Body types are so great! They’re all so different, and once you have a handle on what your body type is, you can follow all those amazing tips on how to dress your particular one. Easy peasy right?
Ahh…but here comes the hard part.
Guess what…being petite throws a wrench into the whole process.
Petite body type advice is usually lumped into one category.
Magazines, books and websites love to put us all in one big category. Since we’re short, obviously we all look alike, and can abide by the same fashion rules, right? Wrong.
Petite curves are proportioned smaller, so body type measurement information isn’t tailored for our size.
Ways to figure out your body type often include taking your shoulder, waist and hip measurements, and then comparing the difference in inches. For petites, the differences in our measurements will be smaller, which makes figuring out our body types in this way difficult.
Women don’t always fit just one body type.
I’m a total nerd over this stuff, and even I’m not exactly sure what my body type is. I’m somewhere between a boyish, and a hourglass figure. But then, throw in the fact I’m short-waisted, and now I’m not sure if I’m an “H”. Ugh…so hard!
So, how do you figure out your petite body type?
I’ve found a few resources that I like to mix and match.
• This helpful chart from Stylish Planner gives body type measurement ratio information scaled down for petites.
For example, my measurements are approximately 30 – 23 – 32. The difference between my measurements are:
According to this chart, I’m an hourglass shape.
Of course, this is a bit flawed because it asks you to use your chest measurement. It should really ask for your shoulder measurement, since women of all body types can vary wildly in bust size.
• Inside Out Style is another great resource. It’s a blog written by personal stylist Imogen Lamport, with clear and easy to understand descriptions of body types, and tips for dressing them. Her series on real life body shapes is especially helpful. I spent hours reading through these when I first found her site.
Imogen even came out with an ebook dedicated to petites last year. The ebook features 77 pages of advice directed towards petite women. I had the pleasure of reading through Imogen’s ebook, and while I found myself a little confused on body type (I fit into various descriptions of X, I and H body shapes!), I enjoyed the in-depth explanations of body proportions, and body types.
One of my favorite tips she gives in the ebook is about petite brooch placement. See how the higher brooch placement makes the figure look taller? Cool right?
Disclosure – Imogen gifted me her ebook, Never Short on Style.
• I picked up The Pocket Stylist by Kendall Farr when a local Borders Bookstore closed and liquidated all its merchandise. This handy little book has since become a favorite reference of mine. Kendall Farr is a personal stylist, and her book has tons of well organized information she uses to dress and teach her clients about clothing and shopping.
Kendall Farr breaks women into three basic body types, and even gives specific advice for us short girls. By packing women into just three body types, I found it hard to pick just one, as I tended to fit into descriptions of two of them.
I’m short waisted with thin limbs, so I better fit the description of the “C” body type (less defined waist, short torso, thin legs). But since Kendall suggests “C”‘s run away from wrap dresses and double breasted coats (two items I own, and think I look pretty darn good in thankyouverymuch), and frolic in empire waist clothing (which looks awful on me), I’m thinking I veer more towards being a “B”.
Beyond body types, The Pocket Stylist has handy tips for organizing your closet, what wardrobe staples every woman should have, and a whole chapter on alterations.
Tip – Kendall Farr suggests trying a tailor that advertises specializing in custom menswear. A tailor skilled in menswear tailoring will be more likely to be able to handle your most difficult alterations.
Of course, very few women will fall perfectly into one category, shape, type, or whatever you want to call it. But it’s still nice to get a general idea of what direction to head when it comes to dressing your body.
What are your favorite resources for body type advice?