If you’re a petite (under 5’4” tall) and plus size woman, this post is for you! To really look our absolute best, there’s a few extra tricks us short n’ curvy girls need to know.
First and foremost, it’s so so so important to wear clothes that fit. Not too loose or full, and not too tight either. Loose shapes—especially in stiff fabric—will make you look like a tent! And clothes that are too tight, well, let’s just not go there… A big part of finding clothes that fit your body properly is understanding what body shape you have, and clothes that fit well will make you look slimmer and taller. To find out your body shape, refer to my post on plus size proportions, and then add these important tips to look your best!
Once in a while someone will ask me why I don’t model my clothes, to which I usually retort, “Because I’m too short, that’s why!” But for this post, who better to model petite plus than moi? Little ol’ me. At 5’2 and size 16-18 or 1X (I’m a perfect 1X in diane kennedy—fancy that!), I know a thing or two about dressing the petite plus body. And I’d like to share a little of my style secrets with you!
My designs are often sold as monochromatic sets, such as a jacket, cami, and bottom all in the same colour. This is so simple, and it’s really an excellent way to look both taller and slimmer, as no choppy lines or blocks of colour will break up your height. Another option is wearing a darker colour on the bottom and a lighter or brighter one on top. Look also for vertical lines, V necks and single breasted jackets—all will help elongate your frame.
It’s very important to remember to draw the eye upward. While it’s totally ‘in’ to accent your outfit with a bright shoe, do keep in mind that it will draw attention down to your feet, which is the opposite effect to what you want. So, draw the eye upward by keeping the eye-catching/colourful details near your face. A pretty piece of jewelry is a great way to accent your face. Try a really beautiful, long chain necklace (more verticality!), or experiment with mixtures of metals like silver, copper and gold together. Jewelry is a good place to be a bit bold and adventurous. My favorite pieces are made from stones like clear topaz, turquoise, labradorite and jade. Accessorizing is a great way to find your own style and make a statement. Don’t over do it though, one bold piece of jewelry is enough.
Now, back to shoes (THE most wonderful accessory in my opinion!). Of course a high heel will help to elongate your figure, but not everyone wants to wear them all the time. For summer a neat trick is to wear nude pumps. They will seem to make your feet disappear into the floor and make your legs look way longer. Nude is also the best choice for shoes with a lot of straps—dark straps against your skin tone will chop up the look of your leg. Similarly, Mary Janes are not the best look for someone petite as they shorten and widen your leg. Ditto with ankle straps! The only way to get away with these styles is to match your tights or hose to the colour of your shoes. (I’ll let you in on a little secret…I’m a bit of a rule breaker! Hey, first learn the rules… then you can break them!)
It’s often recommended that plus size women wear prints. Now if you are a 6ft tall glamazon, by all means go for it! But if you’re on the shorter side, big prints will only make you look bigger! This doesn’t mean you can’t wear prints, just select ones that are similar in scale to your shorter stature.
At diane kennedy we have lots of choices for the petite plus woman. Our drape-able, soft Bamboo jersey is the perfect weight of fabric to allow some fullness but also follow your body for the most slimming look. Best-selling Serene and Flex pants both come in petite lengths. Also, the 18″ inseam on our City Capri is the perfect length if you’re short. The Affair Cardi is a great layering piece for petites, as it falls just to the hip on short women. Petite-friendly new arrivals for spring include the Studio Zip Jacket (sleeves can be rolled up and buttoned) and the Tiffany skirt (I’m wearing both!). Also, all of our spring tunics have 3/4 sleeves that fall to a perfect length on petites.
It amazes me when I look at the stats. We sell more petite length Serene Pants than regular length. There are lots of short women out there!