17 Super Useful Styling Tips For Women Under 5’4

First things first: “Petite” doesn’t just mean short and slim.

It refers to women who are 5'4 and under. Clothing labeled as petite is cut with that proportion in mind. Compared to standard items, you'll often find narrower shoulders and shorter inseams. So whether you're a size 00 or a size 16, if you're shorter, the petite section is worth a look. With that in mind, BuzzFeed Life turned to bloggers Jean Wang of Extra Petite, Kelly Tucker of Alterations Needed, and New York City-based stylist Cindy Gordon, for their best tips and tricks on nailing shorter style.

Jenny Chang 

It refers to women who are 5’4 and under.

Clothing labeled as petite is cut with that proportion in mind. Compared to standard items, you’ll often find narrower shoulders and shorter inseams. So whether you’re a size 00 or a size 16, if you’re shorter, the petite section is worth a look.

With that in mind, BuzzFeed Life turned to bloggers Jean Wang of Extra Petite, Kelly Tucker of Alterations Needed, and New York City-based stylist Cindy Gordon, for their best tips and tricks on nailing shorter style.

1. For bustier petites, balance is key.

"Fuller petite body types can vary, but overall, celebrating shape is important," Gordon told BuzzFeed Life. "For big-busted petites, empire waists are great since they nip you in beneath the bustline." Or, try a fitted top paired with a high-low skirt. This way you've got a fitted base with an outer layer to balance — all without sacrificing shape.

Sandee Joseph

“Fuller petite body types can vary, but overall, celebrating shape is important,” Gordon told BuzzFeed Life. “For big-busted petites, empire waists are great since they nip you in beneath the bustline.” Or, try a fitted top paired with a high-low skirt. This way you’ve got a fitted base with an outer layer to balance — all without sacrificing shape.

2. Smaller frame? Depending on the brand, don’t overlook kids’ sizes.

Sizing doesn't always make sense, even with retailers that have specific lines for petites. So when shopping, don't look at sizing tags, look at measurements. With some brands, the larger kids sizes are interchangeable with the smaller petite sizes — and they often cost less too. More here.

Jean Wang

Sizing doesn’t always make sense, even with retailers that have specific lines for petites. So when shopping, don’t look at sizing tags, look at measurements. With some brands, the larger kids sizes are interchangeable with the smaller petite sizes — and they often cost less too.

This can also apply to standard sizes:

Think about functionality, too. "I love cropped tops in regular sizing which work perfectly as not-too-long tops on petites," Wang said. "I also look for items that look like higher empire-style waists on the models, since those tend to fit like regular dresses on petites."

Jean Wang

Think about functionality, too. “I love cropped tops in regular sizing which work perfectly as not-too-long tops on petites,” Wang said. “I also look for items that look like higher empire-style waists on the models, since those tend to fit like regular dresses on petites.”

3. And the same goes for shoes.

In this case, both pairs have the exact same measurements around the top — the kids' size just isn't as tall. But if you're shorter, this actually means a more proportionate fit. The boots will hit your calves, rather than right below (or at) your knee. More comparison info here.

Jean Wang

In this case, both pairs have the exact same measurements around the top — the kids’ size just isn’t as tall. But if you’re shorter, this actually means a more proportionate fit. The boots will hit your calves, rather than right below (or at) your knee.

4. Use layers to fake a perfect fit.

Kelly Tucker

If an item is fine in some spots but too big in others, use layers to strategically cover the latter.

5. Get familiar with easy at-home alterations that you can do yourself.

Things won't always fit perfectly off the rack, but you can often still make them work with simple DIY alterations. Like this one for slimming sleeves and raising the neckline: two small changes that can make a big difference. Find three ways to do this — two of which are beginner-friendly — here.

Jean Wang

Things won’t always fit perfectly off the rack, but you can often still make them work with simple DIY alterations. Like this one for slimming sleeves and raising the neckline: two small changes that can make a big difference. Find three ways to do this — two of which are beginner-friendly —

6. At the same time, know when to invest in a professional tailor.

Yes, it's an added cost, but if you're careful about sticking to classic pieces that you can wear year after year — like winter coats, for example — you'll find that the investment is worth it. More here.

Kelly Tucker

Yes, it’s an added cost, but if you’re careful about sticking to classic pieces that you can wear year after year — like winter coats, for example — you’ll find that the investment is worth it.

7. Cuff long shirts at the elbow.

Flowy long-sleeved shirts sometimes dwarf smaller frames. Cuffed sleeves (and a quick tuck) can break things up and emphasize shape. More tips here.

David Bertozzi

Flowy long-sleeved shirts sometimes dwarf smaller frames. Cuffed sleeves (and a quick tuck) can break things up and emphasize shape.

8. Or cuff long jeans for a quick makeshift hem.

Kelly Tucker

Roll them up or tuck them under.

9. With maxis, pay extra attention to silhouette.

Lace and Locks
Hello Framboise

You can wear maxis, but be mindful of roomy cuts with lots of material, says Gordon. If something is voluminous on the bottom, balance things out by wearing something fitted or tucked on top.

10. The same goes for high-waisted bottoms and crop tops.

Sandee Joseph
Nina Pascual

Again, balance is key. Pair a fitted crop top with high-waisted skirts or shorts, says Gordon. This can help balance both halves without sacrificing shape.

11. Invest in narrow, petite-friendly hangers.

Kelly Tucker

Small-shouldered clothing doesn’t always mix well with wide, standard hangers — the hanger pokes into the fabric, leaving you with stretched material. Companies like Only Hangers make slimmer and bendable versions.

12. Streamline a silhouette by getting rid of distracting details.

Jean Wang

 

On a longer torso, the ruched sleeves on this H&M blazer would end closer to the forearm — but here, they awkwardly stop mid-wrist. A quick fix? Snipping the elastics.

13. Pair shoes and bottoms that are similar in color — like black heels with black tights — to elongate your legs.

Jean Wang

The matched color scheme helps create the illusion of a longer line. “Look for shoes in shades of tan or brown similar to your own skin tone, and don’t be afraid to experiment with metallics which can surprisingly function as a neutral,” said Wang.

14. Lengthen your torso by wearing a longer fitted shirt underneath a cropped sweater:

Lauren Felix 

The contrast breaks things up. (And a cropped top over a fitted or fit-and-flare dress works well too, says Gordon.)

15. Clothing that’s stretched over time or doesn’t fit quite right? Depending on the fabric, you might be able to (carefully!) shrink it:

Downsizing a garment in the dryer can be a no or low-cost alternative to a tailor — if you know what you're doing. Tucker shared her best tips:• Research! Some Google sleuthing can help you figure out if a garment will shrink or not, and by how much based on the fabric content. Natural fibers like wools, cottons and linens are usually shrinkable, while synthetics like polyester and rayon are usually not.• Take it slow. Don't toss a garment in the dryer on high heat and forget about it because might not like what you see when you pull it out. Instead, start slowly with lower heats for short bursts until you get an item down to where you'd like it.• Know that the way the fabric looks or feels may change after shrinking. Loose knits may come out looking tight, and threads may not feel as soft. If changes such as these will bother you, skip it. More shrink-to-fit info here.

Kelly Tucker

Downsizing a garment in the dryer can be a no or low-cost alternative to a tailor — if you know what you’re doing. Tucker shared her best tips:

• Research! Some Google sleuthing can help you figure out if a garment will shrink or not, and by how much based on the fabric content. Natural fibers like wools, cottons and linens are usually shrinkable, while synthetics like polyester and rayon are usually not.

• Take it slow. Don’t toss a garment in the dryer on high heat and forget about it because might not like what you see when you pull it out. Instead, start slowly with lower heats for short bursts until you get an item down to where you’d like it.

• Know that the way the fabric looks or feels may change after shrinking. Loose knits may come out looking tight, and threads may not feel as soft. If changes such as these will bother you, skip it.

10 Casual Style Tips for Guys Who Want to Look Sharp

1. Aim for Maturity

Many men approach their casual style from the wrong angle; they aim to look youthful.

But if you want to look well-dressed, you should always aim to look mature.

Because maturity is an attractive quality in men. Maturity, after all, is what separates the men from the boys. Maturity shows masculinity and commands respect, and it’s a quality you want people to see in you.

2. Give Up the Graphic Tees

The first thing you should do to shed your boyish look is giving up your graphic Tees.

Despite popular belief, they don’t make you look funny, edgy or original. In fact, because every other guy is sporting a graphic tee too, you’ll just blend into the crowd.

Just look at the movies. You’ll never see a tough, masculine action hero or a suave rom-com heartthrob wearing a graphic tee.

3. Rock Jeans That Actually Make You look Good

The go-to casual legwear for any guy is a pair of jeans.

Avoid baggy jeans. You want to avoid having to pull up your jeans every two seconds. They should keep themselves up without a belt. Also, they should not pool around your ankles.

Also, avoid embellishments. That means: No distressing, no ripping and no bleaching.

Avoid big logos on your back. In fact no big logos anywhere on your outfit, PERIOD.

4. Change it Up Down Below

Jeans are great, but they all look kind of the same, and they’re not your ONLY option for legwear.

Adding one pair of chinos to your wardrobe doubles the amount of outfits you can create. Add one more, and you triple that number.

5. Class Up Your Footwear

Okay, you may want to sit down for this…

Your dirty, beat-up sneakers will ruin an otherwise excellent outfit. You’ll want to replace them with something more dignified.

Wear a pair of brown leather loafers instead of your sneakers, and BOOM… You look sharper.

6. Learn to Love Layering

Want to know an easy way to make a dull outfit more interesting?

Add a layer.

Many guys feel a bit intimidated by layering because they don’t really know how to match clothes all that well. But you don’t have to know all that much about it. It can be done with very simple clothes too.

It’s a simple fix, and hardly earth-shattering, but it just gives that bit more detail to the outfit that makes it more visually appealing.

7. Smarten Yourself Up

Few guys are comfortable enough to leave their casual comfort zone, but consider venturing into the world of “smart-casual” with a good-looking blazer.

Plain white tee? Add a blazer, and suddenly you look pretty damn sharp.

8. Decorate Your Wrists

Accessories are another good way to spruce up a dull outfit.

You can wear a watch, a leather bracelet, or both. Doesn’t matter what you wear, but wear something on there. It just gives your outfit a bit more personality.

You go from someone who clothes himself to stay warm to someone who clothes himself with intention.

9. Ignore the Fashion World

When trying to figure out how to dress well, men often look towards the fashion world for help. They look to see what’s trendy.But the fashion world is only good for guys obsessed with fashion.

Focus on getting classic clothes that will look good all year round. Focus on timeless pieces that will still be stylish ten years from now. Focus on looking classy and stylish before you worry about looking trendy.

10. Stop Trying Too Hard

Many guys shoot themselves in the foot by trying too hard to dress better.

Shoot for subtle, simple, understated outfits and you’ll stand out in a good way instead.
Dress well and Look like a More Polished, Masculine You!