The Best Style of Dress for a Short Figure With No Defined Waist

Well-fitting suits create a long vertical line and make even the shortest women look tall.

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Dressing a short figure with no defined waist is not for the faint of heart. Too many women give up before learning the best way to dress their body. Certain strategies enhance your figure's best qualities and diminish your worst. "Silhouette, proportion and fit" are the three key elements to dressing any body, according to an article by television's Tim Gunn from Project Runway. A heavier woman may try to cover up her body with bulky clothing. Bulk clothing, especially on a short figure, only makes a person look heavier. Gunn urges women to buy clothes with a good fit or take the clothing to a tailor for alterations.

Dressing Up

Finding a cocktail dress or formal gown for a petite woman can be challenging. Steer clear of dresses with lots of poof around the hips. Layers of tulle and taffeta only makes a short person appear shorter and thick around the middle. Look for empire-waist dresses without bulk around the hips. A little poof around the hips is fine if your body isn't heavy. Chiffon, however, is the better choice when you want to elongate and slim your appearance. Hem your dresses shorter and add sheer black hose with black shoes to make your legs look long.

Create a Curvy Sillhouette

A petite woman with no defined waist must make friends with a good tailor. Chances are, most pants and skirts need hemmed to the right length. In addition, blazers, when tailored correctly at the waist, will create a nice silhouette around the middle. Look for blouses and dresses with ruching or some other clear definition at the waist. Shop for clothes made specifically for petites in order to get the right fit. Fit is vital for the petite woman. Baggy or poorly fitting clothes will only weigh down an already short body.


Women 5 feet 4 and under are considered petite. Making petite clothing isn't as simple as coming up with a smaller version. Clothing created for petite sizes has a different proportion than regular women's clothing. Petite women have a shorter distance from the neck to waist and from the hips to waist, according to Kim Williams Dahlman, author of "The Petite Handbook." Dahlman offered her petite tips for an story titled, "The Best Fashion for Petites."

Jeans and Slacks

Shopping for petite-specific clothing is especially important for jeans. Wear short-leg jeans in a dark wash to lengthen your legs. Pair dark-colored jeans or slacks with a high-waisted belt to define your waist make your legs look longer. Tailor jeans and slacks, if necessary, so the bottoms cover the top of your heel. Avoid cropped pants at all costs. Creating the illusion of long legs means creating an uninterrupted line down to the shoe. Cropped pants break this line at the ankle or just below the knee, which draws attention to your shorter build.

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