How to buy used clothing

When I was a child, I remember getting hand-me-downs from my cousins as well as my older sister. This was in part because my parents decided to spend their earnings on paying off our house quickly which didn’t allow for a lot of money for buying clothes. Hand me downs are either cheap or free but as a young child I was oblivious to this and the understanding that buying second hand can often be cheaper came later though it is still not the main reason I buy second hand. I remember the garbage bags full of clothes that my cousins no longer wore and it literally felt like Christmas to me! I would scour through all of the items to see what treasures I could find, trying them on for fit, styling them with other clothes and accessories that I already had and literally reinventing myself over and over again. Often my cousins would buy things that I wouldn’t even consider and brands that our parents wouldn’t so often they had good quality materials and craftsmanship so I could feel really good in my “new” (to me) clothes! Fast forward to today and I still love getting hand-me-downs. I am the person who when invited to go to an event or a party, will request getting ready at your house so I can search through your wardrobe and accessories and borrow some of your items or re-style what you have to create new looks for you to wear out! It is just so fun for me! And whether I am just borrowing, re-styling for my friend, if I am actually gifted the item or if I have found it and bought it on my own, it is always fun to see an item given new life, especially if that item was not being used before, taking up space in a wardrobe or a shop that could be used to express a particular mood for that day!

This love of wearing other people’s clothes, shoes and accessories has grown over the years and I feel like I am well versed in how to buy and style used clothing and now with such a focus on sustainability and a growing awareness of the environmental impact of fast fashion (where clothes are made now to wear out quickly and are being thrown into landfill, taking many decades to break down) and the cost of actually producing new clothes (insert political statement about sweat shops or the gallons of water used to make cotton here), I thought I would share a few of my tips on how to buy used clothing so you too can enjoy the advantages of reinvention.

Define Your Why

Think about what you are trying to achieve by shopping second hand. Are you trying to reduce your carbon print? Are you looking for something unique? Are you looking to save a bit of money? Keep that in the back of your mind as you shop as it’ll help you make decisions of when to buy and when to say bye.

Get Inspired Beforehand

I really enjoy going shopping in mainstream stores to find what is trending and how the mannequins are styled, what colours are in etc. I also love to look on Pinterest for looks I love and pin them to boards for quick reference. I also enjoy buying Vogue Magazines and following Instagram accounts of people that have great style. These images will be in your mind (even subconsciously) and will influence the things you pick up in the shops and how you style them.

Wear separates

If you are going shopping to a physical location, I find it helps to wear separates (like pants and a top, or skirt and a top) so that you can see what the item looks like with other clothes you already own but also because there is nothing worse than trying on a top when you are wearing a dress and not having any pants to see how it looks.

General or Specific

In my experience, it’s best not to look too specifically while shopping second hand, but more look for unique or interesting things or aim to create a particular outfit or something similar to what you’ve seen but with different colours and different items. Though I do know many people who set intentions on a specific thing they want and have success doing that too so do what works for you!

Wash Before Wear

As you would before you wear anything new, make sure you wash items that you have purchased secondhand. If it is an expensive item, like a formal or wedding dress that needs to be dry-cleaned, check with the seller if it has been dry-cleaned. If not, factor the dry cleaning cost into your overall cost and weigh up if it is still worth it. The last thing you want is to be smelling the perfume (or worse, their body odor) of the person who wore the item before you (this is speaking from experience!).

Accept The Condition As It Is

As the items have often been worn before, you may find some minor wear and tear, like a missing button for example. The price should reflect this. Do not be put off by these details as they are an easy fix so learning a few sewing basics like sewing a hem, a button or a zip can help or otherwise, getting someone else (or pay someone else like a tailor or dressmaker) to do it for you. If you or someone else need to do work on an item to make it work, factor this into your overall price when deciding whether to purchase or not.

Quality over Quantity

Ok, I don’t always stick to this rule but in general, if you already have a denim jacket, do you really need another? (I have literally just handed on one of my four denim jackets because I wasn’t using it). Unless you are in desperate need of some basics, look for unique items or items you love and also, check out the quality. As above, some small repairs may be worth it but check out the fabric itself- is it starting to fade? Is it stretched in places? Is the fabric thin and unlikely to last? Are the hems and other seams likely to pull away in time? Unless you really love it, there is no point in buying an item that will only last you a couple of wears before you need to get rid of it. Another thing I look for is the care tag. If it has a list of instructions of how to properly care for an item, I will weigh up whether the item is worth my time to care and wash. I am a busy mum after all! With a job and study to juggle. If an item is too hard, I generally won’t bother!

Shop all sections

have heard this said many times! Particularly the advice I hear is to shop in the men’s department as an androgynous look is super trendy and men’s jackets and blazers look hot on some women but honestly, as a petite, I don’t do this that much because men’s clothes are usually swimming on me but if you are a petite with broader shoulders for example, then a man’s jacket may work for you. I do, however, shop in the children’s section (boys or girls actually) and also the linens section. I have a couple of woolen plaid blankets that I am in the process of up cycling into other items which is really fun! The blankets were both under $10 and I’m sure they cost over $100 new. So it can be a really cheap way to buy fabric if you are handy and love to sew!

Look for cool design features

I once bought a shirt because it had really cool buttons that I cut off and sewed onto another shirt. There are so many things you can do like that if you look at the item as fabric and haberdashery rather than the form it is currently in.

What do you think of these tips? Do you have any more questions about how to shop second hand? If you have some tips, I would love to hear them! Please comment them below.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Women’s cowboy boots- Boho style

Last weekend I went to the Groundwater Country Music Festival on the Gold Coast and though I enjoyed watching the music (and having a dance), I loved the fashions too and have since become obsessed with Women’s Cowboy Boots. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a fan of the Country style but lately, it is really on trend so much easier to find and with more variety. Now you don’t need to wear all country to be rocking the cowboy boots, but introducing natural elements into your style can create some really cool boho vibes, which is perfect for a Music Festival, Rodeo or a night out with friends around a fire.

For a bit of inspiration, check out this clip. The worldwide success of this song (Old Town Road) is definitely contributing to bringing the cowboy style back. I mean seriously, the outfits in this clip make me want to ride a cowboy! I mean (cough), ride a horse (with a cowboy maybe? hahaha)!! Or at the very least, do some line dancing or boot-scooting! :-/

Let me tell you, I do love the boho style but nobody rocks this better than my very best friend Lorin. This relaxed and earthy style feels so authentic on her because she is a very natural and outdoorsy person, a trained naturopath with a love of nature, plants and all things outdoors so it seems to suit her personality (and I am ALLLL about matching our style with WHO WE ARE). She is also a petite with a height of 5’3″ (or 163cm) which made her the perfect model for me to style and photograph for this blog post.

PLUS… Her wardrobe is so beautiful with so many long flowy dresses and the coolest pair of…..

Cowboy boots!


I am in LOVE with Lorin’s cowboy boots. These were purchased from the Salvation Army Op Shop in Adelaide (her jacket also opped) but I have sourced some other cowboy inspired boots new that I will share at the end of this post. What I love about a good pair of boots, is they are so versatile and super comfy and it doesn’t matter so much if they get dirty as they are built for all kinds of terrain!

Dress them up!

One way to style a good pair of cowboy boots is with a long patterned skirt and a slouchy shoulder bag. This entire outfit of Lorin’s was second hand from the op shop but again, some new items  inspired by this natural style at the end of the post.

Cowboy boots with a maxi dress, a hat and a denim or suede jacket also really shows a natural, effortless look:

Add a few chunky accessories for a truly boho look…

On that note though, if you are going for a boho look, it’s a great idea to keep your look natural by including natural stones/crystals like Lorin’s necklace/ring as well as natural materials in fabrics like leather/suede, straw, cotton and linens.

Wear ’em with denim

Another great option is to wear your cowboy boots with denim. I feel like cowboy boots and denim are literally made for each other. You can do this by wearing boots with a short denim skirt or short frayed shorts (such a sexy festival look!), a dress/skirt (any length) with a denim jacket or vest or of course, with a trusty pair of denim jeans!

The bootleg jean is actually made for wearing boots underneath but as a petite, I actually find that it can be tricky to find a good pair of bootleg jeans that don’t require you having to cut most of the flare off to hem them! So another really cute (and modern) option is to wear your boots over skinny jeans like this:
What do you think? Do you love the cowboy/country style trend? Do you have any further tips to share? Please comment below! I’ve also sourced a few items inspired by this natural look for you to shop below:

 

 

If you are petite (under 5’4″) and would like to be featured on our site, please send an email to renae@stylemepetite.com

Special shout out to Lorin from Nourishing Beliefs for agreeing to model for me for this post. I had so much fun styling and photographing her with all of her beautiful clothes and in her natural habitat! What a beauty! Thanks for being so authentic and stylish Lorin. So inspiring!

Where To Buy Petite Clothing

As mentioned in an earlier post, petite women come in all shapes and sizes and being petite simply refers to having a height under 5’4″ (or under 162.5cm). Though there are no standard sizes (in Australia anyway), clothing for women is generally made for a height of 5’5″, sometimes even taller and though the most common challenge of being shorter is to do with longer lengths in dresses, tops, skirts, pants and sleeves; fixing lengths is usually an easy fix by cuffing or sewing a hem (either yourself or by getting a tailor). But being shorter can also effect other proportions that are not as easily fixed such as the width of shoulders, the heights of arm holes, lengths of straps, etc. Fortunately, there are some designers that are tailoring for shorter women and have developed more proportioned styles labeled as “Petite”. But finding these “petite” items is tricky so I have created a list of where to buy petite clothing below. But first, a little discussion on what makes petite clothing so appealing for those of us who are a little more vertically challenged 😉

Advantages of Petite Clothing

Petite clothing is clothing that is made for women with a height of 5’3″ (160cm) or below and though some come in smaller sizes (such as a size 4 or 6), many of the petite lines stock larger sizes too. What makes them different to regular sizes though is that petite clothing can provide:

-Shorter lengths for arms, legs and the hem of tops, dresses etc

-Higher armholes

-Shorter waist and rise in pants

-Shorter in-seam in pants

-Shoulders that are proportionally narrower

-Smaller cuff holes

-Collars and necklines that sit higher and

-Smaller details in patterns

Petite clothing makers also use designs to elongate the body too so for example, they may use vertical stripes to accentuate height or use small belt loops for skinny belts which seem to work better for smaller frames. As a side note, you may be a petite because of your height but that doesn’t mean that you have smaller proportions all over. It does depend on your body shape. So you may be short but have broader shoulders for example, and your shoulders may fit regular sizes in which case do not buy a jacket that is made for a petite because the shoulders will be too narrow. You may find petite pants work for you though with a shorter rise and shorter lengths. So you need to really know your body and its challenges first or check the measurements on each item if they are provided or if in store, try them on!

Knowing fit is important for a petite and sometimes it can be tricky to find the right fit. So I have done some research and compiled a list of outlets I have found that tailor specifically for petites. If you have others, please add them in the comments. To make it easier, I have categorised the outlets I have found into casual, work wear and evening wear. Some outlets cater for more than one category so I have done my best to pick a category or otherwise included them in more than one category. But note that you can find more than one category at the links so do check them all out! I have also focused on outlets that post to Australia because I am based in Australia though some of these outlets are worldwide or have other websites for different countries which can be found once you choose where you are shipping to once you have gone to the site. So whether you are looking for some weekend wear or something for work or something to head out after hours, I’ve got you covered 🙂 Below are links specifically to the petite ranges of the outlets below.

Warning! Online shopping can be addictive (particularly when they offer after pay) so shopping is at your own risk! (Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Haha!)

Where To Buy

For Casual Wear:

Pretty Little Thing

Boohoo

Misguided

Anthropologie

Target

TopShop

Soft Suroundings

Asos

Gap

Citizens of Humanity

Paige

Blue Bungalow

For Work Wear:

Boden

Forever New

Next

Myer

Express

Ann Taylor

Bloomingdales

Dorothy Perkins

Eileen Fisher

Simply Kate

Petite Dressing

Bomb Petite

For Evening/formal wear:

Next

Forever New

Macys Formal Dresses

Glam Corner (provides petite dresses for rent)

What did you think of this list? Were there any new places that you hadn’t heard of before? Any favourites? I loved checking out all of these sites. Each shop has its own look and price point and it’s fun to see new styles and imagine different ways to style. As mentioned, if you have places or any feedback on any of the above, please share with us in the comments 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Dress Styles To Hide A Tummy

As mentioned in my last post, I had a lot of women request this topic hence choosing to write about it but please do not feel that you need to “hide” any part of your body. Know that it is a part of your anatomy and you need it and it serves some wonderful purposes! But also, there are other great features that you may want to bring attention to so I have written a few style tips for this topic here and in this post, I will share about particular dress styles that do this too. Ladies with tummies, dresses are your best friend! But not all dresses. You really want to look for ones that provide extra fabric around your middle and that have designs lines that are slimming. This will ensure that they are comfortable and flattering.

A-Line dresses

A-Line and Empire Line dresses are the best to flatter a tummy. These styles are where the top of the dress (bust and shoulders) is more fitted but there is more fabric from under the bust down. A-line got that name because if you were to lay the top or dress down, it would roughly make the shape of an A or a triangle with the top smaller and the rest flaring out. Here is a great example from Jeanswest which I feel would be super flattering around the tummy and with a small amount of definition with the little belt, it brings the waistline up which lengthens the legs:

Another great option is this dress available from Modcloth:

What I love about this dress is that though it’s not petite, it is sleeveless (which is a great way for petites who have proportionally smaller shoulders to avoid having sagging shoulders). I also love the pleats that are very slimming and provide great vertical lines for height. A great A-line petite option is from Boden here. Super cute, extremely versatile and available in some great colours.

Empire Dresses

Empire dresses are usually associated with formal dresses but they are very similar to A-line but the fabric falls straight down rather than flares out. For some petite options, check out this dress from Boden that is a casual empire line dress or this one. Both of the Boden dresses come in petites and you can check the size guide for each garment to check if you need a petite size or regular (they also have talls/longs!).

Maxi Dresses

Maxi dresses are great for creating an illusion of height. Look for maxi dresses that are all the one pattern or colour and incorporate diagonal or vertical lines if you can. Horizontal lines on a petite aren’t great and really not good for someone who is wider because the vertical line is drawing the attention horizontal making you appear wider rather than vertical, making you taller. I am in love with this dress that I found at Modcloth:
It has some additional features that really make it work including that fabulous diagonal vertical line which brings the attention vertical and really gives more height. It also comes in some bigger sizes (upto 4 XL) and some really small sizes (XXS) but unfortunately this dress is not a petite item so you may need a hem! (But check the size guide for measurements). Here is a more casual one from Rusty which is super cool too:
I would recommend wearing a fitted cropped vest or jacket with the one above. More styling tips about jackets can be found here and here. Another fun maxi dress here:
(For petite maxi dresses, consider this one or this one from Boden).

Wrap Dresses

I really like wrap dresses in general. I feel like they are super flattering and work for so many body shapes. They provide extra coverage around the tummy to and the diagonal lines they create are quite slimming and usually, the V brings the attention to the bust area. Here is a great one from Boden (that comes in a range of sizes including petite, regular and long). Here is another one I love particularly for ladies who want to show off their legs!There are many more designs that work but these are just a few. I had so much fun shopping for these styles. Feel free to share what you have found in the comments 🙂 More style tips on this topic can be found in my previous post here.

How to dress to hide a tummy

I wrote this post as I literally had women asking me this question. Actually it surpises me how many women want to know how to dress to hide a tummy. I did some research on it and wrote this article but also, I want women to feel empowered to express themselves in what they put on their body, not hide parts that they are ashamed of. As women there is a lot of pressure to look a certain way, be a certain size etc but I hope you know that there is more support than ever for women of different shapes and sizes as beauty is so subjective. I also know that the right outfit that brings attention to the parts of your body you like the most can make all of the difference in how you feel and confidence is sooo sexy so that’s why I am writing this! Also, I know that it is not just out of shame that women want to hide their tummy. I remember being in the early stages of pregnancy for example and trying to conceal my tummy as I wasn’t ready to tell people our news. I also remember my usual style not providing enough coverage after having my children as it can take some time to loose that tummy after having a baby! So whatever reason, here’s some style tips that will hopefully help you to feel more confident in your body.

A-Line

A-line are garments that are fitted up the top and flare out at the bottom. You can get a-line dresses, tops and skirts. A-line got it’s name because if you imagine laying the item flat, you would see that it makes a shape of a triangle or the letter A (if you can see the two bottom parts of the letter A as your legs!). The part of the top or skirt that flares out can hide a lot and people are unaware what’s underneath as the shape just looks like part of the clothing.

Focus On Vertical, Not Horizontal

The advantage of focusing on vertical design lines is that it can not only make you look taller (so good for us petites), it also naturally takes the attention away from the horizontal which is definitely what you want when you are trying to hide the wider parts of your body such as your tummy! The dress above has sneaky pleats which create vertical lines, bringing the attention up. Here is another example of an a-line dress with vertical lines in the pattern as well as navy blue where the buttons are:


I have written more styling tips to bring the attention vertical in this post and this post.

Belts and Waistbands

Skinny belts are not a great option if you are trying to hide a tummy unless you are an hour glass or a pear shape and have a defined waist that is quite a bit slimmer than the bit of your tummy you are trying to conceal. Either way, if you are wearing a belt on your waist (to actually hold up your pants/skirt), consider wider belts and wider waistbands too because you can really hide a lot behind them! Many people with a bit of extra weight wear their pants below their tummy but actually opting for a higher waisted pant can actually be more slimming as it can provide some coverage. I would also encourage you not to put a belt all the way around the widest part of your body without covering some of that area with a longer top, vest, cardigan or the “French Tuck”. A French tuck involves tucking just some of your shirt into your pants but leaves the rest of the shirt untucked so there is more fabric that can hide where your body ends.

Jackets

Many people with a bigger tummy (or bust) make the mistake of trying to find jackets that do up and unfortunately by doing so, they are sacrificing fit in other places and what ends up happening is they can just look bigger all over. To avoid this, simply wear jackets or cardigans undone that fit your shoulders and wear a dress or the same colour on the top and bottom to create a smaller silhouette underneath the jacket. Cropped jackets or vests can still look great if you are wearing a longer top (think tunic length) or dress underneath.

Avoid…

I know it’s tempting but avoid wearing short tops or tops that sit at the top of your pants or skirt as they may creep up and show the very part of your body you’re trying to bring attention away from. Also avoid wearing tops that are tight and fitted around your tummy (it’s just not as comfortable either!). I would also encourage you to avoid wearing big bold patterns on the top half of your body as they will just bring attention to that area. Opt instead for darker colours on top (you can still wear colour! Just go for bright, rather than light). There are so many other great designs that work for you, so avoid those that don’t if you can.

Show Off Your Other Assets!

Think about the other parts of your body that you like more such as your bust, legs, shoulders,  booty and find ways to draw attention there. This naturally brings the attention away from your belly! You can do this by colour blocking like this:

See how this brings the attention to her bust and stunning décolletage? Or by wearing a V-neck which shows some cleavage 🙂 (Hey, flaunt it if you have it girls!!)

Asymmetry


Asymmetrical lines seem to confuse us, which is a good thing when you want to conceal what’s underneath! The above top is also A line in that it is more fitted up the top and looser down the bottom. This is a really flattering design though I would encourage you to pair a looser fitting top with a more structured bottom such as more fitted pants or a pencil skirt (if it’s not too tight around your tummy and the top is long enough to hide that part if it is). The same rule works in the other way around too. If you have more looser skirt or pants, wear a more fitted top (as demonstrated by the green dress above).

Wear Dresses

I have shown a few examples of dresses in this post. This is because dresses are super flattering because they create a seamless line all the way down your body and you can create some really beautiful silhouettes with the right design lines. Having said that, not all dresses work so avoid fitted ones and go for ones with more fabric under the bust. I have another post that goes into more detail about the types of dress styles that I think work best but for now, here are some great examples:



I particularly love this green number because it also has a vertical/diagonal line with the lighter green which is really slimming and brings the attention up vertically which also creates more height. The above dresses are not in Modcloth’s petite range so be sure to check the size chart before purchasing or adjust the lengths to work.

Peplums

A really fun option is a peplum top. The reason this works is because the fabric flares out where the tummy is and you can hide a bit of a gut underneath without anyone knowing the difference!



I hope this information has helped you and you can feel more confident to wear clothes and designs that really bring out your best assets. For more dressing tips, consider reading this post on dress styles to hide a tummy or this post on body shapes. If you have any other tips or questions please comment them below or reach out using the contact form 🙂

Thanks for reading,

How To Appear Taller (post 2)

Making yourself appear taller is advantageous for petites (women 5’4″ or 162.5cm and below) but also for other women too as styling yourself to appear taller is also more slimming as it brings the focus vertically (making you look slimmer), rather than horizontally (which can make you look wider). I actually started writing my style tips on this topic here but I had so much to say that I thought it would be easily to digest over two posts! But, if you haven’t already read the last post, please do that first. It covers what to look for in shoes, why cropped items work, what lengths are good in tops and skirts etc as well as other great styling tips. Anyway, continuing on from the last post, here are tips 6-10 to help you style to appear taller.

Tip 6: Tuck

The main aim to looking taller is to lengthen the legs, torso and arms. By tucking in your top, you are essentially bringing the waist line up which naturally lengthens the legs. This works for many different body shapes but is particularly good for petites as lengths of hems can be a problem for those of us who are shorter (read more about the challenges of getting the right fit for a petite here).

styling-for-petites

There are a few different ways to tuck in a top. The first (as above) is just simply to tuck it in, all the way around. Adding a belt is also great as it brings more attention to that waist height, lengthening the legs (more information about which horizontal lines to accentuate and which ones to avoid in the previous post). If there is too much fabric or you still enjoy the shirt untucked (especially if you are going for a more casual look or want to cover your seat!), you could try the “French Tuck”.  The French Tuck involves tucking your shirt at the front (or sometimes I like to tuck at the side) and then untucking a little so that the entire shirt is not tucked but you can still see the waist line where you have tucked, adding length to the legs. The French Tuck also creates a great diagonal with the asymmetry of the front being shorter than the back so it is really flattering and again brings the attention up and makes you appear taller.

Tip 7: Shop Petites

This does depend on your size and body shape but note again that petite does not mean small and petite clothes are simply made with proportions that work better for those that are shorter (generally under 5’5″). This means that shoulders may be more narrower, hems shorter, arm holes higher, etc. More about the advantages of petite clothes here. Some petite lines do stock bigger sizing and there are some labels that are designed for shorter plus sized ladies too (check out City Chic, Lane Bryant, or Taking Shape for example).

Tip 8: Try The Children’s Section

Children’s sizing only really works if you are a smaller petite but don’t write them off completely as you may get lucky! A size 8 ladies (Australian sizing) ends up being a size 14 in children’s though it depends on the brand. (I discuss sizing discrepancies more in this post).

Remember it is more flattering to wear jackets and tops that fit the shoulders so even if a children’s or petite size jacket doesn’t do up but fits well around the arms and shoulders (and doesn’t restrict any movement, haha), it can look really stylish undone particularly over a monochrome silhouette and having those shoulders fitting really brings in the overall look, helping to slim and elongate.

I have many children’s clothes including this vest which is a children’s size 12:

And this jacket which is a children’s size 10:

What I do love about children’s clothes is they are made for shorter people so the lengths in arms and hems seems to work much better and overall the proportions work better for shorties.

Tip 9: Learn To Sew Some Basics

You can pick up a sewing kit quite cheaply from a supermarket or a sewing shop like Spotlight for hand sewing alterations. It comes with different coloured cottons, sewing needles, hook and eyes, chalk, pins, scissors etc. I encourage you to invest in at least that though if you have some more money and will be doing a few alterations, I would encourage you to also purchase a sewing machine (or at least make sure you have access to one!). You may even like to try attending some sewing classes. Learning to sew a hem is paramount to a petite. I will share some how tos in later posts.

Tip 10: Invest In A Tailor

If you cannot learn the above, find a good tailor who can alter your clothes for you. Fit is important though this is usually a last resort for me as it can get costly though the difference in how you look can be worth it so that is something you need to weigh up in the moment. Simple adjustments like altering lengths is an easy fix but other alterations like changing the height of arm holes are a bit trickier! I went to Bali last year and got a bunch of my clothes re-made and a few of my existing clothes altered. This is another option if you already have a holiday planned and much cheaper than doing it in Australia!

The previous post covers a whole bunch of other tips including what shoes to wear, wearing cropped jackets, sleeves and pants as well as some tricks to layer if clothes are not fitting correctly so make sure you check that out. If you have any other tips, I would love to hear them! So please leave a comment below or get in touch using the contact form.

Thanks for reading,

10 Petite Style Tips: How To Appear Taller

Before we get into styling for specific body shapes, I thought it would be useful to give some general petite style tips and tricks that work to elongate the body and make you appear taller. This is useful not just for petites (women under 5’4″) but also for anyone wanting to appear taller as appearing taller can also help you appear slimmer too! I have picked my top 10 relating to shoes, jackets, tops, pants and skirts and added them over two posts. Here is post one, post two can be found here.

Tip 1: Add Length With Shoes

-Wear heels

It is so obvious as actually wearing heels DOES make you taller! If you are wearing them for long periods, I would definitely recommend getting a pair of wedges or shoes that have a block heel as it takes some of the pressure off your back to have your feet more supported and are just generally more comfortable. Wedges are particularly great as they add an additional diagonal line which adds height.

-Match your shoes and legs

Having shoes the same colour as your legs also makes them appear longer. So for me, that means I wear a lot of nude coloured shoes. Invest in at least one pair of nude shoes if you haven’t already. This also means if you are wearing tights or leggings, try matching boots or shoes with the tights/pants you are wearing as well. Navy shoes with blue jeans is a winning combination too!

Wear-nude-shoes

If you like flat shoes, I found these great shoes on Boden:
https://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=10763&awinaffid=609361&clickref=&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bodenclothing.com.au%2Fen-au%2Fchristina-slingbacks-fawn-rose%2Fsty-a0480-neu%3Fcat%3DC1_S2_G11

-Avoid shoes that sit at your ankle

The reason to avoid ankle straps and ankle boots is because visually it cuts the leg at that point and makes the legs appear shorter.  It’s fine to break these rules occasionally especially if you are abiding by the other rules like you can see my nude wedges have an ankle strap and so do my favourite navy and white ones but these work as the colour of the straps are light like my legs and the wedges add a diagonal line elongating the foot and leg. So break the rules a little, mix it up and make those legs look loooooong!!

navy-and-white-shoes

Tip 2: Use Lines That Elongate

Try to remember to choose items that add length to your legs or to your torso (you’re winning if you can do both at once!). For example, you can see that the skirts in this picture that sit ABOVE THE KNEE tend to work best in making me look taller as they lengthen the legs. Raising the waist helps to lengthen the legs too if you can wear a belt or tuck your top in at your waist (visual further in post). The shorter the skirt, the longer your legs will look and, the taller you will appear (note an additional diagonal line in the mini skirt here for even more height)! I also love to wear over the knee boots to bring that line up further. Anything that sits above the knee is usually great at adding length to legs!

skirt-lengths-for-petites

Here’s a really cute skirt from Modcloth that does this well. Great vertical lines with the vertical seam feature and buttons here. Also great because of the attention to the high waist with the bow (lengthening the legs) and the shorter length:
-Lines that don’t work:

There are some lines that don’t work at lengthening the torso or legs and that is wearing tops or jackets that sit at the middle of your body (your hips) or jackets that sit at the lower hips (crotch). One of the reasons is because it brings attention to the horizontal lines instead of vertical (for height), it doesn’t lengthen the torso or legs and also it is often one of our widest parts (for triangle, hour glass and pear shapes anyway) so having jackets end there can make you appear wider. If you want to break the rules again, you can wear a longer shirt tucked in at the front a little (French tuck) or pair it with a cropped jacket. This ensures you are bringing that horizontal line up with the cropped jacket and with this trick you are lengthening your torso too (with the longer top).

Tip 3: Choose Cropped Items

Cropped jackets, cropped pants and cropped sleeves are a go to as well. These all raise the hem up and therefore make your legs or arms appear longer.

Here are some great cropped pants from Modcloth. I love these as not only are they cropped (lengthening the legs), they also have great vertical lines in the pockets and also with the line of buttons on the bottom of the pants! (More on vertical lines later) :

A cropped jacket (which will sit at your waist or upper hip) brings the waist line up, making the legs look longer. This works for many different shaped petites. A 3/4 sleeve also brings the attention up visually and makes your arms look longer.

If the clothes don’t naturally come cropped, you can create a crop by rolling or cuffing up a hem like for the sleeves in this jacket. Note that this jacket is also a great length as it sits higher on the body:

Cuff-sleeves

Here is a cuff example for pants:

cuffed-pants-for-petites

You can also crop by shortening tops (so many people just cutting their tops at the moment to make them cropped!), by tying a knot in a shirt as well as doing a “French tuck” (where you tuck the front of your shirt into your pants and then untuck it a little so it sits loosely). If you are not so comfortable wearing a shorter jacket/top, you can cover your seat with the french tuck option or you can wear a longer jacket or cardigan paired with a monochromatic silhouette underneath or a cropped jacket over a longer top as mentioned above. Remember to make sure the shoulders of the top layer fit you and that the longer length sits at a flattering height as per discussion above.

Tip 4: Fit Shoulders Or Go Sleeveless

The most important thing for a petite in jackets is to make sure that the jacket fits her shoulders. Sometimes this may result in a jacket not doing up if you have a larger bust but it can still look quite stylish having an open jacket with a silhouette underneath (to create a silhouette, wear one colour or pattern as a dress or top and bottoms that are all in the same colour/pattern) as opposed to having a jacket where the shoulders are sagging.

If finding tops that fit your shoulders is tricky (me), I would also recommend wearing singlets, tanks or vests to avoid the shoulder problem altogether. If it is cooler, you can wear a longer sleeve top and if it doesn’t quite fit at the shoulders, layer it with a vest.

Tip 5: Layer

On that note, if your clothes don’t fit quite right, consider putting clothes over the top to cover ill-fitting shoulders or longer lengths. As I mentioned above, be sure that the top layer is fitted (especially to your shoulders) which will bring in your overall look. A super cute look for petites is to wear a dress or tunic that sits above the knee and pair it with a cropped jacket with tights and boots that are the same colour and a belt that sits at the waist.

For styling tips 6-10, please continue reading here. I would also love to hear your styling tips too so please comment if you learnt something new or if you have any styling tips you could offer other shorties. Otherwise continue reading here.

Til next time 🙂

 

 

 

Please note, ModCloth have a petite range though both items above are not petites so just check the measurements in the descriptions before making a decision to purchase 🙂 And, happy shopping 🙂

What is my body shape? Use the body shape calculator to find out!

Women come in all shapes and sizes and the only thing that makes one petite is height (under 5’4″) so naturally the next question is “What’s my body shape?” Knowing your body shape can help ensure that you find clothes that are flattering and also help you with styling to ensure that your overall look is balanced and shows off your best features 😊

Step One: Measure your body

Often people will look at the different body shapes and the descriptions and make up their own mind about which shape they are without measuring. This can be inaccurate so I definitely recommend measuring.

The best way to measure yourself is to be completely nude though I know that may not be so comfortable for everyone so just ensure that you don’t have any padding or loose fitting clothes that may affect the measurements in any way. Using a measuring tape is the best option but if you don’t have one, you can use string and then measure the string using a ruler. You want to measure all the way around the body in the following areas:

Renaes measurements

Bust: This is the fullest part of your bust. Measure all the way around the back as well.
Waist: This is directly under your rib cage. This should come in slightly (depending on your shape of course)
High Hips: There are two hip measurements. The high hips is the top of your hips where your hip bones are.
Lower Hips: The lower hips is the biggest part of your bottom. It usually sits around the crotch.

Step Two: Identify Your Shape

After you have your measurements, put them into the calculator below but please note that the “hips” measurement refers to the lower hips. So in the calculator, lower hips comes before high hips:

Body Shape Calculator

The calculator will classify your body into one of seven categories:

Hourglass

The most famous body shape and the most balanced of the body shapes and in the past, the most coveted. The bust and hips are approximately the same, the waist is smaller and well-defined.

Top Hourglass

Same as the hourglass with a smaller and defined waist except your bust is bigger than your hips.

Bottom Hourglass

A clearly defined waist, smaller bust, larger hips.

Pear/Spoon

Very similar to a bottom hourglass except your hips have a more shelf-like appearance. Smaller defined waist, smaller bust, larger hips.

Triangle

Triangles have a slim upper body and wider hips. Typically, the hips are wider than the shoulders. Waist is not clearly accentuated

Inverted Triangle

Inverted triangles have a larger upper body in proportion to their lower body, including shoulders and bust with more narrow hips and again a not so clearly defined waist.

Rectangle

Hips, waist and bust are about the same size and you usually have a more athletic body shape.

Step Three: Style to your body shape

Each of the body shapes have their unique strengths. Over time, culture has played a big part too in what is considered to be an attractive shape for a woman, though now I hope that we are becoming more inclusive and we understand that all shapes are beautiful in their own way. Once you have measured and defined your shape, the idea is to create balance within your style. What this means is, if you have more size on the top of your body for example, it would create more balance if you were to add interest to the bottom half of your body for example through flared or boot legged pants or patterns or bright colours on the bottom half. If you are larger on the bottom half, this would be opposite and you would style to accentuate the top half of your body, for example, by wearing patterns on the top half, scarves, bigger necklaces, turtlenecks etc. If you are a rectangle or do not have as much of a defined waist, the idea is to create curves through various styling techniques, such as by wearing belts to define the waist or diagonal lines from the waist to draw the attention up and slimming the waist. As mentioned, we now live in a time where curves are celebrated too so it’s totally fine to break the rules! If you have curves on the bottom half and you want to show those off, it is perfectly fine to wear a tighter fitting skirt but to balance it out some, it may help to add more interest up the top too as this will accentuate the top half too and bring attention to the features that usually get neglected.

We’ll be sharing many more styling tips for each of the shapes as we go so feel free to subscribe so you are up to date with when the posts are coming out. And, leave a comment. What shape are you? Was this a surprise to you? How will knowing this information help you with your style?

Big love from your (pear-shaped) friend,

Petite Body Shape- Finding the right fit

It is a common misconception that women who are classified as having a petite body shape are lean and skinny and fit nicely into a size 10 or below. This misconception may be because the word “petite” actually means small but “petite” when used in fashion has nothing to do with size or shape and everything to do with height. And though there are petite women who can fit into some designs in smaller sizes, being a smaller size doesn’t always mean the smaller sizes fit properly if you are also short.

So for women, the word “petite” when used in fashion refers to having a height that is under 5’4″ (or under 162.5cm). There is no one petite body shape as petite women come in different shapes and sizes and the same rules that apply for dressing for other female body types, applies for dressing a petite body shape too but petite women have additional challenges when finding clothes that actually fit due to being shorter than average as this doesn’t just affect height but also proportions.

Clothing Proportions- The main challenge for petite women

Interestingly, clothes are designed and made for women who are 5’5” (some designs even taller) even though the average height for women in Australia, USA, many parts of the UK and France is 5’3½” (161.8cms) and you can imagine that the average height varies greatly from country to country. So there are a lot of petites and a lot that will find that not only the lengths of legs, arms and tops too long, depending on their body shape, other proportions won’t work either because they are proportioned to a taller woman. This can affect the armholes, shoulders, straps, collars and necklines as usually the distance between the bust and shoulders and bust and waistline is less on a petite than that of a taller woman because everything has to be condensed to fit the smaller height. Petite women sometimes go to great lengths (pardon the pun) to work around these styling issues such as learning to sew to alter items they have purchased or investing in tailoring. Though doing these things does give you more clothes options (and I do love options!), it takes time and can be costly and there are certainly some other ways to find a good fit (you just got to know where to look)!

Petite clothing

Petite Sizing- What’s the difference?

It has been great to see that designers are paying attention to the changing bodies of women and just as there are more plus sized options for women, the range of stores that offer petite sizes has also been growing little by little (again, pardon the pun, haha). But even so, many shorter women tend to avoid the petite section, perhaps believing the above misconception (that petite means small) but also because they may not understand the differences between petite sizing and regular sizes. The reality is, though there are petite sizes for smaller women, petite sizing is available in larger sizes too and though regular brands sometimes offer “short” options, there are some unique differences about petite labeled clothes that usually do make for a better fit though of course, wear what works!

Petite clothing:

-Provides shorter lengths for arms, legs and the hem of tops etc
-Have higher armholes
-Shorter waist and rise in pants
-Shorter in-seam in pants
-Shoulders will be proportionally narrower
-Cuff holes may be smaller
-Collars and necklines higher and
-Details of patterns usually smaller.

Petite clothing makers also use designs to elongate the body too so for example, they may use vertical stripes to accentuate height or use small belt loops for skinny belts which seem to work better for smaller frames.

Extra challenge: Standards are not standard

To complicate shopping a little further, though there are International standards for sizing and many countries have their own mandatory standards (such as the labelling guide by the Australian Fashion Council for Australia), they are not legally binding and companies and designers generally do not follow them which makes for a lot of inconsistencies in sizes when shopping!

To get around this, try:

  1. Ignoring the tags!
    Look at the garment rather than the size on the tag when deciding whether it would fit you and always try it on first to see if it fits.
  2. Wearing items shopping that you can use to style clothes you want to buy
    High heels are often available in shops, but I try to wear a belt and separates so I can mix n match and put on a belt to heighten a waist line or create a different silhouette
  3. Checking size guides- when available, particularly when shopping online
  4. Read reviews- to find out if customers felt the item was “true to size”Shopping for petites

Regular clothes for petites

This discrepancy in sizing can make shopping confusing for women but the GOOD NEWS is that usually brands and designers have a particular aesthetic and an “ideal customer” that they are designing for. This means that in general, their sizing stays relatively consistent across different items within a collection and often across different seasons too. They do this so that they can have return customers who will buy from their shop knowing that those designs are available. This means that once you get to know a brand or a shop that works, that are generally creating design lines and styles that suit petite women, it’s likely that they will continue to make those. Some great examples of this include the cropped cardigan in Review. A staple for many petites that has been consistently available from Review over many seasons, available in different sizes starting from a size 6 (Australian, or an XS) to 16. It has now become a signature item from Review and they bring out many different styles and colours each season.

Try something new!

It’s really fun to build a bit of a repertoire of shops and brands that seem to design well for us ladies with a petite body shape, so try keeping a bit of a list. It’s also a good idea to shop in shops you usually wouldn’t as you may be surprised by what works or at the very least, you can get ideas about the types of styles and colours that are really in fashion and see if you can hunt something similar online or in a different shop. If you haven’t already been shopping in the petites for fears that the sizes would be too small, it’s worth having a browse because there are definitely some petite lines that do offer larger sizes (usually up to a size 16). If you want even more options, consider finding an affordable tailor or learning a few basic sewing techniques to alter clothes you purchase. I’ll be sharing more of my tips and advice on this website in time so feel free to subscribe to keep updated. I would also love to hear the best places that you go to find the perfect fit and some of your staples so comment below or reach out to me using the contact page.

Thanks for reading,


Please note: Many of the above statistics in relation to average heights were found here. Information about standards and labeling was found here and here.

About Me

Hello! Welcome to Style Me Petite. A platform for us to chat about all things style for those who are tall on the INSIDE (but not necessarily on the OUTSIDE, haha).

It’s so nice that you are here.

If you have questions at any stage, ideas or topics for more content, please reach out to me by posting a comment or by using the contact page. This website is really created with you in mind so if I can help you, let me know. On the other hand, if you find some great petite clothes or have created looks that really work for us with a smaller frame, please share those too as I love to get new ideas and be inspired by YOU too! It’s fun to be part of a unique, petite community 🙂

My Story

So, let me introduce myself. I’m Renae. Ironically my name means “Reborn” and I feel that is so fitting for me (pardon the pun) as in fashion, we are constantly reinventing ourselves, deciding which parts of ourselves we want to show or which feeling we want to express at any given moment 🙂 There are many parts of myself that at different times, I want to highlight and my outfit is definitely a main communicator. I live on the Gold Coast in AUSTRALIA, I’m a professional and I’m in my mid-30s. I’m also a co-parent to two little ones and have always loved a good DIY, style and fashion! So here I am 🙂

I, most likely like you, am petite sized at 5’2″ (158cm) and as as we know, clothes are most often made for women who are 5’5″ so though I wear an Australian size 6 on top and 8-10 on the bottom in regular sizing, the proportions can be a little off and it can be a challenge to find clothes and styles that fit with petite proportions. I also find many styles may be a little childish or boyish and though I do love the tomboy look or even an androgynous look at times too, I still want to look feminine and chic.

I am also a rebel and I encourage you to be one too! There are so many systems on style that teach you what you should wear and so many trends and “must haves” that you simply “must have” but I like to take what other people are doing, what’s trending and what’s available in the shops and let it inspire me to reinvent something new and different, with my own take 🙂 I also love a DIY and love to up-cycle, reinventing looks using second hand clothes which I’ll share as we go. So, I encourage you as you read this blog to do the same. Take what you like, be inspired and apply it to your body and your personality, with your own take 😉

You are what you wear

There have been books upon books written about this! And chances are if you are reading this, you understand that the way we dress has a huge impact on how we feel and also how others respond to us! We’ve all had those days when we are wearing a put together outfit and we feel more confident and seem to be able to accomplish the tasks of our day with more ease. This can work against us in some ways too until we understand how to use the power of style to authentically express who we are, to tell the world a unique story and also to support our energy. Though finding those unique pieces and creating an overall cohesive style, takes practice and keeping up with the latest trends can seem impossible! But, I love it! Some may say it’s an addiction. So I’ll share what I learn here and hopefully it can help you too 🙂

Fashion lights me up

From my childhood days of sewing and designing outfits for my barbie dolls and going on fashion trips with my Textiles Design class in High School, I have literally come a long way! But there is so much that goes into style, it’s so personal and trends are constantly changing so it’s something that if you’re into (like I am), it can take up a lot of time 🙂 And this is why I pretty much spend ALL of my spare time on Pinterest or Instagram or reading articles, books, watching YouTube, researching, shopping and being inspired by what’s trending and how others have put together outfits and then applying what I’ve learnt to my own wardrobe. But honestly, though there have been some changes with my body shape with having children (and getting older-eek!), my height and overall body shape is reasonably constant. Petite. And I know what works for petites and I know what trends to stay away from and which ones to incorporate. I also ADORE colour so I let colour inspire me too. I know that what works for me will not always work for you but I aim to put content on here that is relevant and helpful for all of us and at least I know that if you have a petite body shape, that we will at least be able to wear similar design lines and fit and that the tricks I use to (for example) elongate the body making us appear taller, or, adding a belt in the right place to accentuate our curves, will likely work for you too!

Being Petite is Unique

Unfortunately, with all of my above research, at times I will find styles that I really love online or in shops or on Pinterest only to discover they do not stock my size or when I put the item on my body, it just doesn’t fit right or makes me look shorter or frumpy. There is also some advice online for petite bodies but they usually reference American fashion outlets and brands that don’t always offer international shipping (or is expensive if it does! Especially once you put it all into Australian Dollars!). I am sure you can relate to this same level of frustration as I have seen and heard stories of others who have this same difficulty! BUT, there are some great places that DO stock our sizes or have design lines that once styled correctly can really work for us or with a few simple adjustments, you can alter an item to make it work (I will share some of my up-cycling tips too) AND, in time, I hope to share some of my original petite creations with you all too! For now, let’s play with what we do know and hopefully we can inspire one another. Or if you prefer, let me do the research (which I completely love!) for you and hopefully inspire you and bring fun back into shopping! My hope is that getting dressed can become a fun part of your day and shopping, even more so 🙂

Big Love,

Your petite and stylish friend,


Style Me Petite
Founder and Creator