Styling Advice for Petite Figures
If, like me you have found yourself folding up your jeans so they don’t scrape the floor, or pulling in the waist of your new skirt with a safety pin until you can persuade your mum to alter it for you, then you’re probably a petite! It doesn’t mean super skinny or really short, it’s just that retailers size their products in different ways, often catering more to non-petite sizes, even slowly and subtly making their sizes larger to make us feel better about fitting into a smaller size (more on this retail psychology in an upcoming post!).
So us petites have to adhere to a set of rules and guidelines when it comes to dressing for our shape and size. Trying to find clothes that don’t drown us or need taking in can often prove difficult, but over the years and many bodge-job alterations later, here are some of my style secrets and fashion trickery to mastering your style as a petite lady!
For petites it is best to keep lines and shapes simple. Avoid adding too much fuss; adding ruffles, belts and chunky accessories all together will break up the flow of an outfit, and makes you look shorter. Play around with subtle shapes if you want to try out some silhouette trends, such as in this #ootd my skirt has a subtle fit and flare details but without majorly altering the outline of the look.
One of the joys of being petite is that we can carry off most fabrics. When trying on items though always be aware of how the fabric falls – we don’t want anything billowy or likely to expand such as chiffon as it will swamp our frames and make us look smaller.
If you must wear a belt (I’m not a fan in general as they just break up the lines) then opt for a skinny belt over a chunky one, which can cut your outfit in half and make you look shorter than you are. With handbags, take full advantage of the miniature trend! Teeny tiny bags will give the optical illusion that you are taller, where as a larger bag can swamp you! If I absolutely must carry lots with me then I opt for a backpack such as my Radley Soho bag – not only is it easier to carry everything but the sleek streamlined shape is far more flattering than a bulky bag.
Jewellery wise, I love to keep my accessories light and dainty. Chunky watches and statement necklaces once again can be too harsh and shorten the optical lines of your body/arm/neck etc so instead choose something more delicate which blends in with your outfit!
Trends Vs Style Staples
As I mentioned above I tend not to experiment with trends when it comes to altering the silhouette of a look, but if you have a core wardrobe of style staples that you know work with your figure, you can inject on-trend accessories into your classic mix. Your style staples should without doubt include a pair of nude heels which work wonders at elongating legs, as well as a great fitting pair of jeans (my favourite ones here) and a classic well fitted white blouse.
I chose this outfit with the aim of making my body look longer – and of course the huge heels make a great impact for leg lengthening, but even when I took them off and exchanged them for flat sandals, it was still incredibly flattering.
The most impactful decision was to stick to one colour palette. My jumper and skirt blend in to one, meaning my body is more streamlined giving the illusion of length.
Most of the time, I find that shoes with ankle straps actually break up the leg making them look shorter, but the skirt length combined with the heel length in this look meant I could get away with them, plus I wouldn’t dare wear heels this high with no ankle support!
Whether you’re wearing flats, wedges or heels, generally shoes without ankle straps, or straps that go up your leg will make your legs look longer – once again it’s all about the rule of not breaking up the lines of your limbs!
Shop This Look
If you have any more tips for styling up a petite frame, let me know in the comments below!