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. Try short skirts with pointed shoes or boots.

3. Opt for cropped, fitted denim.

4. Invest in high-waisted trousers.

5. Tailor your pieces to fit your shape.

6. When in doubt, go tonal.

7. If you add layers on top, go for tighter on the bottom half.

8. Try out a long coat.

9. Never 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. Show Off Your Waist


(Image credit: @femmeblk)

Style Notes: An outfit that goes in at the waist is an easy way to avoid swamping a smaller frame. Add a belt to more relaxed shapes like a blazer or dress to cinch you in more.

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


(Image credit: @camillecharriere)

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 and can make legs appear slightly longer. 

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3. Opt for Cropped Jeans


(Image credit: @aimeesong)

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.

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4. Wear High-Waisted Trousers


(Image credit: @monikh)

Style Notes: Anything high-waisted is a winner for petite women, and it's easy to find tailored pairs. The high rise gives the illusion of longer legs by emphasising your waist. To get the right length, head to petite sections at the likes of ASOS and Reformation.

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5. Tailor Your Pieces


(Image credit: @thatgirlyusra)

Style Notes: Most suits have an oversized fit lately, so they can end up being too long and too big. If you find one you love that isn't in the petite section, finding a great a tailor is the trick. The Seam is such a good site to use to find a local seamstress in your area. 

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6. If in Doubt, Go Tonal


(Image credit: @_marisamartins_)

Style Notes: Tonal outfits are a go-to for shorter girls. A top-to-toe look in the same colour can lead the eye all the way down, whereas different colour separates can often highlight a shorter torso or legs. Make like Marisa and go for a polished cream combo.

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7.  If You Add Layers On Top, Go For Tighter On The Bottom Half


(Image credit: @aida.bdji)

Style Notes: The one thing petite street style stars all know to be true? Layers can be difficult as they tend to drown shorter people in fabric. If you want to do the oversized look, opt for one key piece such as Aida's cropped jacket and wear it over something sleek and tighter on the bottom half like leggings.

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8. Invest in a Long Coat


(Image credit: @frannfyne)

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.

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9. Don't Underestimate Low Heels


(Image credit: @hannahalmassi)

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.

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Next Up: 7 Simple Yet Stylish Ways Fashion People Are Wearing Jeans This Winter

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

Elinor Block