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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?