How to Dress a Petite Body Type

Calling all petite ladies! Got short girl problems? Yep, me too. With a standing height of 5’2″ (though my doctor tells me 5’1.5″ and just won’t give me the half inch), I’ve developed some fashion hacks over the years to accentuate my petite body type.  Essentially, what this means is that I wear silhouettes that define my waist and enhance my leg length.

I had the opportunity to head to the Wantable headquarters to try on some of their petite-friendly styles recommended by their stylists. After having some fun in the photo studio, I picked out my favorite outfits to share. That’s right–the lady featured below is yours truly! Read on for some awesome outfit ideas and tips on how to dress for a petite body type.


petite: high waisted denim

1. Wear long vests with high waisted denim

Starting out with a bang! This outfit was my absolute favorite out of all of the looks. Whenever I can, I try to wear long pieces that elongate my body. It can be tough to do this without giving the appearance that I’m wearing an ill-fitted item that is unintentionally too long (I’m looking at you, midi-dresses). Wearing a long open vest is one of the best hacks to looking taller. The long length elongates my frame without hiding my waistline. Tuck your top into high waisted denim under the vest for the ultimate long leg illusion.


petite: dresses

2. Wear dresses that stop just above the knee

I have found that the just-above-the-knee length is the optimal dress length for my height. This hemline is a great style that shows off my legs to add some length to my frame while still staying work-appropriate. Plus, adding nude heels to the bare leg offers the optical illusion of never-ending legs!


petite: leopard jacket

3. Pull up waistbands to hip length

Whenever possible, I try to can elongate the leg line and shorten the torso. Proportion is everything! But if you’re a short girl like me, most tops fall below my waist. Sigh. On the bright side, if your top has a waistband, you’re in luck! Fight the impulse to pull the waistband down all the way and instead shimmy it up to your hips. The elastic will keep your top at the perfect length. Don’t forget to cuff your jeans to avoid the dreaded bunching at your ankles.


petite: striped denim

4. Wear striped denim with a cropped jacket

When I tried on these jeans, I did not want to take them off. The jeans not only fit my short legs perfectly in terms of inseam, but they also have electric yellow stripes running down each leg. Stripes running down the seam of your jeans will visually extend the leg while a cropped silhouette adds a flattering and on-trend dimension to your outfit. Pair these two styles together and you’ve got it made!


petite: waist tie top

5. Turn a blouse into a tie waist top.

You already know by now (after I’ve repeated myself a million times) that showing off the waistline is a surefire way to visually extend the legs. I own so many tops that would fall perfectly at the waist on a taller girl but hang too low on me. The solution? Unbutton the bottom two or three buttons on your blouse and tie the loose ends together for a cute way to make a too-long top more flattering for your body type.

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Jenn Wang
Written by Jenn Wang
I’m a die-hard Midwestern gal living in the pursuit of a vibrant life. That means I’m hustlin’ hard while not taking life too seriously, staying active while eating as many French fries as I darn well please, and traveling the world while staying loyal to my Midwestern roots.