EVER since I started working, high heels have been a staple – they give me an added few inches of height, my calves some shape and a boost to my butt.  

For the longest time I thought this was the only way I could look as good as my tall best friend Veronica but recently, petite women like me all over the world have begun embracing their lack of height and finding ways to look fantastic, without having to teeter around painfully on stilts.

Realising that we can’t all be six feet tall, many brands have added “petite” lines to their collections, especially in the Asian market. However, apart from buying these pieces, there are many other ways we can dress to complement our, er, height.

Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Lady Gaga, the Olsen twins and Lea Michele are among Hollywood’s shortest celebrities, standing at 160cm, but they turn up at events looking just as fabulous as their tall counterparts, all because they know how to work with what they have.

If you fall in the same height category as these celebrities, here are some pointers on what you can do to look just as fabulous.

Maxi out

There was a myth going around a few years ago that short girls should avoid maxi dresses at all costs, but good news – it is not true!

Do, however, be careful with the style and cut of the dress, as well as the pattern.

Short girls can wear maxis

Short girls can wear maxis

Loose, flowy maxis look great on taller women, but if you are petite, try on more fitted styles, especially those with an empire waistline. Maxis that are too flowy may make you look bulky and stumpy.

Go with V-necks, and also avoid horizontal and large patterns.

Minimise, colourwise

Colours are great, and now that it’s the spring/summer fashion season, they’re everywhere! However, plying too many colours into small frames isn’t always the best idea.

Black leggings paired with black shoes can make you look taller

Black leggings paired with black shoes can make you look taller

As best you can, go with one colour from tip to toe (with different coloured accessories), but if you’re not a fan of this look, wear leggings and shoes that are the same colour.

Limit the number of colours and shades to two – it is fine to wear different coloured tops and bottoms, just make sure they complement each other.

High waist, small torso

Cropped jackets that fall above the waistline are a great way to make your torso look smaller, and so are high-waisted pants and skirts.

Here’s a trick to make your legs look longer – tuck your shirt or blouse into your pants/skirt, and at best, let this sit on your natural waist.

Embrace the high wasted skirts

Embrace the high wasted skirts

When wearing belts, take into account whether you are short or long waisted.

The general idea is that if you have a short waist, wear thinner belts, and vice versa.

A good tip to not cutting yourself in half in the middle is to choose a belt with a little opening in the front, such as like a clasp or an open buckle give your waist some breathing room.

The don’ts

Unfortunately, there are still a few things that petite girls are advised to avoid. Wearing too many layers is one example (this goes for plus-size girls, too).

Also, lines can make you look a little wider than you actually are, so best to limit these elements when choosing your outfits.

Another thing a shorter girl should avoid are ankle straps or ankle booties on shoes as these make your legs look shorter.

Avoid ankle straps

Avoid ankle straps

If you must wear these shoes, then wear a shorter skirt or dress.

Capri pants don’t work with short frames, too. However, if they come in your skin colour and are tight-fitting, you can probably make them work, with the right shoes.

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