I may be a tad biased, but I feel like conventional fashion wisdom leaves petite girls like myself with very few sartorial options for summer comfiness. To make clothes look proportional instead of swimming in too-long dresses, short ladies are advised to show hella leg and whip out the wedges and heels, which is all well and good, but sometimes I just want a little functionality on a hot day. Lounging in the park, wandering around a new city on vacation, or attending a family barbecue is not much fun when you’re paranoid about flashing everyone in your short skirt or tripping in your heels and being catapulted through the air. As much as I believe in dressing to highlight your shape, I also think rules are dumb and hate being told that I “can’t” wear long skirts I could actually move in because of my height. Guys, we can all wear whatever we want! I’ll never look like Gisele in a maxi dress, but sometimes it’s worth it to get to spend a day without worrying about my skirt riding up. Fellow shorties, here are some tips for picking out maxi skirts and those ever-mystifying midi skirts as a petite woman.
For Midi Skirts/Dresses:
1. Find the perfect length. A midi should hit just below knee length or 2-3 inches below the thickest part of your calf.
2. Make sure it sits at your waist. Midi skirts always belong at your natural waist.
3. Consider heels. I know, this totally goes against the whole “comfort” thing, but an extra inch or two, especially in color similar to your skin tone, can work visual wonders with a midi.
4. Avoid skirts with excess volume or ruffle action. Thinner fabrics and narrower skirts are less likely to overwhelm your frame.
5. When in doubt, hem it. With the right tailor (or at-home hemming skills), you’re no longer living at the mercy of clothing designers who make everything for the 5’9″ crowd. When the perfect skirt shows up, don’t feel like you have to put it back on the shelf and fruitlessly hope you’ll find something better just because the hem hits at a weird spot on your calves – take the hemline into your own hands.
6. Tuck in your shirt to create more of a streamlined, hourglass look. You know, we seem to be at risk of drowning in big puffy skirts. A crop top makes this super easy.
7. Look for a high slit. Once again, this veers away from functionality, but that seems to be the general conspiracy theory behind every part of the short woman’s wardrobe dilemma.
8. Pair the skirt with shoes that elongate your legs. Shoes with ankle straps, booties, and even some flat sandals can cut across your foot and visually chop your leg off. I hate to add a “don’t” here, but try to avoid these!
9. Buy petite sizes. If only more stores sold cute petite sizes! Check out the petite lines from ASOS, Topshop and Loft.
For Maxi Skirts/Dresses:
1. Think about wearing wedges. Sigh. Maxi dresses are supposed to be cozy and invite the use of flats, aren’t they? Still, heels or wedges add a little more balance.
2. Make sure it doesn’t touch the ground or completely cover your feet. If you’re wearing heels, aim for the skirt to hit at your ankles. If you’ve got flats, look for a hemline that lives somewhere between the bottom of your ankle and an inch off the floor.
3. Look for a sheer fabric. You know those maxi skirts that are totally see-through save for an opaque miniskirt underneath? Awesome for a short gal.
4. Wear it with a slim-fitting top. This balances out any bulkiness going on with the skirt!
[Image of skirts via Shutterstock]