Monday, April 25, 2011

Dresses! Part 2: Dresses for Petites

"It's cute...but will it make me look like I'm 10?"
"Is this worth hemming?"
"Will this still look good even with my small chest?"

These are some of the questions I ask myself while dress-shopping in regards to my size. Unfortunately, many dresses just don't work on petites for a number of reasons that I'll get into shortly, but right now I'll start with a dress that DOES work:

At a polo game- please excuse my awkward divot-stomping posture...
Dress: Urban Outfitters, sz. XS
Sandals: Jack Rogers, sz. 5
Sunglasses: good question!

There are many things that I like about this Urban Outfitters dress. First, it flatters a small bust and a petite waist: the straight-across bandeau-style top hides a lack of cleavage, and the parallel lines underneath not only accentuate a small waist, but are far down enough to suggest that there is more to the bust than there actually is! Even larger-busted, not-so-tiny waisted petites would look good in this dress, since they would be able to fill out the upper part more (and then the blue lines would fall more closely underneath the chest and further from the waist). The lines, the light blue hem, and the patch of blue detail on the top all add structure (and structure gives us shape in a good way). Lastly, the length falls right above the knee, which is ideal for short ladies (as below the knee is not).

Now, let's take a look at a not-so flattering dress...

Forever 21

Okay, this isn't totally fair since I wouldn't be attracted to this dress in the first place. What's wrong with it, you ask? First off- it's a babydoll top. For small ladies trying to not look like a tweenager, babydoll tops are a no-no! It's a youthful look that is very flattering on normal-sized and curvier ladies, since it accentuates the cleavage and hides the inevitable woman-pooch. However, on youthful-looking petites, it makes us look like we belong at a Justin Bieber concert. The loud, colorful and cheap-looking print does not help either. I don't think that loud prints are always a no-go for petites, but I think that sticking to loud prints consisting of only 2 colors  are a better choice.

And now for another petite-friendy dress...

Ann Taylor

Bateau necklines (such as this) and boatnecks are very flattering on petites with narrow shoulders and small chests- they broaden us out. I was originally going to choose a LBD version of this dress, but I chose a print is flattering on everyone, but not everyone can pull off a fitted printed pattern (but we can!). This is an example of a style that petites can pull off better than most. Of course, if you petites were actually going to buy this dress, you'd probably have to get it shortened (unless you're 5'3"). Ann Taylor sheath dresses are generally worth hemming. They're good quality, and only have 2 layers. But getting a dress hemmed isn't all that cheap, so take that into consideration when buying a less-than-great quality dress that's too long.

A few closing tips for petite dress shopping:

-Fitted is better than flouncy. (I love flouncy dresses, so this is hard!) You can rock fitted dresses better than most, and flouncy dresses will make you look childlike.
-The skirt should fall mid-thigh to just above your knees, or all the way down to your feet. Knee-length and tea-length aren't flattering.

I've learned some of these tips from my own experiences, and some reading petite blogs.
Petites: What are your dress-shopping tips and experiences? Everyone's bodies are different, so I'd love to hear tips from all of you!



WhatMissLoves said...

Hey girl!
I'm not petite although I sometimes wish I was but I love reading your blog anyway!! I really love your dress that you have pictured.

Beth Dunn said...

You look adorable in that dress!

kileen said...

i totally agree that babydoll dress totally make us look younger than we are, but sometimes it still fun to wear on the weekends! you look great in your dress and blue is definitely your color!

cute & little