Although most of my clothes don’t come from the petite section of stores, I am technically considered “petite” by clothing standards. I’m 5’3 (and a half) and anyone under 5’5 is considered petite. I have a love/hate relationship with petite clothing and typically opt for regular sizes- but the usually means alterations need to be done.

Here are some styling tips for petite ladies and some bonus tips for anyone wanting to make sure they’re dressing appropriately for their height!

  1. Skirt/dress length determines the height of your heel. For example, this is a shorter dress- so I wore flats. If you are on the petite side of the spectrum aim for an inch or two above the knee or an inch below. A dress that is slightly too long will make you look even shorter- as it cuts off the visual line your legs create.
  2. Line up the waist. Always make sure the waist of a garment hits your natural waist. A great tailor can usually take the dress up a bit to fit you perfectly- but if you often find that this is the case with most clothing, you may need to stick to the petite section of the store. Also, if you want to look taller, always make sure you wear mid to high rise pants. (Skinny jeans help a ton in this area!)
  3. Ankles, ankles, ankles! I ADORE the short inseam option from all of my favorite denim brands, but if it’s not available- no worries! When you take the jeans to get altered, tell them you want the original hem attached back on when they take off the length. Basically, they cut the hem off, shorten the leg and sew the original hem back on- so your jeans don’t have the dreaded “fake hem” look. You can’t tell at ALL and it looks so much better! (If they can’t do this or have no idea what you’re talking about- back away!!! You don’t want them touching your jeans!)
  4. Improvise. If a good tailor isn’t available, or you just don’t want to pay for the alterations- cut your jeans. No, really. The frayed look is super popular right now, so grab some scissors and go crazy! (I always cut an inch less than I think I’ll want off so I can come back and cut more off later if I need too. It will fray up a bit after a wash, so don’t cut too much off on the first try!) A good length to strive for is about an inch above your ankle bone.
  5. Fitted clothing (not tight) will always be a better option, as it will elongate your body. Boxy items like shirts or dresses will do you NO favors!
  6. Vertical stripes will always make you look longer and leaner. That doesn’t mean you can’t wear horizontal stripes (half of my closet is), it just means that if you have a choice- opt for vertical!
  7. Get a smaller handbag. Haha, I don’t mean an itty bitty mini bag, but for this look, I knew a bigger bag would overwhelm the outfit. As a petite person- big bags just look frumpy and make me look even shorter than I already am. Be mindful of the size of the bag you carry! 

Photos: Jacque, Inc.

Dress | Handbag | Shoes | Earrings | Bow Choker 
Lipstick: Bite Beauty in Fig | Nails: CND Shellac in Lobster Roll

I hope these tips have helped you! Everything from my outfit above is linked above, but if you have any questions about this look or dressing for a petite body – let me know in the comments!

Adriele