What Should Short, Apple-Shaped Women Wear?

Queen Latifah flatters her apple shape in a classic little black dress.

Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

If you're a petite, apple-shaped diva, your wish list probably includes sexy curves, a smaller middle, and height. Cheer up, Buttercup: All it takes to have your dream bod are some strategic wardrobe changes. "Fashion Sensai" and style consultant Tanya Zager Chisholm describes the apple shape as being bulkier in the chest and torso, with narrow hips and more slender arms and legs. Zager Chisholm says any woman shorter than 5-foot-4 is officially "petite." The clothing you wear brings about physical changes, such as high heels literally making you taller, and visual changes such as vertical stripes making you appear slimmer.


Confidently flaunt your upper half with tops that minimize tummy pudge and elongate your torso. Wearing a camisole under your top will streamline from bust to hip, but let those be the only layers since too many overwhelm petite bods. Cinch your middle with a wrap shirt or corset, and voila: Instant waist. Avoid belted tops; they add another segment to your frame, making you look stocky. Comfort queens achieve definition without restriction by sporting tops that are ruched or gathered under the bust or at the sides. Subtly detailed necklines and sleeves draw the eye upward. Tops with a little flow conceal a round belly, especially when you've overindulged at dinner. Avoid the muumuu effect by selecting tops that are fitted at the bust and are no longer than your hips. Your go-to tops should be in solid, dark colors; but it's OK to add a few flirty prints to the mix, as long as they are proportionate to your frame -- think small and subtle.


Since you'll achieve proportion by bulking up your bottom half, embrace your girly side with twirly, flowing skirts. Select skirts that are short, ideally no longer than your knees. Long skirts will make you look shorter, and apple-shaped beauties tend to have gorgeous gams worthy of showcasing. Express yourself with stripes, patterns and prints but avoid any designs that are so big they take over your lower bod. If you're more of a pants gal, look for straight-leg or wide-leg styles. Just say no to skinny jeans and cropped pants or gauchos -- they add bulk and make your legs look shorter. Score high-waist bottoms when you can, as waist bands camouflage and contain your tummy.

Dresses and Suits

Dresses are staples for thick-waisted women, since there's no need to worry about waistbands creating "muffin top." Select dresses that fall at or above your knees to keep your legs looking long and lean. A dress that has several different textures adds dimension to your look and makes you appear taller. "Harper's Bazaar" recommends fabrics including chiffon, velvet, lace and silk, all of which add definition and give the illusion of height when more than one of the fabrics are layered together, as with a dress worn under a cardigan or blazer. Avoid more than two layers and excessive detailing -- although a little ruching, gathering or wrapping is slimming. Career women can't go wrong with pin-striped suits. The stripes elongate your whole body, and make you appear slimmer since the eye observes you from top to bottom instead of from side to side.


Rock a blazer or jacket on cooler days; just be sure to get one without pockets, since visible pockets make your hips look bigger. Look for jackets that are slightly cinched, and are short and fitted enough to define your waist. Your jacket should not have more than two buttons, since too many buttons draw attention to your middle. Rock long legs like you were born with them by selecting the right pair of shoes. Avoid ankle straps and flock to high heels. Ankle straps segment your legs, making them look larger than they are, while heels add height.

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