How Long Should a Full-Length Mirror Be?

Dressing well requires that you examine yourself in a full-length mirror.

Length of Mirror

Always buy a high-quality mirror and frame for accuracy.Always buy a high-quality mirror and frame for accuracy.
Checking your hemline or trouser length can help you relax before you walk out the door. A full-length mirror will reveal how well matched your outfit is, because you will get a much bigger picture of yourself than by glancing into a dresser mirror. A full-length mirror can be mounted on a door or purchased as a unit with its own framework.

A basic full-length mirror is at least 48 inches tall. This length will enable you to view yourself in full height by standing a few feet from the mirror. However, a mirror that is no less than the exact height of your body will make it easier for you to see a true replica of your form. A shorter mirror, such as one just 48 inches tall, can distort your body weight to create an image that is either more slender or heavier than your true form.

Placement of Mirrors

Clothing experts say that a triple mirror with three panels that reflect your image gives the best overall view of your body. When you shop for clothes, three full-length mirrors mounted on separate panels at least 72 inches high give more accurate feedback than just a single mirror. If you own a clothing store, invest in one or more full-length mirrors 72 inches in height so clients will be more pleased with their selections over time. You probably will be a lot happier with your own purchases if you can see yourself in a triple full-length mirror 6 feet tall.

Don't Buy Cheap Mirror

Buying an inexpensive full-length mirror at a discount store can be a waste of money. A cheap mirror can distort the size of your body. For example, a cheap mirror that is not manufactured with precision can make your hips look wider than they really are. A mirror that was mass produced and given an inexpensive frame can warp in shipment. This mirror can reflect your body from head to toe, but it's a good bet that the image you view in it will be distorted in one or several ways.

Evaluate Reflection

When you select a full-length mirror, ask other people to help you ascertain if the mirror reflects a true image. This means purchasing a mirror at a retail store rather than online or through a catalog. If you can choose a mirror from several full-length options, this is a good way to make the right choice. You can ask other people to offer opinions on how accurately a mirror reflects your true size.

Consider Shape and Weight

An oval mirror can be an excellent choice, if the mirror is at least 60 inches high. An oval full-length mirror needs to be this height, because the oval curves on all four edges and trims the background around the reflection. A shorter oval mirror reflects too little of your overall shape in relation to the background of the room, which gives good perspective. People typically buy oval mirrors for their artistic design alone. Oval shapes usually cost more than rectangular mirrors of the same length, because it's costlier to frame an oval-shaped mirror. But oval mirrors have no particular advantages over rectangular mirrors. If a 60-inch oval mirror is too heavy for you to lift or transport, you would be better served to buy a 48-inch rectangular mirror.

About the Author

Judi Light Hopson is a national columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. She is founder of Hopson Global Education and Training and co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress. She holds a degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University, and has been a professional writer for 25 years.