How To Dress: Petite Fashion Advice Styles That Make Petite Women Look Fat

By on August 31, 2012

Does This Make Me Look Fat? The remaining 10 styles that make petite women look fat. (Part III) We are often asked by petite women about what they should and shouldn’t wear for their petite frame and we want to help you look your best!

Our petite fashion advice is based on style, fit and scale for the petite woman’s frame. 

6. Bulky Sweaters: This is a no brainer. The more bulk in the sweater, the heavier you will look. You may be perfectly thin and fit, but you won’t be in this sweater.

The styles to look out for are the turtle/cowl necks and wraparounds that fall around the hip line, as they will accentuate your size in all the wrong ways.

Generally, oversized clothing and bulky sweaters are not petite friendly as they will make you look shorter and heavier. Take a look at curvy petite celebrity 5’3″ Jessica Simpson.

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7. Harem Pants: Much to my dismay, harem pant shows up so often on the fashion scene. The harem pant is just an all around unflattering look on a petite woman, and most women for that matter. Petite celerities Kylie, Minogue, Lindsay Lohan and Janet Jackson, as well as glamazon Beyonce Knowles are all repeat offenders for this fashion faux pas . You can clearly see the issues here! It’s impossible to ever look lean.  The proportions and scale of a harem pant are wrong for most women’s figures.

Top 3 Worst Accessories For Petite Women

8. Choker and Big Statement Necklaces: The problem with most chokers is that they shorten your neck. Many big statement necklaces are too much for a petite woman’s frame. Proportion is key as is paring with minimal attire. Be careful not to layer too much and selecting the right chain lengths is important. Remember, you want to choose accessories that make you look slimmer and taller, not choked off or weighed down as in the case of petite celebrity Olivia Palermo. Free to subscribe to Bella Petite!

9. Ankle Straps, Wraps and Gladiators: These are some of the worst offenders for petite figures. They will cut off your height. The ankle straps specifically cut your leg line and gladiators do all that and more! Both of these styles make your leg and hips look heavier and shorter. Be wary of contrasting colors between your shoes, your legs and tights or leggings. It is best to wear a neutral tone shoe against lighter skin and black shoes look great against darker skin tones! Always match your shoe with colored tights, nylons or leggings, you don’t want to mix match here! Look how Kourtney Kardashian appears to look shorter and heavier with this look.

10. Wide Belts: The quickest way to add extra weight is to wear a wide belt that adds a wide horizontal line around you and if it is a contrasting color it gives the illusion that you look fat, wide or even frumpy. In order to to look slimmer, wear a narrow belt that matches your outfit. You can wear a contrasting color with a narrow belt and you will look slimmer, as you see on petite celebrity Salma Hayek.

Women with a pear-shaped figures should definitely avoid wide belts.  Kim Kardashian manages to make her figues look heavier and even shorter by wearing a belt that is far too wide for her petite frame.

Keep in mind that style advice is subjective and you may disagree and that is okay.  Always remember to take into consideration your height and proportions when shopping for a fabulous look for you. Ultimately personal style is about what you feel looks good on you and makes you feel confident!

Click here for Part TWO of Styles That Make Petite Women Look Fat

Click her for Part ONE of Does This Make Me Look Fat (3 part series)?

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21 Comments

  1. Betty

    August 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    You have so taken the guess work out with this fantastic series I really appreciate this and now I will for sure hesitate to ask if I look fat and I know many of us feel this way in certain styles that is why we ask. I do like that you have given us your opinion and advice here and I will take it from you because you are offering when I know my best friend and husband won’t really tell me the truth! :)

  2. LouLou

    September 1, 2012 at 12:36 am

    It is so true about wide belts I hate them on me every time I try to wear them they just make me look wider. Being 4’11″ there is really no way most of these style look good on me and it is disappointing thanks for taking the time to sort it out for us :)

  3. Lita

    September 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    As a petite fashion student at FIDM and a petite I am 5’3″ and I really know how important scale, fit and style are when it comes to dressing to look thin and tall which I try to do because I don’t like to appear to have more weight on me or look messy and frumpy either which this all needs to be thought about. The appropriate proportions as you mention it the real key to everything!

  4. Belita

    September 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Being 5’1″ this is extremely informative I learned alot about proportion, scale, fit and style to do it all right from now on! I may like some of the styles but sometimes I just should not wear them but do anyway so I guest I should not ask it I look fat! LOL :) Luv you Bellapetite!!!

  5. Lana

    September 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Fantastic tips for us petites! Whoa never thought to think about what it takes to really look good but thanks to you we don’t have too! I hope it is okay to stray for fun on the trends for a hoot :)

  6. Laura

    September 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    I agree with so much of this article series being 5’0″ I know that I can not wear most of these styles they just cause issues I don’t like ;) You help explain how style-scale-fit-proportions really do make a difference on our petite figures thanks for the advice! I am your fan forever! Love Bellapetite!

  7. jessicamua

    September 3, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    disagree with this article and these “donts”. Peitie women can wear what they want! chokers/anklets/wide bels look fabulous of females! plus women who are not tall tend to be curvier(small waist,wide hips,butt,thighs,etc) look at kim kardashian,coco austin,salma hayek,marilyn monroe

    • April

      September 3, 2012 at 11:27 pm

      I disagree with you Jessica! I will listen to the petite fashion experts on Bellapetite over you it would be silly if they said “petites can wear everything they want” not to credible…LOL atleast she takes a lot of time to explain and teach us a thing or two :) Thanks, Bella!

  8. Felicia

    September 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Precisely petite fashion advice Whup Whup for petites! I like trends but they dont seem to like me and now I know why thanks for telling me what to look out for :)

  9. Jolene

    September 4, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    I know that I can not wear everything I want too I am 5’0″ and most all of these styles don’t look great on me! So many celebs do wear these crazy looks, but that is because they are trendy people and take risks which doesn’t mean that the same looks will look good on me, so this is very good fashion advice for me. Thanks! Bellapetite really makes us proud to be petites :)

  10. Joanie

    September 5, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I read through this entire article series and really do appreciate your advice and opinion Bellapetite I have been a fan since I found you last year! It is so hard to select accessories I am like 5’2″ and wearing to much jewelry and big belts and gladiator shoes can really make me look shorter and not flattering to my waistline ;) Thanks for the advice!

  11. Devon

    September 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I am HUGE Bellapetite fan love your radio show Ann Lauren! You go gurl! Keep bringing us petites out to break the fashion world stereotypes for good! This series was all over it! dope to read fashion advice for us shorties :) I hate HAREM Pant too!!!

  12. Cynthia

    September 5, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    You really answered so many questions on what I can wear and I won’t be asking my husband this annoying question again you have improved our relationship :) xoxo I am 5’3″ lots of trends will be left out of my closet. You made life easier thanks, Ann!

  13. Laurel

    September 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Luv luv luv Bellapetite! Good explanations about why many of these style don’t look so good on me at 5’2″! I know what to avoid for sure, but I may fall off the wagon from time to time :) lol

  14. Mita

    September 12, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Yall on top it! LOL you nailed some of these trends look so bad on 5’2 me and I try to wear them and should not I do feel like I look fat and ask my hubby and he shakes his head in fear to give a truthful answer!!! hehe
    Good direction thnx!

  15. Kathleen Lepidas

    September 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Sorry, but I disagree with at least half of these points. Petite women shouldn’t get so hung up on their height! First of all, the “taller petites” (5’2” to 5’5”) are not really petite, but average; only the screwed-up fashion industry considers them to be short! And petite women really can wear almost anything tall women can wear IF they tweak the clothing so that it works for their size. They should dress for their proportions, not for their height! This fashion philosophy works for me. I’m 5’2 ½’, 105 pounds, almost evenly proportioned (slightly long legs and short torso), and have a slim hourglass figure. I’ve been styling myself for 35 years, so I know exactly what works on me.

    Which styles mentioned in this article can work for a petite woman with my proportions? And how should they be tweaked to suit her?

    • Skinny jeans can work on petites with long, slim legs.
    • Capris and cropped three quarter pants are nice on long-legged, slim, taller petites. The pants should be slim and flat-front and the hem should hit in the right place. They should be worn with shoes that are the same (or a similar) color (e.g., wear black shoes with black capris).
    • Certain types of full skirts are attractive on slim, leggy petites. A skirt that gets its fullness from gores or from very slight gathers is better than a skirt with full gathers, and the fullness of the skirt should be scaled down. The skirt (or full-skirted dress) should be worn with a belt (or sash) and a fitted top/dress bodice.
    • Petites with long necks actually look GOOD in choker-length or statement necklaces! Just make sure they’re not huge.
    • As for wide belts, they can work, too. Just wear belts that are no wider than 1 ½ – 2” and make sure that they blend in with the rest of your outfit. If your torso is somewhat short, like mine, wear wide belts with slightly low-rise skirts and pants.

    Admittedly, even though all of these styles look good on me, some (or all) of them won’t work on petite women who have proportions different from mine. Petite women come in a wide range of heights, sizes, and shapes, so they all shouldn’t follow the same fashion rules. Instead, each and every petite woman should get to know her own personal shape and proportions, then she should experiment with different styles to see what works for her. There’s a way to tweak almost anything!

    • bellapetite

      September 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      Hi Kathleen, thank you for your commentary about what works for your 5’2″ petite body type. To quote you verbatim: “Admittedly, even though all of these styles look good on me, some (or all) of them won’t work on petite women who have proportions different from mine.” You make our point quite nicely in that many of these styles do not work for all petite heights and figures.

      We applaud your effort in pointing out how to tweak the styles to work for “your height and body type,” which still doesn’t imply that the styles will work for all petites and their figures, so we are not really in disagreement as you say.

      As mentioned in the article series: “Our petite fashion advice is based on style, fit and scale for the petite woman’s frame. Some of these styles may work for you and for others they won’t due to your height and proportions, so we suggest that you take into consideration your body type when selecting any of these styles.”

      The article was written in a general sense as you can read. Our intention is to be helpful in offering our petite fashion advice.

      Lastly, your comment that somehow women who are 5’2″ to 5’5″ are not petite, we respectfully disagree based on our industry expertise. It is all about height, scale and proportions and women 5’5″ and under are not generally able to fit standard sizing, so they are certainly petite. We think that being petite is beautiful! (We don’t ever characterize us as being average, shorties or fun sized. In our view those terms are unattractive and childish and we are not.) Our mission is to positively promote you! See http://www.BellaPetite.com/mission and more information on our team see http://www.BellaPetite.com/about

      On another note, you are welcome to submit guest articles if you are an accredited professional, a subscriber, or a Bella Petite Model.

      Thank you for reading BellaPetite! Best Regards, Ann Lauren Editor-in-Chief

      • Kathleen Lepidas

        September 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm

        Hi, Ann. Thanks for your response. No, I don’t have any problem with being petite, and I agree that petite is beautful. One of the reasons that I have trouble considering women my size to be “petite” is, interesting enough, a point YOU made in one of your other posts when you stated that most of the women in the world are petite. If most of the women in the world are petite–and I agree, based on everyday experience, most of them are–that means that “petite” women are the majority and that the “petite” label is inaccurately applied to many women (e.g., women near the average height of 5’3″ish) who are, statistically speaking, not petite but average-sized.

        Of course, the fashion industry does consider women under 5’5″ to be petite, but they’re out of touch with the real world, as you have pointed out before. So I guess my perspective of who is “petite” differs from the fashion industry’s; it’s rooted in statistics and the real world, not in the fashion industry’s sizing standards. Perhaps the fashion industry would make more money if they re-sized their clothing to fit real women’s bodies (it might help in this recession!).

        Keep up the good work!

        Kathleen Lepidas

        • bellapetite

          September 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm

          Hi Kathleen, thank you for your avid appreciation and support of Bella Petite! It’s reassuring to know our readers are hearing our message. Reading your last line; ” Perhaps the fashion industry would make more money if they re-sized their clothing to fit real women’s bodies (it might help in this recession!).” shows me you are exactly on target with our beliefs and you will appreciate my article: Time For a New Strategy “Project Revamp Retail” http://bellapetite.com/time-for-a-new-strategy-project-revamp-retail.html Have a great week! Best, Ann Lauren

  16. Biana Canton

    September 14, 2012 at 12:53 am

    Thanks for reaffirming my thoughts and experience with many of the styles mentioned here! I am 5’3″ with curves and many times skinny jeans and tight dresses are NOT KIND to my figure they do make me look heavier and bulky in the wrong places and I know I am not out of shape. Nice to have you on our side!!!!!!

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