Petite women come in all shapes and sizes.  Some of us have defined waistline, and some of us don’t.  If you are the no waistline figure, it could be many reasons.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to lose a lot of weight.  In fact, some body types tend to gain weight around waist even if they gain only a tiny bit of weight.  Meanwhile, for the no waistline figure, even if you have lost a ton of weight, your waistline still may not show.  The most common no waistline figure is the petite apple shape and petite rectangle shape.  (If you don’t know what you are, take our quiz to find out your petite body type.)  The famous petite celebrities who do not have a defined waistline includes Reese Witherspoon (rectangle shape) and Eva Longoria (apple shape).

no waistline figure

Photo: Reese Witherspoon (5’2″)

If you want to create the waistline, the most obvious choice is to use the belt.  When picking out a belt, scale is the most important thing when deciding if it is right for your petite height.  Most petite women have shorter torso, in other words, short waisted.  Therefore, a wide belt will take up the entirety of your torso and make your waist look even shorter.  So, avoid super wide belt, unless you want to look like a chest on top of hips.  Women of petite height in general look better with skinny belts, which is in proportion with petite body frame.  If you happen to be petite but have long waist, then skinny belts may look a bit too small and you should go with wider belts.  1.5 inch belts work well on most petite women.  So, should short women completely forget about wide belts?  Not necessarily.  Nothing is absolute when it comes to fashion rules.  We have seen petite celebrities (Mira Duma, 5 feet, is a perfect example) wearing wide belts creatively and look stylish and chic.  Therefore, if you are petite height but a die hard fan of wide belts (like myself),  there are still ways to wear them without looking overwhelmed by the belts.  The key is to wear them in a monochromatic color as your outfit, or at least your top.  That way, the focal point will not be purely on your wide belt, while at the same time adding interesting dimension to your outfit.  (Read more about 7 Ways to Style Accessories for Girls of Petite Height).

Empire waist

If you are petite and happen to be the no waistline figure, this is the classic design that will create instant waist definition. Empire waist tops are nipped in just below the bust line – the smallest point on the torso – and will give the illusion of a defined waistline.  According to Wiki, Empire silhouette, Empire line, Empire waist or just Empire is a style in clothing in which the dress has a fitted bodice ending just below the bust, giving a high-waisted appearance, and a gathered skirt which is long and loosely fitting but skims the body rather than being supported by voluminous petticoats. The outline is especially flattering to those wishing to disguise the stomach area or emphasize the bust. The shape of the dress also helps to lengthen the body’s appearance.

Corset or bustier tops

It may seem old-fashioned, but many women enjoy wearing a corset. They love how small their waist looks and the sleek silhouette provided.  On the other hand, a bustier is a more modern style. It’s helpful to think of it as a fancy-bra-meets-shapewear. It’ll make your chest look more “uplifted,” while it smooths and flattens your midriff.

If you wish to make your mid section look smaller and define your waist, nothing does a better job than a corset or bustier.  A corset top reinforced with boning in a more rigid fabric will also knock a few inches of your midsection and give you added cleavage to boot. The ehanced bustline will accentuate the contrast with your waist and create the illusion of waistline.

Belted jacket or structured blazer

Choose a blazer that’s fitted at the waist to instantly create a narrow looking middle. Consider light shoulder pads to broaden narrow shoulders. Find belted coats and jackets to create curves in all the right places.  For petite women, the key is to make sure the belt is actually above your natural waistline (even though you do not have an obvious waist, you can still find the narrowest point of your torso which is your waistline).  By elevating the waistline, a belt can instantly change your body proportion, in addition to making your waist look smaller.

Fit and flare dress (skater dress)

If your body lacks waist definition, wearing a fit and flare dress (also called skater dress) will do a fantastic job to create that wanted waistline.  The design of the dress is fitted at your torso but flares out under your waist, which visually look your waist looks smaller and trick the eyes into believing you have a smaller waistline.

A line skirt

Skirts that hit just 4 inches or so above the knee are the best length for petite women to create a well-proportioned silhouette. Since A-line skirts are fitted at the hip and flare out slightly toward the hem, they accentuate the contrast and enhance the look of waistline- so they should be the top choices to create a more balanced proportion.