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 ๐Ÿ˜Š

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 donโ€™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 โ€œhipsโ€ 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 5โ€™5โ€ (some designs even taller) even though the average height for women in Australia, USA, many parts of the UK and France is 5โ€™3ยฝโ€ (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!

Itโ€™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. Itโ€™s also a good idea to shop in shops you usually wouldnโ€™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 havenโ€™t already been shopping in the petites for fears that the sizes would be too small, itโ€™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. Iโ€™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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Big Love,

Your petite and stylish friend,


Style Me Petite
Founder and Creator