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Flatter Your Shape: 6 Tips for How to Dress as a Petite Woman

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Petite gals — let’s talk! We’re a little on the small (read: short) side and have to work a little harder to get regular clothes to work for us. I have an abnormally long torso, legs that I wish were 5 inches taller, and hips that don’t quit. Hard as I may try, I don’t think I’m getting any taller so I just had to learn how to dress for my petite figure (which means lots of hemming!).

Here are a few things I’ve discovered along the way:

1. Shop Petite Sizes (duh!)

Department stores have an entire section catered to petite sizes where you can find a range of clothing that is designed to fit us short gals a little better. Even companies like Gap and Old Navy carry petite sizes, especially for pants and jeans. And as you may have guessed, they fit us really well! It is usually the same pieces as the regular section but with shorter dress lengths, smaller arms, etc. Give the petite section a shot next time you’re shopping!

2. Wear One Color

Go monochromatic from head to toe to make yourself look taller. This is one of my favorite tricks — my favorite way to do this is by wearing black leggings with a black tunic, but since summer is approaching, I’ll transition to a neutral dress with bare legs for the same effect!

3. High Heels Are Your Friend

This is a no-brainer and sure fire way to elongate your legs for a taller look. Pick out a pair with a low vamp (the part that covers your toes) to add the illusion of even longer legs. Platforms are my go-to, easier on your feet while still getting plenty of height!

4. Wear Clothes That Fit 

Finding clothes that fit you well are key to flattering a petite figure. Dresses that are too long can make you look stumpy and tops that are too big can make you look disproportionate. Figure out what works for your shape and stick to those things. Take care to properly hem pants and dresses that are too long.

5. No More Bulk

Layers can work well on petite figures but don’t go overboard; too many will make you look even shorter and add bulk which is never ideal. Rock one oversized piece at a time, keeping the rest of the outfit more fitted.

6. Belt It Out

Add a belt high up on your waist to elongate your legs and add definition to that area. Drawing in your waist creates beautiful curves that enhance your petite shape instead of cover it up. And this works well no matter what size you are.

P.S. Petite refers to women 5’4″ and under!

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