The Outfit Formulas Petite Girls Swear By

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The fashion world can be tough when you’re petite, especially if you’re under 5’3”. Almost every trend that makes its way down the runway is much more carefully analysed by a short girl. Those of taller stature can take trends like maxi dresses or midi skirts at face value; chic and sophisticated. For a petite girl, our first thoughts revolve around the amount of tailoring necessary for a trend to fit our shorter limbs. We’re constantly in a mad dash to find our size in the shops and we’ve been known to stash the last of limited petite styles at the back of the rack, hoping to keep it safe until we make our final purchase decision.

We were on the 80s trend train much earlier than its revival with fashion insiders. While we’d love to take credit for its comeback, our take on the trend emerged from unintentional oversized shoulders that made participating in power suit trends a complete joke. Buying denim is an entirely different experience for petite girls who often learn the hard way that what’s considered cropped to everyone else is full length in their books. Flared jeans are a massive no-no unless specifically tailored in the petite section and anything oversized should be approached with serious caution.

Instagram / @imlvh

In a world where fashion rules are constantly being challenged alongside long outdated definitions of body types, the idea is to embrace our natural body shape and use fashion to bring out the best in us. As we get to know our bodies and personal style preferences, short girls, in particular, make it their mission to know about the best style tricks to make trends work for them. We’re quick to develop an armoury of styling hacks that allow us to make sartorially based decisions every day, taking a mental note of the various outfit formulas that work for us. The trick is to deploy this formula as a repeatable model both when shopping and when styling daily outfits.

Scroll through to discover the best outfit formulas for petite girls.

The Power of Cropped Denim

Cropped jeans may seem counterintuitive but play into the rule of thirds and all will become clear. The rule of thirds when it comes to petite dressing refers to building outfits that create the right proportions for your smaller frame i.e the bottom half of your outfit makes up two-thirds of your body while the top takes up the other third. 

Bleach Editor Cropped Jeans, £49 at Topshop
Cropped Wide Coduroy Trousers, £59 at & Other Stories
BDG White Belted Flood Trousers, £55 at Urban Outfitters

Get Waisted with Wide-Leg Trousers

When it comes to trouser length for petite girls it’s an all or nothing approach so if baring your ankles in the winter breeze doesn’t appeal to you take things to the other extreme with a wide leg trouser. The floor-skimming style of the palazzo pant requires heels, particularly for the petite girl.

Going back to the importance of proportions, those of smaller frames risk getting lost in the volume of wide leg trousers. Avoid this by keeping tops tucked in to show off your waist.

Flare Trousers, £39.99 at Zara
Straight High Jeans, £39.99 at H&M
High Waist Velvet Trousers, £60 at & Other Stories

In Her Shoes

The most obvious tip of all for those vertically challenged is to embrace heels. The rising popularity of kitten heels goes in your favour on this front and removes intimidation (and lack of practicality) that comes with wearing heels on a daily basis. When your feet need a break to employ pointed flats to do the job, using their shape to make legs and feet look longer. To add to leg lengthening illusions, it’s important to pay close attention to colour, going for a classic nude or the same colour as your trousers, as though they’re extensions of them. This same idea applies to boots too. Boots that reach mid-calf area are out of bounds for petite girls. Instead, opt for longer lengths like over or just below the knee.

Dutchess, £139 at Kurt Geiger London
Slingback Court Shoes, £65 at Topshop
Henley High Ankle Boots, £89 at Topshop

All in all, pay attention to the clothes you love. More often than you think, there’s a tailoring answer there should you need it so avoid limiting yourself to the “I’m too short for that” box. Fashion is subjective and highly personal. Do what works for you and own it.

Niamh Crawford-Walker

Niamh is a full time fashion and features writer at The Style Edit. Her work has previously appeared in IMAGE magazine, and Emirates Woman.

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