I have been dressing myself for, oh about, 27 years now (the first 4 years I will credit to my mum, I am not going to take those divine summer dresses, bright blue shoes and bowl cut hairdo away from her!) so I have spent a long time discovering a thing or two about styling for short girls. I am not tiny, but at 5'3 I am no model in the making. I remember for a long time wishing for more height, even just a few centimeters, but I have grown to love being a short girl. Age and experience are useful commodity's - we eventually learn it is a far more fulfilling road to embrace ourselves than fight the uphill battle of wishing to change.
When styling clients, I don't usually talk too much about height - I focus usually on shape, colour, texture and trends. But height certainly comes into play because styling is all about balance and height absolutely comes into this. Tall girls are often, though not always, easier to style because most clothes are designed and created for the classic "model" body. Added height helps to create long lines which makes styling easier. This is not always true but generally speaking, a shorter body comes with challenges such as cropping, tailoring and pinning to achieve balance. I believe there is no "right" or no "good" way to look, it is about comfort, confidence and radiating self acceptance. I also believe there is nothing wrong with employing a few style tips to create cohesion, a clean line and a sense of ease no matter the shape or person. My own journey towards embracing my body and enjoying dressing for it has been a gradual but rewarding process. Gone are the days of battling with what I have, getting dressed should not be a battle. I love being able to share my knowledge with others to see them find enjoyment through dressing for their shape and assisting them in having fun with fashion because that is what it is all about!
So, how does a short girl achieve balance and how do we use a lack of height to create a strong outfit...? The following 6 style tips will help you get there...
The Ankle/Wrist Rule
I read this once in Victoria Beckhams style book (still own it, still love it, those WAG days were second to none ha). She advised that whatever the outfit, try to show off the ankles and wrists. I have applied this rule to styling every since. It adds femininity and it balances the shape. There is a certain elegance in seeing the smallest points of a woman's shape, it provides visual balance and elongates the shape. This instantly adds height. Give it a go - roll the hem on your denim to show the ankle, add a heel or even a flat, and you will see the difference. Unroll the hem and take a look at how differently it appears when the entire leg shape gets lost by covering the ankle. Do the same with a jumper or blouse, the arms look longer and everything appears more refined. Something so small truly does make such a big difference.
Pointy Shoes Are Your New Best Friend
Never, ever, ever, wear round toed flats. A slight rounding is ok but a completely rounded end creates stumpy legs and will cause you to appear shorter and stockier. A pointy ballet flat, heel or boot adds instant length to the legs and draws the eyes down and out. It doesn't need to be a sharp point, a gentle tapered edge is fine, but the shape must not be rounded. Give this a go next time you are shoe shopping, no matter the outfit, this rule applies
Go Skinny Or Go Wide
Skinny jeans, even on a thicker thigh, create a slimming and elongated effect - the key is in the styling. The same goes for draped, wide leg pants or a maxi skirt/dress. Anything in between creates a solid block and will cut your height off. Straight leg jeans and A-line skirts, I am talking to you! I love a good pair of boyfriend jeans, or even mom jeans, as much as the next stylist but I am aware of what it does to the shape. It does no favors. I still adore boyfriend jeans and wear mine on casual days but if I want to look wow I opt for skinny or go wide and flowing. This rule can be somewhat resolved with a basic nude or black pump shoe, or a clean heel, but generally speaking, avoid these in between styles if you want to create height.
Highlight The Smallest Areas
The off-shoulder trend has been kind to us short girls. To create length, it is important to show off the thinner parts of the body. This is often the shoulders and collar bone, which appear quick pointy when showing through naked shoulders or behind spaghetti straps. The legs often have the same effect. I tend to wear shorts a lot because when I add just a little heel, whether in a boot or a strappy sandal, I look much taller and leaner than I really am. Work out which part of your body is the smallest in relation to the rest and emphasise it. This might be the waist (think Kim K, who often shows off her tiny waist which makes her appear leaner and taller than her very short frame actually is) or someone like Reece Witherspoon who has a straight up and down waist without must definition but tiny legs - she wears shorts and cropped denim as often as she can). Work out which part of your body is the smallest and style around that very feature.
Accessorize For Balance
I use my accessories to balance out my shape which in turn creates a straighter line equaling a sense of height. A small bag with a flowy dress or jacket brings everything in, creating a straighter line. A tight, tailored outfit needs the opposite to balance so I will add an oversize tote or soft, relaxed carry all, which balances everything, again creating a straighter line. Thin cut pants with a tapered ankle are balanced by a detailed, or chunkier shoes, the same way flowing, wide leg pants are balanced by a simple, elegant shoe. It is all about creating a "straight" shape using balance.
Long Lines Pieces
A duster coat is a prime example of one piece doing all the heavy lifting. The long lines of a duster coat drawn the eye down and bring height, the same way a boyfriend blazer does too. A cropped jacket does the opposite - in fact, short girls always appear shorter in "little clothes". The shape needs one piece to be long, so whether this is an oversized shirt, maxi skirt, boyfriend blazer, long line vest, a long scarf or a trench, the long silhouette will create instant height.
I could talk all day about styling for a short frame. If you are a shorty like myself and want to learn more, why not book in for a Personal Styling Session to discover exactly how to apply the above rules for maximum impact! For a list of my styling services, click here.
Julie Sarinana from @sincerleyjules is my ultimate short girl style inspiration. She works balance perfectly, opting for skinny, cropped denim, short shorts, pointed heels and boots, balanced silhouettes. the following 6 style tips are all evident in this picture. Image via Pinterest.
Happy styling short babes x