Fashion Tips for Petite Women
3 mins read

Fashion Tips for Petite Women

Not only can it be difficult to find clothes that fit you right when you are petite (considered 5 feet 3 inches tall or shorter), it can be a challenge to know what sorts of clothes will be the most flattering. Many stores have petite departments, but because most designers make clothes for the average height woman, who is around 5 feet 5 inches, petite women can get discouraged when shopping for pants and dresses in particular. Petite clothes do not refer to weight, only height. Petite women can take some comfort to know that they are in good company with the likes of Reese Witherspoon (5 feet, 2 inches), Jada Pinkett Smith (5 feet even) and Eva Longoria (about 5 feet, 1 inch).

Vertical Lines

Vertical lines are always good for petite women, because they give the illusion of height. If you are petite, avoid horizontal lines at all costs. You can get vertical lines by wearing pants or a suit with pinstripes, or you can choose ribbed or cable-pattern knits. Zip-fronts are a good choice, as are sarong-style or wrap-style dresses, according to an excerpt from Kim Williams Dahlman’s book, “The Petite Handbook,” at the “Tribune-Review” website.


You want to wear a V-neck or create the look. A rounded neck will look more horizontal on you, while the V will give you more of the vertical look you want. If your top is not a V-neckline, you can create one by pairing your rounded neck top with a vest or a thin cardigan. A long necklace will help with the vertical look, too.

Colors and Prints

Monochromatic colors or colors that are around the same color palette, such as various shades of green, will look good on petite women. You can also appear taller by wearing colors that have a similar intensity, like all pale colors, for example, according to Dalhman. Never choose a print that is too large. If the print is bigger than your fist, it is too big for a petite frame.

Length and Silhouette

The worst length for a petite woman is anything that hits you mid-calf. This length will make you look out of proportion and will probably not look flattering on you. That means no mid-calf capris, dresses or skirts. Pants should go all the way to the ground and cover some of your shoe. A pointed shoe worn with long pants can lengthen your line even more. Skirts and dresses can be short or hit you just past your knee. A flattering silhouette for a petite woman is to wear short over long or long over short. For example, you can pair a short jacket with long pants, or a tunic top with a short skirt or shorts.


Pair your high-heeled shoes with a small clutch purse, and you can’t go wrong. The most flattering hairstyle will be one that is short or medium length, according to the Grace N Glamour website.

Photo Credit

  • pousse pousse mon petit image by Eric MATVEEFF from
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