Real Women, Real Challenges: Choosing jeans & coats when you're petite

Breeda O' Connell

Real Women, Real Challenges:
Choosing jeans & coats when you're petite

This week I had a client who was petite in both size and stature, and her challenge was getting the proportions right so that she avoided swamping her figure.

When you’re petite, you’re looking for ways to lengthen the body & create the longest unbroken line possible with your clothing.

You can do this by wearing the same colour or different shades of the same color (monochromatic colours)head to toe; avoid breaking the line with for example different colour shoes or cropped trousers; and vertical detailing like vertical striped, piping, seems or button/zip detail.

Straight leg jeans are one of the most popular and readily available denim styles at the moment, and would be one of those pieces that I would recommend for your typical Capsule Wardrobe.

However, on this lady straight leg jeans didn't work for two main reasons:

  • Firstly because by their nature, straight leg jeans are the same width all the way down. This didn't work on her because although they fitted well across the hips and thighs, once the jeans got past the knees, they swamped her petite frame and slim legs
  • Secondly, because she didn't have the height, there wasn't enough area for the jeans and so they bunched up at the bottom, giving a really unflattering effect

She was much better off in skinny jeans, which followed the line of her body, and worked with, instead of against, her frame.

Waistband placement is also a very important consideration when it comes to jeans, alongside the wash and the cut.

This lady had a long torso versus shorter legs, so as well as aiming to lengthen her silhouette overall, she needed to give particular focus to visually lengthening her legs & shortening her torso, by raising the waistband.

For many women, the tummy area can be an area of concern, and many high waisted trousers and jeans can make this problem worse.

Often we choose high waisted jeans with the hope that they will ‘hold everything in’ and while this can be true, sometimes if the waistband digs in too much it can cause a ‘pouch’ underneath, exaggerating any fullness at the tummy area.

So it's about getting a waistband that's high enough to hold you in and lengthen the legs, but also not cut in at the wrong place, creating this issue underneath.

So for many, a mid-rise waistband is better, which was the case for this lady.

When it came to choosing a coat, she had to keep the overall silhouette neat to again avoid swamping her frame.

This is particularly challenging with coats like puffer or teddy coats, which by their nature are oversized and bulky.

We were able to find a teddy coat that was very neat in its design, with set in sleeves & a tailored fit, and the fur itself was in nice swirls as opposed to long lengths of fur.

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