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Clothing Styles for Short Women

author image Jennifer Blair
Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
Clothing Styles for Short Women
Mila Kunis makes her petite frame look a little taller with slim-fitting skinny jeans. Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Petite women have a mixed bag when it comes to styling -- you have the freedom to wear sky-high heels but sizing pants can be a bit of a challenge. Even when you're shopping in the petite section, where the pieces are cut for smaller figures, certain styles will be more flattering than others. Maintaining a sense of proportion is key when dressing a short frame -- choose clothing that doesn't overwhelm your small stature and use a few styling tricks to look both long and lean.

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Go for a Slim Fit

When you’re petite, you should avoid oversized, billowy or loose-fitting clothing; such cuts will only make you appear smaller. Instead, opt for pieces with a slim fit to elongate the look of your body. For pants, choose straight or skinny styles. At the office, try a fitted white button-down blouse with straight-leg black pinstripe trousers and black pumps. For a casual weekend look, wear a navy V-neck sweater with dark-wash skinny jeans and brown heeled booties or opt for a fitted sheath dress and sexy stiletto heels for date night.

Keep It Monochromatic

To make your petite frame look taller and leaner, monochromatic clothing is your best option -- the same shade from head to toe creates a long line for your body. All of your clothing doesn’t have to be exactly the same hue, but the pieces should all be from the same color family. At the office, pair a smart charcoal suit with a lighter gray shell and black heels. For a sexy, modern look, rock a black blazer with a matching satin corset top; slip into a black pencil skirt, black tights and pointy toe pumps to extend the leg line even further. Add some silver chandelier earrings and a long silver pendant to finish off the look.

Choose an Empire Waist

Create the illusion that you’re a little taller. An empire waist hits just below the bust, so it helps elongate your torso for a flattering look -- just make sure that the item hugs your frame below the empire waist for the most flattering look. At a cocktail party, wear a cobalt sleeveless sheath dress with an empire waist and beading along the neckline to draw the eye up. Pair it with nude peep-toe pumps and gold earrings For a more casual take on the look, go with a colorful empire-waist top with a V-neck that hits at about the hips. Wear it with skinny jeans and neutral wedges for a fresh spring look.

Stay Small Scale

When it comes to patterns and accessories, petite women should opt for small-scale items that are proportional to their frame, as large patterns can overwhelm a tiny frame. Instead, go for subtle, delicate prints. Rock a small white-and-brown polka-dot blouse and above-the-knee denim skirt for lunch with friends. Add tan espadrilles and a long beaded necklace or bangles to finish off the look. Avoid large, oversized handbags like a hobo or bucket style; choose small shoulder bags or even a large clutch to keep your figure balanced.

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