Dressing for your body shape can be a challenge, whether you’re an ‘apple’ or a ‘pear’ or one of the other common women’s body types. However, finding clothes that fit well when you’re petite can prove even more of a challenge.

In the UK clothing industry, petite is defined as being 5’3” or under, and petite clothing ranges are specifically designed for shorter women. However, choices can be limited and petite clothes aren’t always suitable for everyone, particularly for ladies who happen to be both small and curvy. If you’re struggling to dress for your body shape and height, a bit of knowledge and strategic style can go a long way.


When it comes to trousers for petite women, length is key. If you fall in love with a specific pair but they’re too long for you, it’s always possible to take up the hem, however this only works if they don’t have a knee built in. Flares, for example, will jut out in the wrong place if you simply take up the hem. To create an illusion of a longer leg and avoid having trouser hems that drag on the floor, opt for cropped trousers or choose fitted, high-waisted denim to create an illusion of length.


If you’re petite then it’s a good idea to choose tops that show off or highlight your waist as this prevents you from becoming ‘swamped’ by your clothing. If you’d rather not wear a cropped top then instead, choose blouses, tops, or dresses with a tie-waist or add a belt around your natural waistline to give the impression of a longer torso.

Create Length With Length

Petite women can use their clothing to create an illusion of length. Create length with length by opting for longer, statement pieces, such as long skirts, maxi dresses, and long coats. Providing these are well-fitting, the streamlined silhouette they create will help you appear both taller and slimmer.

Add Height

It may seem obvious but one way to appear taller is to add height – literally! Choosing shoes with a heel will give you an added boost and help your legs look longer, particularly if you choose heels with a pointed toe, as these draw the eye downwards. Many petite women prefer heeled shoes for the confidence and extra height they provide so are confident and well-practiced in walking in high heels but if this isn’t you and you’re a bit wobbly on heels, don’t fear – even a smaller heel like a kitten heel or a mini block heel can work just as well. On the opposite end of the spectrum, head accessories such as hats, fascinators, and hair accessories can also add a bit of height to your overall look and make you appear taller.