The Paradox of Petites

Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist advice for petite women

When I was growing up, I wanted to be petite. It seemed the epitome of femininity. Of course, I really wasn’t petite, I was in the level just above that, 5’4.5”. That means I was too tall for petites but not tall enough for many of the Missy sizes. Petite pants were too short and average Missy sizes too long. Back then, I just lived with clothes that didn’t fit. As an Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist, I would roll up pants, and then just live with dress hems.

Fast forward to today and we have so many more options. Petite pants fit me now since they seem to be longer. And I’ve learned that the short rise that I have and longer legs for my height really make petite sizing fit perfectly for me. It’s a great day! Petite dresses are great because they are shorter than Misses-size dresses. I always look at the waist though to make sure it’s not too high for me.

Anyway, on to you. If you are 5’4” or shorter, you are petite…even if you are plus size and don’t think of yourself that way. If you are petite, beyond just finding the right sizes, there are other issues for you to consider which I, your Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist, am going to explain here.

Advice on Petite Clothing from your Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist

Image consultants talk so much about scale and before I became one, I knew little about it. But it is important! As Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist, I go over this in detail in my first appointment with clients in the Color/Style/Shape appointment. Scale refers to the size of prints that you wear. And if you are petite, in general, the prints you wear should be smaller. Then they won’t overpower you. When prints are extremely large or even medium size will overpower you. Here is an example of the right size of print. We did alter the sleeves. Plus petites can wear a little larger size print. But it should not be too large because it overpowers you.

Hems on a petite person – 90 percent of the time—should be knee and above. I prefer above the knee since it looks more balanced. The only exception is wearing a midi or maxi dress that hits at the calf (if your calves are not wide) or the ankle. Of course, the print should be the right scale.

Another issue for petites is large scale garments with details such as wide lapels, gathers, ruffles. They should be small scale, and if they are not the clothing will overpower you. Items to avoid are these: Jumpsuits that are full of gathers, ruffles or even large prints. As a Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist, I bleieve that clothes that are shapeless will not flatter a petite frame, either. One example is a shift dress without any waist or fitting. These will not make the petite woman look her best.

Accessories should be proportionate to your size, too. This means pick the smaller purses, earrings, necklaces. Huge necklaces are not for you! Even belts should be the right size. See the photo at the right…This client had put this dress with a 5-inch-wide belt, but I sent her a narrow belt to use instead. She’s beautiful in it.

Finally, accept that you will need alterations on your clothing on items such as sleeve length and hems if you do not buy petite sizing. Find a good tailor and use that individual often. Just consider it the cost of wearing clothes that flatter your figure.

For more advice on petite clothing, reach out to Beth Divine Style to schedule a consultation!

Keep it sassy, Indy.

Beth Divine, MA, AICI-CIC
Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist