Evening Dresses for Petite Women

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Petite women are those who are five feet four inches or shorter and can be of any body size or shape.  There is a wide variety of different types of evening dresses for petite women that are appropriate for different occasions.  In addition to the pointers in this article, another post discusses general tips in selecting evening gowns and there is a great site that displays and reviews a variety of gowns.  This article highlights some examples of different kinds that are typically worn for different events.  It also highlights different accessories that typically go along with the dresses such as shoes, handbags, and jewelry.

Types of Women’s Evening Dresses

Finding the perfect evening dress to fit the occasion, your budget, and your style can sometimes be difficult since there are so many choices that are out there. Here is some interesting information on the different types of dresses that are especially suitable for petite women to help you choose the right one for every event, including the following:

  • Basic evening wear essentials, such as the little black dress that goes to the knee length that never goes out of style
  • Popular celebrity and celebrity-inspired dresses
  • Retro and vintage evening fashions, such as feminine rockabilly dresses
  • Designer evening dresses
  • Occasion-based dresses, such as dresses for garden parties or other events
  • Unique dress and gown styles

Latest Styles of Evening Gowns for Petite Women

Appearing Taller and Leaner in Evening Dresses

Most short and petite women will want to appear taller and leaner when wearing dresses.  This should be one of the goals for selecting evening dresses for petite women.  Stick to the following guidelines to achieve this.

  • Empire waist dresses are good for women with bigger bustlines since they flare out right below the bustline.
  • Dresses will look great on many short or petite women since they automatically create the much desired and flattering 2/3 – 1/3 look. A tight, slim dress silhouette will make you look even taller and is a great option for petite women.
  • In many cases, there are do-it-yourself alterations that work well to make the dresses more suitable for petite women.  On the other hand, you should also know when it is important to invest in a good tailor such as dresses for professional settings.
  • Use monochrome dresses of a solid color or dresses that contain few variations in the color such as simple shift dresses, with little accents of color in some places.  Monochromatic dresses that are the same color from head to toe helps make petite women appear taller.  The same is also true for unbroken lines of color.

  • Printed patterns in the dress are also perfectly acceptable on petite women, but make sure that the largest part of the pattern is smaller than the size of your fist to make it proportional to your body frame.
  • The wrap style is suitable for many body types due to the built in V-neck and the diagonal wrap style that creates a waistline that is good for women who don’t naturally have a good waistline.  It is especially good for petite women since it creates a smooth silhouette.
  • Knee-length or shorter dresses are good to wear since the more leg that you show, the taller you appear.  Avoid micro mini dresses in the wrong occasions since it will make you look like you are a little girl playing dress-up.
  • If you want longer hems, you should wear dresses all the way up to the ankle.  Don’t wear midi dresses that fall to the mid-calf since this cuts off the appearance of making you look taller.
  • Make sure that the dresses you buy are the right size and fit for your petite body. This is especially important and poorly fitting clothes will add extra bulk to your overall appearance which is unattractive.
  • V-necklines are especially attractive on petite women since it draws attention to the neckline and draws the eye up and down.
  • Vertical patterns on your dress will always elongate your overall figure and would be especially good to have on your dresses. The vertical lines on your dress draws the eye up and down.  On the other hand, horizontal stripes should be avoided at all costs and look very unattractive in general for petite women.
  • Choose a dress that falls just above or at the knee length to lengthen your legs.  You can also choose longer ankle length or maxi dresses if you have a deep v-neckline in the dress.
  • Create nice vertical lines with cardigans and an open straight jacket that are the same length as your dress.  This is the same concept as that of having dresses with vertical patterns on them.
  • Buttoned shirt dresses that stop just above or on top of the knee will create a nice vertical line similar to that of those created by the use of vertical patterns on the dress itself and this will serve to elongate your overall look.
  • Wear v-line dresses to further elongate your look.


  • Don’t go overboard on the use of oversized accessories as these may overwhelm your petite figure and choose your accessories carefully.
  • Choose one or two bold statements in your accessories and pare down the rest of your look.
Selecting Your Shoes
  • Another way to gain height is to wear heels, but don’t go overboard with these. Wearing heels that are too high such as those that are 5 cm or higher or stilhettos will make you look out of proportion.

Selecting Your Handbag
Selecting Your Jewelry
  • Complementary necklaces with vertical pendant, and hanging earrings are great to wear with your overall outfit.
  • Don’t wear jewelry that is so big that it is out of proportion with your overall stature.
  • Check out this photo gallery of jewelry that go well with evening gowns of different occasions as well as reviews of their features!
Selecting Your Belts
  • Don’t wear wide belts that are not harmonious with your dress color.  For example, if you are wearing a black dress, you can wear a wide black belt.  If you wear a wide white or red belt, it will cut you in half and destroy any appearance of making you look taller.
  • Petite women often have relatively short legs. To make your legs appear longer, you can wear a belt that is the same color as your dress.
  • Check out this photo gallery of belts that go well with evening gowns of different occasions as well as reviews of their features!

Feel free to leave any comments or questions below about wearing evening dresses for petite women and I will get back to you soon!



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4 thoughts on “Evening Dresses for Petite Women”

  1. Hello Radha:
    Your post is very detailed and interesting for petite women and for women in general since they always try to look tall (even if they are tall, I can tell from my wife). Keep up the great work my friend. Best regards from México (lots of petite women here).

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