Fashion Tips for Petites – 10 Styling Tricks for Petite Women

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Regardless of your body type, if your height is less than 5´4″, you´re on the petite side. And unlike your taller counterparts, you need to work more on your vertical line and create illusions of taller height. Whether you´re dressing for the office or just a day-out shopping with friends, these tips will help you highlight your vertical silhouette and avoid the garments that cut off your line.

Being petite shouldn´t stop you from looking fabulous. Follow these styling tricks for petite women and be ready to rock that magical tall look.

1. Wear Monochromatic Look

In order to achieve an un-broken vertical line, go for a monochromatic look. To create interest to your monochromatic outfit, combine different textures and fabrics for your top and bottom. For example, if you wear a yellow tank top, pair it with a yellow denim skirt.
monochromatic dresses for petite women

2. Create Tonal Combination

This is another way of highlighting your vertical line, similar to tip #1. But this trick is not about monochrome, it´s combining together different separates in the same family of color and of almost the same shade. Continue the tone down to your shoes.
tonal combination - fashion tip for petite women

3. Go for Vertically Designed Prints and Patterns

This is very obvious. If you’re wearing garment with vertical prints and patterns, you look taller than your real height. The eyes are made to believe that your line is longer. Opt for a vertically printed halter dress or vertical striped (preferably thin stripes) tunic top paired with dark skinny jeans.
vertical pattern - fashion tip for petite women

4. Opt for Clothes with Vertical Lines

Some garments are made with clear vertical line designs, they´re your best-friend. These clothes are more elegant and professional looking than stripes.
garment with vertical line - fashion tip for petite women

5. Wear Smaller-Scaled Graphics and Prints

Oversized or exploded multicolored prints will subdue your size, making you look smaller and shorter than you really are. Your picks are smaller-scaled graphics and prints such as smaller dots and floral.
smaller scaled graphics - fashion tip for petite women

6. Choose Garments that Fit Close to the Body

In choosing clothes, go for narrow silhouettes worn close to the body. Meaning, clothes that fit right. Avoid oversized wears even if they´re trending.

7. Wear Your Print on the Top

Draw the eye upward by wearing prints and patterns on your top. This prevents your audience from focussing on your legs (which are not long). For example, wear a cute pastel print top with white skinny jeans, tucked in.
wear print on top - fashion tip for petite women

8. Choose Seaming, Single Breasted or with Zip Front Coats and Jackets

Fake your vertical line by opting for single breasted, seamed coats or zip-front jackets. These coats create a longer vertical silhouette than their double-breasted associates.
coats - fashion tip for petite women

9. Wear Above-the-Knee, Knee-Length or Drape Long Skirts that Reveal 3-4 inches of Legs

When it comes to skirts, you have three options. You can wear an above-the-knee skirt provided it´s not too short. Ultra-mini skirts cut off your line because they are hemmed on the thickest part of your thighs making your look too short.

In order to check if your skirt´s length is proportioned to your height, stand straight and see if the tip of your middle finger touches the end of your skirt. If your finger tip is longer than your skirt, then the skirt is disproportioned to your height. (This applies even to taller girls)

You can also wear a knee-length skirt or a drape long skirt that shows off 3-4 inches of legs. Steer away from maxi skirts that hit around your ankle.
skirts - fashion tip for petite women

10. Go for the Perfect Shoes

As petite you´re often advised to wear high heels to supplement your height. But be careful, extra-high heels or skyscraper shoes defeat the purpose. They are completely disproportioned to your height which makes you appear actually short.

The perfect heels´ height for petites that are proportioned to her height are 2-3 inches. Choose shoes with pointed toes, they´re more lengthening than rounded toes. Look for styles with a low vamp, that is, the opening near your toe is long and narrow. This elongates the appearance of your leg and foot.

See: 5 Tips to Make Your Legs Look Longer and Leaner

Steer away from ankle straps, they make your legs look short. If you don´t have Dórsay pumps yet, get yourself a pair, quick.
right shoes for petite women

Have Your Say

So tell me Creative Fashionistas, are you on the petite side? Which of the above fashion tips for petites are most helpful to you?


  1. peggy wickman says

    I have been reading your article on petite dressing. I am 69 years old and would love to have some pointers on dressing your age but still looking stylish. I am 5’2 and weigh 145. I think I am a pear or a square. Any suggestions??


  1. […] Another creative yet clever way of styling patterned tights is mixing tonal colors and patterns. Your best guide in creating tonal mix are the colors of nature. Tonal colors “reflect one another creating a deep, rich color effect that allows for the eye to smoothly follow from one color to the next.” The result is very polish. This style trick is especially safe for petite women. […]