Petite Clothing For The Over 50’s

Dressing for a petite frame can be a challenge. There can be less choice for you, even though a number of brands are now doing petite ranges.

The most important thing is to find the right shapes and styles for your frame. There are also a number of rules you should try and follow, to make the most of your size.

The Perfect Fit

A lot of you will know by now that one of my mantras is “fit, fit, fit”. It makes such a difference to how clothes look on your frame and none more so than the petite figure. As most clothing is made for the “average” woman (whoever she is??), then finding clothes that fit you perfectly is like finding the Holy Grail.

People will petite frames more often than not find that they are overwhelmed by most garments in shops as the proportions are all wrong for them. Petite ranges will have shorter hemlines, shorter sleeves and make adjustments to waist length and shoulder width.

But remember, not all petite ranges are equal! That goes for any brand, so it is important to experiment with them and find a range that fits your frame.

Play with the waistline

Wearing a higher waistline in trousers and skirts will give the illusion of a longer leg, so high waisted jeans or trousers and skirts, rather than those that sit on your hip will help your legs look longer than they are.

Thankfully for all of us who carry a bit more than we would like on our waistlines, the trend for low slung jeans is being replaced by high waist or high-rise jeans, which not only deals with the “muffin top”, which to my mind was just as bad, if not worse, than “builders bottom”, but it also allows you to play around with your waist position, to find the best height to make your legs look longer, or your body longer, whichever proportion is best for you.


It is all about proportion and playing with the lines of your body to create illusions of height. Wearing a deep V-neck neckline will create vertical lines and give the illusion of length to your body. High necks or crew necks will create horizontal lines and have a shortening effect, so is best to be avoided if possible.

Using your Hemlines

Finding the right hemline for your frame is crucial, but one of the hardest things to do. Skirts that sit on or above the knee are a great length to elongate the leg. Maxi skirts can be worn on a petite frame, but keep them form fitting, so as not to overwhelm you and keep your boots/tights/shoes in a similar colour to keep the lines clean - again an elongating trick.

Avoid trousers or skirts that finish on the calf as this will immediately cut your leg length in half. Trousers that finish at the ankle bone are good at creating length.


Patterns and prints are very much a personal choice and are a great way to show your style personality, but with a petite frame it is best to choose smaller patterns, as large prints will overwhelm and take over your body. Use patterns to create illusions of length, such as vertical stripes and V patterns going down towards the waist.

If you love big prints or busy patterns, use these in your scarves and accessories rather than your main garments.

Be clever with colour.

Colours are a great thing to use to make you look taller. Monochromatic dressing works best - that is dressing in a single colour or tone from head to foot. Don’t feel you have to stick to black or white though. Any colour can look great worn monochromatically.

If you don’t feel comfortable in monochrome, when you are choosing your outfits, be careful not to cut your body in half with the colours you choose. For instance a bright red top with a black skirt will cut your body at the waist, so go for a muted red top with the skirt to meld the colour a bit more.


Once again let me reiterate “fit, fit, fit” . If you get the proportions right and the fit right, you can really wear what you want. It is all about proportions and balance. If you want to wear a floaty skirt, then make sure you wear a tighter fitting top to balance out the proportions. The same goes for the other way - if you love baggy tops, wear them with narrow trousers or pencil skirts again to keep the balance right.


Now my favourite subject - shoes!!

These can literally elevate your outfit!

Pointed shoes are always best for the petite frame as they give the effect of elongating your legs and create a pleasing line.

Over the knee boots are a fabulous way to lengthen your legs.

When thinking about the colour of your shoes, skin tone or the same tone as your tights works well to lengthen the leg. Keeping the same tone as the rest of your outfits works well too.

Avoid ankle straps though, as these shorten the legs and fatten your ankles! Not a great look!

I hope you have found this useful! If you would like to take this further and find out more about your body shape, then go to

#50plusstyle #petitedressing #petiteover50 #petite


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