How to Dress for a Petite Body Type

How to Dress for a Petite Body Type thumbnail
Choose clothing that fits your small frame.

Dressing for a petite body type can be more challenging than dressing for other body types. You don't have the same wide variety of options that others have. Clothes that are too large can make you seem even smaller than you are, so keep in mind that you may sometimes have to hire a tailor to fit the clothes to your body. This may cost a bit more but you'll end up looking better.


    • 1

      Shorten your pants to the correct length. The pants that you wear should fit well through the waist, hips and butt and reach the top of your instep, which lengthens the leg. Have the pants professionally shortened to get the right length. If you try to fold them up, it will look sloppy and it won't have the same lengthening effect. Avoid wide-legged pants, as their volume can make you look small.

    • 2

      Wear longer shirts to lengthen your torso. A short shirt will cut your body in half. Instead, look for shirts that come to the top of the hip. Form-fitting shirts will look better than oversized shirts.

    • 3

      Choose skirts that come to your knee. If you have nice looking legs, you can wear even shorter skirts. This lengthens your legs and helps prevent you from looking too dowdy.

    • 4

      Draw eyes up with embellishments along the bust line. A small ruffle or other details at the top of your shirt can cause people to focus their eyes up.

    • 5

      Stick with solid colors or small patterns. Large patterns will make you seem small.

    • 6

      Hit the beach in a halter-style swim suit. This will draw the eyes up and make you look taller. If you are very slim, a small string bikini can work well too.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid any clothes that have volume, including boxy suit jackets and trapeze or smock style dresses. They will make you seem smaller than you are.

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  • Photo Credit kids clothing image by Nenad Djedovic from

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