Petite Fashion – The Ins and Outs

If your height is 5’4”, or less, you are considered petite by industry measuring standards. Petite women that fall in this category are divided into further different types of petites. There are women with long torsos and shorter legs, and most fall into this category. There is also the opposite: long legs and short torso.

With roughly 40% of American women that are petite, and around the same percentage worldwide, the market for petites is huge.

The greatest fashion obstacle for the petite woman is realizing that she is indeed petite. Women usually walk right by the petite department, and then wonder why their clothing never seems to fit properly.

Here are some dressing tips if you are in this category.

For skirts it is recommended to get a skirt that stops around the kneecap, either just above or covering it. If you are comfortable wearing miniskirts then they help in making your legs look longer.

Petite designation is less about size and body shape and more about fit and proportion. The main hurdles with petite fashion seem to be pants as they are the hardest piece of clothing to buy (the crotch is often too low). The selection is usually too old-fashioned for a sophisticated petite consumer. However with the consumer demanding more the choices have expanded to offer better designs and styles. Blouses, sweaters and skirts are the easiest pieces for petites to buy.

A shorter woman can give the illusion that she is taller through strategic dressing tips. Wearing one continuous color from shoulder to hem lengthens the silhouette. If you break that vertical block of color with a wide belt, for instance, the eye stops short making you appear shorter and wider. Accessories like belts can look overwhelming on the petite frame, however an appropriate size scarf or earrings will draw the eye up, focusing attention on the face.

Keep prints in proportion to your figure. In general, prints should be no larger than your hand.

The trick is to achieve the proper fit and proportion and to maximize appearance by paying attention to the elements of line and balance in all outfits.

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  1. I find it funny that people think I want tips on looking taller.
    Do people really believe that I must want to look taller, do they think it is bad to be short? I am one of the rare long legged short waisted women. Just because I want to look great and I want my clothes to fit properly does not mean I want to look taller.

  2. Wow, I didn’t even realize that about 40% of the population was petite. That makes me feel even more normal. Not that I have any desire to be tall anyway. I feel so sexy, young and lovable being petite. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

  3. I so agree with Ticia. All fashion advice is for looking tall and skinny.
    Can’t I be short and plump and still look good ?

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