"Cute," "sweet, "tiny" - these are words that people use to describe petite women. As endearing as these words are, being a short woman does have its set of challenges, especially when it comes to choosing the right clothes and accessories to wear on a day to day basis.
A lot of people actually think that being petite means being able to wear anything - after all, you're tiny and short, that means you can wear anything, right? Well, not always.
There are actually a few styles of clothes and shoes that look unflattering on you. If you're wondering what these petite styling don'ts are, here are the 10 things to avoid as a petite woman...
Rule #1: Avoid Horizontal Stripes
You may weigh only 100 lbs. and want to have a bulkier look by wearing horizontal stripes but the sad truth is, they will only make you look shorter. Horizontal stripes force the eye side to side, which will make you seem wider.
If you want to wear stripes, opt for vertical stripes or less obvious fabric details like pinstripes. They're not too obvious to the eye from afar, but they add a subtle lengthening effect to your body that will absolutely make you look taller.
Rule #2: Avoid Thick Belts
Though a thick belt on your natural waist can create that hourglass figure, it actually cuts your body in half. This is especially true if your top and belt are both in different colours. If you really want to wear a wide belt, opt for a similar colour to your top so it somehow blends together.
Skinny belts are great for your torso, which add style to your ensemble without making you shorter. Opt for a similar colour to your top, too, so it doesn't cut off your body.
Rule #3: Avoid Batwing Sleeves
Dolman sleeves or batwing sleeves are ultra comfy but they won't solve any of your petite problems. They're too roomy and wide that they can swallow up your figure. You need clothes that will skim your body and make you look good - not hide it.
Choose clothes with sleeves that highlight your frame but not too tight nor too billowy. Wear clothes that are true to your size and those that accentuate your assets rather than hide them.
Rule #4: Avoid Oversized Accessories
Jewellery and other accessories can add style to an otherwise dull outfit but never wear oversized bags or jewellery. You might need to bring a large tote to work but it can make you look extremely short.
Petite styling is not just limited to clothes per se, every single detail about your look should be considered and that includes your shoes and accessories.
Rule #5: Avoid Big, Bold Prints
You might be attracted to a beautiful black and white geometric print dress on the runway but the truth is, it just doesn't work for small frames. Big, bold prints may look good on a 5'10" model but the print will only overwhelm your body.
Choose smaller prints that actually fill out your body such as small florals that will make you look fuller but without making you seem shorter than you are.
Rule #6: Avoid Calf-Length Hemlines
No matter how romantic tea length dresses look, sadly, they're not for you. These dresses fall on your calves - which cut off the long line of your legs, and you wouldn't want to cut off that height.
And this rule isn't limited to dresses - it includes capri pants, pedal pushers, and midi skirts that might look good on taller girls, but they only make your legs look shorter. And, they also make your legs look stumpy.
The rules for skirts is to wear knee-length skirts or maxi skirts - never something in between.
Rule #7: Avoid Dresses that Flare Out
Evening dresses and gowns for a formal event are tricky to select because you want to look sophisticated and elegant without being too boring.
No matter what the trends are, always dress for your body and the first thing you must consider is silhouette. Avoid dresses that flare out at the bottom such as mermaid type dresses. Choose A-line shapes that balance your figure, or high waisted dresses that elongate your legs.
Avoid ballgowns that make you look like a flower girl - choose skirts that are streamlined - such as spandex gowns that hug your skin rather than chiffon dresses that move away from your body.
Rule #8: Avoid Shoes with Ankle Straps
Never wear shoes with ankle straps if you want the appearance of longer legs. Avoid round-toe or square-toe shoes as well and opt for pointed toes that add height to your legs.
And if you can, choose nude heels or if you're wearing tights, wear shoes that are in their same colour to add a continuous line that adds height.
Rule #9: Avoid Culottes
Culottes and wide legged trousers come in and out of fashion but too much volume can swallow up a shorter woman, whilst culottes look good on a runway model they look stumpy on petites. If you want to go against the odds, wear heels!
Rule #10: Avoid Oversized Layering
Yes, it's cold out but don't pile on oversized clothes one after the other. Do not wear a turtleneck top with a poncho and then cover it all up with a double breasted trench coat - the horror! You'll look like a walking closet if you don this outfit. The same goes for ruffles and A-line dresses with excess fabric.
Your tiny frame will not hold up well with too many clothes on your body. If you need to layer, wear a well-fitted shirt under a V-neck sweater, and then put on a slim jacket. You can layer, but don't choose baggy or boxy silhouettes that are comfortable but overwhelm your small frame.
Yes, ruffles are so feminine and dainty but too much can make you look like a little girl who's drowning in her dress. Petite styling means choosing clothes that look good on you - not just clothes that look good period.
Complicated details such as too much beadwork or a big bow will swallow your body up - and you'd want to wear something that can highlight your face and body and not the dress.
The key to great style, for any body type for that matter, is proportion. If you're petite, it doesn't mean you should only wear mini purses or short dresses. You can wear the latest "It" bag and you can wear that beautiful long gown with a train, but always look for something that highlights your assets - such as a slim waist or thin arms - but always choose clothes that fit you well.
If you're unsure about wearing a specific piece of clothing or accessory, go back to this list to make sure you're on the right track to looking petite and fabulous.