Command Your Clothing: Fashion Musts for Petite Women

This week I have a guest post on a topic that is near and dear to this short girl’s heart. Hopefully my fellow shorties will enjoy as well!

If you’re a petite woman, you’re not alone. Millions of women all around the world struggle to find clothing that doesn’t need to be altered once it’s brought back home. After all, there’s only so much vertical room to work with, and so many items are made for talls or misses that the petites get a bit left out. But that’s no excuse to give up your fashion pursuits, because petites can use a lot of nifty tricks to look taller. Yet even in the petites section, sometimes you’ll find ruffle-adorned items that instantly shrink you, or ankle-length skirts. So how can you manoeuvre through the minefield of petite shopping? Look for the following things as you shop, and you’ll be well on your way to a beautiful outfit.

Straight-Legged Pants

If you’re petite, you know that making your legs look longer can be a real challenge. Fortunately, if you can find some straight-legged pants that are cut off at the ankle, you can help make your legs look longer. Pale colours will lengthen your legs, whereas some darker colors make you look shorter.

straight pantspants: Loft

Keep it Simple

Simple lines, straightforward styles, and outfits that don’t have too much fuss (read: no overdone ruffles) will make you look taller and longer. If there’s too much going on in the outfit, it will add width, which will make you look shorter.

Not Below the Knee

Never wear dresses or skirts that fall below your knee. This automatically shortens you, and it’s hardly flattering on anyone in the first place, depending on the style. The only exception to this is if you start the waistline high, and the cut falls just below the knee. Sometimes, with certain fabrics, this looks beautiful. But it has to be done properly in order for it to work.

pencil skirt
skirt: Old Navy

Billowy Blunders

As a petite, you’re quite lucky because you can wear just about any pattern you like. But avoid billowing fabric like chiffon, as it can often envelop you and make you look as though you’re drowning in fabric.

The Beltway

It’s important to choose belts correctly as a petite. Anything that goes around the centre of your body has the potential to cut you in half and make you look shorter than you are. Chunky belts are one way to cut your height almost instantly, so if you’re looking to elongate your body, choose skinny belts instead.

Three Must-Haves

Petite Must Haves

shoes: Target, shirt: Gap, blazer: Target

There are three things every petite must have in her closet. These items will help you look taller, and can be mixed and matched with other outfits and clothing items.

  1. First, you should have a nude platform heel. The heels you choose can have a hidden platform, or literally be a platform shoe, but a nice nude heel can go with almost anything and adds height to your body.
  2. Secondly, you’ll need v-neck and/or scoop-neck shirts, as bringing down the collar can help you look taller.
  3. Thirdly, every petite woman should have a fitted blazer or some petite coats. This accessory can help you take any outfit from casual to professional in seconds.

Drawing the Line

As a petite, your focus should be on creating a continuous line from head to toe. Anything that breaks up that line, such as busy patterns, massive ruffles, thick belts, and so on, should be eliminated from your closet. Keep everything flowing, simple, and clean, and you can help elongate your body. Heels are your best friends, but if you don’t like heels, you don’t have to wear them. You can use other tricks to lengthen your body, and donning a pair of pointy-toed flats can still make you look a bit taller. Low-heeled flats are also a great alternative to heels just to add a little more height.

Now that you know how to dress for your height, get out there and get shopping. No matter what you’re up against physically speaking, there’s usually always a fashion fix for it, and that’s the beautiful thing about fashion. While these tips will help you elongate your body’s appearance, you should also embrace your petite frame, because it’s really a great thing to have. Many other
body types are limited (in fashion options) in ways that petites are not, so enjoy your small stature and dress like a petite pro.

Megan Barnes is passionate about style. She frequently writes about the everyday woman’s
beautiful and flattering wardrobe on fashion blogs.

This post is linked up to Fashion Friday


  1. C Manion says:

    I love the idea of the short stripped skirt but I do find that as a petite person that wearing a skirt with the short boots makes legs look much shorter.

  2. Lee Ann says:

    All great tips, but I can’t go with some of them even though I am 5’2″. I wish I could! I’m a pear-shape so wearing a belt accentuates my hips and it’s hard to find a belt small enough to fit around my skinny waist. Wearing a dress above my knees shows off my saggy, baggy cellulite knees so I refrain from wearing dresses and skirts. I am a kindergarten teacher who is on my feet all day with bunions so heels are out of the question.

    • Yeah, these don’t all work for me either. Every petite body isn’t the same, so pick the ones that work and bag the rest. I always shop with an honest friend (or teenager lol) to see what REALLY works.

  3. I am 5 ft. 2 inches on a good day so I love this post and I’ve been wanting to feature more petite (short womenz) fashion! I love straight-legged pants! I am also big on solids. (or should that be SHORT) ;)
    Jamie recently posted…Fashion Friday: All Owl, All the TimeMy Profile

  4. Such a great post Jilly ! Your all tips are awesome for innovative.This post helps to petite womens in choosing fashion clothing. Your suggestion of short stripped skirt is great look more fashionable.

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