Boxy dresses

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Black Boat Neck Dress
How to dress when you are petite?

In previous articles, I discussed how to determine body shape and dress for your vertical body type. Today let’s go into detail on how to dress when you are short or petite, ie., below the average height of 1.65 m (5’4” ). Ruth shares a few tips for petites in this short video In principle, these guidelines will work for anyone who is short in height, or for those who want to appear longer or leaner in their appearance. These guidelines also work well for those whose upper body is almost the same length as their lower body. In that case, the aim is to make the lower body appear longer. When you are short in height you will usually have the following objectives with your dressing: Appear longer Create a flattering silhouette (using the rule of thirds, so you don’t split your body in half) Avoid boxiness 1. How to appear longer when you are short Most short women will want to appear taller and leaner. This is relatively easy to achieve if you stick to the following guidelines: Stick to monochrome outfits or outfits with few color variations. You would look perfect in simple shift dresses, with little color accents here and there. Dresses will look great on many short women, as they automatically created the much desired 2/3 – 1/3 look. If you opt for a tight, slim silhouette then this will make you look even taller Getting clothes with the right fit and size is even more important for short women. Ill-fitting clothes will add extra bulk. An obvious way to gain height is to wear a heel. However, don’t go overboard with these. Getting heels that are too high (say above 5 cm (..) will make you look out of proportion Go easy on the oversized accessories as these may overwhelm you. Often with petites, your legs will be relatively short. To make those appear longer you can wear the same color belt as your pants or skirt. Vertical patterns will always elongate and would be especially good for your pants or skirt. Horizontal stripes are best avoided. Although a short dress can be very effective for short people when they are young, I would advise against them over 40. Instead, opt for styles that fall just below or on top of the knee. A high waisted skirt or pants would make your legs appear longer. Wear shoes that keep your heels free. Avoid straps around the ankle and instead opt for shoes that elongate. Create nice vertical lines with open straight jacket and cardigans. A great look is to have a cardigan or jacket the same length as your dress. Buttoned shirt dresses that stop just above or on top of the knee will create a nice vertical line as well. Wear v-line tops to further elongate your look. Avoid short trousers and pants that stop at the ankle. Best to wear pants with straight pipes or wide legged ones with heels, preferably high waisted. Make sure that your tops stop at the hipline or above. Longer tops will make your legs appear even shorter. Choose boots that stop just below the knee and avoid boots that end on the mid part of your shins. Look 1: Topshop nude pumps – Kelsey burgundy pants – Amuse stripe shirt – Sole Society pump – Sole Society mini stripe satchel – Nic+Zoe side twist dress – Nine west mules – Eileen Fisher jeans – Rebecca Minkoff white belt – Calvin Klein pink shoes Look 3: Lolo white dress – Sole Society blue bag 3. Avoid boxiness Don’t get (too many) accessories that are oversized and bold. Fitted clothes are usually better for you and avoid oversized clothes (even if they are on trend). The same goes for tops. Be careful with very wide tops and make sure not to have both wide on top and below. Go easy on the layering! Best not to tuck in your pants into your boots. Belts are best kept narrow, unless you belt it very high up your waist.   Look 1: Bobeau cardigan – Bauble Bar tassel earrings Look 2: Blackstone slip on sneaker – Raga stripe shirt – Eileen Fisher red pants – Rails leopard print blouse – Kate Spade stud earrings Some more general guidelines Choose glasses and sunglasses that are in proportion with your face and the rest of your body. Wedge heels will look too boxy on you, so best to avoid them and opt for more elegant styles. Your size is not necessarily ‘petite’ top and bottom, so you may need a bigger size on top or vice versa. If you can’t find clothes that fit properly, find a good tailor. Choose a handbag that fits your physique. In many cases, oversized handbags are not your best choice. Famous short women looking gorgeous If you ever felt that being shorter than average stands in your way of looking absolutely fabulous, think again! Here are some very famous and fabulous women under 1.65m (5’4”) looking stunning. I chose these women for their style and their choice of dressing that in many cases follow the guidelines above. These women tend to dress to appear longer. If you like to see great style by women that are even shorter, have a look at the list of celebrities under 1.60 listed below. Madonna Madonna is a spectacular woman (over 50 already) short on height. She is 5’3” (1.63 meters) high. She increasingly favors tight dresses just below the knee which she has no problem pulling off with her svelte figure. I also like her in high waisted wide dresses, where she uses the trusted v-line to elongate the look. Victoria Beckham Victoria Beckham measures 1.63 (5’3”) meters. Above are some perfect examples of how to dress for lengthening. High waisted, pants, tight fit, use of the v-line. She goes quite wide with the shoulder on the red dress, which can be risky, but gets away with it, as she combines it with a v-neck and a very lean silhouette for the bottom part. I love all these looks. Sarah Jessica Parker Sarah Jessica Parker is 5’2.75” (1.59 meters) and has really embraced the high heel shoes as her weapon of choice to appear longer. Now 46, she increasingly uses mid-length dresses which I think suit her the best. In the first look, she took a risk with the big flower on top and the big bag is certainly to be avoided. When wearing wider styles, she keeps the top tight, opts for an empress waist or uses a v-line. Other celebrities below 1.60 For more inspiration on how to dress your short physique, check out other celebrities who measure under 1.60: Mary Kate Olsen who is 5’0″ (152 cm), Rachel Bilson who is 5’1.5″ (156 cm), Hayden Panettiere who is 5’0.25″ (153 cm), Nicole Richie who is 5’1″ (155 cm), Kristen Bell who is 5’1″ (155 cm), Shakira who is 5’2″ (155 cm), Eva Longoria who is about 5’2″ (153 cm), Fergie, who is 5’1.75″ (157 cm) and Alyssa Milano, who is about 5’1.5″ (156 cm). Featured petites at 40+Style Ana Lyn Susan How about when you are overweight and short / petite? In principle, all the above guidelines apply. However, you may want to prefer empress waist dresses instead of form-fitting dresses. Make sure that you wear nicely fitted tops above and that you use all the vertical tricks described above that will make you look both taller and slimmer. You can also look at the guidelines for the apple shape body type and combine that with the guidelines above. Where to shop when you are petite? Many shops now have special sections for petites. Here are just a few. Nordstrom: one of the best online shops with multiple brands has a special section for petites Eileen Fisher: high quality fabrics and great design Loft: comfortable and affordable clothing Banana Republic: good quality clothing that covers all basics Eddie Bauer: offers great outdoor wear More outfit examples Monochromatic looks create a vertical image and instantly create the illusion of height. Dark colors are a great choice to create this illusion as dark colors make the wearer look thinner furthering the perception of height. In this capsule: Land’s End jacket – White Shirt – Blue pump – Tory Burch blue handbag – EJ bib pendant necklace – Mankind denim Skinny jeans are one of the best options for petites. They visually make the leg look skinnier lending to the illusion of length, making the wearer look taller. In this capsule: Rebecca Taylor off shoulder sweater – AG skinny Jeans – Brown Booties – Clare V leopard clutch – Tory Burch long necklace A knee length sheath dress is a great option for a petite frame, the tailored silhouette avoids unwanted bulk. The end result is a lean look that appears taller. Polish off the look with slingback kitten heels, for a little added height. In this capsule: BOSS belted sheath dress – Halogen navy cardigan – Kate Spade satchel handbag – J. Renee singback shoes – Kendra Scott long necklace Vertical patterns, such as pinstripes, elongate the silhouette, creating the illusion of height. Nude shoes serve the same purpose, the eye carries the color through avoiding a visual break making the wearer appear taller. In this capsule: First Monday pinstripe dress – Halogen black cardigan – Sam Edelman nude pointy heels – Tory Burch quilted leather shoulder bag – BP layered necklace High waist pants paired with heels work together to create a long vertical image. Worn with a short top, the outfit creates the illusion of height. In this capsule: BOSS high waisted pants – Topshop ribbed sweater – Diane Von Furstenberg heels – Clare V leopard clutch – Michael Kors gold chain link necklace I hope these guidelines will be useful to you. Remember though that they are not written in stone. I feel that petites can wear almost anything so long as you create the right balance within your outfit and create a great silhouette. If you are petite and have some tips that I did not cover here, please let me know!     Like this article? Save it on Pinterest!

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