“Cute.” If you’re petite, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard this word—a lot. And you probably have a love & hate relationship with it. Whether it’s your shorter stature, smaller frame, or both, it’s easy to slip through the cracks of sophistication and fall into “cute” territory when you’re petite. This can be really frustrating for us shorties, especially as we get older and mature. Plus, it doesn’t help when you find yourself constantly having to shop in the Junior department for clothes that fit better.
While there isn’t anything wrong with the word “cute,” what do you do when you want to be seen as more sophisticated or sexy? You want the next level of maturity, but you also don’t want to look like a little girl playing dress up. It comes down to fit & taste, and finding a way to refine it. I've pulled some inspiration from one of our favorite bloggers (Brooke of Pumps & PUSH UPS) and am breaking it down to the different areas of your life that might need a sophistication boost! Brooke is only 4'10", but a master at flattering her petite frame, proving that you don't always have to settle for the "cute" little box people like to put us shorties in.
Work is probably the #1 place my clients are looking to elevate their wardrobes and step away from looking “cute.” At work, you want to be taken seriously, and it can be hard to feel that you are if your co-workers are always commenting on your petite-ness and how “cute” you are. To keep it polished and refined, go for more classic, well-fitted staples, like a crisp white button-down shirt tucked into high-waisted wide leg trousers and styled with d’Orsay heels. Aside from good fit when it comes to your workwear, keep a sophisticated balance with how you accessorize a more fun and trendy outfit. Go for simpler, dainty jewelry and nude shoes, like Brooke here, in order to let your statement piece stand out and keep your frame from looking overwhelmed.
When you’re swimming in a sea of taller women, it’s easy to feel like a kid, especially when people are looking down on you—literally. Heels help, but they can only do so much. When you’re out at happy hour, you don’t have to feel like a kid hanging out with your older sister’s friends because hello! These are your friends! Add some sophistication to your looks with fitted styles that make you look sleek and taller, like the overlap hem dress featured on Brooke below. The hem hits her just right, showing off her legs and adding more height to her frame. Keeping it refined, she went for a fitted black moto jacket and classic black booties for a trendier vibe that's perfect for grabbing some drinks with friends.
Feeling sexy can definitely be a struggle for petite ladies, especially if you also have a smaller frame with less curves. So how do you steer clear of “little girl” territory when getting dressed up for date night or special occasions? FIT. You want to make sure that seams land where they’re supposed to, that necklines fall where they’re supposed to, and that hems hit where they’re supposed to. And sexy doesn’t mean that you have to opt for skin-tight bodycon styles either! Maybe you’re more romantic and love girly frills. To make it sexy, make it fit—and make it fit well. Notice how this LBD does it all for Brooke! The shoulder seams sit perfectly at the top of her shoulders, the lower V-neckline exposes just the right amount of her chest, and the hem hits just above her knees, preventing this fit & flare style from looking too long and dowdy on her. She also pulled out one of our favorite petite hacks—tone-on-tone shoes to instantly lengthen her stems!
While the weekend is usually much more laidback, you can still style your way to a casual yet sophisticated wardrobe. Fit is always important, but paying attention to style is a must for a more elevated and less “cute” feel when it comes to your weekend outfits. The trick is to mix & match your fabrics. Pull something more casual, like denim, along with something a bit dressier, like a blouse with a flowy fit and a subtle sheen to it or a cami layered with a blazer. Brooke's light wash skinny jeans instantly give you that laidback feel and the high-waisted style and just-right ankle length give her 4’10” petite frame more height. The relaxed fit of her blouse keeps it more casual, but the fabrication adds sophistication and maturity. I love how she styled this outfit with printed loafers too! It instantly adds a fun weekend vibe to a weekend look that's a bit more polished.
Looking to add some sophistication to your wardrobe and kick the "cute" to the curb? Take the Style Quiz to get started!
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*cover photo credit: Pumps and PUSH UPS