How to Dress as a Petite Woman

Under 5' 4" (162cm) tall? By the fashion industry’s guidelines you are considered petite. Dressing as a petite doesn't have to be difficult, there are many simple guidelines you can follow that accentuate your rocking body. Don't feel like you need to be tall when you aren't. The goal of dressing as a petite isn't to necessarily create the illusion that you are a tall person. Instead, it's about finding clothes that work well with your natural figure.


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    Shop at places that specialize in the petite frame. Not all places do this, some brands don't even have a petite line. Here are a list of retailers that carry a petite line:
    • The 16th Bar (specializes in petite styles)
    • Eddie Bauer
    • Banana Republic
    • White House Black Market
    • J. Crew
    • Gap
    • Old Navy
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    Follow a two-thirds-one-third rule. Meaning, don't wear outfits that split up your body at the center line, creating two halves. Instead, wear pants that cover two thirds of your body (high waists) and shirts that cover one-third.
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    Wear v-neck tops. V-neck tops elongate your neck which works great for petite women.Below URL has a special lookbook showing how v-neck dresses make petite women look taller.
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    Wear monochrome outfits. Avoid wearing a lot of different colors and patterns. Fashion experts recommend sticking to one or two colors if you are petite.
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    Wear figure-conscious clothes. This does not mean skintight, but you don't want your petite frame to be hidden by layers of extra cloth - this will just make you look shorter and wider.
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    Wear vertical stripes. Vertical stripes elongate your figure which can be flattering for shorter people.
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    Tuck in your shirts and blouses. This is an easy way to get your clothes to fit closer to your figure. Tuck in a baggy shirt and voilà, you have a more flattering situation!
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    Wear a belt the same color as your pants. Seems like some sort of magic doesn't it? Well, it is! According to fashion experts it makes your legs look longer as it is continuing the vertical line of your pants.
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    Wear heels. This is probably the easiest way to actually change your height - experiment with platform heels, wedges, booties, knee high boots and pumps, and pair with pants that end about a 1/4" above the ground in order to take full advantage of the boost they give you.
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    Wear high-waisted skirts and pants. High waists elongate your legs.


  • Be stoked to be petite. Embrace it! While it might be harder to find clothes that work, being petite has always been vogue.
  • Steal style tips from petite models and celebrities--there are tons! Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Nicole Richie, Reese Witherspoon, Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Mila Kunis and Salma Hayek are all stylishly-petite ladies.
  • If you do not want everyone to know you have 5” heels on, try wearing a long pair of pants that hang 2 or 3” past your foot; they will help hide the heels while making your legs appear longer. Heels also will force you to stand straighter which can have a great impact on how tall you appear.
  • Getting figure-conscious (not baggy) clothes is a standard style rule for a petite woman trying to avoid feeling like their figure is swamped by their clothes.
  • Avoid tucking your pants into your boots. This has an ankle-shortening effect.


  • Avoid splitting your outfit in half. Don't wear pants that cover half and a blouse that covers the other half.
  • Avoid big and oversized accessories.
  • Avoid big purses. They can dwarf the person carrying them.
  • Avoid boxy fitting clothes. Instead of square shoulders for your jackets, try rounder fits.
  • Avoid horizontal stripes, these do the opposite of elongating your figure.
  • Avoid boots that stop in the middle of the shin, these can make legs appear shorter than they are.
  • Avoid baggy clothes as a petite, they hide your figure.
  • Wearing straps around the ankle can make your legs appear shorter than they actually are.
  • Don't wear shirts that go past your hipline. Baggy shirts hide your figure.

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Categories: Body Type and Fashion