How to Dress for a Petite Build

By Harana

Dec 19, 2018

People call us short, but we go by “cute-sized.” When not in heels, I stand proudly at five feet. Being petite or short isn’t a bad thing, but it has grown to be a really vague category. The term itself is no longer only limited to the short and slim, but also the voluptuous hourglass-shaped or the toned athletic-shape. I’ve learned that some outfits and clothing trends work better than others in bringing out the natural curves and ridges your body has to offer. This is a generalized list of what has worked over the years and usually doesn’t.


I personally adore high-waisted skirts, shorts, and even jeans so have a lot of these items in my wardrobe. There’s just something about the higher waistline that emphasizes the natural curve of your hips. A good high-waisted skirt fits comfortably while cinching the area of your waist (not too tight hopefully). Plus, it also gives you room to show off your legs!


Whether they’re wedged, kitten, or platform heels, we love them all. A wardrobe staple every woman, whether petite or not, should have is a classic pair of go-to heels. Not only do they accentuate the curves of the legs and ankles, but they also give that ‘oomph’ factor that your outfit was apparently missing.


As the fashion rule goes, vertical lines elongate, giving your appearance a whole ton of length that wasn’t there before. It can be a pair of good-looking trousers or a pleated tennis skirt, or even a striped blouse. The trick is, anything that would create downwards eye movement is a good pick.


Form-fitting clothes like cropped pants create the illusion of longer-looking legs. The flash of ankle and straight leg denim makes you look taller than you actually are by making the fabric look too short for long limbs. Have a staple pair of pants that make you look good and lengthy even when wearing your comfort flats.


We all saw this coming. Short clothing always finds their way into the closet of any fashionable five-foot woman because of their “magical abilities.” A hemline above the knee would do as it shows off longer-looking calves and thighs. Of course, nothing too short as the trick is to create illusions without looking trashy. A decent pencil skirt will work more often than not.


A small accessory for a small woman. Unfortunately, the fashion choices a short woman should make aren’t only restricted to clothing, but also accessories. An oversized bag would diminish any illusion your clothing has successfully achieved, especially if it looks way too big on your shoulders. In this case, opt for a shoulder or mini bag.


A general no-no would be horizontal stripes, especially if you’re on the curvy side, as it makes you look wider when you want to appear lengthier. Voluminous and layered clothes also never fully sit with our type of body shape, unless a belt does its job of wrapping itself around your waist. Oversized clothing is cute sometimes, but not the best option for eating dinner at a fancy restaurant where you would want something form-flattering but nothing too indecent. You would want to stay away from pants or jeans folded at the ends because the style makes legs look stout. Another thing that would completely obscure the shape of your body would be boxy or square-shaped clothing. While I have never noticed it myself, they also say that loud prints tend to swallow any short woman’s stature.


Fashion is one thing and freedom of expression is another. The world has seen petite women breaking fashion rules and still looking good. Who’s to say that you can’t rock a maxi dress when you have the inner confidence for it? It’s not what you wear, they say, but how you wear it.