Looking to add a petite midi dress to your wardrobe? You are not alone. Dress season is upon us! About time, right? I’m always anxious to pull out dresses and wear them as often as possible when it gets warm enough. Midi dresses are a huge trend this spring and summer season. 

As a petite woman myself, I was a bit hesitant when I saw this trend come onto the fashion scene. It’s been said time and time again the midi dress lengths aren’t flattering for petite women. But, I have great news for you. We CAN wear petite midi dresses! And we can wear them well. I know this may be an intimidating dress style to jump into so I’m going to share a few of my favorite tips on how to wear petite midi dresses with confidence this season.

petite midi dress
Photo: Unsplash

1. Choose the Right Length for Petite Midi Dress

First, what is midi dress? According to wiki, midi is used to refer to any dress or skirt that has a hem which hits at mid-calf – halfway between the knee and ankle. So, traditionally midi dresses are below the knee in length. However, as you can see, the length can vary quite a bit for a petite midi dress. It can lay just below the knee anywhere or just above the ankle.

When you’re petite, just like when selecting any other type of dress, choosing the right length in your petite midi dresses is key to styling this trend successfully.

The trick to finding the right length in a petite midi dress is to select a dress that rests just above or just below the widest part of your calf. This is going to allow you to fully embrace the midi dress trend but ensure that you’re still flattering your petite frame.

 Petite lace cami midi prom dress
$119
 Petite cowl neck midi cami dress in floral
$56
Petite double layer pleated midi dress
$60

You’re going to want to avoid any petite midi dresses that rest at the widest part of your calf. The reason behind this is because when a midi dress is at the widest part of your calf, it accentuates that area and causes you to appear shortened. When you make a minor adjustment to just above or below the widest part, it instantly slims and lengthens your length – a petite woman’s dream!

2. Select the fabrics wisely

Since the midi length has the risk of making us petite girls look shorter, you really have to be selective with the fabrics. Here is a hack I have learned from one of our favorite petite celebrities Emilia Clarke. Standing at 5’2″, this dragon mother in Game of Thrones is famous for feminine and edgy style on or off red carpet. One of her most frequently photographed favorites is the midi dresses. If you pay attention, you’ll notice most of them are made of light and airy fabrics, especially laces.

petite wedding guest dresses
Photo: Emilia Clarke, 5’2 (Getty Images)

Because lace midi dresses have a bit of see-through effect, they will reduce the risk of making your legs look cut-off in them.

 Petite Lace Midi Dress
Alfani Petite $64
 Petite V-Neck Lace Midi Dress
Taylor Petite $85
petite mid dress
Vince Camuto Petite $188

3. Consider a Slit

When styling a petite midi dress, the added length is what tends to cause some of the struggle for a petite woman. One of my newfound favorite ways to rock the petite midi dress trend for the season is to select a midi dress that has a slit. The slit could be on the side or in the front. Either way, it is going to look more flattering on a short girl.

The reason? The slit shows a bit more leg which instantly creates more of an elongated leg line. The aspect that’s so great about a petite midi dress with a slit is you’re getting the best of both worlds, where you have the midi dress trend but get to show more leg as you would in a shorter dress style.

Plus, a slit adds a flirty feel to the midi dress!

petite midi dress with slit
Topshop Petite $68
satin petite mid dress
Topshop Petite $48

4. Uneven Seam Works Great on Short Women

One of the hottest trends right now is the uneven seam. What that means the seam of the dress is not the traditional straight line. The most popular type of uneven seam is the high-low dresses. The front of the dress could be above the knee or right at the knee, but the back of the dress is typically below your knee and above your ankle.

petite Floral Ruffle High/Low Halter Dress,
Eliza J Petite $148
Petite Cool-Toned Paisley Dress
Chico’s Petite
 petite Halter High/Low Midi Dress,
Eliza J Petite

The benefit of uneven seam or high-low dresses for petites is that you enjoy the best of the two worlds! The front is shorter, so you get to show off every inch of leg length you desire. And, the back is midi, so you get to enjoy the midi trend!

5. Style Shoes Accordingly

We’ve established the length aspect of petite midi dresses is the biggest factor that needs to be worked with when you are a petite woman. Once you’ve selected a petite midi dress you love, you’re going to need to style it up with some shoes, obviously! Due to the length factor in a midi length dress, heels are going to be a must when you are petite. For obvious reasons, they are going to add some height to your shape to prevent the added length of the midi dress from shortening you too much.

Of course, not all heels are created equally. I suggest avoiding any heel (or shoe in general) to pair with your petite midi dresses that has an ankle strap or cuts the leg at the ankle. Think of ankle strap sandals, ankle booties, etc. Because your leg line is being cut off where the midi dress rests, you want to make up for that by wearing more flattering shoes. On the other hand, if you style it with a shoe that cuts off your leg at the ankle, you’re essentially chopping up your leg multiple times! That is going to cause you to look much shorter and dare I say stumpy in the dress.

Instead, stick to a shoe that’s simple in style like a stiletto pump. This shape is perfection for flattering a petite woman in a midi dress.

Pointed toe pumps
Sam Edelman $119.95
pointed toe pumps
Sam Edelman $119
pointed toe pumps black
Nine West $48.3

If you want to know more about how to find the best shoes for petites, we have another post on “The Best and Worst Shoes for Short Women“.

6. Stick with Monochrome Colors

Petite midi dresses can be found in various styles, colors and patterns. Because we need to focus on selecting petite midi dresses that aren’t going to shorten our shapes, I suggest choosing something to provide you with a monochromatic color scheme.

Similar to what I mentioned previously, about cutting off your leg line in multiple places, selecting a petite midi dress with a consistent color and/or pattern is going to help keep from the rest of your shape getting cut off. When you choose a petite midi dress that’s either one solid color or a print/pattern that is consistent throughout the dress, it’s going to create the appearance of a longer, slimmer line on your body.

If you want to take it a bit further and really keep it consistent with the monochromatic styling, keep your shoes in the same color scheme. Even if you have a petite midi dress that is in a print or pattern, select shoes that are in a color similar if not the same as the color(s) in the dress.

Intrigued about how to work the magic of monochromatic colors? We have a post on “Why Every Short Woman should Know Monochromatic Dressing“.

7. Form Fitting Top

As petite midi dresses are one solid piece, it’s crucial that you pay attention to the entire dress and how it fits to make sure you’re selecting the right dress for your petite frame. Aside from the length aspect of the petite midi dress, I also want to encourage you to pay close attention to the top half of the dress.

For starters, you will definitely want a petite midi dress that has some detail at the waistline so that it highlights your waist for major figure flattery. In addition to the waist aspect, always make sure that the petite midi dresses you wear are form fitting at the top half.

 Petite lace midi dress with pinny bodice
ASOS Petite $119
 Petite linen button through midi dress with sweetheart neckline
$60

This is going to create a lot of balance in your shape with the midi dress length and keep from it being too much material on your petite frame. It doesn’t necessarily have to be SKIN tight just as long as it fits closely to your body on the top half.