Petite Dresses

Top 5 Styles of Petite Dresses

Petite dresses come in many styles, but there are five styles of petite dresses that can be especially flattering for the petite woman as long as other elements of style, such as color and hem length are flattering too.

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Petite Shirtdresses

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A shirtdress that falls to around knee-length can form the basis for an easy wear-to-work outfit, so this style is practical as well as flattering for most petite women. Front buttons form a vertical line, which helps petites look longer and leaner, and shirtdresses also have V-necklines, another style feature that elongates the figure visually.

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Petite Wrap Dresses

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Another flattering style for petite women is the wrap dress. Forming a V-neckline with surplice styling, a wrap dress can make petites look longer and leaner. Generally skirts on wrap dresses are either A-line or straight, both of which flatter petites. In addition to flattering styling, wrap dresses offer ease of wear with tie closures, rather than zippers or buttons.

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Petite Sheath Dresses

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Sheath dresses deserve a place in the top 5 dress styles for petite women because they're versatile as well as flattering. A sheath dress should fit well, just skimming the figure without being too tight. Although some petite women may avoid the sheath because figure flaws, such as a tummy, may be more evident, it's easy to disguise such a problem by adding a tailored jacket. This combination also makes a nice work ensemble.

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Petite Empire-Waist Dresses

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The great advantage of wearing an empire-waist dress for petites is that the figure isn't cut in half in the middle at the natural waistline. Moving the waistline under the bustline makes the legs appear longer, and so a short woman wearing an empire-waist dress looks a bit taller than she really is.

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Petite Long Column Dress

Lea Michele
Lea Michele poses with the award for An Ensemble In A Comedy Series for 'Glee' in the press room at the 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 23, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Although most of us won't be appearing on the red carpet anytime soon, there may be some special occasions when we'd like to wear a long dress. In addition to special occasion dressing, a more casual maxi dress can also work for easy summer wear. Petites will look taller and slimmer in a column-style long dress, rather than a long dress with a voluminous skirt because the dress itself helps create one, long vertical line.

Pictured: Petite actress Lea Michele