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June 19, 2011
a petite lesson in proportions

I want to try and share some more of my personally learned lessons in how to wear clothes and not let them wear you. Let’s examine this picture:

Beyonce: According to sources she is about 5’6″ (you would never guess that because she’s always in platforms) {VS} Julianne Hough: According to sources she is about 5’4″

1) Examine the ratio of leg showing to the garment

First of all, would you have ever guessed based on the picture that they are actually fairly close in height? NO! Even though they chose to wear this dress in slightly different ways, Julianne gets lost in the dress and it becomes unflattering on all levels. Just look at their legs first – Julianne’s dress hits her at an awkward length right above her knees whereas Beyonce’s comes up to her mid-thigh for a shorter look. For petites it’s not quite as easy to pull off a loose, knee length look. It eliminates the length of our legs because they’re hidden and depending on the fit of the skirt it can just plain look frumpy. In my opinion, they either need to be fitted or full – not in between. The tweeners (like this one) just come out looking like we bought something WAY too big. Because this dress has a plunging neckline, it just makes it look like J.Hough bought the dress in the wrong size because it’s sagging down her whole body – her waist is lost. It’s not attractive even as gorgeous as she and the dress both are.


2) Don’t be afraid to tailor

The tailor is your friend, or even better if you’re awesome your own sewing machine is your friend! Without knowing more, either Beyonce got this tailored a bit or there is some kind of stylist magic going on there. Her waist is accentuated so that the dress doesn’t look quite so boxy and it’s much more flattering. There is a time and a place to do slinky, non-fitted dresses but this is not one of them. Be conscious of your shape and try to cater to that when you make clothing selections. For example, I often have to get shorts and skirts altered a bit length wise so that proportionally they are not as long on me as they would be on someone with the same waist and 3 additional inches. I have also gotten many dresses taken in around the torso because they don’t flatter my body – not all labels are created equally! A small in one piece may be the equivalent of an extra-small or medium in another piece.


3) If you have to spend more on tailoring + the cost of the item than you would’ve been willing to spend initially, leave it on the rack!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this mistake, sadly enough. I think in my head that the tailoring will be simple, but then it’s not.. and then it’s too late.. and then it’s a darn shame. I have made a resolution with myself to only do this on pieces I really, really love or get a really, really good deal on and that I know only require minimal alterations. Those are the exceptions to the rule. My recent tailorings include my favorite pair of silky shorts (which happen to be from Forever 21… yes I have tailored stuff from there because I really like it and I can’t get it anywhere else) and a Tibi Romper I bought on Gilt that was an XS but was sooo not extra small. You pick your battles and find a tailor that works for you.

Remember – everyone’s bodies are different and the same dress will look different on you that it will on the next girl. The illusion of height is a petite girl’s best friend, and identifying the right proportions are key.

photo: People StyleWatch


This was really helpful! I am tiny too, more of this would be great! xx

I will definitely try and do more petite posts! Thanks for sharing :)

La Chapstick Fanatique
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exactly! i am 5’3 and three-quarters and I have made friends with my tailor. it must be done!


Great post! Definitely invest in a great tailor :)

Great post! Found it through this week’s LALM and I totally agree, your tailor is your friend. I’ve told this to my petite friends sooooo many times and I wish they would listen more!

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it! :)

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