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5 Styling Tips for Petite Models

In the fashion world, countless articles offer advice to petite models on how to dress in ways that create the illusion of height and size. However, at The Photo Studio, we firmly believe that there are no rigid rules dictating how a petite model should dress, especially in this era of self-love and embracing individuality. If you’re petite and prefer to embrace your petite stature, that’s acceptable as long as you feel comfortable and confident in your skin. It’s all about how you choose to portray and express yourself through fashion. In this article, we are delighted to present some valuable styling tips to enhance your desired body proportions, regardless of your size and height.

 1. Pay Attention to Colour

Colour plays a significant role in dressing and styling. There are numerous ways to incorporate colour into your outfits, such as monochromatic looks or colour blocking. Each approach creates a different effect on the wearer. For petite models, we recommend starting with exploring monochromatic looks and gradually adding colour to your outfits.

Dressing in monochromatic tones can give you an elongated look by creating a single, unbroken line that both lengthens and polishes, resulting in the illusion of height. Additionally, monochromatic dressing allows you to harness the power of colour, as wearing head-to-toe shades of one colour can easily convey a specific mood, whether serene, optimistic, sedate, or electric.

When it comes to multiple colours in an outfit, different colours, patterns, and layers of clothing can visually break your body into sections, potentially emphasising a shorter and smaller appearance. 

2. Focus on Vertical Proportion

As Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is architecture; it is a matter of proportions.” One popular proportion rule in various creative fields is the rule of thirds, which is considered the golden ratio for creating visually appealing aesthetics. Regardless of your body type, this rule can be applied to everyone.

Applying this principle means envisioning yourself as divided into thirds from your shoulders to your toes. You want either one-third on top and two-thirds on the bottom (e.g., pairing a shirt with pants) or two-thirds on top and one-third on the bottom (e.g., wearing a dress). Avoid dressing in a 1:1 ratio (halves), as it can appear blocky, boxy, and unflattering. Opting for a longer proportion and a shorter proportion (1/3 or 2/3) will elongate your body and create a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

 3. Play with Volume

Volume refers to the fitting of the garments. Clothing with lower volume tends to be more fitted, with less fluidity, allowing the body’s actual figure to be more visible. On the other hand, clothing with higher volume is usually larger, more fluid, and looser fitting.

For petite bodies, oversized sweaters and jackets can sometimes overwhelm their figures. However, that doesn’t mean petite models have to miss out on this cosy style. The key to pulling off oversized pieces is to pair them with more form-fitting items, such as skinny jeans or leggings. This creates balance within the outfit and helps showcase your figure without getting lost in loose forms.

4. Utilise Patterns

Patterns in fashion serve not only as aesthetic decorations but also as critical tools for creating optical illusions on the wearer’s body. One of the most common patterns is lines. Lines, in various directions, can hide bulgy body parts with clever silhouettes and emphasise specific areas. Lines in fashion do not just come in print, they also come in other forms, such as pleats, tucks, seams, and necklines. Psychologically, lines manipulate the eyes and control our brains, guiding our gaze along the design.

For instance, vertical lines lead the eye upward, creating the illusion of height and visually slimming the figure. Horizontal lines guide the eye across the body. Diagonal lines, with their slanted nature, are incredibly slimming, and no matter where you place them on your body, they will have a slimming effect. Curved lines, whether slightly or tightly curved, add gracefulness to the overall appearance. Vertical stripes can make the wearer appear taller, while dresses with diagonal stripes can create a sense of movement.

 5. Embrace Accessories

No outfit is complete without accessories, and they play a crucial role in altering the vertical proportion of your ensemble. For example, belting a dress above your natural waistline is a common tactic to recreate the rule of thirds. This visually shortens your torso and lengthens your legs, creating a more flattering and appealing appearance.

Footwear also plays a significant role. By combining the use of colour, specific effects can be achieved. For example, wearing skin-toned, nude shoes with skirts can create the illusion of added height, while wearing black tights with black boots or heels can have a similar effect.

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