8 Tips on How to Style Vintage Clothing for Petites

If you’re petite like I am, then you suffer from a problem of “tall on style, short on hem”. I’ve had a lot of requests for a vintage petite style guide so I wanted to pull something together that includes some tips and expertise on shopping and styling vintage as a petite woman.

Here are 8 tips for vintage petite style so you never have to worry about shopping or styling vintage pieces. 

1. Cinch the waist. This is the easiest way to make an outfit go from drab to fab. Add a belt to define your waist and accentuate your figure. I love oversized clothing, but it’s tricky for us petite gals, so I cinch the waist with a belt. I also go for two-piece sets that nip and tuck at the waist.

2. Embrace the crop top. I’ve been wearing crop tops since high school and didn’t even stop when I was pregnant. Crop tops are your friend if you’re petite and they help define your waist when paired with jeans, skirts, shorts, or pants. I always opt for a solid colored crop top (I love H&M) and then pair with vintage bottoms. I really love high-waisted styles which look so great with a crop top.

3. Find a tailor. This is an added cost, but it’s the best money you’ll spend when buying and styling vintage pieces. An expert tailor can make almost any piece a custom fit for you. I think it’s worth the investment as the fit will be exact to your measurements and it turns even a $3 thrift store find into a closet staple.

4. Stick to above the knee. I love a good midi skirt, but what really works for me are skirts above the knee. I also take in dresses that are on the longer side and alter them to hit above the knee. Flared, a-line and skater style skirts help elongate the legs, but a pencil or mini are classics.

5. Monochromatic is your friend.  This is a go-to styling tip for a lot of women because it not only makes getting dressed easier, but it also helps you look taller and leaner. Although darker colors work best, I also love bright jewel tones and white in the summertime. You can also stick different shades of the same color to give the look a bit more depth (like I did here). And if you’re all about the prints, then opt for two-piece sets in the same pattern (think herringbone pant suit).

6. Go with the flares. I love a good flare and luckily pants from the 70s have tons of flare. Opt for a high-waisted pair, with the flare starting at the knee with some great heels or platforms.

7. Elongate your legs. Simply put, longer looking legs make you look taller. This is why I think shorter skirt and dress hemlines (right above the knee) work best for petites. This rule also applies for pants or jeans – either go super long with flares or opt for cropped styles that show off your ankle. Pair with nude heels and you’ll look instantly taller.

8. Go beyond womens. I always head to the mens and kids department at the thrift store and when searching on eBay or Etsy. You’d be surprised by the selection of smaller blazers, sweaters, and jeans that are listed under mens. On the other hand, if you’re extra petite, you can easily pull off tops, dresses and pants from the girls’ section.

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