Ever notice how clothing looks so perfect on runway models and in the magazines yet so impractical in real life? This mostly holds true if you have a petite frame. Standing at only 5’2, it’s a problem I run into way too regularly. Pant legs never cut off at the right length, maxi dresses drag along the ground, and denim can’t be worn without cuffing. Those are just a few of the struggles I constantly face! I’ve learned that it’s unfair to spend a good amount of money on clothing only to spend more money making the clothes fit. Alterations have now become a last option that I fall to only when absolutely necessary. For the majority of the time, I stick to the guidelines below when I’m shopping. These are my best petite shopping tips for buying better fitting clothes.
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- Necklines – One of my biggest goals when getting dressed is to elongate my body and legs even if it’s through the illusion of styling. Necklines can play a major role here. Lower necklines and deeper cuts make you appear taller.
- Waistline – Pay attention to where your top cuts off. In this look, I paired high-waisted pants with a crop top that cuts off at the smallest part of my waist. That helps make my legs appear longer while giving me some shape. A long tunic top will chop your legs off and make you appear shorter.
- Shoulders – A feature I overlooked when fashion became a part of my life was where sleeves cut off at the shoulders. Unless you’re going for that intentional, oversized look, make sure your sleeve seams cut off right at the edge of your shoulders. It will give off a “tailored fit” and help you look polished.
- High-waist – High-waisted trousers, denim, shorts, or skirts always create the illusion of height by defining the waist. When you combine that with heels, your legs can end up looking miles long!
- Wide Legs – Did you ever notice how I’m always wearing wide leg trousers? It’s because I love how how the loose fit creates a long vertical line! Long flared pants will also work especially if you’re looking for a denim piece to add length. When wearing prints, vertical stripes or small checkers will help draw the eyes up and down!
- Mini Skirts – No matter how much us petite gals love tea-length pieces, mini skirts or hemlines that come above the knees work best. However, if you to go for the midi piece, make sure the hem falls slightly below the knee rather than above the ankles. This is tricky territory but it can work! I’ve pulled it off many times with culottes and midi dresses, but I almost always wear heels in these cases.
- Shape – I love looking for dresses that highlight the waist line and have a more tailored fit. It just wears and looks better on our bodies. Also, take advantage of flounce or ruffle hems, but avoid boxy shapes unless you can add a belt to emphasize your frame.
- Length – I already covered length in the bottoms category so I won’t say too much here. Basically, a dress that cuts off above the knees is ideal; however, the midi length isn’t impossible to pull off. Make sure it cuts slightly above mid-calf and wear it with heels to get the most flattering result. Maxi dresses are also great because one-pieces, especially in a solid or monochromatic color, make us appear taller than we really are.
Extra Styling Tips
- Less is more for us petite gals. Oversized layering looks great on the streets and on models, but it doesn’t fare so well for the rest of us. Stick to tailored layering with cropped jackets and blazers.
- Boyfriend jeans are hard to pull off on shorter legs. My solution is wearing straight-leg jeans. They provide the baggy feel without a true loose fit.
- Go for smaller bags, which won’t overwhelm a small frame like bigger totes do.
- When wearing boots, go high or low – nothing in between. Even though mid-calf boots are hot in the spotlight, it usually doesn’t look great when you don’t have super long legs.
Do you have any petite shopping tips you can share below?