HALF of women in the U.S. are 5’4″ and under. You would think by now they’d stop designing clothes to fit 5’11” models. But, nope. Forever folding my jeans under 8 inches.
Sometimes, being fun-sized isn’t so fun. Like when you’re shopping for clothes and find yourself sneaking around in the kid’s section at Old Navy (guilty). Or how you know exactly what I mean when I say a ‘shirt-dress’ and no idea what I mean when I say ‘mini-dress’.
About one year ago I wanted to start a blog to create a helpful resource for petite’s looking for fashion tips, petite-friendly stores, and certain styles to compliment a smaller frame, so all my short girls out there, this one’s for you:
10 tips for fashionable petites
1. Invest in a GREAT seamstress. Yes, it may cost you a small fortune, but it’s a burden us short girls just have to bear. Although I’m pretty sure I’ve covered the cost of college for my tailor’s child, it’s been worth it. Whether you need the length taken up, the bodice cinched in, the straps shortened, your pants hemmed or all of the above – nothing is out of the question when a seamstress is involved!
2. Wearing crop tops as regular shirts. There’s nothing more annoying than a shirt that hits at mid-thigh and sleeves that cover your hands. Crop tops of all sorts are super popular right now, so lucky for petites, we can use them as NORMAL shirts. Like this top, it hits just below my waist defining my shape while not showing any skin (pairs best with high-waisted skirts/pants).
3. Heels. Let’s face it, if you’re petite, you have to get used to wearing high heels. The best options for elongating your figure are: nude pointed toe pumps (to create the illusion of longer legs) and platform shoes (like I’m wearing below!).
4. Chill out on the accessories. Just like wearing too many layers can swallow up a petite frame, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by too many accessories. When choosing what to pair with your outfit, always remember: less is more. Like one wise lady once said: ‘simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance’ 🙂 [Coco Chanel].
4. My favorite F word: Fitted. Wear things that show off your figure – like fit & flare/a-line dresses. My closet is full of flirty little mini dresses. I like to wear ‘bodycon’ dresses that hit above the knee and hug all the right curves – without being to short or tight.
2. Beware of online shopping. Online shopping is so convenient, but MOST likely, it’s not going to fit you the way it fits the 5’11” model wearing it online (see EXHIBIT A BELOW, #fail lol). Alllllways check the measurements listed in the fine print (and know your own) when shopping online. If you love it and it still looks too long its a simple fix in the length for your seamstress! (EXHIBIT B).
6. The best brands for petites: Topshop Petites (see this post), ASOS Petites, Urban Outfitters, Missguided, Anthropologie Petites, H&M, Banana Republic Petites, White House Black Market Petites, Ann Taylor Petites, Old Navy Petites, Nordstrom (especially for small shoe sizes).
8. High-waisted anything. The best article of clothing to make you look taller? Anything and everything high-waisted. Whenever I wear high-waisted pants, shorts, or skirts, I always tuck in my shirt or wear a crop top to elongate my lower half and define my waistline.
7. Belt it. The waist is the most important thing I take into consideration when picking out a dress. When you’re super petite, you can use all the help you can get when it comes to defining your figure. It’s easy to get ‘lost’ in all the layers of fabric and look a lot younger than you’d like. If the dress (or outerwear!) doesn’t have a defined waist, create one by belting it around the middle. This will also make it a little shorter. [I’ve invested in this coat with a belted waist, and this one for a slim fit].
9. Cream of the Crop. Pants shopping is usually a nightmare for me, but I found a trick to fix the problem! You know the new ‘cropped pants’ trend that look capri-like on the models? Say hello to your new perfect ankle skinnies – they hit where skinny jeans SHOULD hit with no alternations needed 🙂 For your regular skinny jeans, if you don’t want to spend the money on a seamstress, an easy fix is to tuck the pants UNDER instead of rolling them up. [Anthropologie Petite Jeans + Old Navy Petite Jeans].
10. Proportions. If you’re going to wear oversized clothing, make sure it’s only on one half of your body. Ex: if you’re wearing a boxy oversized sweater, pair it will a pair of skinny jeans and heels – OR – if you’re wearing a pair of super flared jeans, pair it with a fitted tee (and tuck it in with a belt if the jeans are high-waisted!).
I hope you find my ‘petite tips’ helpful next time you’re shopping for an outfit! Have any other petite hacks to make life a little easier, I want to hear them! Leave your tips in the comments below!