How to Dress a Petite Frame
According to the fashion industry, “petite” refers to women who are 5”4 and under, but that label comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you identify as someone with a smaller body type, you may be looking for ways to complement your figure and enhance your shape. However, with so much conflicting advice out there about what to wear, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to deciding what to wear.
Although the most important fashion rule is to dress with confidence and wear what makes you happy, there are some basic techniques for balancing short frames that can encourage you to feel and look your best. Here are some top tips to help you rock your petite frame.
Don’t Pay Attention to Size Tags
As any woman will tell you, one size does not fit all. Size is an arbitrary concept generally, but even more so when you’re shopping in the petite section. Put it this way: whether you’re a size 0 or a size 20, if your body is shorter than average then traditional sizing won’t necessarily cater to your frame.
Rather than looking at the size tags on your favourite clothing websites, pay attention to clothing measurements instead. Measuring your arms, bust, waist and leg length will give you a more accurate picture of how an item will fit when you’re unable to try it on. Don’t dismiss children’s clothing either, as sometimes kids’ apparel fits a petite frame better than adult garments.
Balance Your Bust
Balancing a busty figure will help to emphasize your shape. Try pairing a fitted top with high-waisted jeans or a full skirt, and opt for empire waists that nip you in below the bust. If you have a petite frame, it’s also important to give your breasts proper support to avoid back pain, so check out The Little Bra Company for bras starting at size 28A that have been specially designed for smaller women.
Know Where to Shop
If you’re shorter than average, you will need to shop in clothing stores that cater to a petite frame to ensure your garments fit correctly. Most high-street stores and fashion outlets like Topshop, ASOS, Banana Republic and Anthropologie carry a “petite” section containing clothes with narrower shoulders, reduced length and shorter seams. You should also check out Pretty Small Shoes for gorgeous, high fashion shoes starting in size 2. There are over 1200 shoes to choose from, all perfectly designed for small feet.
Monochrome is the New Black
Wearing monochrome colors helps give the illusion of height, so if you’re craving a taller frame, wearing black is a clever fashion trick to pull. Pairing black heels with black tights (or nude heels with bare legs) will also elongate your legs, as it stops your height being broken up by contrasting colors that draw the eye.
Vertical Stripes Are In
Another way to make yourself look tall (if that’s what you want to do) is to wear vertical stripes. Luckily, patterns are all the rage at the moment, and stripes are most definitely in, so you can find pinstriped suits, blazers, trousers and shirts in most fashion outlets. Vertical stripes also give the illusion of a slimmer frame: an added bonus if you want to appear more svelte.
Go Super Long or Super Short
When it comes to skirts and pants, it’s best to go super long or super short if you want to flatter a petite frame. Outfits that cut you off mid-calf region will make you appear shorter and stouter, so show off those pins with a skirt that falls above the knee. Alternatively, you can wear trousers or maxi skirt that fall below the ankle to create the illusion of a taller stature.
Embrace the Flared Pant
The past few years have seen flared pants come back into fashion in a big way. If you want to follow the trend, make sure you opt for high-waisted pants and pair them with heels to give you a taller silhouette. Boot-cut jeans that fall below the ankle can also work wonders for petite body types.
Stick to your style – but don’t be afraid to experiment. When it comes to fashion, there are no rules. The most important thing is that you feel confident and happy in your appearance. Don’t let people tell you that you’re “vertically challenged” or “too short.” Your height is something that you’ll never be able to change (except when you’re sporting a pair of heels, of course), but you can learn to love it, accept it and dress it with style.
9th January 2018
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