I love being short. There are a few things that I might alter about my body if I had the chance, but my height isn’t one of them. Sure, I sometimes have to pull out a phone book to stand on when I need to reach high shelves, and I often have to have pants hemmed, but those minor inconveniences don’t really phase me. Being short is a blessing! You look sweet and pixie-like, people often mistake you for being younger than you are (which is bloody annoying as a teenager but brilliant as you get older), you are often perfect hugging-height for tall people and you can wear high heels all the time without fear of towering over your BF (I have a positively Amazonian great-aunt who used to tell me how she would walk in the gutter on dates to make her lover look taller).
There are many looks and outfit combinations that look especially fantastic on short ladies, so if you are ashamed of your diminutive size, or are just looking for some inspiration, here are a few ideas of outfits that are really flattering to a woman of shorter stature.
First of all, I don’t think that a shorter woman needs to constantly wear heels to make herself look taller. However, I do think that heels are a buttload of fun and being short gives you all the more of a reason to wear them. Make sure that you buy the right size and practice walking in them before you leave the house, otherwise you run the risk of looking like a little girl playing dress-ups. If you can’t handle stilettos, try wedges or stack heels to add height and elongate your legs. Wedges are often super-comfy too.
To elongate and streamline your frame, try wearing one colour from top to toe. A long dress or pantsuit in a single block colour can give the illusion of length and height, rather than width.
Don’t be afraid to play with volume. Accentuate your size with a massive handbag or big hat.
Wide-legged pants look fantastic on petite girls, but ensure that they are hemmed to the right length and don’t drag on the ground.
If, like me, you find it difficult to buy pants that are the right length, think outside the box. If you have a petite figure, try shopping in the teens section for jeans and pants. I have several pairs of Target girl’s jeans that are a perfect fit on me. If you have a curvier figure, try buying pants that are intended to be cropped jeans or three-quarter pants. My favourite pair of jeans are actually meant to be pedal pushers.
High waisted pants are really flattering on short ladies, as they give the illusion of super-long legs. Try a pair with pretty detailing around the pockets, or with massively flared legs.
Another gold mine for petite ladies are Asian import clothing stores, particularly those that import from Japan and Korea. These stores cater for short ladies and often have a huge range of cute styles in small sizes, for very little cost. They are also a great place to look for small shoe sizes.
Another place to check out if you have small feet are factory outlet stores. Factory outlets are brilliant if your size is smaller or larger than average, because it’s the in-between sizes that sell out in stores, and then the rest are sent back to the outlets. Those with little feet should try the Dianna Ferrari, Mollini and Scooter shoe factory outlet in Darebin, which offer a huge range of shoes in little sizes starting at about $10.
Vintage shopping is a short ladies’ best friend. Women have grown taller over the past few decades, so fashions from the 50’s and 60’s are often very flattering to a more diminutive figure. Pants, skirts and dresses from this time tend to be a better fit and are cut to suit a smaller woman.
50’s fashions that suit smaller women include a-line skirts (cut to knee-length or mid-calf, no longer), pencil skirts, black tapered trousers (a la Audrey Hepburn) and sweet ballet flats.
If you are looking for a gorgeous 60’s look, try mod styles, such as mini skirts, printed tights, tunic dresses and beehive hairdos. Take your inspiration from Twiggy, whose small stature never stopped her from skyrocketing to great heights of fame. Edie Sedgewick is also a brilliant muse for the short girl, with her head-to-toe black outfits, shoulder-duster earrings and bright shift dresses.
If you are looking to elongate your figure, try dresses that are cut to the knee or mid-calf. Shorts or culottes are also great for making the legs look longer. If you want to wear a long skirt or dress, make sure that you pair them with heels or wedges so that you don’t look swamped. I tend to avoid wearing long skirts with flats unless the skirt is fairly tight-fitting.
Another style that short girls tend to get away with a bit more than our tall sisters is big hair. Whether it’s a beehive, a bun or a quiff, amping up the volume of your ‘do looks brilliant on a little lady.
Try playing up your neck to elongate your figure. Wear a top with a round boat neck that shows off your décolletage. Then pull your hair up into a bun on top of your head. This will give you a gorgeous swan-like neck that will give the illusion of poise and stature.
Most importantly of all, don’t be ashamed of your height. There’s nothing wrong with being small, or short or little. Sure, you might get stuck behind the occasional tall person at the movies, but overall, it’s not quite the dilemma that many make it out to be. Just think of all the tall ladies who have to stoop to get through doorways and can’t find a decent pair of shoes in their size. Really, us short girls have it pretty good.