Petite Proportions – Getting it Right with Skirts and Dresses

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Petite proportions - dresses


Dress Outfit Proportions

Dresses are really easy to wear for petites as long as they are not too long (ending just above or on the knee), anything longer unless it’s a maxi dress will not be great for you unless you want to wear high heels.  Dresses provide one long proportion, not cutting up the body in the way the individual top/bottom outfits do.

  • Keep necklaces short (the easy rule for petites is to think: Short legs = Short Necklace, Short top/jacket, Short skirt/dress)
  • Wear low vamp shoes so your legs look longer.
  • Don’t break up your body if you are an O shaped proportion, with any horizontals and work the longer line cardigan too which creates two long elongating verticals through your body

Get more petite dressing tips in my ebook Never Short on Style: Dressing and Finessing the Petite Frame

Never short on style - how to dress the petite frame ebook

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  • Helpful, thank you! Good to know this about necklaces. I am petite with larger bust and go back and forth about wearing longer necklaces. Also, is long over lean ok for petites?

  • As a petite, I found this very helpful. What annoys me though is that so-called “petite” ranges are often too long, with large-scale patterns and are not really designed to flatter petite women. I think they should hire you as a consultant!

    • Too true Sue. At least you recognise this and are wise to their ways now so do not assume that just because it’s a petite size that it automatically flatters

  • I have found that t-shirts are longer these days, ok over trousers but too long to wear with a skirt and looks odd tucked in on me with a short waist.

  • As a short-waisted, narrow-shouldered petite person (most closely matching a pear) who vastly prefers vintage clothing to contemporary styles and fabrics, I dread shopping for things that fit me. I carry a lot of weight in the rump area, and one sales associate a few years ago basically told me dresses would be hard to find in petites because of the discrepancy between my shoulders and short upper torso and prodigious rump. This is particularly aggravating because I really only like dresses. I don’t wear pants/slacks or jeans. I just hate them. I’m finding this blog very interesting; it may help me accept what I need to understand about petite pear proportions before I set foot in another store and get overwhelmed!

    • Thanks KMO for dropping by! The fit and flare shape is your go-to style. Look for capped sleeves or puffed sleeves to add width to your shoulders. It can be hard to find but this vintage style (1950s) is definitely around and will suit your shape well!

  • I tend to wear tunics with quality leggings or slim jeans, rather than dresses – so which type of cardigan would work best? Hip length or a longer open cardigan or waterfall style ?
    (Shrugs cut me at the wrong place, so now avoid these)

  • I am a petite (5’3″), not-very-curvey/underweight woman who is has long neckline, short-waist and long-legs (have my almost 6-foot mom’s proportions, but not her height – ack). I never know which rules to follow or how to achieve the right proportions with clothes.I think it contributes to a lot of my style indecisiveness! Checking out all these articles anew!

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