So you are petite. As a short girl, you probably have already heard too much fashion advice given by stylists or petite style bloggers. Here we summarize the most common mistakes that short girls make in their fashion choices so that you can avoid them and look fabulous.
1.wear black all the time
Today’s fashion world has an obsession of wearing black. Black seems to be the go-to color for everyone. But is black the best color for short girls? The answer is no. There is a lot of good reasons to love wearing black. One of the biggest reasons is black never goes out of style, so you can wear them season after season. Another reason is black makes you look slimmer. In a world full of commercials pushing for weight loss, regardless of whether you are a short girl or not, who does not want to look thinner anyways? While I agree that you should definitely own a few classic pieces in black such as a little black dress, a black pencil skirt and a black silk blouse, a short girl should avoid having most of her wardrobe in black. It is a common myth that black is the most forgiving color, which is only true to a degree. Wearing black will actually accentuate the flaws on your skin such as uneven skin tone and wrinkles. If you are petite, wearing black will most likely make you look shorter than you are. The reason is obvious-black shrinks. For petite women, wearing solids is a wise choice. Bright colors such as beige and white adds visual volume, so they are good choices for petite girls. On the other hand, if you want to look slender, then go with darker solid colors such as navy or purple, which both have the thinning effect of wearing black but will suite petite girls better.
2.carry oversized bags
Whether you are a corporate executive or art director, there is many benefits of carrying a large bag that can hold everything. We all need the space in our bag to hold our daily planner, smart phone, wallet, keys, lipsticks and compact, to name a few. While large bags are very useful for practical purpose, they are not the best fashion choice for a short girl. Big bags can dwarf the person that carries them. Petite women should carry bags proportional to their sizes, i.e. small to medium size bags. We are not suggesting you should only carry a clutch to work, as that is not feasible for our busy professional life. For a short girl, it is advisable to always draw people’s attention to your face and not lower. Therefore, how you carry your bag makes a big difference. Carrying a medium size tote on your shoulder is a smart choice. Another great choice is chain bags, which are veryflattering to petite girls and a medium size can still hold a lot of stuff. Theimportant thing is to choose the right length for the chain, so that it should not hit below your hip. Otherwise it will drag people’s attention down, and make you look shorter than you are. The same principal applies to any other shoulder bag you carry. Lastly, small to medium size backpacks are also a good choice. They free up your hands and are very easy to carry, and the benefit to a short girl is they will not draw people’s attention to your height. On the other hand, we are not saying smaller is always better for short girls, since short girls are not all tiny and skinny. If you are a curvy petite girl, opt for a medium size bag that is in balance with your overall body size.
3. wear bulky platform shoes
Wearing heels is the easiest way to change the height of a petite woman. Many short girls believe they should wear platform shoes, if they want to add a few extra inches. That is only true to a degree. While platform shoes are easy to wear, and are more comfortable than its stiletto cousins, they are not your best choice if you want to create a long silhouette. One general rule of thumb when it comes to short girls’ shoe choices is it should be in balance with your body size. If you are petite, you should in fact avoid chunky platforms, as they actually make your legs look shorter than they are. Opt for heels with leaner stripes and medium heels instead. Notice how different Mira Duma (5’1″) looks in these two pictures because of the shoes?
The universally flattering shoe is stiletto, as they always make you look taller, leaner and thinner. If you do not feel like wearing 4 inch heels all day long, get a pair of flats with pointy tips, which will effectively elongate your legs. On the other hand, not all petite girls are size 0 or 2, so if you have full curves, your heels should also be in balance with your overall body size. In that case, medium size wedge will not seem out of proportion on you. When choosing wedges or block heels, go with the ones with dark bottoms so that the bulkiness will not be very obvious.
- stay away from long skirt
We have all heard about the fashion advice by many stylists that short girls should stay away from long skirts and go with short skirts. While it is obvious that short skirts are flattering to short girls in general, it is also good to know how to wear long skirts and make them look flattering to your petite frame. In winter times, long skirts are very practical and can keep you warmer than short skirts. Standing at 5’3”, Victoria Beckham sets perfect examples for short girls on how to make long skirts work.
Pairing a long skirt with knee high boots is one of the best fashion chocies for a short girl when the weather is cold. The key is the color of your skirt and that of your boots should be of similar tone, which will effectively elongate your legs and make you look tall.
- stay away from maxi dress
Simiar to wearing long skirt, wearing maxi dress the right way will actually make a short girl look taller. One of the key factors in styling short girls is to create a column of colors. Because of its continuous color and pattern, maxi dress can effectively elongate your body frame. For short girls, solid colors or small prints are your best choice. Be very careful with large prints on maxi dresses. Given the big area maxi dresses cover on your body, large prints may make too busy and overwhelm your small frame. If you are short, getting the right length for your maxi dress is critical. Fortunately, some brands offer petite sizes so that you do not have to pay for a tailor.
- shop from junior department
Short girls may have a difficult time looking for the right sizes in regular department stores or shopping malls, so many of us may have shopped in the junior department at some point. While that seems to be an easy solution, we do not recommend you to do so often. In fact, one of the important styling principals for short girls is to avoid too much “cuteness”. The complaints of many short girls is they are not taken seriously at work place, because of their height. In order to appear to be the equivalent of tall girls, our goal should be to add presence and authority through our styling. Shopping in junior department will only do the opposite. The designs for juniors are catered for teenagers, and they are not meant to be worn by professional adult women. Except for sweat pants and other causal clothing you will only wear at home or for workout, we suggest you to stop shopping at junior department and look for stores with petite sizes instead.
Traditionally, the best petite brands are Ann Taylor, Jcrew and Banana Republic which carry petite sizes. Now, in addition to the chain stores, short girls also have the choices of petite boutique such as Petite Dressing. If you happen to be in New York City, check out these petite stores.
- wear baggy jeans
Short girls should in general go for figure-conscious clothing and stay away from baggy clothes, especially the bottoms. There has been an increasing buzz about boyfriend jeans in recent years, as they are comfortable to wear because of the relaxed fit. However, they are not flattering for short girls, if the fit is too relaxed.
It is important for petite women to wear well-fitted bottoms, which will effectively elongate the legs and make your overall proportion look better. If you think skinny jeans is only flattering for certain body types, go for bootcut jeans, which is universally flattering for any body type. It is not as tight as straight leg jeans or skinny jeans, so it is very forgiving. In addition, the straight A line at the bottom makes your calves and thighs look skinner. Flared jeans is another most flattering styles for women. The flare adds a graceful, curved silhouette which are very feminine. For short girls, the flare legs adds length to by extending your legs, as they do not stop at your ankle like skinny jeans. For a complete guide of how to pick the best jeans, click to read Best Petite Jeans for Your Body Type.
- wear ankle stripes
For short girls, wearing pumps is better than wearing ankle strips. The reason is ankle stripes create a horizontal line across your ankle and cuts off your legs. The horizontal line is more obvious if the shoes is dark colors such as black or navy. Pumps without ankle stripes and pumps with low vamp (those showing a little bit of toe cleavage) will make your legs look longer than they are. However, if you have really small feet such as size 4 or 5, you may find it hard to walk in shoes without ankle stripes simply because your feet may not be long enough for the pumps. In that case, you can wear nude or skin color pumps with skinny ankle stripes. Because the stripe is close to your skin color, the horizontal line will not be that obvious, thus your legs will not look too cut off.
- wear wide leg pants
Wide leg pants have been gaining some ground in the fashion scene in the last seasons, however, they are better suited for tall or average height ladies. If you are short, wearing wide leg pants is not flattering in general. The width in the legs goes horizontal, and that makes you look shorter than you actually are. That said, no rule of fashion is absolute and there is always exception. We have seen a few short celebrities or petite fashion bloggers who can pull off wide leg pants and it looks okay on them. Here is a good and bad example of wearing wide leg pants, both from Victoria Beckham.
If wide leg pants is your thing, then carefully choose a vertically inspired pattern and make sure to wear them with slim heels to make up for the vertical line much needed by short girls. Avoid cropped, wide leg pants by all means, as they are hardly flattering to short girls no matter how you wear them.
- wear oversized layering
No matter how tall you are, oversized layering is not a good fashion choice. For a short girl, it is particularly advisable to stay away from too much layering, as they drag you down and make your petite frame appear to be “swallowed”. Additionally, each layer may create an unflattering horizontal line which can make your body look cut off. Always keep in mind, the goal is to create the long and lean silhouette. In general, because short girls have small frames, you are better off with simple layers. In winter times, it is necessary to throw on the layers to keep us warm and maximize your comfort in the outdoors. On the other hand, you do not want your petite frame to be hidden under a lot of layers.
If you are petite, a smart way to dress is to put a shorter jacket on top of a dark color long under layer, paired with skinny jeans and wear long boots. Doing so will make your mid section look slim and legs look long. For short girls, a safe way of laying is to wear monochrome colors. If you want to have a little bit of fun with color contrasting, go with colors of similar tones.