I'm 5'4", and These Are the Fall Trends I'm Skipping (and Wearing)

At 5'4", I'm considered to be the average height for a woman in America, and it's still technically considered petite. I buy pretty much 100% of my wardrobe online, so it can be frustrating when all I have to go off of is a photo of a model that's 5'8" or taller wearing a particular item, which is often the case. But as someone who has been an avid shopper for life and has been writing about fashion for more than five years, I've learned to be able to tell what works and doesn't work for my frame just by looking at an item. 

I'm certainly not here to tell you what trends to wear and not wear, as everyone's style preferences and bodies are different. I'm simply here to share what styles I'm avoiding this coming season, in case you, too, are on the shorter side and need a little guidance navigating the trends. 

Read on to find out which fall 2019 trends I'm skipping and supporting, based on my height.

Skipping: Ruffles

Supporting: Feathers

I find frilly ruffled pieces to be a bit overpowering on me (although a few here and there never hurt anyone). On the other hand, feathers are an accent that feels lighter and less voluminous. Carrie Bradshaw was on to something…


(Image credit: Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images)

Shop Feathered Finds

Skipping: Long, Loose Trousers

Supporting: Long, Straight Jeans

Unless I wear very high heels (which I'm not particularly fond of doing), I haven't had much luck with long, loose pants. But the non-cropped straight-leg denim styles that are trending are quite leg-lengthening, which I can get on board with.


(Image credit: The Style Stalker)

Shop Long and Straight Jeans

Skipping: Quilting

Supporting: Leather

I find leather clothing to be a chic trend that anyone can wear. But a trend that I don't feel that way about is quilted pieces that could easily be mistaken for a duvet insert.


(Image credit: The Style Stalker)

Shop Lovely Leather Styles

Skipping: Oversize Bags

Supporting: Chunky Chain-Strap Bags

I've seen photos of myself with oversize bags when they were a trend in the past, and I've decided that it's not a look I want to repeat, even though they're already everywhere this season. The proportions just don't mesh with my height, so I'm sticking to other trends for now, like bags with chunky chain straps.


(Image credit: Christian Vierig/Getty Images)

Shop Chunky-Strap Bags

Skipping: Capes

Supporting: Trenches

Capes are certainly chic on some people, but they have a tendency to swallow me. An outerwear trend I am looking forward to, though, is trench coats, especially since they can be belted at the waist for some definition.


(Image credit: Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images)

Shop Timeless Trenches

Skipping: Sharp Shoulders

Supporting: Puff Sleeves

Puff sleeves have been a major trend for the majority of 2019, but I love it so much that I plan on continuing to wear them into fall. I find them to be much more flattering than pieces with broad shoulder pads, which is an '80s look that has returned.


(Image credit: The Style Stalker)

Shop Puffy Sleeves

Skipping: Tent Dresses

Supporting: Boilersuits and Maxi Skirts

Don't get me wrong—I'd happily put on a tent dress (they were all over Copenhagen Fashion Week street style) and call it a day, but as with capes, at 5'4", I'm swallowed whole. That said, two trends I'm wearing instead are maxi skirts (especially ones that are cut on the slimmer side) and boilersuits, my current favorite one-and-done trend.


(Image credit: The Style Stalker)

Shop Basic Boilersuits


(Image credit: The Style Stalker)

Shop Compliment-Worthy Maxi Skirts

Next, the best stores for petite ladies.

Allyson Payer
Senior Editor

Allyson is a senior editor for Who What Wear. She joined the company in 2014 as co-founder Katherine Power's executive assistant and over the years has written hundreds of stories for Who What Wear. Prior to her career in fashion, Allyson worked in the entertainment industry at companies such as Sony Pictures Television. Allyson is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a BFA in theater. Her path to fashion may not have been linear, but based on the number of fashion magazines she collected as a child and young adult, it was meant to be.