You’ve spent so much time figuring out the in’s & outs of dressing your petite body and right when you feel like you’ve nailed what works best for you, you come across something or someone that says you’re doing it all wrong. Being petite shouldn’t dictate how you dress or what you feel good in, so don’t ever feel like you have to stay in a “petite box.” Let’s talk about 5 myths every petite gal runs into, but doesn’t necessarily have to run away from!
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Myth #1: If you’re short, you should only wear petite clothes.
Being petite comes in all shapes and sizes, so there won’t ever be a one-size-fits-all sort of answer when it comes to how or when to choose petite clothing. While petite clothing is in fact made to better fit and flatter our shorter statures, you don’t have to grab everything in a petite size! You have to play around with and pay attention to your own individual proportions. Are you 5’1” with long legs and a shorter torso? Maybe you’re 5’4” with short legs and a longer torso. You’d be quick to assume that the shorter frame needs petite bottoms and the taller frame should skip them—not necessarily! Shop for petite styles according to your shape and proportions, not solely your height.
Short Story Tip: Mix & match petite and regular size clothing to see what highlights your waist and balances out your proportions to add the most height to your body.
Myth #2: Don't attempt the oversized trend.
With so many designers giving a nod to the 90’s trends that are back in style, petites might feel like they can’t partake and should skip the oversized flannels and baggy jeans. I’m telling you here and now, as an oversized-fit fanatic, you don’t have to! The key is balance. Since oversized styles tend to be boxy and overwhelming on a petite body, combine oversized styles with something more fitted or tailored so you don’t get swallowed up. Maybe that means an oversized flannel with a cami and skinny jeans, or baggy mom jeans with a fitted cropped top or bodysuit.
Short Story Tip: If you want to go full-on oversized with your outfit, create balance with length instead—try an oversized boxy sweater in a cropped length with baggy cargo pants with a higher rise. The shorter length of the sweater meeting at the higher rise of the pants will bring attention to your waist, preventing your body from looking swallowed up by too much fabric.
Myth #3: Wide-leg styles will just drown you.
I’m the first person to grab a baggy pair of pants if given the chance. I think my inner teenager will forever love channeling my love for Aaliyah’s street style—I really don’t know who does it better than the Princess of R&B! But while I’m not scared of the much looser silhouette, I always avoided wide-leg pants because I always felt like they’d just be too much for my frame. That is until I tried on a pair and realized how much height they added while keeping me looking so sleek. Again, you just have to balance the volume with a more fitted and/or shorter top.
Short Story Tip: Look for a full-length pair! I know, sounds a bit much right? Longer wide-leg bottoms that cover your shoes and skim the floor actually create the illusion of really long stems. Remember, since there is so much more fabric with wide-leg styles, you’ll get the most out of them with a pair of heels.
Myth #4: You should avoid midi & maxi lengths.
When it comes to midi and maxi styles, finding the right silhouette and length is really important for us shorties. Midi styles can cut you off at an awkward spot, further shortening your body, so make sure to test out different lengths to see what flatters you most—you should look longer and leaner instead of shorter and stumpier. For both midis and maxis, slits are perfect for creating a longer vertical line since they bring the eye up/down and show off a bit of skin.
Short Story Tip: Regular sized midi skirts and dresses can sometimes turn out to be the perfect maxi length for us petite gals, so don’t be afraid to try some out when you can’t quite find the maxi style you have your heart set on.
Myth #5: You'll only look taller with heels on.
Heels will always be a fail-proof way to instantly add height to your petite stature, but what if you’re like me and prefer more casual, laidback styles when it comes to your shoes? If you’d rather skip the heels, look for shoes that don’t have details that cut you off, like flats with ankle straps. Nude or pointed-toe shoes will trick the eye into seeing an extended leg and monochromatic styling, like black boots or booties over black leggings, will also create a longer, vertical line.
Short Story Tip: Platforms have really made their comeback in the last couple of years, so take advantage of this easy and cute style. I love a classic sneaker (slip-on or lace-up) with a platform sole because you get the height without the unnecessary bulk of a chunkier, trendy sneaker style.
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*Cover: Cori Robinson