Winter can be an overwhelming time for all of the petite pretties who are more at risk of being swallowed up by layers upon layers of chunky knits, clunky coats, and other cold-weather musts. While there are still plenty of winter trends that petite women can absolutely wear to figure-flattering effect — from shift dresses to high-waist pants with pointy-toe flats — we’re more interested in the short list of pieces that probably shouldn’t be in the closet of those under about 5-foot-4.
Just consult this list for the seven winter trends that short women shouldn’t wear; it will save you from more unflattering silhouettes and drowning in a sartorial sea of fabric.
1. Oversized layering
One of the cardinal sins of clothing on a shorter frame is to bury said frame in a sea of fabric. We know the oversized silhouette has a certain trendsetting appeal. but it can be difficult to pull off. Mary Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen — child stars turned stylists — are quite famous for wearing mountains of layers, even at their super-petite height of just 5-foot-2 and 5-foot-3, respectively. Still, these petite pretties have turned a corner with slightly less overbearing statements, favoring minimalist, clean lines and quiet sophistication with a vintage edge, such as those seen in their ready-to-wear collection.
Most importantly, a little bit of tailoring goes a long way when you’re petite. You can still rock the layers, just make sure you do so in well-fitted moderation.
2. Midi skirts
Midi skirts are defined by an in-between length that hits right about mid-calf — similar to the look of a tea-length dress. While it’s a trendy length at the moment, especially when paired with shooties (shoe-booties), it can be unflattering on the more petite. Why? The skirts visually cut the line of the leg, so any elongating effect is completely lost. In fact, legs often look even shorter and a bit stubby as a result — and those booties don’t help either.
Instead, opt for a skirt that hits right above the knee (or even shorter if you’re wearing tights). If you really want to wear a midi length, consider a figure-hugging midi dress in a solid color, which will help lengthen your frame. At the very least, choose a high-heeled pump in a nude shade to lengthen the leg line.
3. Baggy jeans
Baggy, boyfriend jeans are back in the trend mix in a big way with the roomy silhouette making waves in the style scene. But just as oversized clothing can be tricky when you’re on the shorter side, so too can baggy jeans, especially the super wide-leg variety. You may best be suited to sticking with the opposite end of the trend spectrum — think a skinny jean or a relaxed style.
At the end of the day, it’s all about creating balance. If you simply cannot bear the thought of forgoing the baggy denim trend, then wear a more fitted top. Another great trick is to find a pair that narrows at the ankles; then roll them up just a bit, then throw on stilettos and a sleek blazer for the ultimate relaxed-chic look.
4. Ankle-strap heels
Here’s the thing with ankle-strap heels: They visually divide your leg, making it look shorter and your ankles wider — no matter how tall you are. For that reason, it’s easier to pull them off if you have height on your side. If not, maximize the inches you do have by skipping the strap. Pointy-toe heels, shoes with a low-cut vamp, and pairs that are the same color as your skin tone will also help make those legs look as lean and long as possible. Skip the round-toe heel, too; it tends to shorten the leg line with a stubby effect.
5. Mid-calf boots
Speaking of footwear, another type of shoe that’s in vogue right now is the mid-calf boot. However, these shoes really have the effect of cutting the leg in half when worn with skirts. Instead of hopping on this trend train, go for ankle boots (except with those midi lengths!) or even an over-the-knee boot for a mini-skirt. And while you may think you cannot wear over-the-knee boots as a shorter gal, black OTKs worn over black skinny leggings or jeans are a surefire way to make those legs look long and lean.
6. Boxy tops
Boxy tops and sweaters are rather popular right now, rendered in nubby, wintry knits and techno fabrics like neoprene. But this particular breed of top isn’t the most figure-friendly for those of shorter height. After all, they’re called boxy for a reason — and sometimes that particular four-sided geometric shape just doesn’t jive with a petite frame.
7. Oversized bags
Yes, oversized bags are “big” right now. But, when you’re short, a big purse can nearly swallow you whole. If the tote is nearly as big as you are, then just say no. You’ll get far more mileage and figure-enhancing flattery with a slightly smaller handbag or clutch. It’s all about proportion when you’re petite.