In previous articles, I discussed how to determine body shape and dress for your vertical body type.
Today let’s go into detail on how to dress when you are short or petite, ie., below the average height of 1.65 m (5’4”).
How to dress when you are short or petite – what you need to know
In principle, these guidelines, which are now updated for this spring and summer season, will work for anyone who is short in height, or for those who want to appear longer or leaner in their appearance.
These ideas also work well for those whose upper body is almost the same length as their lower body. In that case, the aim is to make the lower body appear longer so that you look like you have longer legs.
This is the ultimate guide for dressing when you are short or petite. In this article, you will find
- Lots of tips on how to dress to make yourself look longer, leaner and slimmer as well as what not to wear.
- a capsule wardrobe and style guide for petite women after 40
- The best stores to shop in if you are petite
- stylish petite celebrities to give you some extra inspiration
How to dress for Winter and fall if you are petite
You can wear elongating layers in winter and fall, which can make it easier to dress during colder seasons when you are petite.
However, dresses are fabulous for petites and you can create a lengthening effect with a one color dress during warmer weather. You can also try lighter-weight layers such as sleeveless vests.
How to dress when you are petite – what to think about
Petite doesn’t necessarily mean small and slim. It simply means that you are 5′ 4” or below.
You can be any size, which makes it even more important to keep your outfits in the right proportion.
When you are short in height you will usually have the following objectives with your dressing:
- Appear longer, taller and leaner
- Create a flattering silhouette (using the rule of thirds, so you don’t split your body in half)
- Avoid boxiness which will only make you look wider rather than taller.
Most short women will want to appear taller and leaner.
You may also want to take a look at this article how to look taller and slimmer no matter what your height.
How to dress when you are short – general guidelines
This is relatively easy to achieve if you stick to the following guidelines:
1. Stick to monochrome outfits or outfits with few color variations
You would look perfect in simple shift dresses, with little color accents here and there.
Monochromatic looks will create a vertical image and instantly create the illusion of height.
Dark colors are a great choice to create this illusion as they make the wearer look thinner furthering the perception of height. But essentially this tip will work for any color.
Abi @stealmystyle40 above chooses a monochrome outfit. While her pants feature a big print, they have enough vertical lines to elongate her legs.
Check out this pair of printed pants (another option here) that you can wear with this similar shirt, sandals, tote (another option here), necklace and earrings.
2. Petite dresses: Wear a dress!
Dresses will look great on many short women, as they automatically create the much desired 2/3 – 1/3 look.
If you opt for a form-fitting slim silhouette then this will make you look even taller.
A knee-length sheath dress is a great option for a petite frame as the tailored silhouette avoids unwanted bulk.
The end result is a lean look that makes the wearer appear taller. Polish off the look with slingback kitten heels, for a little-added height.
The knee-length of the J.Crew dress (below) is a good option to look out for if you are petite
3. Petite clothing: Get the right fit
Getting clothes with the right fit and size is even more important for short women. Ill-fitting clothes will add extra bulk.
Avoid oversized clothes (even if they are on trend).
If you do really want to wear oversized clothes, make sure to create a good silhouette and that the balance between fitted and oversize is correct.
Make sure not to have both wide on top and below. A belted dress in one color is perfect for petites.
4. Wear shoes that keep your ankles free
Avoid straps around the ankle as ankle straps can make your legs look shorter. Instead opt for shoes that elongate. Mules are a great option for petites.
If you want to wear flats rather than heels, pointed toes can also create the illusion of extra height.
Naturalizer Samantha Pointed Toe Flat
5. Wear heels with your petite outfits
An obvious way to gain height is to wear a heel. However, don’t go overboard with these. Getting heels that are too high will make you look out of proportion.
For examples on how I wear heels and a full list of recommended comfortable shoes, also check my article on the best arch support shoes.
Below are more heels you could wear to add some additional height. You could add any type of heel you are comfortable with, from stilhettos and kitten heels to wedges and block heels.
Alison @wardrobe_oxygen above (read her style interview here) chooses an all black outfit and adds interest with her heels. Because the color of her shoes isn’t a huge contrast with her skintone, they elongate her legs.
Recreate her outfit with this similar top, pants, pumps and earrings (another option here).
6. Wear accessories in proportion
Go easy on the oversized accessories as these may overwhelm you.
Choose accessories that are in proportion with your face and the rest of your body
The bigger you are the bigger your accessories can be.
Choose a handbag that fits your physique. In many cases, oversized handbags are not your best choice as they will make you look smaller.
Marc Jacobs The Micro Traveler Tote
7. how to dress when you are short – Be smart with belts
For many petites your legs will be relatively short.
To make those appear longer you can wear the same color belt as your pants or skirt, making your legs look longer.
SANSTHS Set of 4 Skinny Leather Belts
8. Find your ideal skirt length
Although a short dress can be very effective for short people when they are young, I would advise against a very short hemline over 40.
Instead, opt for styles that fall just below or on top of the knee. A high-waisted skirt or pants would make your legs appear longer.
Kate Kasin Waist Bow Tie Pencil Skirt
You may also like: what is the right skirt length for women over 40.
9. Vertical patterns are your friend
Vertical patterns will always elongate and would be especially good for your pants or skirt.
Horizontal stripes are best avoided as they draw the eye across rather than up and down.
The white stripe pants (below) could be perfect for spring and summer.
10. Create a vertical line with a buttoned shirt dress
Buttoned shirt dresses that stop just above or on top of the knee will create a nice vertical line as well.
Most wrap dresses work really well for petites too.
The shirt dress below could be worn on its own, as a tunic over skinny pants or leggings or you could wear a shirt dress unbuttoned as a sleeveless vest.
H&M Tie Belt Shirt Dress
11. Create vertical lines in your outfit
You don’t necessarily need to feature vertical lines as a print such as a stripe to have vertical lines in your outfit.
Create nice vertical lines with open straight jackets and cardigans.
A great look is to have a cardigan or jacket the same length as your dress.
Long straight cardigans or sleeveless vests are perfect for petites!
The long cardigan below has a vertical stripe running down it which will help with creating your vertical lines. It comes in lots of different colors so you should find your favorite and reviewers say the longer length is stylish and youthful.
GRACE KARIN Open Front Long Knitted Cardigan
This cardigan is available in many different colors (also without stripe)
11. Create vertical lines with a sleeveless vest
I added below one of my own outfits. Even though I’m not petite this could have been worn by a petite woman.
The column of color (the black) creates a lengthening vertical line for the red vest.
You can see a similar long vest from Amazon, which comes in a variety of colors.
Check out this similar long red vest (another option here), harem jumpsuit, booties, tote, necklace and sunglasses.
13. avoid double breasted
As a general rule, avoid a double breasted style, as these will add width rather than length. Instead, choose a slimline single-breasted blazer like the ones from J.Crew (below). Wearers say the fit is flattering and it comes in a choice of colors.
14. WEAR V-LINE TOPS TO FURTHER ELONGATE YOUR LOOK
These open up the neckline and create additional vertical lines.
15. How to dress when you are short – avoid contrasting tops
Avoid wearing tops which are in very different colors to your skirt or pants.
This will draw more attention to the fact that your upper body is almost the same length as your lower body.
16. Make sure that your tops stop at the hipline or above
Longer tops may cut you in half and you will not achieve the golden ratio or rule of thirds (see above). They will also make your legs appear even shorter.
However, you can wear longer tunics over skinny pants or leggings. make sure they are about 2/3 from shoulder to shoe.
17. Pay attention to boot length
Choose boots that stop just below the knee and avoid boots that end on the mid part of your shins.
We already discussed the importance of creating a great silhouette and paying attention to the rule of thirds. Here are a few more tips.
For more tips also see our article on how to look taller and slimmer.
PIKOLINOS Leather Knee High Boot
Emms @beautifuleveryday_uk above opts for a black dress. While you will want to keep your outfit streamlined if you are petite, choosing a dress that fits at the waist will help to ensure you don’t get lost. Heels will add a little extra height.
Check out these dresses from Amazon (here, here and here) that you can wear with this similar pair of boots and handbag.
18. Embrace high waisted pants and skirts
High waist pants paired with heels work together to create a long vertical image. Worn with a short top, the outfit creates the illusion of height.
They will make your legs appear longer. Wide pants with tucked in tops work really well. If you can’t tuck in your top because you want to hide your belly consider getting an asymmetrical top.
The wide leg pants (below) come in a choice of colors. Tuck your top in for a leg-lengthening effect.
Nordstrom High Waist Wide Leg Pants
19. BE careful with cropped PANTS
Avoid short trousers and pants that stop at the ankle. Best to wear pants with straight pipes or wide legged ones with heels, preferably high-waisted.
If you do wear cropped pants be sure to wear a shorter top to give you a nice 2/3 – 1/3 silhouette.
To read more about the rule of thirds, check out our article on how to wear cropped pants.
20. get a good bra
You want to create as much space between your waist and your bust line as possible. Choose a good, supportive bra to make sure your bust sits where it should.
b.tempt’d by Wacoal Nearly Nothing T-Shirt Bra
21. Be Careful With Tucking Pants Into Your Boots
Best not to tuck in your pants into your boots as it will break up the lengthening line. Or keep the rest of the outfit in the same color as that will create a 2/3 – 2/3 effect.
You can also select the boots in the same color as your pants to make your legs look longer.
22. Choose the right size for tops and bottoms
Your size is not necessarily ‘petite’ top and bottom, so you may need a bigger size on top or vice versa. Making sure you opt for the right sizes for your shape will give you a balanced look.
23. avoid boxiness
You want to create fluid lines in your looks and create a 1/3 – 2/3 silhouette whenever possible.
Lydia @birabiro above (read her style interview here) opts for a tie waist jumpsuit. The 1 piece jumpsuit is lengthening and creates a long lean line. She adds extra height with her sandals.
Steal her look with this similar jumpsuit (another option here), sandals, necklace, earrings, bracelets and sunglasses.
24. Test what the right belt width is for you
Belts are often best kept narrow, unless you belt them very high up your waist, or they are the same color as your pants.
Tory Burch Miller Reversible Logo Belt
25. Fit is everything!
If you can’t find clothes that fit properly, find a good tailor.
You may also like: how to fit a blazer.
how to dress when you are short – creating your capsule wardrobe
Now let’s take a look at how to put together outfits if you’re petite, with all the best options to choose.
When looking for tops, anything with vertical stripes or a v-neck will help to elongate your figure. You can also look at showing off your waistline with a cinched in waist as this will make your legs look longer.
Loveappella Faux Wrap Top – J.Crew Cropped Poplin Shirt – Equipment Essential Stripe Silk Shirt – PUWEI Tie Front Denim Shirt
Kylie @kylish_aus above tucks in her blouse for a leg lengthening effect. Larger prints can be tricky to wear if you are petite, but a good tip is to ensure that you incorporate some of the colors from the rest of your outfit, as Kylie does here.
Steal her look with this similar blouse (another option here), wide pants and sneakers.
sweaters and cardigans
As the weather gets colder, you’ll definitely want to add a few warm sweaters to your petite capsule. As with your tops, v-necks can help elongate your figure. Another option is to choose shorter or crop styles and wewar with high waist pants to make your legs look longer.
Or, you could look out for long line cardigans. Wear these open to create an elongating column effect.
ZAFUL Cropped Turtleneck Sweater – J.Crew Cashmere Cropped Sweater – JJ Perfection Open Front Long Cardigan – Design by Olivia Draped Open Front Cardigan Vest
ZAFUL Cropped Turtleneck Sweater – J.Crew Cropped Poplin Shirt – Nordstrom High Waist Wide Leg Pants – Naturalizer Samantha Pointed Toe Flat – Marc Jacobs The Micro Traveler Tote – Argento Vivo Sterling Silver Curb Chain Link Post Back Earrings
coats and jackets
Keep your coats in proportion to your figure. Shorter styles worn with high waisted pants and jeans will look good on you. Or, cinch your waist to ensure your coats don’t overwhelm you. As with the rest of your outfit, vertical lines will look good.
J.Crew Willa Blazer – Mavi Jeans Denim Trucker Jacket – Kate Kasin Belted Peacoat Coat – Sam Edelman Water Repellent Cotton Blend Trench Coat
Kate Kasin Belted Peacoat Coat – Loveappella Faux Wrap Top – Wit & Widsom Ab-Solution High Waist Itty Bitty Bootcut Jeans – Lucky Brand Joal Pump – Kate Spade New York Knott Medium Satchel – Argento Vivo Sterling Silver Curb Chain Link Post Back Earrings
When it comes to your bottoms, choosing the right length is key. If you opt for bootleg or wider pant styles, you can wear heels underneath them and make your legs look super long.
Vertical stripes will also elongate your figure. For your skirts, make sure you choose a length that sits where it should. If the skirt should be knee-length, that’s where it should be. You may need to look for petite brands or try a few different brands to find the ones that fit best on your figure.
Wit & Widsom Ab-Solution High Waist Itty Bitty Bootcut Jeans – J.Crew Willa Cropped Flare Pants – Max Mara Leisure Stripe Cotton Pants – Kate Kasin Wrap Front Pencil Skirt
Shauna @chicover50 above (read her style interview here) chooses a small print for her pants and adds heels underneath. You can see that the wide flare of her pants balances the shoulder detailing on her top.
Get her look with this similar top (another option here), flared pants, earrings, necklace and sunglasses.
dresses & jumpsuit
Dresses look great on petites as they are one column of color and they don’t break up your figure. Choose well-fitting, belted styles. If you want to try a pattern, try a subtle one that won’t overwhelm your petite figure. A jumpsuit will also work well for petites as long as you get the fit right, as it is one color from top to toe.
Karen Kane Cascade Faux Wrap Dress – J.Crew Resume Dress – Karen Millen Soft Tailored High Low Midi Dress – Fraiche by J Johnny Long Sleeve Jumpsuit
Souri @fabfemme_australia above (read her style interview here) opts for a blue dress with metallic accessories.
Steal her look with this similar lace dress, pumps (lower version here) and clutch.
Of course, you can choose any shoes you love. But if you want to add some height, you could try a small heel or a wedge. Another trick is to choose pointed toes as they make your legs look longer without having to wear super high heels.
Naturalizer Samantha Pointed Toe Flat – Allegra K Slingback Block Heel Sandal – Sam Edelman Viv Pump – PUMA Kaia Platform Sneaker
Fraiche by J Johnny Long Sleeve Jumpsuit – Allegra K Slingback Block Heel Sandal – Tory Burch Britten Convertible Crossbody Bag – Argento Vivo Sterling Silver Curb Chain Link Post Back Earrings
When it comes to your accessories, don’t choose anything too big that will look large against your petite frame. If you want to, you could add a little height with a hat.
Kate Spade New York Knott Medium Satchel – Tory Burch Britten Convertible Crossbody Bag – Brixton Messer Fedora Hat – Kendra Scott Elisa Birthstone Pendant Necklace – Argento Vivo Sterling Silver Curb Chain Link Post Back Earrings
Eileen @eileenternullo above wears a tonal outfit in gray.
Get her look with this similar dress, cardigan, sandals, handbag, belt, fedora, earrings and sunglasses.
Putting together your petite capsule
Take a look below at more inspiration for flattering outfits for you if you are petite. You could mix and match the tops and bottoms around to get different looks.
Shop some of the outfits for short women here:
Read our ultimate guide to creating a capsule wardrobe that works best for you.
More petite inspiration
The below capsules, while past season, should give you extra inspiration.
Famous petite women
If you ever felt that being shorter than average stands in your way of looking absolutely fabulous, think again!
Many celebrities you know and love are under 1.60.
Madonna is a spectacular woman (over 60 already) short on height. She is 5’3” (1.63 meters) high.
She increasingly favors tight dresses just below the knee which she has no problem pulling off with her svelte figure. You can also see that she wears heels under her wide-legged pants, as well as wearing shoes in the same color as her skirt.
Victoria Beckham measures 1.63 (5’3”) meters.
She prefers to dress in clothes that are lengthening. High-waisted pants, a tight fit, heels and one-color dresses. Check some of her outfits here.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker is 5’2.75” (1.59 meters) and has really embraced the high heel shoes as her weapon of choice to appear longer.
As a woman over 50 she increasingly uses mid-length dresses which I think suit her the best. Check some of her outfits here.
Other celebrities below 1.60
For more inspiration on how to dress your short physique, check out other celebrities who measure under 1.60:
- Mary Kate Olsen who is 5’0″ (152 cm),
- Rachel Bilson who is 5’1.5″ (156 cm),
- Hayden Panettiere who is 5’0.25″ (153 cm),
- Nicole Richie who is 5’1″ (155 cm),
- Kristen Bell who is 5’1″ (155 cm),
- Shakira who is 5’2″ (155 cm),
- Eva Longoria who is about 5’2″ (153 cm),
- Fergie, who is 5’1.75″ (157 cm) and A
- lyssa Milano, who is about 5’1.5″ (156 cm).
Petite clothing stores: Where to shop when you are petite?
Many shops now have special sections for petites. Here are just a few.
- Nordstrom: one of the best online shops with multiple brands has a special section for petites
- J.Crew: many petite options for casual and office wear
- Eileen Fisher: high quality fabrics and great design
- Loft: comfortable and affordable clothing
- Banana Republic: good quality clothing that covers all basics
- Eddie Bauer: offers great outdoor wear
- Marks and Spencer: Timeless classics
- Boden: great quality and fashionable everyday wear
More outfit examples
I hope these guidelines will be useful to you. Remember though that they are not written in stone.
I feel that petites can wear almost anything so long as you create the right balance within your outfit and create a great silhouette.
If you are petite and have some tips that I did not cover here, please let me know in the comments below!
- How To Look Taller And Slimmer
- How To Choose The Perfect Little Black Dress For Your Body Type
- How To Dress When You Are Tall And Where To Buy The Best Clothes For Tall Women
Like this post on how to dress when you are short or petite? Share it on Pinterest!
Feature image by Shauna @chicover50
Want to get more articles from 40+style in your inbox, subscribe here.
You can also connect with 40+style on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
Support 40+style by using the links in our articles to shop. As an associate for Amazon and many other brands, we receive a small commission (at no cost to you) on qualifying purchases which enables us to keep creating amazing free content for you. Thanks!
Thanks for the great tips. Thumbs Up! =D
Hi! I have 1.60m and I have one question…Does the dress below the knee make me even shorter?
A dress will look nicest when it’s 2/3 from the length of your shoulders to your feet. If you wear heels then the dress can be longer too. Usually that means for petites the dress is above or on top of knees. Another option is a well fitted maxi dress.
Thank you so much Silvia for all the great ideas!
I truly understand that every woman (person) has unique assets and things they might wish to ‘change’ and also that your tips can be adapted for many body types — while at the same time demoralize those of us who don’t fit the examples of being petite.
I found that your celebrity examples emphasized the notion that petite indicates short and skinny and I felt out of the loop immediately. I’m not knocking your choice to highlight the “best looks” for petite women, however, as you’ve already indicated, none of us fit a cookie-cutter mannequin size, so I suspect many women feel excluded and hopeless with images of models or celebrities. I would love to see contrasting images of how real women are successfully implementing your suggestions in this category.
Being 5’2″, over 50, about 146 lbs, apple-shaped, bad fee (meaning no high heels or pointy shoes), and with a huge size difference from top to bottom (top= 14 to 16; bottom= 4 to 6) my issues are, at best, challenging.
One of the most hurtful things my husband has ever said to me, many years ago now, was – “… you’re not petite, you’re just short”. So, with great appreciation for your website and your insights, I’m writing this in an effort to emphasize what you probably already know and also to help to include women who don’t fit the accepted definition of petite.
Hi Olga. You make a good point and I will take this into account for future articles. However, finding (and being allowed to use) images from 40+ women in all shapes and sizes is always tough. That is why you see a lot of images of myself on this site to illustrate as I can easily produce them. I always welcome images through Facebook though! https://www.facebook.com/40PlusStyle
Low waist pants are a no-go. Proportionately my lower body IS longer than my upper body, but I made the mistake of wearing low-rise jeans for too long. Anything that makes the waist look lower than it really is, for a 5’2″ woman, a really bad idea.
I m 25 weight 130 lbs
It’s really interesting and useful article. I m only 5′
This is all about western cloths I do wear this kind of dresses But being and Indian in some functions or party I have to wear Indian outfits. In Indian clothes of long gown style trend is going on and I really want you suggest me “Anarkali style” will suits me or” Pakistani”
Waiting for your reply.
Hi Madhure. Could you add links image examples to each of these styles as I’m not family with Indian dressing.
Really liked the idea of dresses for different body shapes. I am 4.10” 39 yrs old and narrow shoulders. I am size 10 but found that I was looking very small with my thin slim structure so trying gaining some weight around waist. Not sure if this would be best.sounds strange though:).my question is about wearing long or short dress. I avoid wearing short straight dresses as I feel more shorter in myself and really like maxi dresses but ppl around me don’t like the idea.I am confused.also someone asked about Indian dresses in one of the question so I can tell that anarkaki suits are long frilled frocks with slim trousers. If it helps. Thanks.
Short women often look best in short dresses. However, maxi dress can be worn too. It’s important that you find the right shape though. Make sure it is well fitted and the dress does not swallow you. The way to make every outfit work is to look at proportion and create a balanced silhouette. You can read more about that at https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-determine-your-vertical-body-shape/ Good luck!
I’m only 4’8″ & 76 yrs old. Petite is no longer for woman under 5 feet like it was years ago. I don’t know what length to wear Capri pants or what style dress. I wear a size 14.
I am enjoying this site and the article. That being said I wanted to ad that I am 5’4″ and weigh 116lb, measure 35-24-35, so I am not really petite although alot of these tips would apply to someone my size as well.
Thanks Tammila. Yes these tips would be good for anyone would wants to have a taller, leaner appearance!
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your interesting article regarding what short people should wear.
I am only 4foot 10 inches and 67kg’s. I am trying so hard to lose some weight as I am attending a wedding in May 2014. I just want to look elegant for this wedding but due to me not being able to wear high heels as I have a very bad right hip.
Sylvia can you help to suggest something for me.
I have been through menopause and now I have quite big boobs for a little person.
I look so so forward to hearing from you.
Hi Lesley. I wrote an article about how to downplay your bust.https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-when-you-have-a-large-bust/ You can use those tips in combination with the ones on this article. I would say not to focus too much on losing weight. Try and dress for the body you have now and go shopping now to find that perfect dress! Have fun.
I’m 5’2″. Do all of these guidelines apply? Thanks
Yes they would.
Hello, Sylvia! I’m quite petite – 4’8 and 85 pounds. Very healthy and fit. However, my calves are a bit larger than I’d like. Any advice to slim these down while wearing skirts/dresses?
Hi Stef. Pumps can slim your calves especially those that show a lot of your foot. Wearing dark tights can also help.
I am 5’2″, and I am high-waisted, as well. I need to add length to my torso, rather than to my legs. Do you have any particular tips (or exceptions to your ‘standard’ tips for petite a) for me? Thank you for any help!
I offer some tips here: https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-determine-your-vertical-body-shape/ I will try and write more on this topic over the coming months.
Thank you for replying! Yes, I would agree they do look great in the dresses/skirts that cover the knee. I will have to experiment with that as I think it is a sophisticated look. I agree about finding celebrities in casual wear! I am always searching for photos to get ideas. Unfortunately, when they are own their own (ie, not dressed up by a stylist) sometimes their outfits don’t look to great(SJP , as one example)
This is a pretty good article, most is common sense, but good to read in a condensed area. Some things I don’t agree with is keeping heel height no higher than 2 inches(5cm)? I definitely do NOT agree with this for dressier or formal attire. When I am dressed up I feel best in a 4 inch heel. I also do not agree with skirt or dress length. I have always been told a couple inches above knee. Just below the knee, unless a super form fitting pencil skirt looks dumpy. I honestly don’t know how a petite could pull off mid-length dresses.
I love your petite celebrity choices; they all have great style. However, you should have shown them in some casual wear or more dressed down styles. How many of your readers and how often are they wearing similar clothes to the ones depicted??
Thanks for your feedback. I think you’re right that high heels can look good for dressy outfits. I think it’s key though that the shoes are not that bulky. I think lengths both above the knee, on top and just below can all work. If I look at the pictures above many of the dresses and skirts cover the knee and I think the women look fabulous. But of course, just do what looks best on you!
You are right that I could have shown more casual styles. But photos from celebrities in more casual style are harder to come by and I just had to work with what I could find.
Hi there!! m very glad to know about you and always eager to ask you a question and um a 5 feet.. I love to wear choose pant, ankle length boots so wat u prefer me to wear with it … I mean tops or I should go with high waisted pants . Thankyou
I am just at 5′ and planning for my daughters wedding. Therefore, I am trying to make the decision to wear a long or short dress. I am a pear shape and really like the ruched style, I am also concerned about the sleeve length for my age of 60.
Both could work well. I would stick as closely to your usual preferences. As for covering up the arms, that also depends on how comfortable you are with them. You may just want to cover the upper part only. Good luck with finding a great dress!
My height is only 4′ 12, so I scare to wear pants as I think by wearing this I will look even shorter than earlier, but I always want to wear. so can I wear pants. Please help!!
I think pants can be very helpful in making you appear longer, certainly when you buy ones which allow you to hide you (heeled) shoes underneath. Wear them with a shorter or tucked in top. Above image of Victoria Beckum is a good example. Always wear pants at full length that skimp the ground. Good luck Lia
My 4′ 11 &3/4″adult daughter asked me to help her shop for clothes for future job interviews and reading this article really helped prepare me…thanks to you I am going to be the “best mom ever” tomorrow 😉
Great to hear it PT. Glad I could help. I hope your daughter finds a great job soon!
All though this article is helpful, it still is difficult to find clothing that fit the right way… Especially when you’re 4’10.5″ like me. Where would you recommend finding clothes for our height?
More and more retailers like Asos and Nordstrom have special sections for petites, but otherwise you will just need to shop around and look for the right cut… Good luck and if you find stores that are especially good, let us know!
I shop at Forever 21, I feel like I am to old for this store but at least the clothes fit me. Really better than petite clothing. I dont know how to ad pics here or I would share my Forever 21 style for a 57 year old. Lol.
Hi Tammila, You cannot add pictures to comments but you are free to upload them to our Facebook page. I’d love to see them!
I’m just 4’9″….. I realized that confidence and comfort level in what you wear matters… I don’t get my size, so I have to get my clothes tailored. Shopping is depressing for me sometimes !! I liked the maxi skirt trend… Is it ok to wear it if I’m that short?
Definitely Bhakti. I think that petites can look great in maxis. It’s all about the fit and silhouette though so get one that fits you well and suits your horizontal body type. https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-determine-body-shape/
I enjoyed reading all your advise. I’m 4′ 11″ and weigh 100 lbs. my daughter is getting married in November in Cancun. I don’t know if I should be looking for a long or a short dress. Which would be better for me?
Congratulations Mariana! It depends on how formal the wedding is. I think I would prefer a shorter (knee high) dress which I often find the most flattering and very chic. You may want to have a look at this article which gives some ideas as to how to dress as the mother of the bride: https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-mother-of-the-bride/
Great article. It’s definitely all about “dressing longer” and letting others focus on the face and personality. Get them past the size for a few hours and it will usually never matter after that.
What about boots? Are there any boots that are flattering on almost all body types?
Yes, I believe that calve hugging long boots (fitted snugly) look great on almost everyone. Petites should wear them over skinnies in the same colour or underneath skirts and dresses.
I’m just over 5ft so this article was very interesting for me. I do agree with what you say, but I have to say that I also very occasionally “buck the trend”. In the summer, I wear maxi-dresses, often with quite bold prints on them as I love colour. I nearly always wear heels, to the extent that I don’t even own a flat pair of shoes, although I do have some flat boots for practical, work reasons.
My problem is that I find it increasingly difficult to get clothes to fit well. I am “petite”, but God graced me with ample thighs and calves! I have little chest, but a wide back. In the UK, there tends to be a tendency to assume that because you are petite, you must be like a stick. I am a healthy size 8-10, but often can’t fit my ankles into jeans! If a dress fits on the hip, it tends to swamp me on the waist. If a boot fits on the foot (I’m a size 2 or 35), I can guarantee it won’t fit anywhere else.
I find shopping totally demoralising most of the time. My solution – I’ve just bought a new sewing machine, so plan to custom-make my own!
All these are just guidelines Sophie and you will always have to play with clothes and see what works for you! I can understand your frustration with shopping. All clothes are made for standard proportions which only a few of us have. Taking up sewing seems like a perfect idea! Good luck.
I love this post. Very informative. =)
Thank you Mong!
Thanks for sharing. You did an excellent job of explaining what to wear and how and why to wear it.
Very welcome 🙂
Yes it is difficult to dress nicely when you are petite. Everything is soooo long or just doesn’t sit right as the muse is usually 5’7 whereas I am 5’2. It’s a matter of search and you will find. Nice to see a few petite lines coming through though.
Hi Sia, as you say. It’s a matter of being patient and finding that perfect outfit to suit your body. Or.. find a really good tailor who can adjust some of the things that you buy in a shop…
I am petite and over 45. I am very conscious of what I wear. I do not wear flats though I love it but I can’t, I look like a third grader lol! And yes though many good stuff are in trend today but I can’t wear them not unless it look good on me like the stripes. Thanks for the tips again it helps a lot to me. ^_^
Great to read that they were useful to you Kim!
I just love your blog!! So chic and USEFUL!
BTW, I adore Oscar de la renta dress here! He can do no wrong!
Let’s Twitter Together
Thanks for visiting and your kind words!
I’m 5’3ish and I’m like SJP I embrace a good heel for length everyday 😉
I have really embraced heels lately, but still find them uncomfortable when I have to do any amount of walking or standing. Still there is no denying that almost every outfit will look better with heels, especially with petites!
I love this post! I think you did an excellent job of explaining what to wear and how and why to wear it. And you used my favorite role models – SJP and Nicole Richie. The only thing I have not tried is the high waisted pants but they look so amazing on Victoria Beckham I am going to look for a pair. 🙂 I really appreciate all of this good advice. Thanks!
Great you liked the post Suzanne as I know you are petite yourself and have a lot of experience of dressing this body type. Yes, you should definitely give high waisted pants a try. I love the look of those. Definitely on my wishlist as well.
Scarves are wonderfully versatile, but petite women – especially those with less than petite chests – need to very careful about the proportions and patterns of scarves, and more importantly, the way they are draped or tied.
And keeping the heel heights something below monstrous? Couldn’t agree more! (http://dailyplateofcrazy.com/2011/10/14/little-women/)
Thanks for visiting 40PlusStyle and giving your great tip!
sylvia i am very thankfull to you for writting this useful points on heel heights for the short girls like me
You are very welcome Anjali. Glad you found the article useful!