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Short, Fat and Stylish a Fashion Guide for Plus Size Petite Women

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There seems to be a belief that petite is synonymous with elfin, that petite women are tiny graceful creatures who float delicately on a sea of petals and have waists the size of an average womans ‘neck. Not true. While many such women do exist, there are just as many (if not more) who are petite plus, average size and above (in width) but less than average height. Why do we care?

While the media is delighted to fuss over the existence of so-called plus size models, the plight of the short is totally ignored. Worried you don’t get to see models who are a normal size? Forget about width, that’s bad enough. Let me tell you about height.

A short model is 5 feet 9. Honestly. That’s 8 inches and more taller than a petite woman. And that alters the way any outfit looks, not a little but completely. Have you ever been to try on a wedding dress and found yourself standing on a small dais which allows the dress, which is too long, to fall to the floor? I bet you looked great, but it’s not what you would look like in real life because the ratio of width to height on your body would be completely different. Why is that?

What we perceive (for some reason everyone seems to be the same) as elegant is a silhouette where the height is several times the width. Take a look at any fashion illustration you’ve ever seen. Take a look at a Barbie doll, the length of the leg is way above normal in comparison to the other measurements. To redress that balance, short women need to use every visual illusion they can to increase that perceived ratio of height to width and achieve the look of elegance most women aspire to.

It makes sense that the longer the single blocks of color on your body are, the taller you will appear. A blouse and pants for example will make you look short unless

1. The blouse is the same color as the pants and

2. There is no obvious horizontal line between them.

The ideal outfit for the plus size petite woman is mostly one color, with the contrast at the narrowest point (usually the neck). This means that maxi skirts and dresses have the potential to make you look slimmer than conventional skirts. Jackets can provide a great contrast and look good over matching blouse and pants (especially when left open to show the blouse, a narrow strip of lighter colored fabric) but if they don’t match the pants the lower edge will form a horizontal line, breaking up the outline and spoiling the illusion of height.

One solution is to wear pants, top and jacket all to match, or use cleverly shaped jackets, like waterfall jackets which hang in soft folds and provide no solid horizontal outline.

When it comes to evening wear, the shorter woman can shine in long cheap prom dresses 2011, but even here the illusion can be improved by the use of the right neckline. A V neck also creates an illusion of length and can be very flattering, whereas a square neck emphasises width and is unlikely to look as good.

Nightgowns pajamas and robes are just as important – there is no better way to end the day than in a beautifully sensual silk nightgown that fits, but this is usually difficult for small women who find full length nightgowns difficult to come by. The best solution is to either use a made to measure service or choose a design with a lace edge. By cutting the lace off you’ll be able to reduce the nightgown to the right length. As short nightgowns tend to fall to the knee on petite women, it is important to look carefully at the design. If its primary purpose is to show off your legs, forget it and go for something designed to show off face or shoulders instead.

Although short plus size women are not generally used as models in any part of the fashion industry this doesn’t mean they can’t look good. Simply pay attention to the creation of the right visual illusion and you can look just as good as anyone, however tall they are.


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  • Posted On May 30, 2012
  • Published articles 3

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