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Beauty & Fashion

How to Dress for Your Body Type: Petite Edition

Hey PI Girls! We are doing a series of posts on “How to Dress for Your Body Type,” asking ladies who have made it work and love their figure. The point is that every shape is beautiful, and everyone should embrace and love the natural beauty God gave them—no matter the size!

In these posts, we are going by the standard sizes in the fashion industry, but understand that they don’t apply to everyone. Hope you find these tips helpful!

See the other body types: “Curvy Edition,” “Tall Edition” and “Plus Size Edition.”

Body type: Petite

Name: Julie Partin, Journalist

JulieHeadshotsFinal-6IMG_6575Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 6.39.18 PM

Question: What are some signs that you’re petite?

  • When seeing you from behind, most people think you’re in middle school (and you can still wear your clothes from then).
  • You’ve worn capris as normal-length pants before.
  • You pretty much only have the option of shopping in the juniors section.
  • Your neck starts to hurt when having a long conversation with a group of average-size people.
  • Your decision of which shoe to buy is based on whether they even make it in your small size.

Question: Who are some of your style icons with your body type?

Answer: Kirsten Bell, Lucy Hale, Anna Kendrick, Zoe Kravitz, Rachel Bilson.


Question: What are some clothing brands that you have found work well for petites? Answer: H&M, Aqua by Bloomingdale’s, LOFT Petites, Forever 21, Romeo & Juliet Couture.

Question: When and how did you begin to love your body type?

Answer: Honestly, all through middle school and high school, I kept expecting to grow—taller, wider, curvier—and it just never happened. (As you can see in the picture with Nicole above, I am wearing 4 inch heels and am still that short!) I have always been petite and small (about 5’1”), and it has always been a challenge to find clothes that not only fit, but are flattering. I used to try to look taller and thinner, but once I realized how to dress smarter, life became much easier. It was also really helpful to know that most celebrities are surprisingly shorter than you expect. I came to terms with being cute instead of glamazon and it was very freeing.

Question: What are a few tips you have found helpful in dressing for your body type?

  • Find specific brands that work for you. A lot of clothing brands will have “vanity sizing.” This means labeling clothes with sizes smaller than the actual cut of the items.
  • Try to have your outfit cinch in at least one part of your body. If you have a loose top, try to have fitted jeans, or vice versa. Empire waists with belts work well, too.
  • Large purses and handbags can be really overwhelming on a small frame. Try to find the smallest bag that can still hold all of your things.
  • Pencil skirts can be great for a dressed-up look.
  • Vertical lines and V-shapes are always your friends.
  • Avoid bulky fabrics when choosing sweaters, jackets and blazers.
  • Ankle boots are really fun to wear, but they work best with long tops or dresses, or with pants that are the same color. Otherwise they really shorten your legs.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with your style. Try different trends that seem interesting, and if you end up getting them wrong, then at least you had fun!


What do you think, PI Girls? Are any of you out there a petite body type? Do you have any additional tips or tricks? What body type would you like to see us cover? Stay tuned next week for “How to Dress for Your Body Type: Tall Edition” featuring our very own Nicole Weider!

Find Julie: WebsiteFacebookInstagramTwitter

What is your body type?

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Find tips to dress for other body types here:

How to Dress for Your Body Type: Curvy Edition

How to Dress for Your Body Type: Tall Edition

How to Dress for Your Body: Plus Size Edition



Image: Courtesy of Julie Partin


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  1. MerMaid24

    Posted by MerMaid24 on February 13, 2016 at 12:54

    Am I considered petite if I’m short yet not at all slim? I have a very small waist but bigger hips and thighs, so I’m not sure if that qualifies as petite.

  2. USGIRL95

    Posted by USGIRL95 on September 6, 2015 at 22:04

    I’m either 5’2 or 5’3 or 5’3.2 I got the same issue finding pants that fit my pettie waist, I’m also overweight, which doesn’t help either, need to be sitting less, my goal is to be a better example towards my nieces, also stepnewfs who re teenagers, I ‘d like to be an XS-S Junior’s between a 0-1/2/,; like to be in single dighit in my clothing! yes I ‘d be condisered a grade school girl, at my ideal w.t. I ‘d be shopping in the girls clothing department or Junior’s,. people re like u re to big,. for my h.t. + body type nope, I’m not bad as I thought I was, I been having the wrong attude the whole time,,. . fearfuly + wonderfuly made,.

  3. Project Inspired

    Posted by aJoyDownInMyHeart on June 2, 2015 at 10:46

    I normally don’t show up on clothing charts for women and I find vanity sizes very annoying.

  4. ToriBallet

    Posted by ToriBallet on October 11, 2014 at 19:23

    I’m 4’11 XD

  5. melaniehope37

    Posted by melaniehope37 on October 11, 2014 at 14:40

    yay thank you for this! i’m 4’9″ so this was really helpful. <3

  6. Christian_Girl6860

    Posted by Christian_Girl6860 on October 10, 2014 at 12:24

    Im 5’7

  7. Project Inspired

    Posted by amelia.pond on October 4, 2014 at 10:36

    This is really helpful! I am 5 foot 1. The hardest thing for me to find is dresses. I have found a really good way to look taller is to wear all of the same color. Try a top with a pattern in mostly one color and skinny jeans in the same color. It looks like you’ve added inches!

  8. Follower

    Posted by Follower on September 22, 2014 at 15:11

    Hourglass and 5’…..the struggle…. More like a war

  9. GirlStandingByGod

    Posted by GirlStandingByGod on September 19, 2014 at 01:38

    I liked this article, it really helped. I’m 5’1 and slim.

  10. vsmith21

    Posted by vsmith21 on September 14, 2014 at 20:10

    I’m petite and plus sized…the struggle is real.

  11. Speak4Elohim

    Posted by Speak4Elohim on September 13, 2014 at 12:07

    Thank you for this, it will help so much! I have a petite, curvy body type, and so fashion that actually looks good is SO difficult. I find that if I wear longer tops, NOT petite tops, it makes me look taller. 🙂

  12. Project Inspired

    Posted by love545 on September 11, 2014 at 13:10

    Thank you for putting an article about petite girls. It’s hard to find articles about how to style your body type when your body type is petite. This is a great article. It was very helpful, especially since I am five feet tall and have been done growing a while ago. 🙂

  13. SoZo

    Posted by SoZo on August 29, 2014 at 10:49

    I’m 5’3 so this was really helpful thanks xx

  14. Posted by Nicole on August 28, 2014 at 20:53

    I loved this article! Great job! 🙂

  15. kellybarta14

    Posted by kellybarta14 on August 27, 2014 at 20:43

    I’m short (5’2). I guess Im a bit curvy, so I dont know if Im small, but some people say I am. Haha.

  16. Lovely Mistakes

    Posted by Lovely Mistakes on August 27, 2014 at 10:22

    I just found this and I love it because I am petite, and it was helpful.