Getting into fashion styling

Getting into fashion styling
...Style & Shopping Guide to Stylish Womens Petite Clothes
- and Styling Strategies to Dressing Your Short Height

This guide is all about your Petite Clothing & Styling needs - from how to dress your body figure & height to help you look taller, to finding the best online stores where you can buy trendy womens petite clothing. Petite clothing dress by Ann Taylor LOFT
Courtesy of Ann Taylor's LOFT
Together we're going to review fashion advice, styling strategies and other solutions that will help flatter your height and raise your silhouette. Looking taller is important if you want to be taken seriously in a professional work setting, as well getting the fit right to avoid looking like you're wearing too-big clothes.

Anna, I don't have time!
Take me straight to the style guides!

So What Does Petite Exactly Mean?

When I refer to Petite, then I'm talking about the height of a person. It can also mean tiny, as in thin and small like a child - but in this case I'm referring to the shorter woman who is 5'4" (163cm) or under, as well as clothes made for this height range.

Many short women feel like their height is an issue because they don't feel good in their clothes - the sleeves and legs are too long and make your limbs look shorter; and not to mention how much time and money you have to spend on shortening hemlines to fit your frame - but you still end up with the wrong proportions.

You also want to be taken seriously, right?

Note: If you're average in height but have short legs or upper body (see: Vertical Body Shape) then average sized garments may be long for you, so you need to buy petite clothes for upper or lower body that is shorter than the other.

Don't worry, there is hope or you! If you're a Petite and feel that most regular clothing don't sit quite right on you, then this guide will provide you with all the vital fashion advice, styling strategies and shopping resources to help you look better in your clothes!

Let's take a look at the topics on Petite Fashion I'm covering:

Fashion advice and tips for petite women

Style Tips for Petites

Petite women are faced with a couple of fashion challenges because of their lack of height. Less "canvas" means less clothing layers and details to avoid overwhelming your body stature. This page gives you the guidelines on dressing your height.

You'll also discover:

  • How visually elongating your legs can make you look taller than you are
  • Best clothing styles and details complement your petite height
  • ... and more!

Golden Style Rules for Petite Gals »

Effective styling strategies to make yourself look taller »

Shop Petite Denim Jeans

Petite Jeans

Petite jeans are designed to complement your short legs and petite proportions, and may be the only solution if you're tired of shelling out $'s every time you buy a new pair of jeans just to hem them.

Learn more about Petite Jeans »

Shop Petite Skirts

Petite Skirts

The best skirt length for you ranges between your knees and thigh-area. However if you have a fuller tummy and a large bust, you may need to go longer, about below the knee.

Get tips on Petite Skirts and how to look taller »

Shop Petite Dresses

Petite Dresses

The waist and hip shape has to hit you at the right spot on your shorter silhouette. That's what womens petite dresses are for!

This page showcases the latest fashion dresses for petites, plus advice on how to make the most out of your dresses and look your best.

Learn more about Petite Dresses »

Looking for a specific petite garment or topic?
Search for it here:

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How to Dress Your Petite Height

The simplest way to start looking your best is to dress according to your body figure. And I’m not just talking about your horizontal body shape (Hourglass, Pear, Inverted Triangle, etc.) but your scale (thin, average or big-boned) and even vertical body shape (do you have short legs or long legs compared to your upper body?) as well.

Petite women come in all shapes and sizes – from curvy to straight body figures. You might be a short and skinny size 2 or a short plus size who wears size 16. This guide will help you work with exactly that.

Work with Your Body Proportions

I suggest that you start with the very basics – determining your body shape – to get a clearer picture of how to place accessories, colors and shapes on all the right places of your body frame to aid in disguising the parts of your body that look heavier than the rest - so that you can feel confident and look your best. Slimming down your thighs and even your waist can help you look taller!

The 5 General Body Shapes:

Maybe you have a Pear shape and want to slim down your hips and thighs, but your petite friend has narrow hips and isn't confident about her athletic-looking shoulders typical of an Inverted Triangle. Despite both of you being petites, you have different styling needs.

Buying Petite Plus Size Clothing

If you are a size 12 or greater you need to look for petite plus size clothing that suits your height as well as body scale. You can find petite clothes for full figure women at stores such as Woman Within, Jessica London and Catherine's. Learn more about how to dress your plus size petite body figure.

Streamline Your Silhouette to Look Taller

By having your body shape in mind you'll know how to strategically wear your petite clothing in a way that will streamline your silhouette. Streamlined as in, skimming over parts that distract the eye from going up and down. This is a reason why many people think that Mariah Carey is short when she's in fact 5'8" - she has curvy hips and a large bust which make the eye go horizontally, making her appear shorter.

Other ways to ensuring a long and streamlined body shape are:

  • Always know your current body measurements that you can compare to size charts.
  • Wear the right undergarment. These should fit perfect to avoid bulges underneath your clothes. So throw out those saggy panties!
  • Stick to right above or knee length hemlines

Longer-looking Legs Make You Look Taller

Another key factor to keep in mind when shopping for clothes, is your vertical body shape - which is: How in line your upper half (hips and up to your shoulders) is with your lower half (hips and down to your feet).

In short, your aim should be to achieve longer legs because they are seen as a nice feat. Why?

Because having long legs trick people into thinking that a short person (but with long legs) is taller than they really are!

Basically you want to figure out how you want to dress according to your vertical body shape to make sure you look as tall as possible.

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Other Points to Consider When it Comes to
Petite Clothing & Fashion

If you're a "tall" petite, in the 5'2"-5'4"/160-163cm range with a longer torso or legs, then you might still pull off the average sized clothes, but you still need to apply a couple of styling tricks that will help you look taller and aid you in selecting the best clothes for your height.

You need clothes that draw the eye up and down, tricking the eye into believing you're taller. Examples are streamlined styles and shapes such as pleats and vertical stripes, as well as V-shapes.

Other examples include:

  • Vertical prints
  • V-necks
  • Above the knee hemline

The size and shape of prints; the hemline; necklines; cut; as well as fit are important factors to keep in mind when shopping for normal sizes when petite clothing is not an option.

Learn More On How to Dress Your Petite Height:

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Style Guides & Quick Links:

Additional Petite Clothing and Fashion Advice:

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