Archive for July 10th, 2008

What to Wear to Work: Business Formal for Petites

The key to finding flattering business formal clothes for petites is to choose pieces that elongate your silhouette.  You want to look as tall as you can, especially in a business setting, and you can do this by making your legs look as long as possible.  

Jackets with a Low Stance
Ann Taylor Wool Pinstripe Suit
Petite Wool Pinstripe Jacket ($99.99) and Petite Audrey Wool Pinstripe Pants ($79.99) at Ann Taylor

The notch lapel is classic, and the low stance (the point where the two sides of the jacket cross in front) creates a nice vertical line that makes you look taller.  Single button closures are best for creating this vertical line.

Simple Fitted Tops
Cotton Ruffle Front Top
Cotton Ruffle Front Top | $58 at Ann Taylor

When you’re petite, fitted garments tend to look better than oversized ones.  We’re loving this cotton voile ruffle top.  The delicate cotton voile fabric is lightweight (great for summer), and it complements the decidedly feminine ruffle and pintuck details.

Fluid, Drapey Fabrics

Petite Silk Sleeveless Shell
Petite Silk Sleeveless Shell | $29.99 (sale) at Ann Taylor

Add some shine to your wardrobe with a silk shell.  Fluid, drapey fabrics look great on petites, and in small doses, they complement business formal outfits.  Add a scarf for extra sophistication.

Wide Leg Trousers

Petite Martin Cuffed Wide Leg Pant
Petite Martin Cuffed Wide Leg Pant | $89 at Banana Republic

This wide leg pant is a great counterbalance to a fitted top, and the fact that it sits just below the natural waist helps to visually elongate your legs.

High Waisted Skirts
High Waisted Pencil Skirt
High Waisted Pencil Skirt | $89 at Banana Republic

High waisted skirts and pants make your legs look as long as possible–and in turn make you look as tall as possible.  If you don’t like thin, tailored skirts, you can also try (nearly universally flattering) a-line skirts.  How long should your skirt be?  Knee length skirts are not only the most flattering, but they’re also safe for work.

Shift Dresses
Belted Textured Dress
Belted Textured Dress | $150 at Banana Republic

Shift dresses are as slimming as they are work appropriate.  They’re
fitted without being too revealing, and they elongate your figure, especially when they feature a knee-length skirt.

Finish off your business formal outfit with medium height shoes (you’re petite, and you’re not fooling anyone with sky high heels, so just be comfortable), a reasonably sized work bag (no gigantic bags for you, since they’ll overwhelm you), and minimal accessories (since you don’t want to clutter your clean outfit).

Have a great tip about business formal for petites?  Share it with us in the comments!

10 comments July 10th, 2008

Star USA John Varvatos Longsleeve Linen Cardigan

Star USA John Varvatos Longsleeve Linen Cardigan

by John Liu

Guys, this isn’t your grandpa’s cardigan. The texture and toggle closures keeps things modern, and it’s light enough to wear on a summer night. It’s a great color and cut too.

$298  at Bluebee.

3 comments July 10th, 2008


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