I remember the first time I was mistaken for a child as an adult. I was travelling on a bus to my job at the time, and the bus driver asked me what school trip I was going on, assuming I was part of the gaggle of kids on the same bus. Reader, I was 21. For that reason, for a long time, I bemoaned my 5'3'' height. I hated that I had to ask people to reach things for me in shops and that I'd still get ID'd well into my 20s. And that's before I've even discussed issues with clothes and finding the right pieces to fit my frame.
Now that I'm in my mid-30s, not only do I love it if I get asked for proof I'm over 18, but I've also managed to hone down the ultimate items that are ideal for those of us who are a little more petite. The staples in question are all items that I've found don't swamp me and that give the impression that I'm taller than I am. It's not that I'm desperate to add to my height, but it's that I'd like to make sure I'm not mistaken for a child again.
There might be a few surprises in there (cropped pieces, I'm looking at you), but I have my reasons, which I've detailed below. Keep scrolling, then, for all the petite staples I swear by…
1. Midi Dresses
While I'm definitely more a jeans woman, a few years ago, I discovered my love of dresses—midi ones in particular. On petite people, the midi dress gives an illusion that you're wearing a long dress, but it doesn't drag on the floor, meaning you look like you're actually really tall. Well, that's my theory, and I'm sticking to it.
Sleeper Off-the-Shoulder Ruffled Linen Midi Dress (£190)
& Other Stories Voluminous Cut Out Midi Dress (£85)
2. Cropped Jackets
I'd be the first person to admit that I used to be terrified of any item which is preceded by the word "cropped." But I'm here to tell you that these items are ideal for petites. They're great for pairing with high-waisted trousers (another petite staple), and they don't swamp your body.
Loewe Cropped Leather Jacket (£2100)
H&M Cropped Twill Jacket (£15)
3. Long Coats
It's a little trickier, but the long coat performs a similar illusion to the midi dress. The idea here is, again, to make people think you're taller than you really are. Just ensure your coat is ankle length rather than actually dragging on the floor. We're channelling the Olsens here, people.
Mango Lyocell Flowy Trench (£120)
Kassl Editions Rubber Coat (£750)
4. Oversized Shirts
The one oversized exception is the oversized shirt. Yes, there is the danger you'll look a little like you're wearing your dad's button-down but with a little rolling of the sleeves (hit the elbows for maximum VB effect) and tucking in waistbands you've got yourself a chic, insouciant look.
Arket Oversized Poplin Shirt (£59)
Another Tomorrow Oversized Organic Cotton-Poplin Shirt (£240)
5. Cropped Jumpers
Yep, cropped again. You won't regret this purchase either.
Acne Studios Cropped Knitted Sweater (£310)
& Other Stories Cropped Cable Knit Cardigan (£85)
6. Midi Skirts
The sister of the midi dress, the midi skirt works on the same principle. Opt for slinkier versions such as the slip skirt or ones with ruffles for a fun take on the trend.
& Other Stories Satin A-Line Midi Skirt (£65)
Marks & Spencer Ditsy Floral Ruffle Midi Tiered Skirt (£35)
7. Fitted Tops
Fitted tops are another petite wardrobe mainstay. Whether they're ribbed vests or a bodycon Henley or a shirred blouse, these are your friends.
H&M Rib-Knit Strappy Top (£13)
Reformation + Net Sustain Miraflores Broderie Anglaise Organic Cotton Top (£150)
8. High-Waisted Trousers
I know that editor-in-chief Hannah Almassi will also vouch for these as she's also someone who's petite and who loves a pair of high-waisted trousers. These elongate your legs, if that's what you're going for, but also they're just super comfy and look great with shirts and tops tucked in.
& Other Stories Relaxed Tailored Press Crease Trousers (£95)
Alex Mill Kelly Cotton-Blend Twill Wide-Leg Pants (£101)
9. Straight-Leg Jeans
I'm a huge denim fan and let me tell you that a pair of classic blue straight-leg jeans is great for anyone's wardrobe. If you're more petite, however, go for the high-waisted versions. If you can't get quite the right leg length for you, consider getting them tailored so they fit perfectly.
Weekday Voyage High Straight Jeans (£40)
Where would I be without a truly great belt? Not too skinny and not too wide, this works as a way to cinch oversized items and then as a great way to break up a look with high-waisted trousers or midi dresses.
Isabel Marant Zap Leather Belt (£120)
& Other Stories Ruched Leather Clip Belt (£35)
While I might not have worn heels much over the past year and a half, I still love them. They are ideal for boosting your height in the most obvious way but if you don't fancy getting vertigo, I'd advise sticking to lower heels.
& Other Stories Heeled Leather Square Toe Sandal (£85)
The Row Constance Leather Slingback Sandals (£800)
Next up, the biggest autumn/winter 2021 fashion trends to know.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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