For women who fall into the “petite” category, shopping can be quite a challenge. Beyond the question of finding clothing that actually fits, where the sleeves are the right length, and the pockets are in the right places, trying to find something that’s flattering is a whole other ballgame. While we love embracing our shorter legs or torsos, which can help us get into hard-to-reach areas and prevent us from hitting our heads as much like anyone else, some women also like to try to elongate their figures whenever possible or for certain outfits and occasions. But what are the best ways to lengthen your petite frame? Here are a few fashion tips to help you learn how to elongate your petite frame.
Picking the right stripes can be a game-changer for petite women. While horizontal stripes can seem to be more common, with their nautical or très French vibe, vertical stripes are where it’s at for petite women. Going up and down instead of side to side, vertical stripes emphasize the length of your body, like an arrow stretching up to the sky. With vertical stripes, you can still wear all your favorite striped styles by simply shifting them 90 degrees. We love the vertical stripes of seersucker button-down women's petite top, or a vertical-striped pencil skirt, which hugs the legs and makes them look super long and lean.
A pleated skirt, or pleated pants, acts similarly to vertical striped pants, with their long vertical folds emphasizing and enhancing the length of your legs. It’s also a gorgeous fabric style that can easily be dressed up or down. For a casual afternoon brunch, pair a pleated skirt with a cute T-shirt. To wear to an event, like a holiday party or a classical music concert, pair with a sparkly tank top or statement blouse.
One ingenious way to upgrade your look as a petite woman is to mix things up on the bottom and top. That is, if you’re gonna go big on top, with a loose-fitting petite tunic or sweater, wear more form-fitting pants on the bottom, like skinny jeans or dress pants. And likewise, if you’re going to wear a more body-conscious shirt on top, like a sleek three-quarter sleeve scoop neck, pair it with some wide-leg denim on the bottom. Mixing up proportions adds a dynamic element to your look, and helps to elongate petite frames. This is a great style tip for anyone, but it happens to work wonders if you shop in the petites section.
Crewneck? Never heard of her. Button-up? Barely know her! For petites, changing up our usual neckline on top is an amazing and innovative way to lengthen our frames, drawing attention up to the collarbones, neck, and face. Gorgeous square necklines are especially flattering, as are scoop-neck and V-neck shirts. Pairing a unique neckline with some wide-leg jeans is a great combo.
Wearing light colors can help elongate a petite frame, especially when you embrace a monochrome look. While wearing all-back is the classic choice for anyone who’s fashion-conscious, wearing all-white, or a lighter color, is our choice for those on the petite side. Dressing monochromatically helps create one single line on the body, similar to vertical stripes or pleats, emphasizing length and bringing the eye upwards. Try pairing a sleek pair of light-colored dress pants with a smart button-up shirt (a few buttons undone to keep the collarbones exposed)—or go with a fun neckline instead.
We love high-waisted pants for so many reasons—the higher cut that doesn’t pinch around the stomach, their fun retro look, the way they make any shirt we wear pop. But for petites, there’s even more to love. High-waisted pants are super flattering on those with shorter frames because they make anyone’s legs look super long. Their long inseam and longer-than-usual rise elongates the legs and works magic for our lower halves. Pair your high-waisted pants with a pair of heeled boots and you’re instantly upgraded and elongated.
Jewelry always makes a statement. Sometimes, the statement is bigger than others. When you’re rocking a petite frame, drawing attention up to the face always helps to elongate the body, so we love adding a pair of statement earrings to our ensemble. They look especially groovy with a gorgeous top that exposes a bit of our neckline as well. You can also do a statement necklace, which also pairs brilliantly with an open-necked top, of course.
Being petite gives you even more opportunities to experiment with fashion and think outside the box to create a look that’s uniquely you, and that helps to elongate your frame. Check out the links below for more tips and tricks from Lands’ End!