If you are short and overweight, dressing your shape can be a challenge. I know exactly how you feel because I have a petite clothing line for shorter women.
The reason is finding clothes that fit you can be hard, as the clothing industry give us very limited options for someone who is either petite size (under 5’4″) or plus size, letting alone someone who is in both categories.
That means if you are a short and curvy girl, you should be even more selective with anything you wear and pay attention to the details from neckline to silhouette. It is still possible to dress well if you are petite plus size, and below is tried-and-true tips I’ve gathered based on feedbacks from thousands of my petite customers!
Table of Contents
Let me start with an important rule that applies to any short women, regardless of your weight.
Something that many overweight women have been made to believe throughout their lives is that they need to wear clothing that “hides” their bodies.
Here is the truth:
- You don’t need to hide behind loose, baggy, or shapeless dresses- these only make you look heavier than you are!
- In fact, you shouldn’t wear anything shapeless.
- While you might be overweight, you still have a body shape, and that’s why it’s so important to avoid clothing that doesn’t provide shape to your body.
Avoid chest ruffles
If you are short and curvy, you probably have a big bust. The key to flatter a full bust is to keep it simple in front of your chest. (That is why petite tops with minimum design are always the most popular in my clothing line!)
Ruffles and any of these types of details can look wonderful, but keep in mind that the bulkiness of them is going to translate to the part of the body they lay on.
So, if the tops have chest ruffles, most likely they will only make you look top-heavy.
Avoid balloon sleeves
Balloon sleeves is another details you should be very careful with, as it can also add bulkiness to your top..
To put it bluntly, bulky clothes add the illusion of actual bulk to the body – and this is why avoiding bulky clothing is something to strive for if you are overweight and short.
Avoid dramatic shoulders
Any tops with excessively obvious shoulder pads are not a good idea for short and overweight women.
The reason is simple.
Shoulder pads broaden your shoulders, which will expand your top half overall and make your top look even heavier than you actually are.
High rise jeans
Based on the feedback from numerous petite customers of my jeans collection who wear size L and XL, high-rise everything is a much better and more flattering option on someone who carries weight on the butt and thighs.
When wearing high-rise styles it adds major waist definition to the body AND it makes legs appear much longer by lifting the waistband placement on the body – both of these attributes provide a slimming and elongating effect that’s perfect when you’re plus size.
Avoid Low Rise Bottoms
The early 2000’s made low-rise jeans a trend and fortunately, it’s not a trend that’s resurfaced (yet). Regardless of the trend, though,
- Low-rise bottoms are something to try to avoid when you are plus size.
- The main issue that comes up with low-rise styles is how they cut the body and the hip/waist area in a really odd place.
Great alternatives that give you comfort and ease of wear are fabrics that offer some stretch to them, think of your cotton-elastane combination fabrics.
Avoid puffy skirts
Any skirts that carry extra volume with them will not be the best option for women who are short and overweight.
Waist cinching dresses
Rather than hiding behind clothing, embracing and truly celebrating your body shape is the most flattering for your body shape– not to mention it’s a powerful way to feel more confident in your body.
To make one thing very clear- clothing doesn’t need to be super slim fit, just ensure that the clothing shows YOUR shape and creates balance to your body.
Caution with shift dresses
Shift dresses. can be flattering, but you want to make sure it is not too billowy.
If the dress has too much volume, it will only overwhelm a short woman and make your entire body look bigger than you actually are.
If you are short and curvy, tailoring is something you should have become accustomed to utilizing to get your clothes fit properly.
The clothing industry makes “standard” sizes for women who are over 5’4″, which means there are not that many options, to begin with, if you are a short girl.
On top of that, amongst the limited brands that do make petite-size clothes, even fewer of them make clothes for someone who is overweight.
Therefore, to find dresses off the shelf that fit you just right is next to impossible.
As a short and overweight woman, getting used to tailoring your clothes will make a huge difference in how you look!
Tailoring can make a major difference in the way your dresses look and feel on your body.
Never underestimate the power of good tailoring, and make it a point to have necessary tailoring done to your clothes if and when needed.
Wear darker shades
A lot of overweight women default their outfits to all black, because, well, we have all been told that black is the most slimming color.
I agree that black is slimming, but it is not the only color that can make you look more slender.
- If you genuinely enjoy wearing all black, then wear them by all means as long as they make you happy.
- However, if you wear all black because you feel like you ‘have’ to, given you are overweight, then, listen up- all black is NOT the only option.
- Short and plus size women can (and should!) wear any color(s) and prints they like.
While yes, black is known and loved for its slimming effect, you can look incredible wearing any color.
In fact, darker shades of blue, purple, and brown can all have an immediate slimming effect on you, and dark wash jeans are also a universally flattering choice for anyone who wants to make her legs look more slender.
Wear Prints with Caution
You may have heard many times that if you are short or overweight, then you should stay away from prints because they can make you look bigger.
That is only true to a degree.
There are ways for you to wear prints, as long as you choose the right type of prints.
- The only thing to keep in mind in regards to choosing the prints you wear is the scale of them.
- Very small prints can sometimes appear disproportioned, if you are overweight.
- Instead, try selecting options that are in alignment with the scale/size of your own body type.
- This allows for the print to look great on you and not distract in any way.
Avoid anything clingy
Clingy fabrics…cling, obviously.
This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if clingy fabrics didn’t cling to the body in less than-flattering ways.
- Pay close attention to the way the fabrics lay on your body
- If they’re extra clingy, especially in areas you don’t want them to cling, opt for something else.
Avoid flimsy fabrics
Flimsy fabrics are another element to avoid as a plus-size woman.
Wearing clothing that’s made of flimsy fabrics often leads to garments not laying properly on the body and not enhancing your natural body shape – both are things that you want to steer clear from when plus size.
If you have a muffin top, clingy fabrics are only going to show everything you do not want others to notice.
It’s easy to think ‘undergarments are UNDER clothes, no one will even notice if they’re not the right fit.’
Well, it’s time to kick this thought to the curb because it’s just not true.
If you are a short and overweight woman, wearing the right undergarments in the correct sizing is an absolutely essential component of your style and wardrobe.
If it’s not, it needs to be!
You can try this Lift Wear Cami ($84.00).
Use undergarments to your advantage. Believe it or not, they can completely shift the way clothes lay on the body.
When it comes to accessories, scale is key. If you are short and overweight, it is critical to choose the right style and design that complement your body’s size and structure.
Medium size bags
Small to medium-sized handbags are a much more figure-flattering option that will look great and act as an accent to your outfits.
Avoid oversized bags
If you are short, generally speaking, large handbags are not a good idea, because they can totally overwhelm someone with a shorter frame.
Avoid micro handbags
However, if you are short and overweight, then mini handbags are not flattering either.
Super small handbags have been trending this year, as you may have noticed. While it’s a fun trend it tends to be something that’s difficult to wear as a plus-size woman.
The problem with these micro bags?
They often take away from your shape and don’t offer a lot of balance to the body primarily because of the scale.
Keep it simple
Fashion is all about experimenting and expressing yourself and it’s definitely something you should do when getting dressed.
If you’re short and overweight, just make sure you’re not wearing TOO many things, details, etc. at one time. Overdoing it on a lot of trends or details can add bulk and weight to the body because there’s so much going on within an outfit.
As the infamous Coco Chanel said “before you leave the house take one thing off.”
This is a great rule to live by for plus-size women.
For example, if you’re wearing statement earrings skip an over-the-top necklace to wear with them. Another example is wearing a statement blouse, avoid pairing it with a bold pair of pants and instead keep it on the more neutral side.
A good rule of thumb here is to choose one or two items that are your focal points (or statements) within an outfit and the rest of the items should compliment those.