If you’re a petite woman, you probably have become accustomed to shopping for petite clothing and know what to look for in the attire you purchase. But have you thought about what type of swimsuit cover-up will work best on your frame? With all the cover-up options available to women these days, it’s only natural to wonder which pieces look best. And it isn’t just about shopping in the petite section either. Instead, it’s about focusing on your proportions. After all, just because you’re petite doesn’t mean you don’t have long legs. Read on for our tips on finding the best beach cover-ups for petite women.
According to the ancient Greeks, the human eye is drawn to anything that follows the rule of thirds. This is common in art and architecture, but it refers to how proportionate your body appears in fashion. To illustrate this, think about the opposite: a look that divides your body into halves. For example, a tunic that hits the waist and is paired with solid-colored pants would probably give the impression that it’s dividing your body in half, which can be boring to the eye no matter what your size. In contrast, high-waisted pants with a tucked-in blouse give the impression of a ? to ? ratio (the pants taking up two-thirds of your body and the blouse taking up one-third).
For that reason, swimsuit cover-up pants with a high waist can be great for petite women. The high waist elevates the waistline, elongating the legs. And if the cover-up pants are in the same color as your one-piece bathing suit or tankini top, the solid color forms a continuous vertical line, which also lengthens the frame. Don’t forget that cover-up pants protect your legs from the sun and those pesky little flies and gnats that sometimes haunt the beach as well.
Sarongs can have the same effect as cover-up pants if the fabric is long enough. But even short sarongs make great petite beach cover-ups. The way you can wrap it however you want is certainly a draw, but when worn as a long skirt with a little leg showing on the side, it works great on a petite frame. Alternatively, try styling it as a strapless dress cover-up tied at the bust. Or appeal to your neckline by wearing it as a dress tied over only one shoulder. As a bonus, sarongs are so lightweight that you can easily throw them into your beach bag without them taking up any space.
Generally, a lower neckline works best as it shows more skin, but that doesn’t mean it has to be revealing. A notch neck on a T-shirt dress, for example, provides a hint of skin but is still modest. As far as length, the hem should hit above the knee if you’re petite, but there are exceptions to every rule. If it is long but provides enough detail to flatter your proportions, go for whatever cover-up dress you like!
Swimsuit cover-ups are great because you can find them in all shapes and sizes, and sleeve length is no exception. A cover-up with long sleeves can protect your arms from the sun and be designed, so it is lightweight and doesn’t weigh you down. A rash guard, for example, is great for wearing over your swimsuit and comes in long or short sleeves. If you're going with a long-sleeved rash guard, zip-up hoodies work great on petite women. In contrast, a short-sleeved rash guard will generally look good no matter what the neckline is. A kaftan cover-up with short sleeves is a great option, as it protects the most sensitive parts of your arms, the upper arms, while also showing just enough skin to look proportionate on a petite frame.
Overall, when choosing a beach cover-up, try to remember its main purpose. If it is so, you can be active, and you might want a petite rash guard that dries quickly and offers UPF protection. If it is just to look pretty in the sun, long pants, a kaftan, or a cover-up dress will make you look and feel glamorous—especially paired with some strappy sandals and sunglasses. You might want a cover-up for both situations, as you never know where summer might take you.
Keeping these tips in mind, you’re sure to find a petite beach cover-up that looks great on you, whether chasing waves or catching rays.