Petite Style Guide: What to Wear if You’re 5ft 3 or Under

If you are 5ft 3 or under you’ll know all about the struggle of finding clothes that fit you perfectly. So we’re here to help with some handy style tips.

Do you often find clothes are too long, too large, or both? Forget endless hours trying to figure out how to fix the problem (alter? Add a belt? Try a smaller size?) DP has come to the rescue with our best Petite Collection yet. Hurrah! What a time to be petite.

But if that wasn’t good enough, here’s our petite style guide on how to create outfits that will flatter your figure and make you appear just that little bit taller. Ready for a confidence boost? Read on!

Follow the 2/3 – 1/3 Rule

First thing’s first, the 2/3 – 1/3 rule is the one fashion experts swear by when it comes to petite figures. It consists of building outfits that will create the right proportion to your smaller frame. To adhere to this rule, dresses will always come in handy but if you’re using separates wear bottoms that are 2/3 of your body and tops that cover the remaining 1/3. This will prevent you from splitting your figure in half horizontally, which would automatically result in a shorter looking silhouette.

Black Peg Trousers £25 White Lace Top Coming Soon

Go Shorter

There are no half measures when it comes to the length of your dress or skirt if you’re petite. You’ll look best in either a short hem (hello legs!) or a long one (midi or maxi, either way below the knee). While a short hem will make your legs appear longer by revealing more of them, longer hems will on the other hand create a continuous line that will trick the eye and make the lower half of the body look longer than it actually is. Win!

Floral Shift Dress Coming Soon

Yes You Can Wear Prints

As mixing and matching prints can become a bit overwhelming for smaller figures, if you love prints opt for co-ordinates (aka sets of top and bottom in the same print) and favour smaller prints to big ones. If however prints are not your cup of tea choose monochromatic outfits – that is to say the same colour (or different shades of it) from head to toe which will give the illusion of a longer looking figure.

Yellow Floral Maxi Dress £38

Opt for High-Waisted Trousers

Whether you choose palazzo or cropped trousers, high-rise can be more flattering than low. Wide leg trousers and culottes are having a moment, however they can be very tricky for petite girls. Either go for extra-long and dramatic or cropped and ankle-baring. While the first will need heels and will create the illusion of longer legs from the waist down to the floor, the latter can be worn with either heels or flats but make sure you show the right amount of ankle – avoid mid-calf lengths as they will virtually crop your legs in half and break the 2/3 – 1/3 rule.

But what about jeans? High-rise skinny jeans are the best option because they create a slimmer silhouette, which will elongate your figure vertically. Once again dare to bare your ankle by choosing ankle grazers or simply roll up your normal skinny jeans.

White Embroidered Shirt £26, Bright Blue ‘Frankie’ Jeans £22

Choose a V-Neck

If you’ve never had a go-to neckline, let the V-neck become your new best friend. On top of being extremely feminine and occasionally sexy (which makes it easier to take them from desk to dinner) V-necks will elongate your neck and chest area making the upper half of your body appear longer. Get yourself a V-neck dress, a building block of every great wardrobe!

Blush Lace Fit and Flare Dress £40

Tuck Your T-Shirt In

Avoid boxy or excessively baggy tops and tuck in your shirt where you can to reveal the lower half of your body which might otherwise be overwhelmed by your upper half. Remember that if you are a fan of baggy clothes it’s always better to balance them out with a tighter counterpart (baggy top with tight bottoms or vice-versa).

Miami Sequin T-Shirt £16, Embroidered Shorts £24

Reveal Your Feet

The trick is simple: the more of your feet you reveal, the longer your legs will look, meaning crops and culottes can be a petite girls best friend.  Heels will always give you those extra inches, but if your feet need a day off opt for pointed-toe flats which will help make your feet look longer and by association make your legs look longer too! The colour of your shoes is important too: go for a colour that matches either your skin tone or your trousers, as if they were an extension of them. As for boots, avoid mid-calf ones and go for either ankle boots or tall ones.

Silver Shimmy Sandals £25

And Finally…

High slits in skirts and dresses will make your legs look longer while vertical prints and lines will elongate your figure. Choose mini bags over maxi ones which might look way too big on you and be careful when layering and accessorising: in this case less is definitely more!

In need of petite clothes? Why not check out our Petite range – we have lots of New In items dropping every week!


Rose - Features Contributor

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