What Fashions to Avoid If You Are Petite

Woman in striped sweater

Knowing what fashions to avoid if you are petite will help you make the best style choices if you stand 5'4" and under. Some women abide by fashion rules, while others ignore them or make their own. Although some style guidelines can seem outdated and rigid, other rules make a lot of sense. When it comes to the best in petite fashion, learn what works and what doesn't in order to create unforgettable looks that leave you standing tall.

What Fashions to Avoid If You Are Petite

You may have heard the fashion do's for petites, but what about some fashion don'ts? Avoid these looks if you can. Not only do you find out why, you'll also get suggestions on better options for short ladies.

Extreme Wide Legged Trousers

Why: Wide-legged slacks come in and out of vogue, but the extremely billowy legs often seen on runway models is not a good look for petites. Pants this wide and voluminous tend to swallow up shorter women.

Better bets: If you love the look of wide legs, you can still wear them, but choose pants with only slightly flared legs below the knee. Pair these slacks with high heels in a matching color and your legs will look longer.

Horizontal Stripes

Why: Any horizontal details on your clothing make eyes go side to side, which does nothing to elongate your look.Better: Skinny horizontal stripes can work, for instance, on a nautical-themed top. The emphasis is on skinny. However, when opting for stripes, petite women can create the illusion of height much better with vertical stripes and details, whether it's pinstripes on a smart pair of trousers, ruffles going up the front of a blouse or a long necklace hanging front and center.

Dolman Sleeves

Why: These sleeves, also known as batwings, are too wide and roomy to flatter petite frames. Plus size petite women have a little more leeway with this style, but avoid extreme dolman sleeves. They swallow up the short figure and do nothing to elongate it.Better: Your better options are to always choose tops that skim your body, not stand away from it. This doesn't equal "tight" clothing; it simply means to choose shirts that are your true size, so that you don't have a lot of extra fabric billowing around your body.

Calf-length Hemlines

Why: Dresses and skirts that hit mid-calf cut off the long line of the leg. Hems that hit this area are notorious for making petite women look shorter and making the legs appear stumpy.Better: While tea-length styles are best avoided, petite women will look fine in knee-length hemlines and hems that fall all the way to the floor.

Chunky Belts

Why: When worn at the natural waist, wide belts can cut the petite body in half. This non-flattering look is even worse if the belt is a drastically different color than the shirt or sweater it's worn over.Better: When skinny belts are all the rage, petite women can enjoy wearing this style, but wear it the right way: choose a belt that matches your top in order to create a monochromatic look. One-color styling makes a body appear longer and leaner.

Regular Women's Clothing

Why: Clothing made for average-sized women is usually too long in the crotch area, sleeves and legs for petite women. This creates the need for alterations, as well as creating unsightly bunching of fabric when a garment is simply too roomy for the body.Better: Whenever possible, shop in the petite department. The cuts in petite clothing are designed for the shorter figure, which can eliminate some alteration hassles, thereby saving you money and time.

Smart Petite Style

It may seem like a lot to remember when it comes to what fashions to avoid if you are petite, but all women can find flattering styles for their body shapes. Once you learn a few basic guidelines, you'll save yourself a lot of time by steering clear of the wrong styles. You may not actually be taller, but you can easily create the illusion of added inches just by making smart choices.

What Fashions to Avoid If You Are Petite