Petite Fashion Advice

"Strategies to Looking Taller & Flattering Your Petite Height"


If you're 5'4 (163cm) or shorter then read along for petite fashion advice and styling tricks that will help you look taller!

Petite clothing, fashion top from Ann Taylor
Courtesy of Ann Taylor

Here you'll find tips on recommended cuts, prints, necklines and styles suited for your petite body figure. And if you wear a size 12 or greater you'll also find advice on styling your plus size body frame and where to shop for petite plus size clothing.

So Why Would You Want to Look Taller?

Being short is attractive and cute, but if you want to be taken seriously you need some height to project authority. This is especially important if you have a job position where people have to follow your lead.

Tall equals power. That's the way the world works. People won't take you seriously if you're swimming in your clothes :-)

High 5! Join the team!

Plus size celebrities and fashion models

5 star Famous Petites: From left to right: Kim Kardashian, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Bell, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sarah Jessica Parker, Scarlett Johansson.. and Eva Longoria, Amy Adams, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Nicole Richie, Britney Spears, Carmen Electra, Christina Ricci, Hayden Panettiere, Jessica Simpson, Kristen Bell, Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga, Lucy Liu, Madonna, Paula Abdul, Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, Renee Zellweger, Salma Hayek, Shakira, Tina Fey, Vanessa Hudgens, Kourtney Kardashian, Kristin Kreuk

Petite Fashion Advice: The Golden Style Strategies

Petite Kristen Bell wearing a chic and streamlines outfit
Courtesy of Celebutopia

Your main focus when putting together an outfit is to create a sleek silhouette that makes the eye go up and down, instead of side to side.

So if you want to look your best, pay extra attention to what details you put on your body frame, because unlike taller women, you have less space to work with, which means that you have to avoid overwhelming your "canvas" with a lot of busy details and heavy layers of clothing.

This is why monochromatic outfits (an outfit with the same color from top to toe but in different nuances) and simple clothing styles are always recommended for the petite woman.

In short, I recommend that you base your "petite fashion mantra" on 2 basic golden strategies:

  • Simplicity is the key. Less is more. You'll taller without too much fuss.
  • Strategically work with prints, shapes and details to make the eye go up and down

The last rule makes it possible for you to experiment with accessories, print and colors. So don't worry, you're not "doomed" to boring simplicity for the rest of your life :-)

Now let's get to the bones of how to dress your petite height and look your best:

Determine Your Body Shape

I'm sure you're aware that petite women range in all kinds of shapes, from curvy to straight-figured frames so there is no petite fashion advice that fits all. Each body shape needs adjustments to look their best. You might be a petite, XS gal or a petite wearing size 16.

Maybe you're a Pear shape with a curvy bottom who wants to slim down your thighs - but your petite girlfriend on the other hand, has narrow hips and isn't confident about her athletic-looking shoulders. Now compared to you, she needs to add more curves to her butt, hips and legs to de-emphasize her shoulders.


Create an Outfit with Well-balanced Proportions

My point here is that grasping the very basics of your body shape gives you a clearer picture of how to place accessories, colors and cuts on the areas of your body that help create curves on all the right places so that you'll make any prominent body part less obvious, but still keep your waist defined to help you look trim. These balanced proportions equal a proportional hourglass body shape.

Basically, by downplaying any prominent areas of your body to achieve well-balanced body proportions, can help you look leaner and taller. Balanced outfit proportions de-emphasize and conceal any prominent body part you may have. Ever thought about why many pear shapes look shorter than they are? That's because their hips take the center-stage and make the eye go horizontally. Click here to learn more about how to dress your body shape.


Long Legs Make You Look Taller

Rachel Bilson has short legs
Courtesy of Just Jared

Another petite fashion advice and key factor to buying clothes that look good on you, is your silhouette's vertical line; which is how in line your upper half (hips and up to your shoulders) is with your lower half (hips and down to your ankles).

For example, you may have obviously longer legs compared to your upper body part, or vice versa. So if you have a long upper body you may be able to buy average sized tops and jackets and focus mostly on petite pants and other bottom garments made for petites.

Despite balanced proportions being the basis of dressing your body figure, longer legs is considered ideal because it can trick the eye into believing a person is taller even if they're short. The illusion of longer legs also help slim down curves (eg. curvy thighs, butt, etc.).

In practice, outfits that show more of your legs and lower body is flattering on you and make you look taller. However you don't want to overdo it - super-long legs and a super-short torso may throw off your proportions. Learn more about how to dress to flatter your vertical body shape.


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Petite Fashion Advice: Petite Plus Size Clothing

If you're a size 12 or greater you need to look for petite plus size clothing and at the same time work strategically with accessories and colors to make you taller and leaner. Learn more about how to dress your plus size body frame.

You can find petite clothes for your full figure body at stores such as:




Learn How to Style Outfits for Your Petite Height

Now these petite fashion advice and guidelines are just the basics - let's put them to practice! Check out my petite fashion advice on how to style your outfits, helping you look taller:

How to style your petite body frame, shortcut banner





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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 How to select the best jewelry styles for your personal style 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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