A few weeks ago a lovely reader named Melissa messaged me on Facebook asking me for tips on how to dress when you’re petite. She found that often clothes would be too baggy and would look like they were overwhelming her frame. I can definitely relate! Finding things for your shape when you’re diminutive in size and stature can often involve a few extra steps to ensure the right and most flattering fit. If you’re in the same boat then rest assured that there are some easy ways to have a great wardrobe that works for you.
Get everything tailored
This is my number one tip to anyone, especially when you’re petite. Find yourself a great tailor that you like and start getting your clothes altered to fit perfectly. Often buying off the rack can mean that clothes can be a little too loose, too long or just not sitting perfectly and it pays to take the time to get everything tailored to fit. This is especially true of pants and jeans which can often be miles too long. The added benefit of getting clothing tailored is that you’ll always look polished. Win-Win.
Go for cropped lengths
I tend to favour anything cropped, especially when it comes to pants and jeans. I’ll usually make sure that my pants hit at the ankle or slightly above as I’ve found this can help elongate the frame. If you’ve got a pool of fabric gathering at your feet it can look messy and also end up making you look even shorter.
If something has too much volume it’s going to really swamp you so always pay attention to the proportions you’re working with. Try to go for pieces with structure as opposed to anything too floaty as this will help define your shape. Anything high waisted is great as it draws the eye upwards and ends up giving you a longer looking frame. Also if sleeves are too long try rolling them or pushing them up so you don’t look like you’re walking around in oversized clothing.
Avoid clunky shoes
I avoid anything with too much bulk and gravitate towards a streamlined aesthetic. Most of my heels tend to have a stiletto heel as I’ve found this helps elongate my figure and looks more in proportion. As for flats, I don’t really do flatforms or styles of that nature as I’ve found they just look too bulky. I go for sleek flats, sandals and slides that are quite minimalist in nature and don’t have too much extra ‘padding’ to them. Even my boots these days tend to be of the sock boot variety as I like the tighter fit compared to regular ankle boots.
Incorporate a fitted silhouette
I steer clear of anything too voluminous these days as I’ve found a fitted silhouette is far more flattering. I’m not saying you need to live in bodycon dresses 24/7 but you do need to be mindful that what you’re wearing is cut close to the body in some way. At a minimum, I like to keep one aspect of my look streamlined. Whether it be a pencil style skirt, a fitted top or a dress with either a tight top or bottom or a close fitting pant, there’s always got to be one element of my look that’s a little more figure hugging. This avoids the issue of looking like your clothes are wearing you and not the other way around.
Once you’ve found ways in which to ensure that your clothes fit perfectly, dressing when you’re petite doesn’t seem so much of a drama. In fact, you’ll probably learn to appreciate even more that good things really do come in small packages.
Do you have a fashion question you’re dying for advice on? Leave me a message below and I’ll answer it in a future blog post.
I’ve spoken of how much of a fan I am of a statement skirt whether it be for casual wear or something a little more special. Whilst this skirt style holds its own simply because it will usually feature striking colour or print, the key to letting it truly stand out is what you pair it with. And there’s such a plethora of choices you really will have no trouble making it your new go-to (especially when it comes to party season). So here are some amazing options for the next time you want an outfit that truly delivers.
The statement top
Even if you’re wearing a skirt that’s already a focal piece on its own it doesn’t meant that you can’t also take it up a notch with your top. If your skirt is in a vibrant shade, has extra embellishments or lots of texture just be sure to keep your top a neutral colour but feel free to go for a design with elevated details such as a dramatic sleeve or ruffles such as the one I’m wearing below.
A logo tee or sweater
A tee or sweater emblazoned with a logo is still very much a thing and it’s a dream to pair with a bold skirt. To keep your look cohesive try and incorporate a similar colour palette in your top as what you have on your skirt.
A tonal top
There’s something quite chic about incorporating similar tones throughout an outfit. I wore the below pink top with a midi skirt in a similar shade and loved that it worked to elongate my shape and also had visual impact. It’s an easy styling trick to try when you want a look that looks polished and pulled together.
A white tee
God bless the humble white tee for it really does work with pretty much everything. It’s also a great pairing with a printed skirt, allowing the skirt to take centre stage. This pairing has become a shortcut of mine on days when I want an outfit that looks like I tried but I really managed to get out the door in record time!
A touch of lace
A glam top, one that incorporates luxe finishes such as lace is great with a skirt that features rich shades or a romantic print such as flowers. It also incorporates a little bit of extra texture to create a look that’s got flair.
A bold accessory
Whilst not in the clothing category a great accessory really makes for the ideal finishing detail when it comes to an outfit featuring a statement skirt. A great belt and a structured bag fall into this category and are easily paired with many a skirt, regardless of its print, colour or texture.
A beautiful statement piece can often elevate an outfit from good to great. I’m a big fan of using statement pieces to add interest to an outfit, especially when I’m wearing something that’s quite understated. It’s a great shortcut to employ on those days when you’re wearing an outfit that you know requires some punch but you don’t want to rework the entire look again. The addition of an eye-catching element to your ensemble can really make it pop.
Whether it’s an elaborate pair of shoes or a great pair of embellished sunglasses here are my rules for working with statement pieces.
Stick to your style
Trends for statement pieces come and go so it’s important to stick to your style. Whether it’s a brightly coloured bag or the latest designer accessory ensure that it’s still very “you” whilst being an attention grabber at the same time. It’s also important to remember that whilst a statement piece is designed to stand out it’s also crucial that it can work seamlessly with what’s within your wardrobe already otherwise it will sit in your closet gathering dust.
Make statement pieces the hero
It goes without saying that you should allow your statement piece to take centre stage. If I’m wearing a statement bag or shoe I often like to keep my outfit quite muted to allow it to stand out. This is why bold pieces are often a great way to bring an all black outfit to life with just the addition of one accessory.
My Gucci loafers with floral motif
It’s all in the detail
A statement piece doesn’t have to be all about the bling. It’s important to choose something with a striking detail that will really make an outfit pop. My favourite Gucci loafers which I wear to death have a floral motif on them which make a statement but are definitely not overly bright or embellished. Just find something with an eye-catching detail that will allow it to shine and make it unique.
Find the right balance
If I’m wearing a statement piece I often do a scan of the rest of my outfit to see whether it’s just right or might be just a bit over the top. For example one of the key statement pieces in my wardrobe is my Gucci Dionysus bag which features lots of embellishments and I’ll often wear it when I need to jazz up an outfit such as when I’m wearing a plain white tee with jeans or leather pants. It acts as the final finishing element but it doesn’t overpower the rest of the look.
What’s your favourite statement piece in your wardrobe?
I’m all about a quick styling trick. If there’s something that I can do to my outfit that takes minutes but will do plenty to change its look and feel then I’m all over it. This is why this recent trend towards belting dresses is absolute genius in my mind. It’s something that you can do using an accessory that you more than likely already have in your closet and it will change the whole vibe of a dress. By simply cinching in the waist of an existing dress you completely change the shape, and also give it a strong focal point based on the belt that you choose.
The thing with this styling trick is that most styles of belt will work. You could opt for a classic black belt with statement buckle to give your dress a little edge. A simple skinny belt will add a sophisticated touch to any frock whilst a chunky style waist belt will act as its own bold finishing piece. And it’s so easy. Just pop on the belt and you’re done.
If you have a closet full of dresses that are currently putting you to sleep because you’ve worn them so much then consider adding a belt the next time you wear it. It’s an easy outfit refresh that won’t break the bank and that’s a definite win-win situation.
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Cinch in a dress with volume
Give a dress with a voluminous silhouette some shape with a waist belt that will instantly give you an hourglass figure.
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Add a statement feature to your dress
By simply adding a belt you can instantly give your dress a new focal point that changes its look and feel.
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Pack a punch
You could opt for a belt with a statement buckle (the classic GG belt like the one above is a fave) to give your favourite dress an added lift.
Tell me—have you jumped aboard this trend yet?
Classics have a definite place in any wardrobe but I think there’s always room to have a little fun. Enter vibrant prints. Usually incorporating loads of colour and punchy patterns that are guaranteed to lift any outfit consider these your go-to when you want to bring a little sunshine into your look.
You can approach this trend in two ways: choose one statement piece and team it with pared back pieces or go for a clashing effect and team a few different colours and prints. If you’re opting for the latter you’ll need to choose an element to tie everything together whether it be the same colour or similar prints. Often accessories are a helpful way to bring cohesion to your look and give it a more finished effect.
There’s only one way to carry this look and it’s to wholeheartedly embrace it because if you’re going to wear something that’s eye-catching, you need to own it. So whether you go for a beautiful printed dress or a statement coat, a pair of showstoppper shoes or a striking bag it’s important to not shy away.
Sold on this trend? Before you jump on it scroll down to check out how über stylish women like Glossier founder Emily Weiss to blogger Blair Eadie and Farfetch’s vice-president of style and creative Yasmin Sewell are rocking this look. There’s plenty of easy-to-do examples of how to rock vibrant prints in a totally wearable way. Once they’ve won you over, check out my edit of the best punchy styles to introduce into your wardrobe now.
Shop my edit of fun punchy printed pieces to add to your wardrobe…
Adopting a few good wardrobe habits will make getting dressed every day a whole lot easier
Every woman wants to look polished and put together however let’s be honest, this takes work. I know everyone has such busy schedules so sometimes trying to style the ideal outfit first thing in the morning can be the last thing you want to think about. The ideal outfit won’t just magically put itself together so if you want to save yourself a bit of time and effort there are a few habits you can adopt to make it a whole lot easier to look great each time you walk out the door.
Keep your wardrobe tidy
Having to dig through a disorganised mess to locate just the right t-shirt or the skirt you want to wear makes for a stressful time. So, start tidying up. It sounds simple but making sure to fold and hang clothes in an orderly manner so you know where absolutely everything is will make it much, much easier to pull an outfit together. If you want some hints on how to get started I’ve rounded up a few of my favourite organisation tips here.
Choose a focal point
Centre your outfit around one particular piece. By deciding to choose a central piece then you give yourself a starting point from which to build from. Whether it’s a pair of showstopper shoes or a statement jacket or a particularly gorgeous necklace, each outfit should have a point of difference that makes it stand out.
Choosing one aspect of your look to focus on will help you build a cohesive outfit
Do a final mirror check
It may sound obvious but before you walk out the door quickly check that everything works. That means making sure that your shoes, bag, accessories and outfit are all playing nicely together. For example sometimes you may think a certain pair of earrings will look great with an outfit but taking one last look when you’re dressed may make you think otherwise.
Repair or get rid of damaged clothing
As soon as something needs repairing do it straight away. Procrastinating may mean that you might find yourself in a rush with a particular blouse in mind only to find it’s missing a button which means double the stress! If something can’t be repaired bin it straight away. It’s important that your clothes are in great shape if you want to look polished.
Follow laundry instructions
Yes, it can be tempting to ignore the tags on your clothes but following laundry instructions are going to ensure your clothes look great but also for longer.
Hang up your clothes at the end of the day
Getting home after a long day it can be easy to just dump your clothes on the nearest chair and forget about them till later in the week. However this will only lead to a rumpled mess that will require more effort to fix later on. Hang up garments such as jackets and blouses straight away to ensure they’re ready for use the next time you want to wear them.
Crisp white suiting always looks chic
Classic, timeless style is one thing I always aspire to. I like to keep my looks on trend but with an overarching sense of polish and generally don’t venture too far from what I know and love. One of the main reasons I do this is because it ensures the longevity of my wardrobe. If I stick to pieces that I believe will last the test of time I won’t have to update them as often and I can guarantee my favourites will have plenty of outings ahead. Having adopted this as my approach to shopping and how I dress for many years, and also observing the stylish women in my life whose ensembles just don’t seem to ever date, here’s what I consider to be the building blocks of having a look that will endure the years to come.
Scrimp on trend buys
I love purchasing trendy items as much as the next person but I keep them to a minimum. If I like the look of the signature silhouette or colour of the season I will buy a handful of pieces and work them back with what’s already in my closet. I avoid wearing one trend from head to toe and like to give it my own spin.
Embrace timeless fabrics and prints
There are certain prints and fabrications that won’t date. Polka dots, stripes and plaid have remained in the mix most seasons and will add a fun touch to any outfit that won’t look dated. Long-lasting fabrics such as tweed, silk, wool and cashmere are worth adding to your wardrobe as they really stand up well to the wear and tear of everyday use.
A classic black bag is definitely worth the splurge
Invest in classic pieces
Think of the pieces that have been around for ages and have remained a constant and they’re likely to be things like a black blazer, a white button down shirt, denim jeans and the little black dress and a simple black bag. These are the wardrobe buys that are worth investing in as they’re not going away any time soon.
Tailor your clothes
Ill-fitting clothes will make you look unkempt so it’s best to invest in tailoring pieces so they perfectly fit. Find a good tailor and have things taken in or up or out, depending on your needs, to ensure that whatever you’re wearing fits you like a glove. A perfectly tailored outfit just screams timeless style.
Know what suits your body shape
Learn to pinpoint the styles and silhouettes that work with your shape. Go on a shopping expedition and try on a few different silhouettes in key staples such as pants, tops, skirts and dresses and see what works. Be brutally honest. If what you see doesn’t put a smile on your face then keep searching until you find something that does. Once you’ve pinpointed what works for you then you’ll have a handful of go-to styles that you can always come back to time and time again.
Who do you think has timeless style?
Planning outfits helps me stay organised
I’m an outfit planner. My days are so varied that I like to take wardrobe dilemmas out of the equation as much as possible (that said, I’m not totally immune to a wardrobe crisis here and there) by mapping out my outfits. Some days I’m in full mum mode which means comfort is key but other days where I’m juggling work functions and Date with Kates I need to look a little more polished. Here are a few key ways that I make it work.
I always have inspo at the ready
Planning outfits is made much more stress-free if I have a few looks I’ve seen at my fingertips to inspire me. I tend to collect these as I go along whether it’s saving images on my Instagram or screenshotting particular looks I come across. If I am a bit stumped as to what to wear a quick scroll through these images will immediately get the styling juices flowing.
If there’s one thing that will make pulling an outfit together easier it’s an organised closet. My wardrobe is organised according to category so jackets together, jeans together and so forth so I know immediately where to look. There’s nothing worse than having a particular outfit in your only to find the shirt that pulls it all together is M.I.A. And to make things even simpler I compartmentalise all the pieces I wear all the time into a section in my wardrobe so I don’t have to search the rest of my closet and mess everything up in order to find what I’m looking for.
Wardrobe organisation is key for a seamless outfit planning session
Having a hero piece
I know some people start with a pair of shoes or a great necklace and work their outfit around that but I like to start with a particular garment whether it be a dress or pants. From there I build on the outfit with a jacket, shoes and bag. I think by just having one key item to start from it helps with creating an entire look rather than just trying to match random pieces together.
Making it versatile
There are times when my day is quite mixed so I need to make sure my outfits are versatile so they’re appropriate for a few different occasions. I sometimes have multiple events in a day so I have to ensure that I only need to change one thing to mix up the look as I don’t often have time to change. This can be as simple as changing the jacket I’m wearing to give the outfit a different vibe.
Giving myself enough time
I’m a planner but there are those people who plan their outfits the night before, even the week before and I’m the first to admit that I can’t work that way. I’d love to be that organised but I find I won’t feel like wearing something if I lay it out beforehand which totally defeats the purpose. So to combat this I try and factor outfit prep into my morning routine so I don’t get frazzled and end up running late. Even just an extra 10-15 minutes of time is enough to pull something together with minimal stress. I don’t want to completely leave it to chance though so I make sure most things I’m likely to reach for are clean and pressed so they’re ready to go.
What are some of your major wardrobe tips? I’d love to hear them so share them in the comments below.
I’m all for experimenting and taking a style risk here and there but there are some things I always make sure to avoid. These fashion sins can often subdue the impact of an outfit by taking away its polish–which is often the last thing you want when you walk out the door!
The below is a short, easy to follow list of simple things that you can do to ensure that you always look great every single day. I definitely swear by them and follow them when it comes to my wardrobe. And I’m always open to new additions to the list so if you have any suggestions let me know in the comments below.
Accentuating too many things
If you’re going to show off a particular part of the body, whether it be your legs or your décolletage make sure to only pick one. For example if you’re going to have a plunging neckline then everything else has to be conservative. It’s one or the other. You can either have a mini skirt then a conservative top like a button up shirt or a shirt with a high neckline but if you do the opposite and have a slightly more revealing top then it’s important to keep the bottoms quite modest. I make sure to adopt this approach with every single outfit.
Even if you’ve spent a fortune on a standout designer garment if it doesn’t fit well then you’ve essentially taken away its wow factor. I think tailoring can really make or break an outfit. If something doesn’t fit properly make sure to get it altered whether it be getting sleeves taken up on a shirt so they are the perfect length or taking a jacket in because it’s a little too baggy on the shoulders. These small things will ensure that you always look sharp.
Not paying attention to detail
They make seem relatively innocuous—a stray thread here, a loose button there but the overall effect is that your outfit will look just that little bit unkempt. To combat this, the moment you notice something is awry with your outfit attend to it as soon as possible so you don’t forget about it. Snip loose threads, fix missing or loose buttons and always ensure that you remove lint and fabric pill.
Worn and shabby looking shoes
Shoes are often one of the first things people notice about your outfit so make sure that they always look pristine. If the soles of your shoes are a bit threadbare make sure to have them resoled. If the heel cover on a pair of stilettos has worn down then make sure to have it replaced so you’re not teetering along on an exposed nail. Also always spray suede or leather shoes with a protectant spray to keep them protected during inclement weather. There’s nothing that will take away from an outfit more than stained shoes.
If you can’t be bothered ironing then avoid buying garments that will most definitely require pressing constantly like silk and linen. I’ve said this before but take the time to iron your clothes. I can’t remember the number of times I’ve seen someone with a great outfit only to have the whole effect ruined by a wrinkled top or skirt.
Should I or shouldn’t I?
Over the years I’ve done my fair share of shopping expeditions and as a result I’ve also walked away with buyer’s remorse a time or two (or ten). And as I hated the feeling so much it was something that I wanted to work on curbing. It’s a waste of money and I really hate the idea of something going unused because I just wasn’t 100 per cent sure about it. I need to ensure that I always make a good purchase whenever I shop.
I do most of my shopping online so I know how easy it can be to make an impulse purchase when you’re sitting at home, enjoying a glass of wine and trawling through your fave clothing site. When you’re looking at something in real life it’s easier to gauge whether it’s definitely something you’ll wear or if it’s just an of the moment item that will end up just spending its days gathering dust in the back of your wardrobe. When you’re shopping on screen it can be a little trickier as everything looks great when professionally photographed.
Regret-free shopping right here!
I often get asked my tips for online shopping and without a doubt the biggest one is that I will leave something I am thinking of buying in my cart for 24 hours. The action of adding it to cart is enough to satisfy my shopping whim but by not buying it immediately I give myself enough time to think about whether I really want it or not. I apply a similar principal to shopping in real life which works just as well. Usually I’ll see something when I’m out shopping with the girls and I won’t try it on right away (mostly because have you ever tried to try something on with two kids in tow?) but instead I’ll leave it a day or two. If I’m still thinking about it I’ll go back on my own and try it on. However this gives me a bit of time to consider whether I really want it or it was just a fleeting interest.
My general rule is that if I’m still thinking about something the next day then it’s something I really want as opposed to just getting caught up in the moment. By delaying buying it it gives me time to research the item further. I suggest Googling what you’re thinking of purchasing and seeing what it looks like on other sites as sometimes the colour or texture can look really different. It also allows me to consider how it’s going to work with the rest of my wardrobe and ask myself the key questions I’ve told myself I need to ask before any purchase. If all the boxes are ticked then I know I’m making a good purchase.
Tell me—What are some of your favourite shopping tricks?