Sunday, April 10, 2011

FASHION FIX: How to dress a petite figure




Dressing a petite frame:  Kylie Minogue is only 5‘ 0º - and now into her forties, she is looking more youthful than ever. But she‘s not the only one; the perfectly groomed Salma Hayek stands 5‘0 in her stockinged feet and although Madonna may fill the room with her presence, at 5‘4 she‘s hardly what you‘d consider tall. And let‘s not forget the lovely Sarah Jessica Parker, the woman who single-handedly came to define the look of the noughties. Measuring up at a petite 5‘4 the Sex and the City star does not follow trends - she sets them.

Take, for instance, Kate Moss. At 5‘7 she is something of a rarity in the fashion world but her height has never gotten in the way of her towering ambition and if there‘s a woman who really knows how to dress for her size, it‘s Kate. Kate has had many over the years but her laid back boho style is unbeatable. As a petite, she regularly has clothes altered that do not fit her signature ribcage-hugging silhouette; it‘s a simple but subtly effective Style trick and means that the clothes always look as if they were made only for her, and could never have been worn by anyone else. Which kind of hammers home my next point - if you are petite the rule is to buy clothes that fit well because anything that‘s too big will overwhelm your slight frame.

.If you have nice legs, make the most of them. But if you don't quite have a model's measurements don't worry: It's easy to look as if you do. The now-ubiquitous thigh-high skirt will elongate your shape in an instant--and you can double that impression if you pair it with sexy high heels. Keep the proportion right and the concept from going overboard by combining the mini with a long, loose top or jacket. For a less bold style--which is equally effective in creating a tall, slender look--wear a short, cropped shirt-like jacket with a pair of high-waisted pants or a long, slim skirt. It will create a flattering, balanced shape. In addition, a cinched Empire cut on a jacket, dress or top creates a svelte body line by shifting the waistline up. Just remember, everything looks better with heels on.



CASUAL

Your style demons may be telling you that everything in your wardrobe looks sad you are too short and you have nothing to wear but don‘t fret, because the high-street shops are filled with gorgeous trends and the smaller you are, the easier it is to shop. If you are looking for a two piece why not try a skirt worn with a v neck top? It will help elongate your torso) making you appears longer and leaner. Or perhaps a skirt is on your shopping list. If so, you are in luck because skirts almost always come in small sizes.

 Also, remember to keep your skirt knee length or shorter. You want your legs to look long and lean; the more leg that shows, the taller you‘ll appear. It‘s vital to add some height to your legs by teaming your skirt with a pair of heels. Copy the celebrities‘ favourite tip (Victoria Beckham swears by this one) and wear a pair of nude coloured high heel shoes, as this will make your legs appear much longer. Keep your accessories small in size because you‘ll need them to look in proportion to petite frame. A cute little clutch bag and delicate jewellery will help add the finishing touches to your daytime look, so invest in a few fashion forward pieces to bring your look bang up to date.


OFFICE

There is a strong body of evidence now that shows people are both perceived and treated differently on the grounds of their height. It would seem that this discrimination extends to most areas of life and society - including the workplace. For smaller women it must seem the height of unfairness - not only are they probably paid less because they are a woman - but they‘ve the double whammy being discriminated against because they are petite as well. The solution is simple. You want to stand head and shoulders above the competition STAND OUT with an individual sense of style that will get you noticed. Firstly, I‘d suggest that you bin all your boring dark suits because they‘ll only make you disappear amongst the sea black and grey in corporate land. Instead, wear bright colours and fashionable accessories that show YOU are a forced to be reckoned with.

Be warned that wearing different colours on your top and bottom visually cuts you in half loosing precious inches off your height. A much better idea is to wear a single uniform colour to make you seem taller, so wearing a suit in one shade will not only make you look more professional , it will also create the illusion of height. Trousers that are a fraction too long for you will also make you look taller when worn with heels. Wear straight-leg or cigarette-leg styles (bootcut can also work, particularly if you are wide in the hips), a little on the long side, in darker colours. If you want to appear taller, avoid unnecessary details on your clothes and keep your look simple; anything too busy is a no-no. Any fussy floral or tribal prints are not a wise choice for you either because they‘re going to break up the line of your body, making you look much, much shorter. Wear horizontal stripes and you may end looking like a deckchair - so your style mantra needs to be keep it simple - and individual‘ Whether it's by wearing a cropped jacket or the latest mini, get a long, lean line.

If you have nice legs, make the most of them. But if you don't quite have a model's measurements don't worry: It's easy to look as if you do. The now-ubiquitous thigh-high skirt will elongate your shape in an instant--and you can double that impression if you pair it with sexy high heels. Keep the proportion right and the concept from going overboard by combining the mini with a long, loose top or jacket. For a less bold style--which is equally effective in creating a tall, slender look--wear a short, cropped shirt-like jacket with a pair of high-waisted pants or a long, slim skirt. It will create a flattering, balanced shape. In addition, a cinched Empire cut on a jacket, dress or top creates a svelte body line by shifting the waistline up. Just remember, everything looks better with heels on.


OCCASIONWEAR

If genetics have dealt you a short hand, don‘t worry! The solution for a petite frame lies in
choosing the right dress to suit your gorgeous figure. If your wardrobe leaves you feeling small, try these simple tips to add length and style to any look. Dresses that hit at your knee or slightly above are the most flattering for petite types. Wide or capped sleeves and ruffled edges help broaden your shoulders. For black tie events, a body con dress in one colour is the best choice for you, try to avoid styles that are too busy or fussy and focus, instead, on choosing a style with a really flattering cut.When shopping for a petite dress, remember: the fuss and frills of a busy pattern or style will swamp your figure , so avoid these like the plague and instead look for simple fabrics, cuts and vertical lines that will lengthen your body and bring out the most important feature of any outfit: you!

For semi formal occasions, such as a summer barbeque, I‘d suggest wearing a pretty maxi
dress. Many fashion editors believe that this is a poor choice for a petite women but I disagree. Nicole Ritchie is the queen of the maxi dress and she‘s only 5‘1. The key to wearing a maxi dress well is to choose a narrower style, without too many folds of fabric. Also if you pick a design which has subtle vertical stripes running through it, it will trick the eye, making you appear even longer ; finish your look with a simple wedge heel to lift you up a little and some bohemian beads.Remember, great accessories make the difference between a wardrobe that functions and one that turns heads.

 

Where to shop.

The Additions catalogue (0845 304 0008, additionsdirect.co.uk) stocks an appealing range for petite ladies and the good news is that it‘s relatively inexpensive too!
Country Casuals (01845 573120, countrycasuals.co.uk) stocks pretty, fashionable clothes aimed at the over 40‘s in a wide range of sizes and fits. Dorothy Perkins (dorothyperkins.co.uk) sells one of the best tall or petite ranges: very inexpensive. Topshop (0800 731 8284) also offers good tall and petite collections. Gap sizes are helpful: its trousers and jeans come in ankle, regular and tall (0800 427789). Liz Label (0845 123 2736, lizlabel.co.uk) is a website aimed at the small woman -most of their treasures are to die for!



"I don‟t try to be a sex bomb. I am one.‟ Kylie Minogue

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