As a fun-sized, 4’11” Asian, I’m pretty vertically challenged. Working in retail, it’s always sad to walk around the beautiful clothes and realize that sometimes even the extra small won’t fit me. Many brands out there don’t always cater to petite sizes, making it difficult to find clothes for those under the average height for women.
But after years of experience, I’ve found the tips and tricks that work to make me feel confident despite my short stature. If you’re struggling to find the right fits, you can style pieces in a certain way that work – even if the item might not be from the petite section.
- High-waisted bottoms are your best friend
If I’ve learned anything from petite fashion, it’s that high-waisted bottoms are the best thing in the world. From jeans to skirts, high-waisted bottoms create the illusion of longer legs by shortening the torso.
The ones I’m wearing in this photo are from Nordstrom, and I have three of this style, which are unfortunately discontinued. But luckily, Topshop’s Jamie Jeans (price-matched to $53) are a great alternative, and they come in petite sizes.
- Vertical stripes change everything
If you love patterns, stripes are always a go-to for me. Vertical stripes, in particular, are great for lengthening and creating an elongated silhouette. If it’s difficult to find patterned pieces that fit your petite stature without looking like the pattern is consuming you, a simple, vertical striped piece keeps the ‘fit more clean and trendy. And if the piece of clothing is too long, no matter what it is, you could always cut the item to your desired length or use hemming glue to shorten it.
If you want a nice compromiser between vertically striped pants and an entirely striped outfit, this halter jumpsuit from Nordstrom by Leith ($69) does the job and would be a great addition to any petite girl’s wardrobe.
- Cropped tops can work for everyone
Along with the theme of shortening your torso, wearing a cropped jacket or top helps to leave a space between your torso and bottoms. The “rule of thirds” helps to create pleasing compositions in photos, and the same rule applies to styling outfits. Wearing a crop top is easy, but specifically with outerwear, cropped jackets help create that rule of thirds by “breaking up” the proportions of your body into three.
The denim jacket I’m wearing is from Topshop. While this jacket is older and currently unavailable, Topshop still has a huge selection of similar denim jackets. However, if you’re on a budget, Asos has a huge variety to pick from that won’t break the bank. This Bershka Cropped Denim Jacket ($50) is a super cute one that has made it into my shopping basket.
- Small bags make a big difference
A huge tote is cute, but if you’re short, carrying a big bag can be a little overwhelming for your outfit. So invest in a cute little purse that has just enough room for the essentials. This one I have is big enough to fit my phone, card holder, and a couple lipsticks in case of emergency.
You can even try a backpack or fanny pack if you need a little more space. I currently own this Adidas Originals Mini Faux Leather Backpack ($45) which is my perfect everyday bag. It is just one example of tons of mini bags out there—this one needs to be added to both your purse collection and mine right now.
- Monochrome color schemes are a no-brainer
While I know it’s summer and bright colors are in, black and white are simple and easy color choices to style around—especially when colorful items from brands can be very limited to regular sizing only. If neutral colors are the only options you have, go all out and go monochrome with them.
Being short might be tough and sometimes disheartening when clothing doesn’t fit right. I’ve had my fair share of disappointing moments where I would grab a handful of extra small clothing from a store, enter the fitting room, and come out with absolutely nothing. Not being able to fit certain things is sad, but with the right outlook, us shorties can find the right clothing gems that work for us.
Just as the quote goes, “short people have a better outlook on life because they’re always looking up.” While clothing brands might not be the most inclusive, I provided these tips to hopefully motivate you to open up your fashion horizons without letting your height stop you. To all my fellow shorties, I hope you find the right clothes that make you feel larger than life.
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