As petite women, we live by the saying “good things come in small packages,” and never let our tiny frames stand in the way of our strength. Not only do we present our maturity through our voices, but we also highlight it through the ways we dress. Here are five suggestions for color schemes and patterns to create a more sophisticated and taller appearance through the styles and tones of your clothing.
Story by Jenna Meltzer
Photography by Miranda Chiechi, Paula Horstman, Betsy Joles and Kristin Evans
Wear solid-colored outfits
Choosing articles of clothing with multiple colors breaks the body up into segments and makes you appear shorter, while wearing one color helps create a solid line that leads the eye and give off the illusion that you are taller than you really are. Matching two-piece sets has become popular in fashion since spring and is a great option for petite women because it unifies the look into one piece, giving off the perception of being taller at a glance. “I love wearing all white because at a quick glance, I appear taller than I am, especially in heels,” says 5-foot-2-inch journalism and public relations sophomore Alison Elberger.
Avoid horizontal stripes
Horizontal stripes tend to lead the eyes from left to right, which does not help to create the appearance of an elongated stature. When opting for stripes it is easier to create a taller image when the pattern runs vertically, even if it is only subtle such as pinstripes on pants. “I try to stay away from horizontal stripes because they make me look shorter than I actually am,” says 5-foot government junior Chelsea Blumenthal. “When I wear striped clothing, I always make sure [the stripes] are vertical, giving off the illusion that I look taller.”
The color black gives off an authoritative and mature appearance, and creates a slimmer look because of its dark tone. Even though wearing black may not make you appear taller, it psychologically leads people to believe you are more professional and mature. Black is arguably the most popular color for women to wear in the business field, a staple in closets of big-name stylists and everyday businesswomen alike. “When in doubt, I always wear black because it’s flattering on everyone no matter what size or shape they are,” says 5-foot-1-inch computer science junior Jenna Goldberg.
Steer clear of pinks and pastel tones
On the contrary, wearing lighter colors such as pinks and pastels creates a younger persona. If you decide to wear pink, opt for solid-colored one-pieces such as dresses and rompers, or two-piece sets. It is important to also keep in mind that these dresses and rompers should not be decorated with ruffles or filled with busy prints. Simplicity is key in order to maintain a chic and classy style. “I don’t usually wear pink, but when I do, I always opt for a solid-colored pink dress or romper without patterns,” says 5-foot-1-inch corporate communications junior Haley Greenberg. “The sophisticated shape of the dress is also important to give off a mature look.”
Choose lightweight fabrics
Wearing heavy fabrics such as wool can tend to weigh down petite women, making them seem shorter. Not only does it feel this way for petite women, but everyone can attest to the fact that heavier fabrics feel uncomfortable and unbearably hot when you are indoors. To lengthen your body, wear lightweight and flowing materials like silk or the natural-feeling, recycled fabrics used by companies such as Free People and Urban Outfitters. “I love wearing flowy clothing because it doesn’t weigh me down and make me feel shorter than I already am,” says 5-foot economics sophomore Willa Rosenblum.
Next time you are on a shopping spree, don’t forget these five fashion tips that will enhance your petite fashion style and add the sophistication to give off the illusion of being taller.