Dresses for Your Body Type: The Petite Apple

If you’re petite, 5’4″ and under, dressing well, particularly in skirts or dresses, can be a challenge.  And if you’re apple shaped – top heavy, a bit lumpy in the middle, with smashing legs-  it can be far too easy to wind up looking like a big lump.

My BFF K rang me up recently, in need of a dress to take her through a few occasions, with about $150 to spend.  Her challenge, proves that anyone with any body shape can find what they need and still be fashionable, and in budget.  K is a pretty average petite apple, but she has one specific need: long sleeves to cover a tattoo.

MaxStudio.com - SHIRRED DRESS, $138

MaxStudio.com - SHIRRED DRESS, $138

What I went looking for in a dress to flatter K, and would for any petite apple are three things: 1) Either an empire or a dropped waist dress – a true waist will call attention to her tummy.

2) A loose fit in front. If you’re doing two pieces do not tuck in your blouse.  You need it to cover anything extra between your waist and hips.

3) A hem length at or above the knee. For a petite, anything below the knee is going to make you look overwhelmed and dumpy.  In a sense you’re lucky: skirts that might be too short on a taller woman can be an appropriate length for you.

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When I think floaty dresses, I think Max Studio.com.  This shirred, tuxedo front dress will flatter a larger chest, cover arms, and show off legs, with no one will be the wiser to anything you don’t want to show around your stomach.

An open neckline will balance a larger chest – and most importantly, the chest is just decorative not stretchy.  If you have a large chest, you don’t want anything that’s going to stretch over it.  This is ruffles, not elastic.  Its conservative enough for a business dinner, and formal enough for a wedding.
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Generra Tunic Dress

Generra Tunic Dress, 6pm.com, $178

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This tunic dress from Generra at 6pm.com is slightly over budget, and a similar style to the first.  But since it’s not quite as floaty and a little more contemporary, it’s a nice comparison.

Made out of silk and cotton, it’s a great deal at 30% off the original price.  Notice that the basic shape is the same as the first dress: long sleeves, open neck and straight from gathers at the chest.

It looks mid-thigh on the mannequin, but will likely hit lower on a shorter woman.  The contemporary style is a little more casual, but it can easily be dressed up with accessories, and the silk will help it look dressier.

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PAROSH Shirt Dress from YOOX, $155

PAROSH Shirt Dress from YOOX, $155

I adore everything about this next dress at Yoox.  From the silver color, to the rough silk fabric, to the modern shirt-dress cut.

It’s a winner in my book, and it’s selling out fast. It’s not a completely long sleeve, but on a petite it should be long enough to get the job done.  Worst case you could put a sheer long sleeve tee underneath

This particular dress could be very flattering for all shapes:  on an apple it’s going to flatter a tummy and show off your great legs.

Even pear shapes or hourglasses could find this accommodating to hiding a hip-y area while flattering a waist – or it could be too tight around the bottom and have no shape around the waist.  You’d just have to try it on.

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Diane Von Furstenburg - Short dress, $195 on YOOX

Diane Von Furstenburg - Short dress, $195 on YOOX

I don’t know what it is that’s got me showing all blue dresses, but that’s just what I’ve been finding.  This Diane von Furstenberg short dress is different from the others I’ve shown, because it has a dropped waist.

Ideally the sash will hit around the hips, and the dress will be looser everywhere else.  For you apple shapes with your flat tushes and nice legs, by all means try this type of dress.

A lightweight cashmere dress such as this one is virtually seasonless: just put a long sleeved t-shirt and tights underneath it when the weather gets chilly.

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Mixie "Maggie" Dress at Green Apple, $150

Mixie "Maggie" Dress at Green Apple, $150

I finally found a pop of color at Green Apple, this neat site that showcases new and unique designers.  Mixie is a local Orange County, California designer.

“Maggie” is made out of Modal, which is a slightly more casual looking fabric, but between the color and the style of the dress, I think it’s sufficient for a slightly dressy occasion.

At 36″ long, it could be a touch long to be in proportion, but if you can wear a pair of nice 3″ heels with it, that will adjust accordingly, or you can get it hemmed.  A good tailor is your friend.

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Eve Gravel Air Dress at Mudshark Streetwear, $165.60

Eve Gravel Air Dress at Mudshark Streetwear, $165.60

Pr0n stars, I searched high, low and everywhere in between to fine just one more fabulous dress for all of you.  I found it at Mudshark Streetwear, a fabulous online Canadian retailer with a simply enormous selection of unique, reasonably priced clothes, much of it eco-friendly.

I absolutely love the mix of ’80s and ’60s style in their Gravel Air Dress.  The top is a raglan sleeve – it’s hard to tell whether or not it’ll stay on both shoulders.  If not, wear a cami underneath, or have a tailor put one of those lingerie bra buttons in.

The slightly lowered waist has a matching belt with a pop of white button, and then attaches to an above-the-knee slightly A-line skirt with white front pockets.  It’s all together in a stand-out indigo color.  For a dress that matches your attitude, look no further.  Your budget will barely stretch at $165.60.

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I hope this post has shown you a variety of styles that will work for your body type.  I love dresses because of their ease and flexibility.  It’s so easy to make them different by putting on a blazer or sweater or different jewelry or hose or tights.  K, I hope there’s something here for you. :)

Got a body shape or an event you need help with?  Email me! Shoppingpr0n@gmail.com.  Maybe you’ll have your very own post.

Until next time, it was good for me.  Tell me, was it good for you?

20 responses to “Dresses for Your Body Type: The Petite Apple

  1. I really love the tunic dress. Very cute, and with so many possibilities for accessorizing!

  2. I love love the red ones! That goes right on my wish list. And the Generra and Max Studio ones!

  3. Red one, oy, I am not a typist.

  4. Great post! The dvf is so lovely.

  5. Thanks this was a great help. That Generra Tunic is Beautiful

  6. Hi,

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  7. This better not mean it’ll be heavier and watered down.

    I’m so excited it’s coming anyway though. I don’t mind.

  8. Sweeeeeeeeeeet!!! Nice combination of shape and colour.

  9. Your site is so good that I can’t express my feeling just with my words, thanks for your work! thanks for your work, its really good!

  10. Thanks for the article the dresses are very awesome, i really congratulate the fashion designer

  11. I have never read such a wonderful article and I am coming back tomorrow to continue reading

  12. Wow! Nice article.. Want more articles from you.

  13. The mix of ’80s and ’60s style looks like very well.

  14. Great Blog with Good info..Keep the good work.

  15. Thank you for helping the Petite Apple! Clothes are such a frustration for me and you give hope, Thank You again!
    From a rather plump (12-14) Petite Apple almost 50.

  16. Learn to dress my body shape is important, because the right style of dress will enable you hide your shorts.

  17. Daniel Ford from walletsforwomenreview.com

    Apple Shape For an apple formed body a dress with an empire waist may help attract interest to your middle. Furthermore a higher waist line means the gown may not be as limited in your problem region.

  18. I absolutely loved how you have created your website, it’s simple, neat, simple to navigate and extremely easy on the eyes. Is it possible to let me know which theme or designer did you use.

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