- The clothing challenge of petite women
- How to look taller than you are
- More style advice for petites
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The clothing challenge of petite women
Dressing when you are a petite. When you are petite and wear a size S many sales persons will just send you to the youth department. While I wouldn’t exclude that you might find something that works for you often the quality and/or craftsmanship not great. Read you easily can look like trying too hard or not trying at all. Both are never in style. The dressing challenge of petites is on several fronts:
- Identifying what is right for you.
- Knowing where to shop for your height, i.e. not restricting yourself to petite clothes or having everything tailored which both is expensive.
- Avoiding oversize pieces that won’t work, i.e. overwhelm your small frame.
- Exessive layering (to protect yourself from cold weather) can easily make you look chubby and frumpy.
In this post, I will share some guidelines to get you started on solving your problem so you can
Embrace being an awesome, tiny package when you are petite. #petitestyle Click To Tweet
How to look taller than you are
- Try a monochromatic look with nude shoes or shoes in a similar shade. The same color from neck to toe gives the illusion of height. You can find more information on how to style an interesting monochromatic look at the link.
- V-necks and vertical lines are your friends. They give the illusion of height. Vertical lines can be seams, the button-line of a shirt or coat dress, or fabric with vertical stripe. Even scarves add vertical lines. See the post at the link for ta guide on how to up your style with scarves.
- Bring your neckline up or down to create a longer line than you actually have.
- Go for a pixie or curls to add height. A crown updo is a great option when you have long hair. Pssst! It’s a great trend right now.
- Try straight or fuller, not too long skirts. Around knee-length or just above the knee works best.
- Wear sleek sheaths and dresses with high waist-line.
- A “notice me” color makes you visible. For how to wear color over 40 see the post at the link.
- When your legs are short, i.e. you are long-waisted, try capris and gauchos as full length slacks. You can find out whether you are short- or long-waisted with this free online vertical body type finder.
- When you like the raw hem trend/style, buy a pair of jeans that have a perfect fit around your hips, bum and thighs and cut them off that the right length. Note it is important that you wear the shoes you plan to wear with your jeans and that someone marks the length just half an inch (1.3 cm) above the floor. Don’t do the marking yourself. Bending the knees will lift the fabric! Once you stand straight again you will have a “tail” in the front.
- Go for straight-leg denim over looser fits. See also how to choose your pants for further tips to find the best pants for you.
- When shopping online know your measures and always check the size charts. Don’t browse only petite clothes. Knowing your measures you may find pieces that work for you when shortened.
- When between size always go for the larger one. A seamstress can alter a too large item, but not a too small one. Have a good tailor on speed dial. Send them a photo of the item and ask them whether they can alter it to your frame and what it would cost. Do not purchase the item before you know what the actual price will be (sum of price at the store plus alterations). In department store, always ask whether they have a free alteration service. #petitestyle #budgetfashion Click To Tweet
- I do simple alterations and hemming myself. See how to shorten a high/low hem for a tutorial. In the case of more expensive wardrobe basics, I do use a seamstress/tailor at times despite it is expensive. Have a tailor on speed dial. #petitefashion Click To Tweet
- Hats give you height.
- Mini-bags are made for you.
- If you are able to sew, you can make simple garments like skirts to your scale.
- Opt for cropped jackets, shirts and pants.
- Look for jackets with build-in belt.
- Avoid tunic-like tops, horizontal stripes, and everything oversize and/or shapeless.
- Many stylists advice against wearing floor-grazing maxi dresses or skirts. They can easily overwhelm a petite frame. However, when you get the proportions right, even a petite can rock the look (Read this style is tricky). Try a maxi with a slit.
- Learn to walk in heels. There are 101 reasons why to wear heels over 40. Gaining height when being petite is one of them.
The World is so much nicer at 5 ft 9. #petitestyle Click To Tweet
- Nude – read the color of your flesh – shoes elongate your legs. Strappy heels are a petite's best friends. #petitefashion Click To Tweet
- If you absolutely want to wear flats steer away from anything with large hardware.
- Look for blazers, blouses, shirts that have small collars.
- Go for small rather than large prints.
- Watch your proportion. Make sure you don’t cut your body in half when wearing separates.
- Try using belts to get your portions right. You can learn more on wearing the right belts for your body shape at the link.
More style advice for petites
Are you petite? Don’t forget that you are not just petite, but also have a body shape type. For looking your best, always take your horizontal and vertical body shape in mind. Read this ultimate guide on what to wear when you are petite with further tips.
Are you struggling when to wear what and where? Don’t scratch your head. Just buy my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife and you can easily look it up and build outfits from pieces you have in your closet. It’s like a recipe book, but for dressing.
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Photos: G. Kramm
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