Petite Fashion Advice

"Styling Tricks to Looking Taller and Flattering Your Petite Height"


After going through the petite fashion advice guidelines to putting together outfits that help you look your best, it's time to look at how we can use the fashion tips in real-life!

Petite outfit from Nordstrom
Courtesy of Nordstrom

Now let's review the best styling tricks that elongate your body frame, and help you avoid the dreaded "Oh look, the little person is dressing like a grown up"-chuckles!

Petite Fashion Advice #1:
Vertical Details Are Your Best Friends

... because they make the eye go up and down.

So select garments with strong vertical prints and details.

Examples are:
Zipper details help petites look taller

  • Zip front
  • Cable knit patterns
  • Pleats
  • Visible vertical garment stitches

Also look for jewelry styles with a vertical, long pendant shape. Long necklaces help too.

Wear a V-neck

A v-neck helps you look thinner and taller
It's known to be one of the necklines (along with deep and slim scoop necks) that helps elongate your body frame, especially your torso.

Everything else, like square and crew necks tend to widen your upper part and make you look shorter (especially your upper body).

Show more skin if possible with a low'ish v-neck. If it's outside of your conservative comfort zone, I suggest adding a fitted camisole (similar to your skin tone) underneath it.

    Tip: If you're wearing a round or square neckline you can counter the widening effect by topping it off with something vertical like a long necklace.



Petite Fashion Advice #2:
Go for a Monochromatic Outfit

Monochromatic color blends help petites look taller
'Monochromatic' means wearing the same color but in different nuances (eg. chocolate brown, chestnut brown, beige), but can also work with colors that have the same value (light, medium or dark).

This helps create a long and lean, and not least uninterrupted silhouette. Make it interesting with accessories in your favorite colors and styles but make sure you place them on areas you don't mind drawing attention to. Learn how to put together a monochromatic outfit

    Tip: A trick if you can't live without the white tee and jeans look, is to top it off with a vest or jacket in a similar dark color that hooks to the bottom garment. This makes sure that the eye continues to go down without any distractions.


Petite Fashion Advice #3:
Show Some Skin

Showing more of your skin can help elongate your frame because there's less of contrasting colors that visually cut you up. So go for knee, length to mini skirts and dresses and deep necklines.

But alternatively, wearing a clothing similar to your skin tone can give you that long and lean look.

Show more skin and leg to look taller
Courtesy of Marie Claire

Shorter hems (that includes above the knee dresses and skirts, and short shorts) show more leg and make you appear taller. Learn more on how to select the best fashion skirt length

Select Three-Quarter Sleeves

Monochromatic color blends help petites look taller
Courtesy of Nordstrom
This will make your arms and upper body look longer in comparison, and it shows more skin!

It also means that you should make sure that the sleeves on a garment aren't long on your arms (..and I'm talking about in a professional setting!).

Even just a half an inch can make your arms look obviously shorter in comparison and makes your petite proportions more obvious.

Adjust this by having the sleeves altered at a tailor or you can also roll up the sleeves of a (not-so-chunky) sweater. This creates a casual-cool look.

This also works for anyone who has short arms.

Opt for 'Open' Shoes

Again, showing off some skin makes you look longer and leaner. So go for open toe shoes to really elongate those legs of yours!

Other shoe details for petites or for elongating your legs include:

Petite Nicole Richie wearing shoes that make her legs look longer
5'1" Nicole Richie. Courtesy of Celebutopia

  • Narrow toes (not super pointy, but not rounded either)
  • Heels (but make sure the shape isn't bigger than the foot itself)
  • T-straps to make your ankles and legs visually longer. Ankle straps alone shorten your frame
  • Boots and shoes that are similar to the color of your bottom or hosiery. For example black with dark blue jeans, or beige with light blue jeans.
  • Nude color that blends with your skin tone


Petite Fashion Advice #4:
Right Size for Your Body Scale

This refers to your overall weight and body ratio. Huge handbags and ginormous prints overwhelm your short height - so stick to small to medium sized details and accessories.

Small scale if you are slim and/or thin-boned, and medium scale if you are curvy and/or plus size, and/or thick-boned. Avoid going larger, unless you don't mind look smaller and adorable :-)

Petite Mila Kunis wearing a too big gown vs a well-scaled long red dress
5'3" Mila Kunis. Courtesy of Celebutopia

If you're a plus size opt for medium scaled accessories but work extra on styling your outfit so that it lengthens your frame.

Facial Features

Bigger features need to upscale the jewelry; if you have small features, make your jewelry smaller.


Bust Size

If you have a big bust you need bigger necklaces; smaller busts look better with delicate jewelry pieces.

This scaling guidelines also applies to scarves. Eg. Chunky knits and wide scarves work best on bigger busts.


Wrist and Hands

Bracelets, rings and watches should be scaled to the size of your hands, wrists and hands.

Learn how to select the right fashion costume jewelry


Calves, Ankles & Feet

Fuller and muscular calves need bigger details such as wider straps and thicker heel (eg. wedge instead of stiletto).

If you have slim and dainty feet and ankles, opt for fine straps and slimmer heels.

Learn how to select the right pair of womens shoes



Petite Fashion Advice #5:
Avoid Heavy Layering

This means avoid piling on several heavy/thick garments and accessories on top of each other because it creates width and "expands" your frame, and dragging it down.

Petite Kristen Bell wearing a busy layered outfit versus a sleeker and close-fitting outfit
5'1" Kristen Bell. Courtesy of Celebutopia

Like I've mentioned before, petite gals have less space to work on and need to keep their outfits simple and work strategically with accessories to avoid distractions and looking lean as possible.



Time to Shop for Petite Clothing

Now that you've reviewed my petite fashion advice, it's time to shop for clothes!

Shortcut to petite clothing style and shopping guides





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The Chic Fashionista's Latest Trends Picks - Chic Runway Looks and Must-have Trends and Trendessentials The Chic Fashionista's Chic Inspiration-blog - Outfit ideas, celeb style and trend styling tips The Chic Fashionista's Stylish Finds - Latest trends and shopping picks, sales & discounts, link round-ups and featured posts & blogs/sites Learn more about the fashion basics on how to look your best and dress stylish
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Related Content:

Golden rules to dressing your body figure - how to look your best Shop the latest Petite Dresses Shop the best Petite skirts Shop the latest Petite jeans
How to select the best skirt styles for your personal style and body figure Golden rules to dressing your petite height - fahsion advice on how to look taller How to give yourself a Style Makeover with these fashion tips How to stretch your style envelope



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More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
The Chic Fashionista's Latest Trends Picks - Chic Runway Looks and Must-have Trends and Trendessentials The Chic Fashionista's Chic Inspiration-blog - Outfit ideas, celeb style and trend styling tips The Chic Fashionista's Stylish Finds - Latest trends and shopping picks, sales & discounts, link round-ups and featured posts & blogs/sites Learn more about the fashion basics on how to look your best and dress stylish

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