Dressing formally for work can be a real struggle when you’re a petite woman. The choice of clothes is extremely limited. How many times have you been into a high street store or been shopping online, found something you like only to find out it doesn’t come in petite sizes? Or more commonly, wondered if that top *might* just work and that the shape *might* be ok if the sleeves could be turned up?
When considering workwear the choice is even more limited. The do’s and don’ts of the workplace are a minefield. Never mind dressing elegantly, dressing powerfully or dressing to suit your mood, often following the dress code with something that just about fits is all that is possible.
The problem is, it’s pretty difficult to look for petite shirts, petite trousers or just any petite clothes that are fit for office wear. So, with that in mind, here are some tips to help you dress your part for your job.
Wear high-waist trousers or skirts
Most people instinctively wear trousers that are proportional to their height because that is the standard. However, if you’re dressing up for work and you want to appear taller dress in some high waist trousers. They’ll elongate your silhouette and make you appear taller. They will also give you more flexibility with your top of choice.
A petite shirt that fits
Finding the right fit for a petite shirt can be extremely difficult. Arms are often the wrong length and cuffs need folding, or even worse the arm is too wide giving you a chicken-wing look and an uncomfortable feeling when you move your arm to the side. Don’t settle for a casual blouse, which will make you look less professional than your colleagues. Find a go-to petite woman’s shirt that has a tailored sleeve and a good fit across the back and shoulders.
It’s all about the shoes
It may feel more comfortable to wear flat shoes, but if you're in an office where you’re likely to spend longer periods sitting down, it's worth considering wearing shoes with a heel. Not only is it more formal, but by elongating your legs, it will lengthen your silhouette (just like the trousers, remember?) and make you look taller. As an added bonus higher heels can give you more room for error with trouser length saving a few pounds in alteration fees.
You should also wear shoes that correspond to the colour of your top or your trousers.
Consider your jacket carefully
Office attire is rarely complete if you don’t wear a formal jacket. Think about it. Think about the first time you went to a job interview. Everyone who walked past you in the hallway was probably wearing a jacket.
When selecting your petite jacket, check that the bust darts are in the right place, the shoulders sit well and the jacket doesn’t overhang your shoulders. While you can get your sleeve shortened and any cuff buttons repositioned, adjusting shoulder shape and bust darts is really a stitch too far.
Colour matching accessories
By matching colours of your shoes and accessories you add a vertical theme to your work outfit, which will help you to look taller. Although accessories for workwear is limited, think about adding colour with scarves, necklaces and cufflinks.
As we’ve seen here, by selecting clothes which fit your frame, elongating your silhouette and opting for an uninterrupted look with clean lines you can look good in office wear without breaking the bank.