Style Tricks Every Petite Should Know

In our Dress Your Shape series, we showcase chic women who live by my number one style rule—without fit you don't have style—and give you the shape-specific tips to get it right, every time. This week we’re highlighting Cathy Anderson, the owner/blogger behind Poor Little It Girl. “I’m just under five feet tall, with no boobs and slightly wider hips,” says Anderson. These are the style tricks that work for her petite frame (and click on the images to go to her blog for more information).

Petite in Stripes and Jeans

Err Sophisticated

If you’re small, you can look like a child in more youthful clothing, like t-shirts or sneakers. So even on the weekends, make an effort: Swap that grandpa cardigan for a blazer, the boyfriend jeans for dark skinnies and those denim short-shorts for a silk jog short. And when it comes to dressing up, avoid anything too frilly or girly. “I try not to wear anything that makes me look like I’m 18 years old,” says Anderson.

Petite in Batik Print

Scale Down

Big patterns can overwhelm a petite frame, so choose prints carefully. A smaller polka dot, pinstripe or floral will look better than a design that takes over the garment. The same goes for your accessories: Big statement necklaces and bangles can overwhelm the frame, and an oversize bag will look ginormous. “Large bags can cover up my whole body! I do a lot of clutches and cross-body bags,” says Anderson.

Petite in Pinstripe Dress

Create the Silhouette

Especially with a small bust, you need styling tricks to create a womanly hourglass figure. “I love a dress that cinches in at the waist and flares below,” says Anderson. Similarly, a higher neckline like she wears here or a little bit of sleeve—whether it’s ¾ length or a cap sleeve—can offer more structure at the shoulders, so your waist looks smaller.

Petite in White Lace Dress

Extend the Leg

Shorter hemlines and, of course, high heels can make your legs look longer. Nude heels create the most seamless look. “I try to avoid thick ankle straps, they cut me off an make my legs look shorter,” Anderson says.

Petite in Patterned Pants

Shop the Petite Section

It may be a no-brainer, but petite clothes will fit shorter ladies better. It’s not just a matter of hemlines—those can be altered—but having the styling throughout shortened to accommodate a smaller torso and narrower shoulders. “I especially love the petite sections at Banana Republic, Loft and Asos,” says Anderson.

Style Tips Every Petite Should Know
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