Petite Styling Tips and Tricks

The average American woman is 5’4. I am 4’11, thats a five inch deficit which is pretty significant when it comes to clothing. The majority of clothing is tailored to the average woman, if not taller, which is hard for petites. I want to share my petite styling tips & tricks, because unless you’re incredibly wealthy and have all custom tailored clothing, you’re wearing ready to wear and fast fashion so we gotta work with what we got. Below are my hem hacks, crop top and high waist endorsements, the importance of a heel and the beauty of a skort.

Wearing all the musts: heels, high waisted Agolde jeans hemmed by yours truly & cropped long sleeve polo from Zara.

My Hem Hack

Lots of brands offer petite sizing and companies like Abercrombie offer “short” inseams and even more recently, “extra short” (thank you!) but more often than not I am left with bottoms that fit great in the waist and through the legs but a lengthly amount of fabric at the bottom. I will always say find yourself a good tailor, there is no substitute for getting a proper hem done by a professional. I also recommend spending the extra bucks to have the original hem reattached if you go that route; however, if you don’t want the hassle, I have a trick up my sleeve.

Get a pair a good cutting shears. Not the scissors you have in your junk drawer (“draw” as I unapologetically say much to my husband’s dismay #Jersey), actual shears. They are made to cut through fabric and work great on denim. You can find them in craft stores but I found mine on Amazon and they are great.

I was inspired to get shears because raw (unfinished) hems were super on trend (and still are) so I figured, I can recreate that hem myself. The shears cut through like butter, making a nice clean line. Just measure where you want the jeans to hit, mark and cut them. I recommend washing and drying them first to allow for any shrinking. You can leave the edge as is once you make the cut OR if you don’t want to wait for the natural fraying, you can wet the hem with a little water, brush them out quickly to open up the weave and throw them in the dryer for 10 minutes. You will have to trim the threads every so often but it takes two seconds.

If you are intending to use the shears on fabric other than denim, I would say make sure you are okay with fraying – without traditional finished hem, fraying is almost inevitable. However, I have had success with lycra and fabrics alike with little to no fraying at all.

Crop Tops

Next up is the trendiest trend and one I hope NEVER goes away … the crop top! I am not endorsing the ones that come right under the bra line but instead the ones that hit just at the waist of your bottoms (I’ll get to that in a sec) or the ones that show a tiny bit of stomach (no more than an inch). I say this because crop tops create a cutoff line that makes you appear lengthier in your torso and I can use the help. More often than not you will see me in a crop top, not because I am trying to show skin, but because it gives the illusion of length. Crop tops are such a trending item, there’s no shortage of them anywhere. Play around with them, don’t write them off! If you can’t find one you like, you can always whip out your shears and make your own at a length you’re comfortable with ONLY IF you’re okay with fraying and/or the fabric curling.

High Waisted Bottoms

My favorite things in the world – high waisted bottoms! They have been a game changer for me because they draw the eye to the waist and the higher the waist, the longer the pants which elongates your body – this time in the legs and who doesn’t want longer looking legs? What’s better than high waist you ask? High waisted wide legs, I’ll explain. If you are going to go for this, find a really well fitting pair and make sure they fit snug in the waist and sit nicely along the outside of the thighs. These look amazing with heels, especially a block heel (IMO). I say this because if you hem them to wear with a specific heel height (wear the heels to the tailor or when you’re marking yourself) hem the pants just above the floor. I am talking millimeters of space between the floor and the pant. Worn with heels, the wide leg will cover the shoe and you will only see your pants from the waist to the floor adding whats that now? More Length! You can reference what I am talking about in the photo in this post.

The Power of a Heel

It’s no secret heels are your friend (if you want them to be) and it doesn’t take a genius to understand if you add a heel, you physically add height and length. There are heels that help more than others, and not necessarily the higher the better! First up are skin toned heels. If you have a classic pump or sandal that is close in color to your skin, they almost blend in and create a natural appearance of height.

I strongly suggest a pair of THIN strappy sandals. I’m talking thin toe strap and ankle strap, the less shoe, the more it looks like its all you. I absolutely love my Stuart Weitzman Nudists but I know they are a splurge – full disclosure: I got them at a discount. There is no shortage of budget friendly options out there, like these!

Another option if you’re open to the trend would be clear heels, they offer an updated twist to the tonal options and are available in pumps and sandals. The idea here also being the less shoe you see, the more it gives off the look that its all you.

The Skort

When you’re petite and in the market for a mini skirt, they won’t always be mini on you. Instead of going through the hassle of hemming yet another bottom, might I suggest the skort. A pleated tennis skirt or school uniform may be all that comes to mind but thats not all that exists.

I am wearing skorts in both looks, and they’re not at all what you’d expect. I seek skorts out because they tend to be more petite friendly than your average mini skirt. Because of the extra layer of protection from exposure (the built in shorts) the length on these bad boys tends to be a bit shorter thus allowing the look of a mini skirt without having to alter it. And don’t forget, throw some heels on to make those gorgeous legs look even longer!



You Might Also Like

  1. Taylor Spolidoro

    Love this! Such helpful tips! Xoxo