When I first discovered Trina’s petite personal styling, I instantly wanted to meet up with her. What a fabulous thing! A personal stylist, who being petite herself (5’2″), specializes in dressing other petite women! After meaning to reach out to her for what seems like ages, I finally got my butt in gear and asked Trina if she’d meet up with me, to answer my pressing questions about what it’s like to be not just a personal stylist (awesome job!), but a petite personal stylist!
We met at a cute little cafe on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles and chatted for almost two hours! Wearing an adorable black and grey sweater dress, tights, and purple suede heels, she was not only stylish, but amazingly nice.
We chatted about shopping, styling, clients, fit, and even discussed our favorite tailors. So, without further ado, here is a little Q&A Trina was nice enough to indulge us in:
How did you get to become a stylist?
I opened my business a couple of years ago primarily because I love fashion, and as a petite woman, there were a lot of designers whose clothes I loved but that were obviously not produced for women my height. I felt I had fewer choices in fashion retail than average sized women. I had done styling part-time for other companies and I knew I could contribute a lot more if I opened my own styling business, so a couple of years ago I started my own company and now this is what I do!
I see. So that’s why you specialize in petite women?
Yes. I was having problems finding clothes that fit me properly even though they were labeled as being my size, and I realized it was because of my frame and I knew there were lots of other petite women out there with the same issue. I had read a study about how almost 40% of the population is 5’4” and under, and I thought, this is an area where I can really be of help.
Can you share with us some of your favorite stores or brands to shop for your petite clients?
There are the obvious common ones, like Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, and Ann Taylor LOFT. Some other ones I really like that are perhaps a little less commonly frequented are French Connection, Theory and Mackage. The dress I’m wearing right now is actually French Connection and where normally I wear a 0, this is a 2 and fits me perfectly. These brands run smaller all around, not just in the length, so it’s better suited to petites. Mackage is an outerwear brand I like. They have amazing fit, like small arm holes, and are very tailored, which is important for petites.
What is the biggest challenge you face styling petite women?
The obvious thing is the height issue. But, really, just the fact that the clothing selection is so limited, especially for petites who are also very slender. My main goal is to always elongate the figure and not overwhelm it – those are my biggest objectives when dressing petite clients.
What is the question your clients ask you the most?
“What style looks the best on me?” is probably the most common question, and what people don’t realize is that it’s a very broad question. Many clients have the misconception that there is one magic style that will work perfectly for them, but the truth is, there are many different styles that look great, provided they are styled correctly.
Is there any size client in particular that tends to enlist your help more than others?
My petite clients tend to be in the mid range, so, the most common sizes, between 6 and 12. However I also have clients on either end of the spectrum – i.e. the size 00 petites and the plus-size petites. There’s a solution for everyone but sometimes it requires a little creativity!
Have you ever dressed a celebrity?
I’ve dressed people in the entertainment business who are actors or actresses for awards ceremonies and events like that but A-list celebrities aren’t a part of my clientele. I prefer styling non-celebrities because the styling is much more focused on wearable wardrobes and every-day life rather than on the red-carpet.
As a stylist, you must see women who could use your help all the time. Are there any fashion crimes that drive you crazy?
What bugs me is when I see someone who obviously cares about how they look and has created an outfit that would be really cute if it weren’t for one little thing, like maybe her skirt is just a little too long for her frame. It’s relatively minor but those tiny details can derail the whole look.
What’s the one piece of style advice you’d like to give petite women?
The biggest piece of advice, the most important thing to think about more than anything else, is the fit! Fit is something we all know to look for but it can sometimes be hard to get right. A second pair of eyes is definitely helpful here, whether it’s a trusted friend or a fashion stylist. There are key things I always look at when assessing the fit of an item including the neckline, the sleeve, the shoulder, and the hem. The size of accessories is also something to pay attention to.
And, of course, I have to ask…who’s your favorite tailor in LA?
Dickie Dobins near the Beverly Center. It’s conveniently located near the Beverly Center so it’s great if you’ve just shopped there. My tailor’s name is Joe.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes, I have to say that even though being a petite does mean we have fewer choices in clothing, one of the truly great things about it is that we have the ability to be creative with pieces in a way that taller women can’t. For example, I frequently purchase tunics or long tops and wear them as mini-dresses by adding a belt! Petites can often also wear scarves as belts. It opens up opportunities to let your creativity flow and style things in unexpected ways!
Trina pops in on the blog and forum every now and then, so if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments!
And if you are in need of a wardrobe makeover or shopping help in the Los Angeles area, information about Trina’s personal styling/shopping can be found at Petite Style Studio.