I was wondering if you have any tips on how to dress for a very, very petite lady (133 cm) who keeps being mistaken for a middle schooler? Almost everywhere online (even on YesStyle) and in North America, I can never find anything for my size. I love to attempt wearing strange combinations that I think look classy, but may cause me to just look odd. I want to look a little bit more mature. However, I am also very self-conscious about my appearance as I am not only petite, but flat-chested and have a slightly caved-in back due to a physical deformation. I want to look a bit more my age, but it is hard to do if the only outfit I can feel comfortable in and will actually fit me are leggings and mainly an oversized top. Almost every one of my skirts ends up too long on me when I attempt to go for a professional look that I end up giving up on the outfit. Do you have any suggestions to help a bit with my struggles?
Christine N./22, Canada
It’s really hard to be taken seriously when you’re petite and youthful-looking. However, you have to agree that being mistaken for a younger person is also a compliment to your looks.
No to Oversized Clothing
Let me just say that you really have to stop wearing oversized tops. I’m a firm believer that oversized clothing never flattered anyone. It just drowns you in excess fabric and makes you look even more shapeless, even if you have the sexiest body in the world. The extra fabric also drags you down visually. So please do yourself a favor and stop wearing them right now.
Wearing oversized clothes hides your body and creates uneven propotions. Not ideal, especially for petites.
Having your clothes tailor-made by a seamstress might be the best option for you, Christine. I know it’s more convenient to buy off the rack, but there are plenty of advantages to having your clothes sewn for you. For one, you can have your favorite styles copied by your seamstress and done in your choice of fabrics and colors! Another plus is that your clothes can have allowances for adjustments when it comes to hemlines, in-seams, necklines, sleeves, bodices, etc. A lot of off-the-rack clothing are designed only for minimal alterations like shortening, but not for lengthening or adding embellishments. Simply put, with tailor-made clothes, you’ll never have to “make do” all the time. The clothes fit you and only you.
Draping, Embellishments and Structure
If you’re flat-chested, there’s no harm in choosing undergarments that provide extra support. Let’s face it: Majority of women’s clothing is designed to accommodate the curves we have, or supposed to have. However, it doesn’t always turn out that way. Softer fabrics can visually soften your upper half and draw attention away from your bust. Look for details that adorn the neckline, sleeves or hemline instead. For summer, ruffles and smocking are back and these can flatter even flat-chested ladies. If necessary, wear a camisole under soft, sheer tops as added coverage, especially if you feel self-conscious about your back.
Hit the Knees
I have no idea about the rest of your dimensions, Christine, but I’m pretty sure that you have a nice figure worth showing. Aside from wearing heels, one way to look taller is to wear monochromatic shades — meaning different shades of one color — and the easiest way is to wear light to dark colors or vice versa. If you wish to deflect attention from your upper body, then wear a dark color on top, and a lighter shade of it at the bottom.
Dresses and skirts should never go past your knees, too. Any longer and it’ll visually cut off your legs. We certainly don’t want that! I know people get tired of me suggesting A-lines all the time, but seriously it’s the best there is. In your case, a dress or skirt in a structured A-line style such as with pleats or gathers can narrow your waist and make you look more slender, regardless of your height. Even if you just end up wearing a simple sweater or even T-shirt on top, you’re guaranteed to look good and stylish!
An essential part of making sure you look elegant and womanly instead of girly and cute is the right choice of accessories. Opt for classy pendant necklaces, chain bracelets, as well as intricate beadwork. Even your hair accessories and bags should reflect your mature outlook. Instead of cutesy animals, go for minimal embellishments like tiny rhinestones, luxe fabrics like suede or velvet and more.
It’s not always easy being petite, Christine. But it doesn’t mean you don’t have choices — you do! All that it takes is for you to have the confidence to wear them. Good luck!
P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!