I'm Under 5'3''—These Are the 9 Outfit Secrets I Swear By

When you're short, shopping for clothing is a bit of a battle. As someone who's under 5'3", I've regularly found myself in fitting rooms trying on laughably long jeans or jackets that make me look like I've come straight from the '80s (such as unintentionally oversized shoulders). If you're nodding along in empathy, rest assured that I feel your pain. But it doesn't have to be this way.

While we should all embrace whatever size, shape or height we are, I know that for me, sometimes appearing and feeling a little taller helps with being more confident, which is why I've looked to petite Instagrammers to gather some tips on how to dress a smaller frame. Although they have their own takes on fashion, there's one thing they tend to avoid: anything overly layered. Now, on to their secrets…

1. Show your waist.

2. Wear short skirts with pointed shoes or boots.

3. Opt for cropped, fitted denim.

4. Wear high-waisted trousers.

5. Tailor your pieces.

6. When in doubt, go tonal.

7. Do oversized, but don't layer excessively.

8. Invest in a long coat.

9. Don't underestimate small heels.

If you want to see these tricks in action, keep scrolling for nine outfit ideas that are ready to steal—featuring some of the coolest petite pieces we've come across.

1. Cinch Your Waist Where Possible

how to dress if you're short: Enis Wardrobe



Style Notes: Thanks to the current trend of shirred tops and dresses, the waist is automatically cinched. However, if that trend's not for you, then keep voluminous layers in check by belting them at the waist. 

Shirring is a great technique for accentuating your frame. 

A waist belt is essential for any petite dresser. 

2. Wear Short Skirts With Pointed-Toe Shoes or Boots

Style Notes: The beauty of this look is that it's so simple. There's just something about pointed-toe shoes that directs the eye down.

how to dress if you're short: Amiee Song



Style Notes: While wearing cropped items may seem counterintuitive, the high-waisted, fitted cut and a clever flash of ankle give the impression that Aimee Song is taller than she is.

It’s summer, so ecru is a strong jeans option. 

Our editors really rate these affordable jeans. 

4. Wear High-Waisted Trousers

how to dress if you're short: Ada Oguntodu



Style Notes: Anything high-waisted is a must for petite women, whether it's a pair of vinyl trousers, jeans or palazzo pants. The high rise gives the illusion of longer legs by emphasising your waist.

5. Tailor Your Pieces

how to dress if you're short: Aidy Bryant


Getty Images

Style Notes: When you’re all about oversized pieces, most suits end up being too long and too big, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take part in the trend—you just need to find a good tailor. That, or look for blazers with tie-waist details for an instant cinch. 

Give your blazers a summertime overhaul in powdery shades and linen fabrications. 

A classic any wardrobe would benefit from. 

6. If in Doubt, Go Tonal

how to dress if you're short: Monikh



Style Notes: Tonal outfits are a go-to for shorter girls. Make like Monikh and pair a green dress with a green jacket. 

The back of this dress has a beautiful knotted detail—click through to see. 

7. Do Oversized, But Don't Layer Excessively

how to dress if you're short: Karoline Dall



Style Notes: The one thing petite street style stars all know to be true? Layers are not your friend, as they tend to drown shorter people in fabric. If you want to do the oversized look, opt for one key piece, and wear it over something sleek.

I’m always on the lookout for versatile knitwear and sweaters. 

Wear this with everything, from bikinis to jeans. 

8. Invest in a Long Coat

Style Notes: Kim Kardashian is a fan of this trick. (She knows a streamlined silhouette is always going to make you appear taller.) Bonus: A long coat will instantly make any outfit look smarter. Bonus bonus: Many of the world's midi coats will be long enough to do the trick, so you've got more options to play with.

A trench coat is a linchpin in any Brit wardrobe. 

This will make everything you wear it with look so expensive. 

9. Don't Underestimate Low Heels

Style Notes: We saved the most obvious rule for last. Of course, wearing heels will make you look taller. And if you can't bear high heels? Fear not—kitten heels are back.

Shoes you could legitimately wear all day; hello, wedding season. 

Next up, the biggest autumn 2022 fashion trends to know. 

Opening Image: @eniswardrobe

This piece was published at an earlier date and has since been updated. 

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