I’m so excited to present a new series here at AlterationsNeeded.com called Sample Size, an interview series with petite ladies of all shapes, sizes, and heights. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from writing this blog and introducing the Alterations Needed Forum, it’s that there’s nothing more exciting than finding other women who look like YOU! Other women who know what it’s like to be short and curvy/skinny/busty/flat…the list goes on.
I’m kicking off his new feature with Jen from Awakened Aesthetic, and half the dynamic duo behind The Demoiselles. Jen is incredibly insightful on the topics of body image and body love, so I knew she’d be a great pick to get things started. If you’re craving intelligent conversation about women’s issues, definitely stop by her blog, and the new The Demoiselles Community.
I’m five feet tall – sometimes 5’1”! – and I measure out at 37-31-42. Hips! I usually wear a size 8 or 10 pant, large tops – obviously I’m pretty curvy. I have an hourglass figure.
How do you feel about your height? Do you love it, hate it, neutral?
I love it! It’s often hard to find lengths that fit, and I spend more time at the tailor than most, but I don’t mind. I’m more unnerved by how my body is changing now that I’m getting close to thirty than I am about my height. These suddenly wide hips have me rethinking everything I know about my personal style.
How would you describe your personal style?
I take a lot of inspiration from the early twentieth century – think the teens through the early fifties. I love distressed fabrics, lace, worn leather and stockings, along with wide-leg pants and bronze and copper jewelry.
Being petite, what is the biggest challenge you face dressing the way you want?
The Prohibition Era saw an influx of boyish bodies, so a lot of what I want to wear is modeled by and made for tall, thin women. It’s hard to find boots that don’t bunch around my short calves, and wide-leg cuffed pants that don’t look awkward after they’re hemmed.
Do you buy a lot of petite clothing? Or do you shop regular sizes?
A little of both! I shop a lot of sales, and it’s easier to find odd sizes – like a ten petite – once the more popular sixes and eights (regular length) have been snagged. At the same time, I’d rather buy something that fits well in the waist and hips, then have it altered, than look for shorter lengths and be uncomfortable around my middle.
What are your favorite designers and brands to shop?
I can always find great jeans at The Gap, and Banana Republic almost always has well-fitting skirts and pants in stock. For smaller shoes I like Miz Mooz and Steve Madden, and for dresses I’ll try any designer. I just bought a beautiful dress by Zachary’s Smile, and it’s a great length – even in an eight.
What clothing styles look amazing on you?
Wide-leg pants, pencil skirts and fitted tops – anything that accentuates the eleven-inch difference between my waist and hips. I’m a big fan of belts, and just-above-the-knee dresses.
What clothing styles look awful on you?
I think any style can work on any body…but the styles that I’m least impressed by on my own body are tunics and shapeless dresses, because they remove any “womanliness” from my body. I have a dress with absolutely no shape that I call my “Christening Dress.” When it’s not belted, I look like a little kid!
Do you get your clothing tailored?
Nope! Minor alterations only.
What is your favorite outfit photo from your blog? Why?
We don’t do a ton of outfit photos anymore, but here’s my favorite recent photo that features one of my outfits:
That’s the Christening Dress! I’ve gotten into flats lately, and had no idea wearing big chunky boots with a dress would be so fun.
What’s your favorite piece of style advice you’d like to share with other petite women?
There are no rules. None. Wear whatever you want, and forget all the stuff you’ve heard about “appearing taller” or “not cutting off your legs” with short boots or socks. It’s fashion, which means it’s supposed to be fun, and interesting, and not a big deal. Just enjoy it and, if you hate it in ten years, laugh at yourself and move on!