We all know that after you pass into adulthood, it’s great to be told you look younger than you really are. However, as someone who is petite, you don’t want to look like a high school freshman at work or a student at your kids’ middle-school.
The good news is that you’re not doomed to a lifetime of being mistaken for a child because this guide will give you a variety of tips you can follow to look grown-up in a tiny package. Hint: It’s not all high-heels and make-up!
Wear the Right Size
Oversized clothes bring the wrong kind of attention to your small frame and, unfortunately, will make you look childish. It might seem like the right size doesn’t exist on the rack, and tailored clothes can be way out of your budget. However, learning to pinpoint problem areas before you go shopping is half the battle.
- Tunic length: Tunics are classy, but can be difficult for petite figures. Three inches make a huge difference. Your hemline should reach mid-hip or upper thigh when worn over pants. As a bonus tip, petite ladies can wear those super-long tunics as a dress and look uber-stylish.
- Sleeve length: Baggy sleeves that cover your hands make you look like a kid wearing hand-me-downs. Long sleeves should end at or just below your wrists, when your arms are at your sides. Three-quarter sleeves should end about halfway between your elbow and wrist.
- Shirt/blouse length: Your untucked shirt should end at your hipbone rather than hitting at your waist or hanging down onto your thighs.
- Pants measurements: Baggy bunchy pants can instantly take your look back to grade school. The key when it comes to pants lengths is knowing the right fit for the right style.
- Ideally, full-length pants should cover part of the front of the foot without the back dragging on the ground.
- Skinny pants should fall to the ankle bone.
- Straight pants should be hemmed just below the ankle.
- Cropped pants should end in the area where your calf is narrowing toward your ankle.
Pick Structured Pieces
Dressing to look older when you’re petite doesn’t have to be a chore, but attention to detail is important. Soft shapeless items have a way of making you look childish, so it’s important to make a point of looking for structured items of clothing. Yes, I’m talking about those shoulder seams that drift halfway down your arms!
So, when evaluating your next clothing purchase for its ability to provide a structured and mature look, keep this tips in mind.
- A stylish blazer matures your style so much more than a bulky sweater.
- A shirt with a collar instantly adds polish.
- A simple shift dress adds an elegant touch.
- Tailored slacks look sophisticated and avoid saggy baggy trouble spots.
Choose Colors with Caution
We all know “the rules.” Don’t wear bright colors or bold prints if you’re trying to dress your best as a petite.
But where’s the fun in that? In truth, you can wear colors without looking like a kid and petites can absolutely rock big prints. There are a few ways to follow the rules, break the rules, or mix and match until those rules work for you. Such as…
- Bright colors: You can wear them, but they’re best paired with understated pieces.
- Monochromatic: This is a great way to break the rules! One long column of color elongates your frame and looks sophisticated.
- Prints: Best worn in small doses. A scarf is a beautiful way to dress up any outfit. Tops and skirts can work too, when paired with neutral separates.
- Darks: Dark colors instantly mature. Consider charcoals with blacks, sophisticated navy, and even dark shades of popular colors like maroon or chocolate.
- Mix it up: Remember that everything works in moderation. When in doubt, try that bold color or print on an accessory first.
Accessorize the Right Way
Too much jewelry can overwhelm a small frame, and make you look like a child playing dress-up. However, the right pieces can work to set off your style and mature your look. Jewelry can even be the perfect weapon to break the rules and make you look more mature.
So, when it comes to accessorizing, keep this pointers in mind…
- Bold pieces: Bold necklaces, bracelets, and watches can make those girly outfits more mature.
- Dressy pieces: Sleek jewelry like simple chains, pearls, and small hoops add elegance, especially when worn near your face.
- Belts: A thin belt can work wonders for almost any outfit. Use them to tailor blousy clothes, shorten dresses and tunics, and add a touch of professionalism to any outfit.
- Unexpected pieces: Jewelry that isn’t traditional for a certain clothing type might be the right medicine to make that piece more sophisticated.
Evolve Your Casual Clothes
No one wants to dress for the office every day and petite ladies need to enjoy those relaxing weekends and vacations just as much as everyone else. Besides, sometimes jeans and a tee is the most comfy outfit of all.
However, if you don’t take care when dressing casual, you can easily end up looking like a kid who just wandered off of the playground. So, in order to look you casual best, consider these tips when dressing to relax.
- Jeans: To make your jeans look more mature, swap ripped or distressed jeans for straight or skinny dark washed jeans.
- Tee shirts: Oversized tees are high school style. As mentioned above, dressing for your optimal fit is your best option for looking mature.
- Capris and shorts: Straight style capris look grown up when worn with sleek flats or strappy sandals. Skip the cuffed denim shorts and go for something smoother. In addition, mid-thigh lengths are both stylish and mature.
- Athletic shoes: Avoid bright colors and flashy details if you’re trying to look older than your age. Instead, opt for neutral colors to look sophisticated and keep feet comfy.
Tuck and Roll the Adult Way
Despite your best efforts, when shopping for clothing, it’s going to be difficult to find shirts and pants that all fit perfectly. While tucking in oversized clothes can make you look like a toddler, the right adjustments can turn “a little too big” into “a perfect fit.” It’s just a matter of employing these clever tricks to make slightly ill-fitting clothing work for you.
- Half-tuck: Skip tucking giant tees into super skinny pants circa junior high 1989. If your top is only slightly too big, try tucking only a portion of the front. This works in the middle or off the one side for a stylish look.
- Sleeves at the elbow: A cuff sliding over your hand might resemble a kid growing into new clothes, but a crisp shirt can be rolled to the elbow for a tailored professional look.
- Rolled pants: Crops that bunch at the ankle can give you a baggy toddler-style. However, a thin cuff might just transform those crops and capris into the perfect length.
- Tucked blouse: If your blouse looks like a smock, the full tuck still works for a sophisticated look. In addition, you can add a belt for the final touch.
Don’t Forget Your Shoes
While your tiny feet may be just be about child-size, that doesn’t mean that you should wear shoes that tend to make you look childish. No, you don’t have to wear heels all the time, but you do need shoes designed for an adult. When it comes to looking mature in your shoes, a few small tricks can make all the difference.
- Style: Giant bows and all-over glitter are so fifth-grade. Swap big details for sleeker styles and keep embellishments small.
- Material: Skip plastic-like materials and instead opt for leather, clothe, and other quality materials.
- Color: Dark colors or neutrals look best while candy-colored shoes scream kid-like.
- Bulk: Big details and chunky shoes look immature while flats or low heels with sleek lines and understated colors offer more sophisticated style.
Say Goodbye to Looking Like a Child
So, to all you petites out there, it is possible to more mature and incredibly stylish even though you might be a shortie. When it comes to looking older, the right styles are the key to looking sophisticated no matter what size you are. And, with this arsenal of tips, you can prove that tiny can truly be grown-up, trendy, and fantastically stylish.