Meg Says Monday: Fashion friends vs fashion foes for petite girls

Helping petite ladies separate their fashion friends from their fashion foes this summer!

Meg Caswell
April 7, 2017
Deciding what to wear, and how to wear it can prove a difficult challenge for any woman, let alone for a woman with a particularly petite physique. If you are of small stature, you generally want to wear clothes that make you appear taller; fashion is often about perception, so any garments that seemingly elongate the body are fashion friends for short people. 
Unfortunately, there are also a few fashion foes out there that us petites need to avoid. Anything that appears to shorten or widen the body is a no-go, as these items detract from the height that we actually do have. Fear not, petite people of the world….for I am here to help you avoid the fashion faux pas this summer with some ‘expert’ fashion advice. I’ve sorted out the fashion friends from the fashion foes in an attempt to make styling easier for petite women this sunny season!
How to look taller
Courtesy of


Drop the crop

If you’re small in stature, you want to opt for clothing that appears to elongate your body. Cropped pants and jeans achieve the opposite of this. They cut the length of the legs short, seemingly detracting from the height of already petite physiques. 

Beware of the flare

Flared pants

As shorties, we want to draw attention to the length, not the width, of our bodies. Emphasising width over length can lead to an unwanted box-like appearance. As a rule of thumb, avoid dresses that add width by flaring out. Having said that, you don’t need to avoid the flare altogether — when worn correctly, flared jeans can actually add height to your body. Try wearing high-waisted flares with platforms or heels to help elongate your legs.

Wipe the stripes

Striped t-shirt

Although myth would have it that horizontal stripes make you look wider and smaller, fashionistas now maintain that stripe direction is of little importance for petites. Whilst perhaps safer to avoid lined patterns altogether, there is a simple rule to follow if you can’t avoid the stripe: thinner is the winner. The thinner the stripes, the more stripes on the t-shirt, meaning your upper-body will look (vertically) roomier and elongated.

Boot the (jump)suit


The jumpsuit is a hard one to pull off for petites. I often find even in the petite section, a supposedly 3/4 length jumpsuit covers the entirety of my legs. My personal advice would be to opt for a shorter playsuit instead. However, if you just can’t boot the suit, consider pairing your desired item with heels and opt for a more fitted style.

Resist the shift

Whilst I love the idea of a good shift dress, this style just doesn’t mix well with small stature. You may get away with the shift if you’re super skinny (I’m talking twiglet size), but more often than not you will end up sporting a box-like figure that lacks definition. As a general rule, it’s best to stick with fitted items of clothing.


Don’t shun the bun

Top bun hairstyle
Courtesy of

You may not be a fan of the top-bun trend, but adding volume and height to your hairstyle is an easy way to add an extra inch or two of ‘body’ to your body. Use illusive tactics such as the top-knot to trick your observer into believing you are taller.  If you’re not a fan of the messy top-knot, you could always opt for a more formal, elegant up-do instead.

Reveal the heel

Ladies, it’s time to say hello to the heel! Unfortunately, being small comes with its burdens, one of which is the necessity to wear heels around taller friends. Don't fret, however, as this doesn’t mean that you need to destroy your feet with six-inch stilettos. Try selecting a comfortable pair of wedges or block heels—you’ll find that these will give your feet more staying (or standing) power.

Red heels
‍Courtesy of

Commit to the fit

Try to avoid clothes lacking shape and definition— you don’t want to end up looking lost in oversized garments. Opting for a more fitted look will draw attention to your vertical, streamlined figure, again emphasising height as opposed to width.

All for small

Striped top and mini skirt
Courtesy of

Skirts can be a bit of a nightmare for short people. Whilst mid-length and pencil skirts are basically a no-go, this item of clothing should not be avoided altogether. Mini skirts, especially when worn with heels, are a great way to create the illusion of lengthier legs. Once again…the higher the waistline the better (providing knickers are covered!). 

And finally….Don’t avoid the maxi just because you’re mini

This is another common myth that desperately needs busting. Petites…you shouldn’t avoid all things ‘maxi’ just because you’re mini! In fact, maxi dresses are actually great when it comes to elongating your body. For both maxi dresses and skirts, try opting for a fitted look that lengthens your legs by pinching in above your natural waistline. Select a maxi item that also conceals your heels to cover up any artificial height that you may have added!

Maxi skirt fashion
Meg Caswell

Hi everyone, my name’s Meg! Having fallen in love with Perth over the past few years, I finally decided to relocate here from the UK in early 2016. Although I love Perth for its obvious beauty and vibrancy, it’s the city’s unique and hidden treasures that really attracted me to the West Australian way of life. I now live here as a full-time flat white lover and brunch enthusiast, dedicated to discovering Perth’s hidden business heroes.