For many of us, the word “petite” is synonymous with “tiny.” We think petite women are the small, elegant creatures who have waists smaller than an average tree trunk. Not true. Some women are petite-plus (petite and plus size) — a body type that’s often overlooked in magazines and style guides.
As a woman with a height of 5’0 and a weight of 136 lbs, I’ve spent a lifetime learning how to be fashionably petite and chubby. And while I know women like me are not exactly super models, we are not any less stunning than our leggy and slimmer counterparts.
With that said, here are some fashion and styling tips you can use to minimize your curves and maximize your stature:
1. Try Non-Plus Size Stores
You might be surprised to know that some non-plus size stores may actually have styles that will work for you. Don’t underestimate H&M, GAP, and other American brand fashion stores—they often offer over-sized cuts in tops and dresses that will surely look good for a short and plus-size body.
2. Get a Great Tailor
It’s rare for me to find a piece of clothing that fits me perfectly just right off the rack. I would find a blazer in my size, but it won’t button up, while the next size up is just a tad too big. Sometimes I find a pair of jeans that’s perfect for my thighs, but they’re too tight for my waist.
If you’re like me, consider having a tailor. It’s life-changing, I promise. These experts can take some of the fabric in a specific type of clothing and make the piece look as if it was specifically designed with your body in mind.
3. Embrace Low-Rise, Slim-Fit Jeans
Skinny jeans generally look great on the skinny and maybe even curvy women — but not on all petite, plus size girls. Yes, this style may come in “all sizes,” but that doesn’t mean it’s flattering to every body type, including ours.
I’ve tried on tons of pairs of pants in my entire life, and I can tell you that I consistently look slimmer with a boot-cut style. They may not make my legs look longer, but they make the upper torso look a bit longer.
When shopping for your pair, do a bit of stretching and bending before buying to make sure you get the right fit as well.
4. Wear Clothes That Will Emphasize Your Waist
Some women tend to wear boxier tops because they equate having curves with being fat. As long as you choose your attire properly, you can accentuate your assets without looking too bulky.
A simple way to emphasize your curves is to cinch your clothes at the waist. This also elongates the thighs.
5. Go for Shorter Skirts
This may sound a bit counterintuitive, but short skirts actually look great on women who have stockier legs. A skirt cut a few inches above the knee could hide thighs but flaunt the the narrowest part of your leg.
If you choose not to follow these tips, that’s okay, too. Wear horizontal stripes, skinny jeans, bright colored clothes, and even shorts. It’s all about finding what’s comfortable for you, and finding the right clothes that will give you your much-needed confidence boost.
Just remember—having a great sense of style has nothing to do with your weight or your height.
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Dyan is a 25-year-old writer with a sense of humor of a prepubescent male. On weekends, she hibernates.