How to Dress If You’re on the Shorter Side

Many of us are on the short side—which means there are just some fashion trends that we will never be able to follow without alterations (looking at you, maxi dresses). This means that shopping in the regular clothing sections in stores can feel like a guessing game, and you probably find yourself gravitating toward the petite section more often than not.

But building your wardrobe doesn’t mean you have to buy everything in a petite size or hem every pair of pants you own. We’ve put together a helpful little guide to take the frustration out of dressing your petite frame and embracing your height, regardless of your body shape.

Cuff Your Long-Sleeve Shirts at the Elbow

When it comes to blouses and tops, it’s often easiest to get a good fit by shopping specifically for petite tops. But sometimes we come across that one top in the store and we just have to have it, even if the fit isn’t perfect.

If your favorite blouse fits your chest and torso well, but the sleeves hang past your wrists, cuff them! This will help your arms look longer, and show off your proportions more evenly. Give it a little tuck in the from to further accentuate your shape if it hangs a little loose.

You can also cuff your long skinny jeans for a makeshift hem, folding the cuff inside or out depending on the style you’re going for.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Kid’s Section

If you’re petite and on the thin side, odds are you could probably fit into the larger kid’s sizes. These are proportioned for smaller bodies, so items like skirts, empire waist dresses, and tee shirts are likely to be nearly a perfect fit! Kid’s clothes also typically hit the clearance racks at lower prices, so if you like a good bargain, you can get more bang for your buck.

This also applies to shoes—if you’ve got a smaller foot, check the children’s section. One of the best boot hacks out there for ladies on the shorter size is to buy kid’s boots. The larger kids sizes fit just like the smallest women’s sizes, but they often don’t go up as high, leaving your legs evenly proportioned and looking super cute.

Be Mindful of Balance

If you want to rock a crop top and high-waist shorts or jeans, do it! If you melt a little inside every time you see a cute maxi skirt, wear them! Just be mindful of how you wear them. Pair them with well-fitted tops to avoid looking bulky, or completely tuck in your top if you’re comfortable doing do!

For maxi skirts, avoid a lot of excess fabric, which will hang off of your body and make you look even smaller.

Layers Are Your Friend

Sometimes it can be hard to find the perfect fit when you simply put on a top and skirt or pants without doing much else to dress up your outfit. If you find a top you love, but it doesn’t fit quite right in the places it should, throw a denim jacket over it. If your dress bunches at your shoulders because you don’t fill it out, add a cardigan! Pairing a cropped sweater over a plain cami is also a great way to elongate your torso and distract from any odd shaping the sweater might give you.

And if you’re too warm to wear a ton of layers, you can make a simple cami look stylish by throwing a sleeveless cardigan over it and layering some necklaces for added flair.

But maybe don’t go the Tribbiani route. No, Joey. You could not be wearing any more clothes.

The Most Important Thing?

Wear everything with confidence. Petite women come in all shapes and sizes, but no matter how you dress, your outfit will never be complete without the confidence in knowing that you look like a snack. Wear the high-waist shorts. Rock those layers. But do it with confidence!