Petite Styles and Tips for Older Women

Petite Styles and Tips for Older Women

You have to be careful when you have a petite frame. Some things really work, and others really don't. Sometimes the only way to know is to try on the piece, find a full-length mirror, and check. And, as you get older, you feel like you have fewer clothing options, so putting together outfits you like also gets more challenging.

The good news is that when you understand the fashion basics around visual proportions and which cuts and styles help you create those proportions, your outfit horizons can expand.

Visual Proportions

There are certain proportions that the human eye prefers. We can actually create those visual proportions with our clothing, whether we naturally have them or not. That is the benefit of fashion and understanding how to properly dress yourself. When you know which clothes allow you to present those proportions correctly, most styles are within your reach.

Here is how we influence visual perception with our clothing.

The human eye prefers outfits that split the body into thirds, as opposed to halves or quarters. We primarily do this by carefully choosing and combing pieces of clothing that give that visual impression. For example, if you have an outfit consisting of a women's petite top and pants, the top should take up about one-third of the body and the pants two-thirds. The same principle works with a long skirt. On the other hand, if you want a skirt that is shorter than ankle-length, like a petite midi skirt, or a pair of shorts, then the top takes up one-third, the skirt or shorts take up one-third, and the last third is your legs. These are your two main outfit outlines.

Now for some sophisticated styles that help petite frames in their golden years look their best!

Sweetheart, V-Neck, and Scoop Neck Necklines

These necklines all have something in common. They all expose the chest with a visual line that pulls the eye down. By exposing the neck and chest, you create the illusion of space, which, combined with the visual line, vertically lengthens you. This extension is particularly helpful when you want to wear skirts and dresses that are shorter than floor and ankle length. Elongating the two-thirds on top as much as possible means you can play with your skirt length so that your legs are visible. When enough of the leg is visible, it gives you a solid bottom third and balances your proportions.

It also makes your neck look longer, which is helpful for many petite women.

Knee-length petite dresses with a sweetheart neckline are adorable and give a very feminine look while still being modest. Since dresses are also often of one print or one color, combined with the sweetheart neckline, it makes a vertical column that makes petite women look lovely. The V-neck created by a button-up collared shirt for petites is very classy and looks quite excellent when combined with a sweater and a few ropes of pearls. If the sleeves are bothering you, don't worry! This top combination also looks great with the sleeves rolled to the elbow. Any petite scoop neck top will look great with some nice jeans on the bottom. And speaking of bottoms...

High-Waisted Bottoms

Most of the pieces petite women can wear on the bottom look best when they are cut to be high-waisted. This gives you visual space for both outfit outlines. If you are wearing shorts or a shorter skirt, you can get your full middle third without having to cover too much of your legs. If you are wearing pants or a long skirt, the extra length helps give you two-thirds on the bottom, balancing out the other third on top.

Without the high waists, the pants and long skirts can make your outfit look like your proportions are in halves instead of in thirds, while the shorts and shorter skirts either have to be super short to show off your legs, or they must be so long that you probably feel they might as well go down to your ankles.

High-waisted skirts, especially those that reach the ground, offer another opportunity for petite women to add a little height with some cute heels. If you are up for stilettos, that's wonderful. But even a smaller block heel or wedge can have a pleasant visual effect. If you are visiting the beach, a petite t-shirt and high-waisted shorts combo give you nice coverage while also giving you the freedom to stroll through the waves rippling on the shore and feel the tide moving in and out.

Now that you know the proportions you are looking to create with your clothes and have a couple of starting points for outfit ideas go out shopping with confidence and find the outfits that tickle your fashion fancy.

Related Articles