P’s & Q’s: Your Most Pressing Petite Questions, Answered

April 30, 2015

We’ve got big news for the 5’4″-and-under set: did you know that ALL of the new styles featured in our May Lookbook are offered in petite sizing? For that, we have our Petites Buyer, Sarah W., to thank. Sarah oversees the scaling-down of our regular sized apparel and scouts petite-exclusive styles from brands we love, like Tracy Reese, to give petites ever more outfitting options.As she puts it, We want our customer to be able to focus on dressing for her body type and exploring her personal style, instead of hunting for items that she thinks she could ˜make work.’ To that end, we recently opened up the flooror rather, our Twitter feedto our petite customers to ask Sarah’s advice on fit, styling and sidestepping potential wardrobe pitfalls. Take it away, Sarah!

Sarah wears the Moonflower Midi Top, Buffalo Plaid Midi Skirt, Riverine Necklace and Miss Albright Petra Heels.

I’m short but not slight. Should I size up for petite clothes?  Katy D.If you find that you are generally a consistent size and clothing just runs long on you, there is no need to size up when shifting to petites. Our petite fit is unique in that we closely evaluate all length measurements in a garment and adjust all of these fit points to the length of your body. We do not make bust, waist or hip measurements any smaller in width. I have a short torso and long legs, but I’m tiny and straightwhat clothing will give me length and curves?  Christen C.I have a very similar build and petite tops helped me discover a waistline that I never knew I had! You have to nail the distance from the top of your shoulder to the smallest part of your waist. In our petite tops, jackets, and dresses, this measurement is adjusted so that waistlines hit in exactly the right spot. Add curves by defining your waist with peplum tops or jackets that hit above the hip, and pair with elongating trousers or midi skirts. Also, have fun with petite jumpsuits! They’re a one-piece way to create a monochromatic look that will balance out your proportions. What’s the best cut of pants for a petite gal with hips and a bottom?  Alli S.You are in luck, because the classic 70s trouser shape is on its way back! Our favorite is the Pilcro Superscript Flare. The leg kicks out just above the knee for a sophisticated and elongating look, and the higher rise will nip in your waist just right. I love to wear prints but sometimes I feel overwhelmed by them. What’s the best place to wear print? And, can you give me some advice on print mixing? Carmen M.In terms of print or pattern, don’t shy away from a statement print if it speaks to you, just stick to a tailored silhouette! Statement prints will work better in more tailored garments. In more voluminous silhouettes, go for smaller scale prints to avoid overwhelming your frame. The easiest way to mix prints is to start with a small stripe or geometric pattern such as a dot or gingham. Pair this with something more artistic or whimsical, like a painterly floral for a statement look. Or, mix geometrics in similar color families for a monochromatic, and therefore elongating, look. I am 5’3″ and generally a size 2, but my hips and bottom are pretty voluptuous. What should I wear to make me look proportioned and even a bit taller? I have an especially hard time finding pants that flatter me, because I don’t want to look like an upside-down triangle!  Samantha S.Try flowing wide-legs to help minimize hips and make your legs look miles long. My favorite styles this season are the Sabie Wide-Legs and the Level 99 Linen Crops. Focus on drawing the eye up with a textured or embellished top, and make sure your top is short enough to avoid adding bulk around the hips. Petite tops are typically 1 – 1.75 shorter in length, which will accommodate your shape nicely. I have a long torso, but short legs. What proportions suit me best?  Jo H.Mid- to high-rise bottoms give the illusion of longer legs. Midi skirts are a great way to elongate your legs; a petite size will hit just above or below your calf. Always show off your waistline by tucking in or wearing a more tailored shape on top. If you’re in the market for denim, try some of our petite denim with mid to high rises, such as the Emanuelle from Citizens of Humanity or Paige’s Hoxton. Can I wear a maxi and not look swamped?  Sandra C. Absolutely! Maxi dressing is our favorite look for petites, as it instantly creates a longer, leaner look. A petite maxi dress will have an appropriate neck drop, armholes that don’t droop, a waistline that hits at the smallest part of your body and a skirt that doesn’t puddle on the floor. If you are still feeling overwhelmed, look for styles that have a defined waistline, or cinch your waist with a belt. {Ed. Note: Eunice, your question was so detailed that we broke it into three parts. Read on!}
I’m about 5’2″, with really short legs (even pants labeled short can be an inch or two too long) and a small behind, but I’m very busty Always try petite sizes on bottom, and experiment with both petite and standard sizes on the top to find the perfect fit. It is great to think about your look from the bottom up: start with an A-line skirt or relaxed pants, and pair them with a fun shoe. Elongate your frame and de-emphasize your bust with jackets and tops that hit at the hip and always, always define your waist! I try and stick to skinnier pants but that gets boring. How can I wear other pant types without having to wear heels?The key for pants is to think slim, not skinny, and always show some ankle. This opens up a world of shoe options. It’s a common misconception that petite women always have to wear heelsnot true at all! This season, we really love sneakers with some of our new silhouettes, but if that’s too casual, try d’Orsay flats to make your leg look longer. If you want full-length pants that you can also wear with flats, try the Pilcro Linen Trousers. The inseam is 29″ so they’ll hit the top of your foot or slightly above. Because I’m busty, I have the potential to look round in dresses and have a hard time keeping everything in place with uncomfortable and unflattering strapless and stick-on bras. What’s a good way to circumvent these issues?  Eunice L.I recommend looking for dresses with a little bit of structure to show off your curves and keep things in place. Byron Lars is an absolute master at creating feminine dresses that flatter all body types and are breathtakingly stunning. If you’re looking for something more casual, try the Crosswrap Dress. It’s soft and easy, but the double-layer ruched knit offers support (and hides a bra!) while still being feminine.

Every petite lookincluding 65 brand new styles! right this way.

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