FIT&FAB: How to nail that flattering look if you’re petite

Wednesday June 20 2018

The most important thing to wear is confidence. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH

The most important thing to wear is confidence. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH. PHOTO | FILE 

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Over the past few weeks I have taken a leap of faith to explore the rather unfamiliar territory of weight gain in the fitness journey.

I am intrigued by my findings so far and I shared this in my previous article. Today however, I recalled an article I did some time back on the slimming effect of my black dominated closet. I wondered if slim people ever struggle with finding what to wear.

As if on cue of my musings, I came across a post on my Facebook timeline where a friend was complaining that jeggings made her legs appear too thin.

Instinctively, I reached for my phone to have a chat with Jeff, a fashion blogger and old time friend from my university days.

The fitness journey is diverse to extreme ends and I vowed to pay attention to weight gainers didn’t I?  Here’s what Jeff had to say:

From my experience, a slim, slender or petit person has an option of looking however she deems fit. The secret is in the choice and art in their choice of clothing. In addition, knowing which part of your body to focus certain attention towards is a huge plus.

Fashion blogger Jeff Stuart. PHOTO| COURTESY

Fashion blogger Jeff Stuart. PHOTO| COURTESY

Key parts to accentuate include shoulders and the torso in general while bulking up from waist downwards if you are going for a rounded look.

There is however no one-size fits all when it comes to dressing and achieving a given look. I have a few tips which may come in handy in boosting your esteem and making you look fabulous for both men and women.


For women, it is very important to shop for the right size of bras. To achieve a full-chested look, look for bras that are well padded and firm .If the size is too small, you might end up looking squeezed and queasy which is not only unflattering but also very uncomfortable.

If it is too large, it will keep shifting under your blouse or dress and that cannot be a good sight regardless of how well-padded the bra is. It is important for petite women to know their right cup size and shop accordingly.

For skinny men who would like to appear more broad shouldered and solid, I strongly advice against wearing V-necked or hanging neck T-shirts that will leave your long neck and sharp shoulder blades in the open.

Instead, go for collar shirts, pull necks and high round-necks with jackets donned over the shirts to achieve that broad look. Scarves, neckties and ties add a nice touch to the look too.

Do not hesitate to throw in a nice fitting blazer or flurry jacket that will make your shoulders and general poise pop.

I highly recommend ankle boots or ankle wrap shoes for both men and women that can be worn with ordinary fitting pants preferably of a dark shade such as blue, black or brown.

The idea is to conceal the ankles considerably since exposing them may actually make your legs appear skinnier than they actually are. Notice I mention wearing fitting pants as tight ones or jeggings will absolutely frustrate your efforts to disguise your slight frame.

I am very happy that A-shaped dresses have flooded the market and I urge all of you petite girls to grab yourselves a few of these wonderful dresses. They will highlight your tiny waist while giving the illusion of rounded lower torso around the hip area.

This is not only a knock-out look but also does justice to the dress by bringing out that A-shape. I recommend the ones that come in a bust of bright colours and florals especially if you wish to make a statement.

For men, a well-tailored suit, preferably a double breasted one preferably with horizontal stripes is simply a must have in your closet. The idea is to draw focus to your large frame and such a suit will serve that purpose perfectly.

A single-breasted suit that's well accessorised can also do the trick. Go easy on the accessories though, remember, less is more.

Layering is another way that could really help your clothes fit better without appearing baggy. This involves wearing multiple layers of clothing such as vests and t-shirts underneath your shirt and a sweater plus jacket for men.

For women it would mean wearing camisoles or light tops under your blouse or dress plus a jacket on top as well as stockings beneath your dress or skirt where applicable. With layering though, you need to be careful not to overdo it in case the weather gets too warm and you are stranded in sweltering heat. 

The bottom line is that there is one attire that will make a difference regardless of your gender, size, weight or financial status and that is your charm and confidence.

If you don’t wear that, then all the advice above is completely useless. Pair up your cladding with a healthy dose of charm and confidence, step out and conquer the world.


Fit&Fab is a blog series by Marion Maina who lost 30kg during her weight loss journey that started two years ago and is now in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Do you have feedback on this story? E-mail: [email protected]