How To Dress for Petites

To be considered petite, you should be under 160cm. That’s it. No matter how curvy or skinny you are, that is what petite means. I recently discovered I was petite, and to be honest I was a little dismayed. Since most styles were for taller people, I thought I’d already lost. However, I did a bit of research and discovered the styles I already liked were already petite friendly!

So without further ado, here are petite styling tips that may help you.

Pants

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  • boyfriend jeans
  • skinny jeans
  • tailored pants
  • leggings
  • boot cut jeans
  • high waisted pants

Skirts

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  • mini skirts
  • midi skirts (on the knee, avoid the shin area)
  • maxi skirts should hit at the ankle
  • high waisted skirts
  • sheer skirts

Tops

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  • fitted and tailored, avoid baggy and oversized
  • shoulder seams should fall on shoulders correctly
  • v- neck or low scoop neck
  • three quarter sleeves
  • tops should fall at the hips at most

Hair

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  • top bun
  • voluminous ponytail
  • bob/lobs

Outerwear

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  • unbuttoned cardigans and jackets
  • simple detailing
  • think less bulkiness

Dresses

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  • sheath/column dresses make you taller
  • a-line is always flattering
  • body-con dresses are more tailored and tighter
  • leg split styles make you look less overwhelming in maxi dresses

Shoes

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  • heels except for wedges
  • sandals/light flats
  • light sneakers
  • mary jane straps over feet instead of over ankles
  • bare legs- nude shoes, dark jeans- dark shoes (techniques to lengthen the legs)
  • boots just below or over knee
  • platform block heels are okay, but go easy on the detailing- a thicker heel can look heavy and overwhelming.

Accessories

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  • long draping accessories (long scarves, long necklaces, long tie)
  • think more minimalist than blocky/statement
  • opt for small clutches and bags instead of over-sized bags
  • narrower belts look less overwhelming than thicker belts

Styling Tips

  • Don’t feel constricted with these tips. Think balance: if you want to wear statement necklaces, make your whole outfit simple. If you want to wear a baggy/thick sweater, make your bottoms tighter. You can always break the rules of petite fashion while still not looking overwhelmed if you use the rule of balance!
  • For patterns, try opting for solid colours, small patterns (no bigger than your fist) and light detailing.
  • A great combination is a crop top and high waisted pants– it shortens the torso but lengthens the legs dramatically.
  • Lengths of bottom pieces should go like this- above the knee, up to the knee, or to ankle.
  • Avoid contrasting tops and bottoms which awkwardly cut your frame in half (e.g. blue top and yellow bottoms, red tops and green bottoms), choose tops and bottoms that are close in colour range and less contrasting (e.g. black and grey, blue and green, white and pink).
  • Vertical lines do wonders for your length.
  • Layers are fun, but try not swamping your body with it. If your layers are thick, opt for one or two layers, if your layers are thin, opt for three or four layers.
  • Avoid boxyness.
  • A tip which helped me is ‘de-cutifying‘ your style. As a petite, I struggled with loving feminine details but the problem I had was people calling me ‘cute’ or guessing I was younger than my actual age which wasn’t my ideal goal. So what I would suggest is not going overboard with feminine details, by contrasting a bow blouse and a leather skirt for example. Selecting only one feminine detail allows you to look charming while avoiding the while’cute’ aesthetic. If you love the girly cute style and don’t mind people calling you ‘cute’, that’s cool! Embrace it! Fashion is ultimately about self expression.
  • Finally the final tip I have is, if you don’t mind looking short in stature and disagree with all of these rules, that’s okay! What I love about these tips if you can always twist the rules by thinking balance and lightnessIf you keep that in mind, nothing will go wrong! I love these tips because I get to find out what works for me and what doesn’t, effectively easing my shopping experience. If you’ve found what works for you, that’s fantastic!

Have a wonderful day. 🙂

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