Shopping should be fun. But if you struggle to find pieces that truly fit your shape and make you feel amazing, it can suddenly become the burden that you start to put off. Being petite can make shopping in some stores tricky because you’ll find the proportions of certain clothing just don’t work. Also – tips for shopping petite are often focused around what to avoid and what not to do rather than all the great things you can do and wear.
So, today we’re looking at our stylists’ top tips for shopping for petite women and some key pieces to try that will suit your size and shape to perfection.
What Counts as Petite?
When we talk about petite in fashion it doesn’t just mean short and slim. Petite ladies come and every size and shape. So, when we mean petite, we’re usually talking about 5’3” and under but every body type.
Fashion Problems for Petite Women
There are several issues that petite women encounter when trying on clothes. These are the main ones that we see most often.
· Leg length
Possibly the number one short-girl problem? Those leg lengths! If you constantly have to turn up your jeans or have hems on trousers stitched, you might not be shopping for the right styles for you.
· Sleeve length
Sleeve lengths on tops and jackets can also be problematic because of shorter arms. Lots of fabric build-up at the wrist can make you look much more out of proportion than you are.
· Wide shoulders
Shoulders on jackets and blazers can often be far too wide which in turn, gives you an annoying unbalanced look even with jackets that otherwise fit well.
· Disproportioned torso
Because petite women have smaller torsos, fits on dresses and some tops can also be tricky to get just right.
· Long straps
If you constantly spend your time adjusting, pulling up or even tying up your straps, you know what we mean here.
· Shopping anxiety
Finally, not only are there problems with individual items when shopping for petite clothing but the result can actually lead to shopping anxiety and a total disconnect from the fun and social side of fashion.
It’s no wonder petite women are finding it difficult to shop! But don’t worry – that’s exactly why we’re here.
Let’s move on to our top style tips.
Top Styling Tips for Petite Women
With years of experience shopping for and styling women of all shapes, sizes, and heights, we’ve found certain fashion items and styling tips that really work for shorter frames.
Short Skirts and Dresses are Your Friends
If you’re confident enough to get your legs out (and girl, you should be!!) then short skirts and dresses work for a shorter frame, elongating and showing off your great legs.
Add Thigh Highs to Your Wardrobe
If you’ve not got a chic, well-fitting pair of thigh-high boots, put them on your fall shopping list this year. This way, you can wear your short skirts and dresses all winter long. Keep it classic in black and opt for suede instead of leather for a super chic and versatile look. If you wear lots of neutrals, autumnal floral print dresses, and blue denim, another great option is nude or tan suede.
Ever heard of people avoiding horizontal stripes because it makes you look wider? Well, think about this the other way around. Vertical stripes elongate the legs and make you appear taller. If you want to add a little bit of height with a slight optical illusion, this is a great way to do it.
Choose Maxi Dresses Wisely
Lots of petite women feel like they can’t wear gorgeous long maxi dresses. But you don’t have to avoid them completely, just choose specific styles and shapes. Don’t go for top to bottom loose-fit and instead, have a fitted top and flowing bottom to maintain a definite shape which always helps you to avoid looking drowned in fabric.
Embrace the Mini Bag Trend
When you’re short, oversized bags and totes can just be overkill and make you feel like you’re lugging around a full suitcase when you’re on the move. Instead, downsize your essentials, take only what you need and embrace this season’s mini bag trend.
Balance Your Curves
If you’re a curvier petite gal, balancing your shape is important. Bigger busts need a cinched waist and some balance for your bottom half to make sure you don’t feel top-heavy. Full midi skirts do this perfectly, cinching the waist and giving you more shape at the bottom.
Invest in Skin Tone Shoes
Skin tone shoes are a winner for petite girls because when worn with bare legs they work as another optical illusion and elongate your legs perfectly. Because your whole leg is then a similar color, it almost gives the impression that you’re standing on your tiptoes.
Switch to Points
Alongside skin tone shoes, pointed shoes are your go-to when it comes to shape. This works for both heels and flats and gives any look an elongated and polished finish.
Straight Cropped Jeans are Your BFF
If you’re not sure which style and fit of jeans you should be going for, this is it. Where skinny jeans are always handy to have in your wardrobe, they’re not necessarily the most flattering for petite girls, especially if you’re a curvier shape. Instead, try a straight-leg cropped jean and go for super high-waisted to cinch in your shape and lengthen your legs. Showing a little skin at the ankle also acts as another illusion for a longer leg, especially when styled with heels.
Focus on The Waist
When you’re petite, you want to make sure that clothing doesn’t overpower your height. Tops that cinch your waist and kick out create extra shape and curves, which in turn helps with creating the right sense of proportion with even the most casual and simple outfit.
Opt for a Long Coat
Lots of petite women believe that long, tailored coats aren’t for them. They think that they’ll be drowned in fabric and look like their stepping out wearing their dad’s jacket. This isn’t true. Although you don’t want to go for a hugely oversized style, a long coat that fits well won’t swamp you and actually gives you a streamlined, longer silhouette instead of cutting you off at a weird place around the hip like other jackets might.
Opt for tailored long jackets and coats and choose a length around or under the knee and you might just be surprised.
Do Head to Toe Color
Another optical illusion you can try with your style is choosing a head to toe monochromic look. Going for all one color from top to bottom is chic and super on-trend but it also elongates a shorter frame and ensures there’s nothing too busy breaking up your shape and distracting or making you feel out of proportion. Go all the way and include matching shoes and a handbag for the whole shebang.
Be Confident Enough to Ditch Trends
Once you’ve gotten to know your shape and your body, you should be as confident as you possibly can. That’s what we’re aiming for here, ladies! Once you’ve reached that level of confidence, you can ditch trend-hopping and style yourself according to what works for you rather than what you see online or in magazines. Don’t wear trends just because. Know which ones are for you and which ones to leave to the runway models! (and remember – chances are – they’ll be gone in the blink of an eye anyway so you’ll never miss them!).
Find Yourself a Tailor You Can Trust
Lastly, find yourself a great tailor. Looking chic and polished (and super expensive) is all about getting the right fit. And sometimes that’s just really hard! So, if you LOVE something but it doesn’t fit, remember that a great tailor can adjust and make it work for you. Don’t spend your days in cute blazers that make you look a foot shorter. Get a tailor to rework the sleeves and shoulders to fit you properly and adjust the length and waist seams to make it look bespoke to you. If you’ve invested in great fashion, surely, it’s worth investing in a great fit too?
Shopping should never cause you stress. So, hopefully, with these top style tips for petite women, you can now shop in confidence with the knowledge that the pieces you’re picking out will not only work for you and flatter your shape and height but also make you feel amazing. Sign up today with Shop It To Me and shop all the best petite clothing brands from around the world in one simple, easy to shop spot.