4 Trendy Skirt Options 4 Petites

This post will address 4 different skirt lengths and how they can be worn by petites to enhance their silhouettes and appear taller.

I’d like to point out some obvious fact though (that the fashion industry seems to be missing completely!): women, be they tall or short, have various shapes and proportions. The height, in my opinion, is not really limiting anyone from wearing a particular style of clothing. It is one’s individual proportions that make certain styles of clothing more flattering or not. So, these tips, while they are meant as a quick guide for petites (on how to wear different skirt lengths and still appear taller), they are actually valid for all women who want to dress to enhance their frame by playing up the assets and by concealing the trouble areas.

I like to think of clothes as contouring in beauty: if you dress right, you can highlight your best areas, and, therefore,  look best for your size, height and frame.


THE MINI skirt:  should I Wear it If I Am Petite?

My answer: yes, you can wear a mini skirt. My only advice is to avoid a mini tube skirt. Unless you are auditioning for Pretty Woman or are 12 years old, the tube skirt is a thing of the past and will only look good on someone who is very slender and under 16 years old. On someone older it somehow looks quite outdated and desperate, and definitely not refined.  

So which type of mini skirt should you wear? My personal favorites are: the mini tulip skirt (as it is more flattering to pretty much any frame) , and the mini with an asymmetric design, like the one I featured below (if you must go to with a tighter fit.)

Now again, everyone can wear a mini skirt but not everyone should if the end goal is to achieve a refined and polished look. 

Wear It: if you have shapely and slender legs

Avoid it: if you have thick legs or your torso is longer than your legs.

Styling tip: pair it with a long sleeve or oversized top. You are already showing a lot of leg area so, keep everything else more covered. Remember, a refined look is the result of a tasteful coordination, and like everything else, your message needs to be clear. If you are showing off your legs, don’t show off other parts of the body. Leverage one thing at a time. Also, my advice is to go for nude shoes or sandals with thin straps. These will elongate your legs more.


THE STRAIGHT SKIRT: Should I Wear it if I Am Petite?

I’d like to clarify one thing about this skirt: this skirt is referred to in America as a pencil skirt but it actually isn't a pencil skirt. The pencil skirt has a conic shape (hence the name pencil skirt!), and is typically cut just a bit below the knee. The straight skirt hits just above the knee, and although referred to as pencil skirt in the US, it is actually a straight skirt. I also often see advice from other stylists (especially the old school ones!) advocating that this is the best skirt length for petites. 

My answer: it depends on your proportions as outlined below:

Wear it: if you have a normal size hip and shapely legs.

Avoid it: if you have a larger hip or a longer torso or both. On larger hips this skirt will follow the line of the hips down and the hip area will look boxy. If you have a big hip, this skirt will actually make you look squarer in the hip area, and therefore, will make you appear both larger and shorter. So, petite or not, I would not advise the curvy girls to wear this one. 

Styling tip: keep the length of this skirt just above the knee. Just like with the mini, pair it up with nude shoes or thin strapped sandals to avoid visually shortening the length of your legs.


THE EUROPEAN PENCIL SKIRT: Should I wear it if I am petite?

My answer: yes, this skirt is actually flattering to all body shapes and heights, including petites. I prefer it when it's made out of knit fabric because this skirt is conically shaped, and if it is not skillfully designed, it can be uncomfortable. If you pick it in regular, non-stretchy fabric, I would advise to perform the so called “sitting down test” and if it is restricting your movement, then you need to look for another option. 

Wear it: if you are any height, shape or size. For petites: stick to a 2-3 inches max below the knee length.

Avoid it: this one actually looks good on everyone so, you don’t need to avoid it. Michael Kors called it the “Chanel pencil skirt” during one of the Project Runway’s episodes. And for good reason as Chanel was a big fan of this length and conic shape. She knew that this shape was universally flattering and so you’ll see this skirt as a recurring theme even today in the designer’s collections.

Styling Tip: pick it in knit or stretchy fabric as this skirt will hug your body more and create that sensual elongated look. The ones in non-stretchy fabric are great for office or business meetings but be sure that they are well cut and have a slit in the back or the sides so that it will not restrict your movement. I’d stick with a length just below the knee (not more than 2-3 inches/ 6-8cm), and I would pair it with something less body hugging but not with lots of volume either. Shirts would look chic as well, and so would turtlenecks and sweaters (avoid sweatshirts as they may create too much volume on top).


THE MAXI: should i wear it if I am petite?

Answer: yes, if you pick the right maxi and opt for a high-waisted one.

Wear it: if you have a small waist and a slender torso.

Avoid it: if you have a thick waist and/or a large torso.

Styling tip: pick one with a high waist as this one will elongate any frame. You can add a belt, like I did. Go for an A-shape and keep the volume tamed on top, meaning wear a top that follows the lines of your body (so, avoid volume on top since your skirt is playing the volume on the bottom!)

I hope you enjoyed this post and found my tips useful.
Below I have linked some skirt options.


The Mini: Wearing Isabel Alexander asymmetric skirt; for other asymmetric mini options, see the carousel below.
The Straight Skirt: Wearing H&M straight skirt (sold out); for similar options, see the carousel below.
The Pencil Skirt: wearing (sold out); for similar options, see the carousel below.
The Maxi Skirt: Wearing Mason Margiela & H&M (sold out); for similar options, see the carousel below.