Five Petite Wardrobe Myths, Debunked

petite fashion myths debunked

When it comes to dressing for your body type, there seems to be more of a focus on what you shouldn’t wear than how to adapt certain styles for your figure. This is primarily true for petites. Earlier this month, one of my go-to fashion blogs, WhoWhatWear, penned a relatively controversial article on trends petite women should avoid. Needless to say, many readers, including myself, took issue with more than half of the list, including – but especially – oversized bags (my oversized bag is a daily must-have). This is not to say that I embrace anything and everything fashion throws my way. I avoid baggy jeans, shoulder pads, and kitten heels like the plague, and will opt for a pointed-toe heel over a round-toe any day. Ultimately, don’t let any article (including this one!) dictate your sartorial choices; experiment and find what clothes work for you. Nonetheless, if you’re guilty of believing in the following popular petite wardrobe myths perpetrated by dozens of blogs and magazines then, rest assured, your wardrobe is about to receive a makeover.

Myth 1: Midi skirts are unflattering.

Midi skirts and dresses can be tricky. The mid-calf length has a tendency to make the vertically-challenged appear even shorter. But there’s a few ways a midi skirt can look flattering without resorting to heels. Instead of pleats, opt for a sleek pencil skirt in a solid color and juxtapose the skirt with a fitted top such as a peplum or a crop top.


Petite midi dress,

pencil skirt_petite

Vince Camuto petite midi skirt,

Myth 2: Avoid oversized clothes and handbags.

Most regular-sized clothes are one size too big for petites, so if you’re petite, chances are you already own oversized clothes and accessories in your closet. I like the look of an oversized sweater, button-down top, or jacket because they can be paired with a fitted bottom for a slimmer silhouette. Sometimes I will add a belt to a top or jacket that’s a bit too big. When possible, pair any oversized clothes or accessories with heels. Heels make everything look better (seriously).

trenchcoatBelted trenchcoat, H&M

kate spade_oversized bag

Kate Spade quilted shoulder bag,


Myth 3: Boxy tops will only make you look boxy.

Boxy tops get a lot of flack even outside of petite circles, but in my opinion it looks modern and effortless. Go for a cropped boxy top and add fitted pants for a structured silhouette.



Boatneck boxy top,



Petite cropped top,

Myth 4: Tunics are made for tall people.

Petites can get away with wearing tunics as a dress, but if that’s not possible (depending on your height or the tunic itself), combine the look with tights or leggings. I prefer to wear a belt with most tunics because it creates an hourglass silhouette rather than overwhelming my frame.


 Lace tunic,


Myth 5: Opt for fitted pants.

I’ll be the first to admit that I shy away from bottoms that aren’t fitted. But there’s something effortless about a pair of wide-leg pants. The trick is to find a pair that is high-waisted, which will elongate the legs. Add a crop top to create the illusion of height.

rachelzoe_wide leg trousers

Rachel Zoe high-waisted pants,


So, fellow petite readers, I want to hear from you. Are you guilty of avoiding these trends? What other trends do you avoid? Let me know in the comments.

[Original image found on]

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Diane Taha

  • gossipgossip

    As a petite, yes I do avoid some of these trends but not necessarily because of height. I just bought my first oversized handbag (it’s a Celine replica). I had avoided them because looking in a mirror, big handbags made me look even tinier! I looked like a child with a monster-sized bag. I only bought this one because I LOVE the look of it.

    Usually, I base what works for me based on my body-shape and not height. For example, there is no way I would wear a boxy top as I am already boxy–pretty curvy. I just don’t look good in it. And as for tunic tops, I have always seen them as the tops free spirits wear, not my style at all, so again nothing to do with height.

    • Big bags can make me look tiny, too, but I find that if I carry the bag instead of wearing it over my shoulder, it looks less overwhelming. I still prefer to wear the bag over my shoulder, though. I’ve decided that I really don’t care if the bag makes me look small – I /am/ small after all – and being able to stuff all my necessities is more important.

  • Hey Diane! I am petite and I love how you point out that we CAN were big bags or wear wide leg pants! These are all styles that I truly love. Great read! xx :)


  • Wow, obviously I do everything wrong. All the time. Should I question my being a fashion blogger? ^^
    Honestly, who writes these things? And who makes these rules? For example, I’m a huge fan of oversized anything, but just as you say: everything already is oversized on my frame when I get a regular XS…

    I’m confused by the fact that people seem to envy me all the time for being tiny, they tell me how wonderful it must be to be able to look good in literally everything and then they try to make rules about what I am allowed to wear to make me look taller and what is absolutely forbidden.

    My fav part of the WWW article is the one about bermuda shorts – what kind of argument is “No way, ladies!” anyway? Oh and by the way, I got myself a pair of baggy jeans recently and it looks fab.

    I’m sorry, Diane, I didn’t mean to come on here and just rant, but I hope/know you do understand where I’m coming from…
    I really appreciate you taking a lot more positive approach to dealing with the ‘problem’, and I do recommend you try wide legged pants – I own two pairs and they create the easiest and most flattering summer looks ever!

    xox Sabrina

    • I completely understand where you’re coming from. I was surprised by WWW’s article – the tone sounded out of character and kind of offensive. I wish they had put more thought into the article instead of saying “No way, ladies!” Proportion should be worth considering when dressing for a petite figure and you can basically get away with wearing most things if you balance that proportion. Thanks for the thoughtful comment, girl! xx

  • That’s really funny, because I love oversized bags, jumpers and whatever comes on the way. Midi skirts are my biggest fave (my latest blog post) and I certainly wear quite a lot of tunics. :))
    The best thing about fashion is the main rule to forget the rules!


    • absolutely agree but just to add to that quote, don’t just forget the rules SET the rules! btw, that midi skirt looks gorgeous on you. xx

  • Gah I love WWW but what??!! It’s so limiting to dictate rules like that. I love midi skirts and oversized jumpers so much – it’s basically my uniform at the moment. And the subject of one of my blog posts last week –

    I choose to wear things that suit my style, and my shape. I only really consider my height with regards to actual fit. Thanks for posting this!

  • I have yet to try on oversized jumpers but now I’m encouraged! I will check out your post :) Thanks for stopping by. xx

  • I was actually offended by WWW’s article. I wear what I want! Thanks for this!!! Just subscribed, love!

    • Thanks, doll. I followed back. Congrats on making Links a la Mode :)

  • Joyce Kinney

    At 5 foot even, there are very few things that I won’t try to wear, although I do try to stay away from things that might be to “Cute.” I don’t want to feel like a cupcake…other than that I have every single item mentioned above in my closet.

    • I know what you mean about avoiding clothes that are too cutesy. I do the same because I feel childish. Might get away with on Halloween but not everyday…

  • As a petite myself… I love your post. And yes, I have tried pencil midi skirts and they look great. The right pair of wide leg pants makes me actually look taller. Then boxy tops or oversized tees or button downs with leggings is my staple look…

    I have often come across how petites shouldn’t wear a maxi dress or skirt as well but my wardrobe is full of maxi dresses and I can never get enough of them… so yeah basically I hear you sister!

    It is really about bending the rules and always constantly trying to make styles work for your body. And yes, be truthful to yourself in the mirror while you shop. Great post! Congratulations on being featured :)


    Swati @ The Creative Bent

    • Hey! I agree with what you said about maxi dresses. In my experience they can make you look taller especially if you wear a solid color. thanks for stopping by :)

  • Great article!