Shopping as a short girl can be tough. So many times in my life, i've felt in the mood for shopping but then it's ended with a meltdown in changing room because clothes don't fit well.I have friends who are short and slim and friends who are short and curvy. Both feel the struggle, it can be really frustrating when you don't fit the 'norm' body shape and you know that people don't make clothes with your body in mind.
Over the last few years, I've picked up a few tips and tricks online and from friends which I think generally work for me and make me feel confident. In the below video you can take a look into some of my favourite pieces.
Obviously, all bodies are different. You will have to do some digging, testing and trying and find what works for you. Here are a few of my tips on how I shop as a short girl.
Skirts that sit slightly above the knees. Petites find it challenging with midi and maxi skirts. Sometimes maxi skirts make you look even shorter than what you are, especially if the length isn't to scale on you. Whenever I try on maxi skirts I always have to get them tailored (unless they are a petite cut) so that enough of my leg is showing and the material isn't practically to the floor.
To combat this, opt for skirts that show leg, and even better, if you're into heels, pair those with shorter dresses and skirts to elongate. Ideally you want a style that allows for movement and combined with the shoes, elongates your legs slightly. If you're not into heels, (i'm not a massive fan of casual heels to be honest, comfort is key for me) then just make sure the length is flattering and that enough leg is on show.
Don't rule out maxi skirts and maxi dresses. I've seen some girls rocking that look online and even wearing them with a chunky boot. I think as long as there is some leg on show, you will look in proportion. I have tried to do the flowy skirt and chunky boots look but it definitely didn't work for me. My mid calf boots made me look shorter than I actually am and since my boots have horizontal laces on them, it drew quite a lot of attention to my feet instead of my top. When I do wear a maxi skirt, converse or flat white pumps work for casual and for dressing up, and heels help me feel more confident if i'm going out-out.
For jeans, I usually tend to avoid anything with inseams that are longer that 28 inches. For me, I feel that it swallows me up, this one is all about trial and error. I am not against trying on non petite jeans and if they fit great around the thighs, amending them myself or getting my seamstress to work her magic.
Personally I love jumpsuits (rompers) they seem to pinch me in the right place and make me feel longer all over. I think the reason they work on petite girls is because it's an all in one design so there's nothing cutting the body in half. When I wear trousers / jeans and tops it shows where my torso ends and my legs start (if that makes sense) whereas with an all in one jumpsuit, pinched at the waist, it creates an illusion that I have longer legs.
People under 5’4” generally have small feet. I can't say I relate to this issue as family genetics have meant that I have average size feet. I am usually a women's 5.5 which is a US 7.5 and an EU 38.5. Some short girls that have very small feet and it can be a challenge to find the right shoes and lots of women I know always kind amazing bargains in the kids section! It's not to be snuffed at. I've never wanted my feet to look longer but if I was dressing up an outfit (and I had small feet) then a pointed shoe would give you a little bit of extra length, whereas a rounded toe or square would accentuate how small the feet are.
Another challenge that petite girls have is choosing between knee-high and ankle-boots. I actually have no issues with knee high boots even though most people say we should avoid them. Paired with a dress, jeans or shorter skirt, as long as there's some leg showing then I think we can pull this off. When it does become a problem is when the knee high boots finish over your actual knee, because then they are too long to wear and can be uncomfortable to walk in. Strangely, ankle boots just don't suit me, although every website, blog, and youtube video preaches that ankle booties are amazing for short women. As I said before, it's all trial and error.
Most people say we should avoid wide-legged pants or baggy fabrics, as they will only swamp our figures. I actually ignore this. I tend to have the rule that if i'm wearing something wider - legged (usually cropped) then i'll be sure to pair it with something fitted on my top half. Well-fitting petite trousers that expose a bit of your figure and shape are always great, especially if you feel like you want to accentuate your curves. When it comes to wide legged trousers, I always look for cropped or I cut them myself. They fit small bodies well, in my opinion.
Try not to get disheartened when shopping. You may be scanning the clothes thinking, I know none of this will look right on me, why am I even in here? Try to look at everything with an open mind. Remember that seamstresses' are amazing at their job, and if you can't afford to get lots of clothes altered then Youtube tutorials is your best friend. There are so many amazing thrift channels are online, showing you how to do it yourself. I recently learnt how to use string to make my mom jeans fit around the waist. Ok, I haven't done it on my mom jeans yet.. but this is just so genius. I always struggle with finding jeans that fit the waist and thighs perfectly and this clothing hack is brilliant.
Here are of my favourite high street shops which have specific petite ranges for you to have a look at, if you fancy sprucing up your wardrobe!*
Petite Studio NY (will do free shipping to UK for orders over $89)
*I sometimes use affiliate links which means I make a small % if you purchase, but it costs you no more