Petite apparel and fashion advice

If you're 5-foot-4 or shorter, you have likely faced some shopping challenges in the past. You're quite aware that your smaller stature calls for a modified fit, not just a shorter length, but it may seem like the rest of the fashion world just doesn't get it. Moreover, the petite body will benefit from certain designs that are not always at the top of the trends, so it can be difficult to find anything that flatters when you visit a department store. Luckily, there are plenty of places to shop for petite apparel and some invaluable fashion advice to keep you comfortable, stylish and looking your best.

Finding a Favorable Fit

The first and foremost style tip for petites is finding the right fit. A dress that doesn't respect your shorter torso, smaller frame or leg length will wind up looking bunchy and bulky. The key to flattering petite wear is proportion and cut—with fitted materials and straight lines, you can instantly add inches to your height and divert attention from wider areas. A shirt that fits well in the shoulders and offers a scooped or V-neckline will look much better on most petite bodies than a flirty strapless top that offers little definition. In general, you'll want to wear petite eveningwear, outerwear and activewear that respects and accentuates the vertical lines of your body.

What to Look for in Women's Petite Clothing

In addition to a tailored fit, the patterns, decorations and embellishments you choose can either work for you or they can ruin the slender appearance you're aiming for. Petite outerwear with large, bold prints is fun, but the look can be overwhelming, so opt for petite dresses or tops that feature smaller patterns in a monochromatic color scheme. And while darker colors tend to flatter every size and shape, you don't need to shy away from lively hues. The main point to keep in mind about petite fashion is that slimming vertical line; one color on top and a different color on the bottom will cut through your efforts to lengthen and lessen.

Once you know what to look for, you'll need to know where to go. Several department stores have fairly substantial petite departments, though you may find it easier to look for specialty stores online that are committed to supplying petite apparel. The Internet will probably be the best way to shop for petite scrubs or petite pajamas, since fit and dimension is important but perhaps not quite as vital as it is in dressy, business or casual wear. Fit and style are paramount for a good look, and there's no reason that you should settle for one or the other; learn about the classic, playful and sophisticated designs that will work the best for your petite figure.

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