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.