Many women struggle to find the right clothes, but for petite women (5’3” and under*) it can seem particularly hard and with extra obstacles to navigate.
Jennifer Ison the founder of Jennifer Anne, started her petite brand in 2017 to solve this very problem. At 5’1” tall, Jennifer knows only too well the style challenges facing the smaller woman and has put together some top style tips to help you.
*Petite does NOT necessarily mean small and skinny – it is a reference to height not weight. Petite women come in a whole range of sizes – by petite all we mean is 5’3” and under.
Proportions are crucial for petite women – in general I recommend following the two-thirds-one-third rule eg trousers should cover two thirds of your frame (ie high-waisted) and shirts cover one-third. Define your natural waist with a belt. Avoid dresses that come to your mid-calf – either they should fall at the knee (above is fine too or just a touch below) or right to the floor. The ancient Greeks loved the aesthetics that came with following this Golden Ratio of thirds – fascinating to see a link between fashion, art, mathematics and architecture! As the elegant Coco Chanel herself said “Fashion is Architecture: it is a matter of proportions.”
Find clothes that don’t drown you
This sounds common sense but it’s easy to be swayed by the latest trends. My advice is that even if a baggy style is in, having oceans of fabric will not show your figure off to its best. This does not mean, for example, that you can’t wear maxis but you need to pay careful attention to the volume of the material – find one that closely follows the lines of your body and team it with a fitted top.
Tailoring is your friend
Well-tailored clothes are key for petite women. They will flatter your silhouette and show of your figure to its best advantage. If you can’t find clothes that fit perfectly it is worth investing in having good quality alterations done.
Learn to love dresses
Dresses are a real treasure trove for petite women but it is important to find the right style. Go for a simple vertical line, such as a shirt dress that falls at the knee or a dresses with a V-neck. A neat silhouette will make you look taller.
The bottom half…
I certainly recommend pairing your skirt or trousers with tights and footwear in matching colours as it really helps to create the illusion of a longer line. If wearing a dress with nude tights then shoes in nude are a great choice.
Cropped is good
A cropped jacket or trousers can look fantastic on a petite figure, there is no danger of being drowned and leaving a little bit of length uncovered gives a really neat finish to your look. I love wearing a cropped jacket with an elegant watch and bracelet.
Monochrome is king!
Avoid breaking up the line of your clothes with lots of different colours. Try dressing in a simple shift dress in a beautiful colour you will look fabulous and receive lots of compliments. With separates, monochrome does not mean you have to wear the same shade of colour top and bottom but it gives you the freedom to experiment with different shades. Keep your silhouette crisp and tailored.
I hope these tips will help you navigate the choices of what to wear when you are petite with more confidence. AND remember fit is an absolute must.
Have fun choosing!
To see more styles, head over to Jennifer’s website – jennifer-anne.co.uk