It can be a challenge dressing a smaller than average frame, and at 5.1″ and a half, shoe size 35 (UK 2) and dress size UK 6/8 I’ve tried every trick in the book.
I first met Clarkie (Sarah) 21 years ago when we both worked as fashion editors at Marie Claire magazine. We worked at Marie Claire together for five years and then Sarah moved on to Glamour UK. Shortly after Sarah’s move to Glamour I followed, and we worked together again for many more years. I am now a freelance fashion stylist/art director, working with many different fashion brands.
The trick to dressing a petite frame is getting the proportions right. Don’t shy away from volume or oversized trends that you may like just because your petite, just make sure you balance it/them out with something slightly less voluminous (not skinny or tight though). And don’t ‘over layer’, as you will drown yourself in fabric. Instead choose one item that has volume -whether its the top or the bottom half. I like this, this, and this dress; and this blouse for volume.
Don’t rule out long dresses just because you’re short either. Opt for silhouettes that have a defined waistline or empire line to give the illusion of longer legs. I like this one from &Other Stories.
Tonal and single colours are definitely a petite girl’s friend, as they create continuous lines on the body, which will make you look taller. I like this dress from Whistles.
I also love a jumpsuit (belted is best on petite frames to define your waist). I like this from Topshop, which is currently reduced.
When wearing print opt for smaller, more delicate prints – try to avoid anything that is too big/bold which may overwhelm and swamp your frame. Choose a print that is more in scale with your body size, such as this, this or this.
I wear a lot of trousers/shorts with a paper bag or high waist. This tends to define my waistline and make my legs look longer, I then tuck in a simple t-shirt or vest or a boyish shirt. I’ve already ordered these from Mango. And these and these are both on my wish list.
I live in jeans. I like a straight leg at the moment ,preferably an ankle grazer,but as a short girl, finding a pair that fit is hard to come by. Topshop is great as they have different leg lengths, but I do find that Mango are a good fit for petite girls.
And last but not least, the most obvious tip is to say wear heels! However, nowadays I almost never wear heels unless I am going out. I pretty much live in flats – trainers, flat boots, and flats sandals in the summer. Here are a couple of pairs that I really like at the moment from Mango and Arket. I do tend to avoid ankle straps as this tends to shorten shorter legs.
Karen with her son, Blake