When I was a teen, I remember watching movies from the 80's like The Cosby Show. Back in the day, baggy track suits were popular, and big drapey t-shirts that left everything up to the imagination. Necklines were sometimes so wide that they slipped off one shoulder. I remember asking my mom what it was like to live through that period in fashion. She already has a hard enough time finding things small enough to fit her petite body (at 4'10" she is 4" shorter than me), and said that baggy clothing looked even worse on her. I remember feeling glad not to have to deal with such unflattering clothing....until this spring when I noticed this trend cluttering every ladies' clothing store that I come across. It makes me want to scream!!
About.com's page on Fashion Tips for Petites gives some great advice for looking your best. Their tips include wearing clothing that fits well (or form-fitting clothing), clothing with vertical lines, and to avoid wearing bulky clothing.
The Dolman Sleeve
|Image Credit: bloomingdales.com|
This style can be seen in pretty much every teen clothing store this spring. A high, wide neckline and exaggerated sleeve make a petite woman look even boxier and shorter. If you have an itty-bitty chest, it gets completely lost in all the fabric making you look like a 10-year-old.
|Image Credit: Express.com|
A better option is this smocked top from Express. It still has the Dolman sleeve but the V-neck adds some vertical lines and the smocking defines the waistline below the bust. That is only if your chest can fill out these gathers. A good fit is a must!
The Butterfly Sleeve
|Petite Butterfly Sleeve Zig Zag Poncho, Ann Taylor Loft|
Even though this sweater can be found in the petite section of Loft, its horizontal lines and wide neckline make it a poor choice for petites. I'm not a big fan of these sleeves because, again, they make the torso look wider.
|Xliration by Target|
This dress is also not my favorite. Even though it defines the waistline the sleeves are so exaggerated that the waist gets totally lost in them. Plus, it is not petite so chances are the cinched waistline will be too low, emphasizing the widest part of my torso.
|Calvin Klein Butterfly Sleeve Chiffon Dress from Nordstrom|
This Calvin Klein dress is much better suited for petites. The butterfly sleeve is high enough that it still allows the waistline to be defined with a belt. The gathers at the neckline draw attention to the face, which is great for a pear-shaped petite, like myself. The plus is that you may not even need it in a petite size if the belt can be situated a little higher than normal.
Cinch Tie at Waist
This style would only look okay on very slim petites. Once again, a tiny chest will completely get lost in the blousiness, along with any sort of waist you thought you had. I have tried on this style before and I always look like I have gained 20 lbs. On the upside, it could double as maternity wear. Yes, moms to be, no need to buy maternity clothes because you can fit a full term belly under one of these blouses!
|Cinch Tie Cold Shoulder Top, Old Navy|
|Mexicali Gauze Cami, Old Navy|
|Elastic Waist Tie Dolman Top, Express|
And lastly, this top's name says it all:
|Boxy Top, Express.com|
I'm not sure that this style looks good on any body type....unless you are hiding a baby bump. It's just plain ridiculous! What were they thinking?!
Anyway, I hope not too many of you are offended by this but as for me I will be steering clear of exaggerated blousiness....UNTIL THE END OF TIME!! If it means I have to search far and wide for something that isn't wide I will wear clothing that is flattering to my body. Now, if I could only get used to coming up empty-handed after shopping trips....