The main features of a petite body shape are that you’re 5’4″ or under, will have broad shoulders and short legs, and are naturally toned. With this in mind your main aim here when looking for your wedding outfit is to create length and curves, while keeping your body in proportion.
Most clients that I meet who are petite want to create an illusion of looking taller and slimmer and usually have pear, apple or hourglass tendencies. So once you know your body shape, you can follow the dress codes for that shape and combine that of a petite shape, to get the best result.
The majority of shops on the high street have a petite section in them, usually with well tailored items for different petite shapes. Otherwise you can also look for items that can be altered, but make sure the proportions are right on you first before you get it altered.
My aim with petite clients is to keep the eye moving from top to bottom and create fluid lines, so as not to cut their figure in half. I always keep in mind four basic basic rules when shopping for anyone, but especially for petite clients:
Here are the best ways, I find, to achieve that:
- Having the same colour on the top and bottom is possibly the easiest way to create length and proportion, while still giving you a great shape.
- To give a petite frame even more shape and proportion, go for a dress that is detailed just under the bust, with ruching or an empire line.
- If adding a cardigan or jacket to the outfit, make sure it does not fall below the hips and is well tailored. More definition at the waist is going to create more fluid lines and shape. Three-quarter length sleeves are also great for petite shapes as they help lengthen the arm.
- Layering is also a great trick for petites to use to create curves in their body, while keeping the line of their body clear. Sheer fabrics, like lace and chiffon are great for this, as are wrap over tops, so a shrug or pashmina can also be added to the outfit. Try to stay away from fabrics that are too stiff and this will just make you look boxy.
- The best length for a dress or skirt is mini or just above the knee, as petite women have shorter legs, so it is really important to get the right length of hemline. If I have a client who wants to wear something floor-length, I make sure that is has a slit at the front, as this will draw the eye upwards, creating the length we need, or that it uses a sheer fabric on the bottom half so that the legs are still visible.
- With shoes, a heel in a neutral colour or a peep toe really help to create length. Also, a heel that is the same colour as the outfit will lengthen the leg and help with the lines we are trying to create.
Here are some styles I think would look great on you:
For petite shapes, darker colours are often more suited to because they have that slimming effect and make them look taller. They are also very easy to dress up and can look timeless and very chic. However, not everyone wants to wear dark colours to a wedding, so go for colour – just try to stick to one and not too big a pattern as it can swamp your frame!
Happy shopping 🙂