Fashion Friday: Small but Dressing Tall

“Hi Patty! I’ve been reading your blog religiously and I have to say I really love your style. I’m also petite, even smaller than you (I’m only 4’9″). I’m writing because I’d like to ask for fashion advice. I’m usually just in jeans or shorts and t-shirt. How can I look great without appearing that I’m trying too hard?” 
-Kat Lopez
Hi Kat! Thanks for the compliment!!!! Kinilig naman ako!:) Dressing up for our height can be tricky as there are many things to mull over. But dressing up can be a fun experience if you allow yourself to make a few mistakes here and there. Don’t take fashion too seriously, my dear. At the end of the day, clothes are just clothes, and as long as they provide the comfort and coverage you need to get through the day..then fashion has served its ultimate purpose.The goal for any girl should be: SYMMETRY. Before stepping out of your room, take a glance at the mirror and see if you have a symmetric and well proportioned look. If you feel like there’s a necklace that seems a tad off, or a cardigan that looks too heavy, take it out. Pag “nangangati” ka sa itsura mo, then there must be something wrong. Pile on, pile off until you achieve that sense of balance and feel confident with your overall look.  But since you want to talk about specifics, here are some practical (and very simple) tips for you to consider when putting together your wardrobe.

1. Know your body type.
    Personally, I’m slightly heavy on the top..thanks to my Lola who proudly carries her double Ds with ease, I got those genes but unfortunately I wasn’t blessed with the height to match it. My bust is not proportionate to my 5’3 body frame and height. For years, this was something I was very self-conscious about. I would dread going to the beach afraid to reveal my chest and would always try to cover up as much as possible. Back in college, everyone wore tight fit tees and I would just shy away from them because the attention made me feel very uncomfortable.

   But as I grew older, I realized that I just had to accept my body type and learn how to work with it. So, I got creative. I found “strategies” to downplay my chest area and to draw more attention towards my other features. I went through different necklines (years of trial and error) to find which ones work best for me. I also discovered the wonders of a minimizer bra. This gave me the freedom to wear clothes more freely without feeling awkward. People don’t even notice that I’m top heavy anymore because I’m such a ninja dresser! Hahaha! But I am also proud of my curves and there are times when I am able to summon the strength of ten thousand tigers to work a sexy dress in public, but I still try to keep it subtle and sexy. C-L-A-S-S-Y is always better than T-R-A-S-H-Y.

  I think you should understand the way your body is built first before exploring your fashion options. Do not ever compare your body to your friends’ bodies or worse, look at the magazines and compare yourself to some celebrity. It’s natural for us girls to feel insecure but it’s also not healthy to keep sulking and whining about the things you wish you had instead of thanking God for the qualities you actually have and should enjoy! If you feel like your body is not where it’s supposed to be or you know that physically you can do better, then do something about it and work towards realistic goals. But know your limitations and build sound expectations also. I know I’ll never be a 6 footer kahit ikiskis ko pa yung Cherifer sa buong katawan ko gabi be happy with your body and always work on improving thy self!

2. Create an illusion of a longer and leaner torso. 

      Choose shirts that fall just right at your hips or even just above your pelvic bone. If you wear tops that fall right on your navel, tendency is for people to see your torso cut shorter. Go for bottoms and jeans that fit well on the hips and butt regions and make sure you have the hem tailored nicely. Please don’t fold and staple your pants! That’s so grade school! Hahaha! I bring my new pair of jeans to our local palengke to have them altered. I usually give them my “favorite” pair for them to use as a template. For less than 50 pesos you get perfect jeans in an instant! 🙂



2. Wear shoes that elongate your legs.

    This rule has to be tested as it can work differently for each person. But in my experience, thinner straps which wrap around the ankle and lower calf area make my legs look much shorter. This should also be a rule for those who have big legs, please stay away from wrap around sandals. This will give you a longanisa effect all over your legs! I suggest you get nude colored pumps which make your legs instantly look longer because the nude color blends better with your skin tone and makes your legs flow nicely and “endlessly” with no straps to cut their length. If you must wear something strappy or more formal, make sure that they are slightly thicker that wrap around your toes instead of your ankles.

3. Don’t be a walking print disaster. 
I love prints and I love bright colors. It’s always nice to play with different prints and patterns..but don’t go overboard! Choose smaller prints with more delicate details and pair them with solids.  If you wish to play with color, I suggest color blocking. This is always good for petites because it keeps things fun but still very polished. Since we have such a small frame, it’s nice to be purposeful about our fashion pieces and establish clean lines in your overall look.

4. Don’t overwhelm yourself with accessories.
Do you want to wear chandelier earrings? Or do you want to wear an exotic necklace? Don’t go for both. If you’re Giselle Bundchen, go ahead and pile on the can always compensate with your long leggggggs. But if you have a very small canvas to work with, keep the accessories to a minimum. Opt for statement pieces instead and work them with solid colored clothes. I love wearing scarves because they cover up my chest area and draw more attention towards my face, this could also work even for petite girls who are thinner as this adds that balanced “bulk” into your body without making you feel too heavy. 
5. Work your hair into the look.
If you are wearing a very revealing top, having your hair down might tone it down a bit. If you have an elaborate collar, a nice pair of earrings to show off, or an embellished top, then a clean ponytail might work best for you. But don’t be limited to just “up” and “down” when it comes to hairstyles. For petite girls, it’s nice to play with different looks! Add a little more volume or a “poof” just on top for an illusion of height. These hairstyles are sure to make you look taller than you really are!

6. Upsize or downsize.
It’s not your height that’s a problem. God blessed you with that unique body frame and you are DESTINED to be beautiful with that specific figure. Sometimes, it’s just your wrong choice in clothing size that could be a problem. I’ve met girls who wore two sizes too big for them, they looked sloppy and disheveled most of the time because their clothes didn’t fall on their bodies gracefully. On the other hand, there are also other girls who wear two sizes smaller than the size meant for them, making them bust out of the seams, exposing their back fat and love handles. We all have flaws to hide (I have a long list of things I’m not exactly proud of) but we are also endowed with lots of beautiful physical traits too! So it’s all about working with what you’ve got and finding the right size each and every time. And remember just because you’re a “small” in one store doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be a “small” in another. Even clothes within the same store don’t always fall the same way. I always make adjustments based on the fabric. If the fabric clings tightly, I always opt for 1 size bigger to avoid looking too skimpy. If the fabric is thick and the style of the dress is more tailored, I always go for a dress that fits snug. It’s always important to fit before you purchase!

7. Beware of cheating mirrors!
I’ve been a victim of cheating mirrors many times! I won’t name any stores but some shops have mirrors that make you leaner and taller than you actually are. Pag sukat ko sa store, WOW ang sexy ng itsura ko, pero pagkauwi ko ang panget pala ng bagsak. If you find yourself unhappy with your purchase, don’t be afraid to return it to the store. Keep your receipts and tags and make sure you replace it with something you feel is defintely worth the purchase! Sayang din yung pera mo! It’s always good to have a shopping companion with you who will give you an honest opinion. I’ve learned to not shop with Patrick because he’s always biased, even if I have 3 pimples on my face and a big bloated belly..he still says I’m sexy! Kung bola yun, only Jesus knows! Hahahaha!:) Bring someone who will tell you the matter how painful!

8. Wear light weight materials that won’t add bulk and overwhelm your small frame. 
Please stay away from velvet and ill fitting knitted tops. You will look like a walking marshmallow. Opt for cotton, jersey, and silk instead. These fabrics cling closer to your body and will allow you to show off those curves better.

9. To mini skirt or not to mini skirt. That is the question.
If it’s not for a shoot or a fashion event, I normally would shy away from mini skirts. For me it sounds and looks redundant when you have a mini person wearing a mini skirt, there’s a fine line that separates you from looking chic and looking cheap. If you must wear a mini skirt, wear it with a loose top that’s much more covered, pair your minis with masculine accessories to downplay the “skimpy” vibe, and refrain from using glass stilettos. Please, ladies…bimbo glass stilettos are a big NO-NO for any height.

10. Embrace the MINI ME. 
I love being tiny, I love being cute and delicate, I love being petite! And these big stars love their small frames too! So celebrate the mini you!:)

For more fashion concerns, feel free to email me at I’m not a professional stylist but I’d love to share some personal and practical tips with you!:)

4 Responses to Fashion Friday: Small but Dressing Tall

  1. The part about the type of fabric to wear is such a BIG BIG help!!! So sad to part with my comfy wool sweaters but my 5″2 frame makes it impossible.. 🙂 Thanks Ate Patty ^_^

  2. love my mini me too. haha. agree with this post’s message. it’s just a matter of mixing and matching and loving your body type. hihi. hide the flaws, flaunt the assets. haha :))