Wondering what to wear to a big special event (or your conservative office)? Our new style columnist, Hannah Baker, is taking your fashion questions and answering them here!
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I’m petite (around 5’3”) with curves, and am trying to figure out how to find the best clothes for my body without spending all day at multiple stores.
Any recommendations? Are there ways to get in with a personal shopper at a store without breaking the bank, or online resources that will show you how to dress specific figures?
This is a great question and one that I think women of every shape and size deal with.
Because everyone’s body types are so different (and because everyone has unique style preferences), where you shop is really up to you. That said, if you want to get the most bang for your buck, look to mid- to high-range stores like Nordstrom and J.Crew, which have sales associates whose job it is to help you find the right clothes for your body type. Even if you don’t buy all of your clothes from them, you’ll get a better sense of what works and what doesn’t—and that’s knowledge you can take on your future shopping trips. There are also great online tools out there, like this one from InStyle, that can help you identify your body type and find great clothes to fit it.
Another person who can really help you with your wardrobe is an excellent tailor. Hardly anything off the rack is going to fit you (or anyone) perfectly—and if something doesn’t look quite right, you’ll probably never end up never wearing it! So it’s usually worth it to spend a little extra money to get that perfect fit. For petite body types, the biggest issue is often length—so find quality clothes that are a good fit everywhere but in the length department, and then get them hemmed.
Here are some other specific styling ideas for petite ladies:
1. Steer clear of wide legged pants—they’ll just swallow you up. Instead, opt for slimmer fitting pants or skinny jeans.
2. Try to find skirts with a higher waist—this will make your legs look longer and make you appear taller. Make sure you tuck in your shirt or sweater into the skirt to define your waist (which also has a lengthening effect). Add a belt, and voilà!
3. Wear nude platforms or heels with skirts or dresses (or even shorts, when you’re not at work!). Pairing something short with a taller shoe will make your legs look miles long.
Finally, check out this slideshow from Refinery29 on petite-perfect stores.
Have a style dilemma you need help with? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.