10 Fashion Styling Tips for Petites

How to Appear Longer and Leaner

Would you like to look better in your clothes? Try these simple fashion styling tips for petites to help you appear longer and leaner. It’s all about creating the illusions of more and less – more height and less bulk. Next time you’re dressing for your job or to go out on the town, work some magic and create your own illusions.

01
of 10

Avoid Oversized Handbags

golden-yellow-handbag
Small Handbag. Petite Michael Dills/Getty Images

Stay away from huge handbags. Oversized bags are so big that they can seem to overwhelm short women. Select purses of medium size instead so that your bag will be in proportion to your smaller frame.

02
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Wear Clothes That Fit Well

Woman wearing athletic top
Wear Fitted Clothing. PeopleImages.com / Getty Images

Wear garments that fit you well. Fitted or semi-fitted clothing looks better on petites than loose-fitting apparel. Avoid garments that have a lot of design ease because all that extra fabric adds bulk and can make short women look heavier than they really are.

03
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Select Garments With Vertical Lines

Kenneth Cole New York Women's Princess-Seamed Coat
Kenneth Cole New York Women's Princess-Seamed Coat. Amazon

Select clothes with vertical lines. They don’t need to be striped. Vertical seam lines, such as princess seams, will do the trick.

04
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Choose V-Shapes

Woman wearing v-neck sweater
Wear V-Shapes. Eric Audras / Getty Images

Choose tops and jackets with V-shaped or U-shaped necklines. These neckline styles aid in creating the illusion of height.

Compare prices on V-neckline petite clothing.

05
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Avoid Bulky Garments

Woman wearing pink zipped sweater
Opt for a Less Bulky Sweater. Hill Creek Pictures / Getty Images

Watch out for bulky or highly textured fabrics. There’s no need to avoid texture completely but stay away from fabrics with a lot of loft. You want to appear taller, not broader. For sweaters, thin works better than thick.

Young woman putting on shoe by window
Dress in One Color. Brooke Fasani/Iconica/Getty Images

Dress all in one color from your top to your shoes. Don’t forget to match your tights or stockings to your outfit too. Dark colors slim, so try black, navy, charcoal, burgundy, deep green, or purple. More »

07
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Skip Minis

Miniskirt
Avoid Miniskirts. MaryWilson Photography / Getty Images

Skip the miniskirts and mini dresses. Although minis look great on women with long, slender legs, they don’t have the same effect for shorter women. The hem of a miniskirt worn by a petite woman falls across a thick part of the thigh, making it more noticeable and making shorter legs look even shorter.

08
of 10

Keep Belts Narrow

Skinny orange belt
Keep Belts Narrow. Victor Boyko / Getty Images

Keep belts slim and match them to your outfit if you want to wear a belt. Wide or contrasting belts cut the figure in half and break up the vertical illusion that we want to achieve.

Compare prices on skinny belts.

09
of 10

Choose Pants With Straight Legs

Woman wearing jeans
Choose Straight Leg Pants. Dan Hallman / Getty Images

Wear jeans and pants with straight legs. To keep a slim line, choose pants without cuffs, bulky pockets, or pleats.

Compare prices on jeans for petites.

10
of 10

Wear High Heels

Black High Heels
Wear Heels. Richard Boll / Getty Images

Wear high heels. It’s the easiest way to add height. Pumps and sling-backs are terrific, but avoid shoes with ankle straps. The strap breaks up the desirable vertical line and makes the wearer appear shorter.

If you're worried about comfort, try high heels, such as the Cole Haan brand, with air technology to cushion your feet.

Compare prices on Cole Haan Air Pump high heels.