ankles and blow them out of proportion.

5. Switch to Long Pants 

Hillary Clinton has made pantsuits her trademark and it’s no wonder. Pants are perfect for hiding her famous “cankles” ( thick calves fused at thick ankles).  Your best bet are solid colored pans in a dark color but make sure they’re not too skinny. A tight pant will emphasize your problem. Bootcut or wide legs jeans help hide the problem. And no cropped pants and capris. They draw the eye to the widest part of your calves and ankles and make your legs look stubby.

6. Wear Full Skirts

It may feel like you can’t wear a skirt, but this is not the case. Simply steer clear of pencil skirts or any cuts that cling because they will emphasize the size of your lower legs. Instead, opt for swingy full or A-line cut skirts, the perfect dresses for big legs because they make your calves and ankles seem narrower by contrast.

Helen Mirren

A wide skirt helps make thick calves and ankles look slimmer.

The best skirt length? It’s just at the knee, the narrowest part of your lower legs. Avoid hems with details because they will negate the positive effects of the skirt.
Other skirts or dresses for thick legs are maxi styles that fall to the floor, because they cover the problem area all together.

7. Direct Attention Up Top

If you don’t want people looking at your legs distract them. Wear dark colors below your waist and highlight your top half by wearing lighter colors near your face.
Restrict prints to your upper body, and use fun accessories like scarves and jewelry to draw the eye up and away.

8. Wear Dark Stockings

Solid colored tights in a dark shade will make you legs appear slimmer. Pair them with matching heels and a skirt in the same color to make your legs look like they go on for miles.

9. Slip on some Nude Shoes

When tights aren’t  an option (like in the warmer months), wear nude heels that match your skin tone to achieve the same effect. Avoid contrasting or patterned tights as they will become an unflattering focal point.

10. Get a pair of Riding Boots

Slouchy or stretchy styles that hit mid-calf give you the most room and still allow a flattering leg line. Riding boots tend to have a wider, more forgiving shaft.

Don’t let your heavy calves or ankles drag you down! Many of the world’s top athletes, ballerinas an celebrities have the same problem but that doesn’t stop them from looking fabulous, so don’t let it stop you either.


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  1. James Parker says:

    Nice post.

  2. Thank you my lovely – I’m so glad there are many, many lovely people like yourself who share this

  3. I’ve discovered the joy of traditional Indian leggings – churidars – which bunch up at the ankle, hiding everything! The cotton knit variety are like track pants, worn under a long shirt. Pure comfort!

  4. Don’t be ashamed of them! Some people love big legs! We shouldn’t have to cover the bits of our bodies that we’re told aren’t nice. I.e. Pear shaped women are always told to wear a push up bra and show cleavage to make them look more hourglass. The hourglass figure is gorgeous but 8% of women have one and celebs and non celebs always think they’re hourglasses but they’re not. In reality you can not fake it or achieve it etc… Why don’t we other women just feel good about ourselves instead of trying to be something else!?!

  5. I have heavy calves and big ankle bones despite a rather small frame elsewhere – always hate my legs and I do have to wear dresses a lot. However, with foot problems and the square shape of my foot pointed toes cause pain and bigger problems and to me they make my legs look worse anyway. I do agree about lower cut shoes – heels are probably better but if I have to walk much there is no way. I really agree about the capris but it’s annoying that when you need lighter weight casual pants it’s very hard to FIND anything that isn’t a capri!

  6. When wearing heels I like to use compression stockings. Preferably black to get a more slimming look.

  7. I recently started wearing ankle boots with a fitted sort of top to the boot and an almond-shaped toe with dresses and skirts. I’ve found that they look great with skirts and dresses and as long as they’re paired with black hose (not opaque) and a darker or black skirt, they look really cute. The trick is to make sure that they don’t gap at the top too much, or it interrupts the line of the leg. Love them, though.

  8. Susan mitchell says:

    I have small feet but chunky calves and could never get boots to fit over them. However, I found a fantastic bootmaker/shoe repairer who stretches out the calf area on some machine, and voila they now fit perfectly.

    • Helen Atkin says:

      Wait Susan!! That’s all you are going to say??? Not who or where this boot maker is? Come on!