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What Not to Wear

What Not to Wear for Petite Women

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Knowing what not to wear can help petite women look slimmer and taller. Here are five fashion mistakes to avoid for petite women who want to look longer and leaner.

1. What Not to Wear - Tight Clothing

The 2008 ALMA Awards - Arrivals
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images Entertainment

Skin-tight stretch fabric, anybody? It might be great for a rumba on Dancing with the Stars, but in real life, too-tight clothing can be unflattering, even on a slender woman. Opt for clothing that fits well for the sveltest appearance.

Pictured: Petite dancer Cheryl Burke

2. What Not to Wear - Baggy Clothing

Patricia Arquette
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

What was petite Patricia Arquette thinking when she decided to appear in public in this oversized, frumpy coat and boots that make her legs look even shorter? Baggy clothing can make women look bigger than they really are, and this fashion principle applies especially to petite women. Avoid oversized tops, dresses, jackets, and coats, and chose semi-fitted or fitted clothing instead.

Pictured: Petite actress Patricia Arquette wearing an oversized coat

3. What Not to Wear - Scarf Wrapped Around Neck

Rachel Ray
Taylor Hill/Getty Images

I love this outfit on Rachael Ray. That is, I love it except for the black scarf wrapped around her neck. She's short, and the scarf makes her look even shorter by breaking up the nice monochromatic vertical line that she has going for her with the rest of her ensemble.

Moral of the story for petite women--don't "cut off your head" by wearing a scarf wrapped horizontally around your neck

Pictured: Rachael Ray wearing a long scarf wrapped around her neck

4. What Not to Wear - Clunky Shoes with Ankle Straps

Rachel Ray
Anthony Behar/Getty Images

Uh, oh. I guess I'm picking on Rachael Ray again. Sorry, Rach! I love the dress with the flattering V-neckline, but not the shoes. Sleek high-heeled pumps would have looked so much better with this dress. These shoes just look very clunky, and they also have ankle straps, which make her legs appear shorter, so they're not the greatest style for a petite woman.

Pictured: Rachael Ray wearing clunky shoes with ankle straps

5. What Not to Wear - Clothing That Emphasizes a Figure Flaw

Rachel Ray
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Avoid emphasizing figure flaws with clothing or fashion accessories. Instead minimize the problem area by drawing attention to another feature. For example, a petite woman who has big hips can wear a V-neckline to de-emphasize the hips.

Pictured: Petite TV star and cook Rachael Ray wears a dress that emphasizes her hips. A different style would have been more flattering.

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