First things first: “Petite” doesn’t just mean short and slim.
1.For bustier petites, balance is key.
2.Smaller frame? Depending on the brand, don’t overlook kids’ sizes.
This can also apply to standard sizes:
3.And the same goes for shoes.
4.Use layers to fake a perfect fit.
If an item is fine in some spots but too big in others, use layers to strategically cover the latter. More examples of faking fit here.
5.Get familiar with easy at-home alterations that you can do yourself.
6.At the same time, know when to invest in a professional tailor.
7.Cuff long shirts at the elbow.
8.Or cuff long jeans for a quick makeshift hem.
Roll them up or tuck them under. More here.
9.With maxis, pay extra attention to silhouette.
You can wear maxis, but be mindful of roomy cuts with lots of material, says Gordon. If something is voluminous on the bottom, balance things out by wearing something fitted or tucked on top. More here and here.
10.The same goes for high-waisted bottoms and crop tops.
Again, balance is key. Pair a fitted crop top with high-waisted skirts or shorts, says Gordon. This can help balance both halves without sacrificing shape.
11.Invest in narrow, petite-friendly hangers.
Small-shouldered clothing doesn’t always mix well with wide, standard hangers — the hanger pokes into the fabric, leaving you with stretched material. Companies like Only Hangersmake slimmer and bendable versions.
12.Streamline a silhouette by getting rid of distracting details.
On a longer torso, the ruched sleeves on this H&M blazer would end closer to the forearm — but here, they awkwardly stop mid-wrist. A quick fix? Snipping the elastics. How-to here.
13.Pair shoes and bottoms that are similar in color — like black heels with black tights — to elongate your legs.
The matched color scheme helps create the illusion of a longer line. “Look for shoes in shades of tan or brown similar to your own skin tone, and don’t be afraid to experiment with metallics which can surprisingly function as a neutral,” said Wang.
14.Lengthen your torso by wearing a longer fitted shirt underneath a cropped sweater:
The contrast breaks things up. (And a cropped top over a fitted or fit-and-flare dress works well too, says Gordon.) More looks here.
15.Clothing that’s stretched over time or doesn’t fit quite right? Depending on the fabric, you might be able to (carefully!) shrink it:
16.Know which brands are petite-friendly.
Among the retailers that carry petite lines: ASOS, Topshop, J. Crew, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor Loft, Old Navy, Anthropologie, and more. For accessories, Pretty Small carries shoes starting in size 2. The Little Bra Company carries bras starting in 28A.
17.And finally — be confident in whatever you wear.
“Don’t believe that the goal of everything you wear is to make you look taller,” Tucker said. “Embracing your body and wearing what you love and feel confident in is always a better idea.”