January 22, 2010

Building A Ridiculously Fabulous, Uber Stylish Petite Wardrobe

After years and years of wearing Catholic school uniforms, rubber-soled shoes, and (gasp!) no make-up, I was a definitely a little fashion challenged!  And after a couple of years working in the non-profit sector -- I was also a little cash-strapped.

For me, these two forces converged in a way that wreaked havoc on my personal style.  Most of my clothes were in unflattering colors and in unflattering styles.  And to make matters worse, shopping for new clothes was downright discouraging!  The clothes that caught my eye weren't made for petite women, and the few pieces that were looked like they came with an AARP subscription and coupon for a free denture cleaning!  So I found myself stuck in a virtual no man's land -- too mature for the juniors department, too short for the regular women's department, and too alive for the petites department.  I was only twenty-something, and shopping was an exercise in futility!

My urge for a little retail therapy was satisfied every now and then with a random purchase from a sale or clearance rack.  But --
  • I bought items that didn't fit.  
  • I bought items that wouldn't last.  
  • I bought items I didn't love.   
And more often than not, that same item could usually be found hanging in my closet -- tags still on -- many months or even years later.  And as I approached the quarter-century mark, it dawned on me that I was creating a wardrobe full of clothes that made me feel anything but fabulous, stylish, and amazing!

But not so anymore!!  For the past few years, I've been revamping and revitalizing my petites wardrobe one piece at a time.  I've been searching high and low for petite inspiration, and I've created this blog to share what I've found.  My journey hasn't been easy, but it has been worth it!  And here's my first little secret for any petite woman who wants to get on the road to fashion recovery...

Read a book! 

It's a bit anti-climactic, I'll admit, but it's the truth.  Once I was finally determined to break out of my style rut, I began to devour books about the basics of building a great wardrobe.  After all, there was something I had to be doing wrong.  But I didn't know what.  So I took a little time to listen to the experts.  And in so doing, I learned a number of things -- about the shape of my body, the clothing styles that would (and would not!) flatter my shape, what to look for when shopping, how to clean and store clothes properly, when to splurge and when to save on an item, etc.  And what I learned has literally changed the way I shop and, ultimately, the way I look and feel.

So, dear reader, this blog will begin where my own journey to petite fabulousness began -- with a few of my favorite reads!  I sincerely implore you to begin your quest to building your own ridiculously fabulous, uber stylish petite wardrobe with your own copies of these classics!  If you do, you'll be well on your way to looking "nothing short of amazing."

by Andrea Linnett and Kim France

Amazon Review: What to wear, how to buy, where and when to spend: These are the topics covered each month by the exceedingly plugged-in staff of Lucky, whose circulation rocketed from 500,000 to 800,000 in just two short years. For Lucky's devoted fans, and anyone devoted to dressing better and shopping smarter, The Lucky Shopping Manual will be the über-find. Finally, there is a book that does away with the inconsequential information in previous fashion books and presents only the most useful tips and imperative information for how to dress better for less. Filled with tips that will appeal to shopaholics and disciplined bargain hunters alike, this enticing guide is packed with over 1,000 full-color photos and illustrations, with a ribbon marker and flexi-cover so women can take it shopping with them. With great advice on every uniquely designed page, The Lucky Shopping Manual includes features such as:
  • Building a wardrobe you love, with cross-referenced sections on everything from skirts, tops, dresses, pants, and suits, to shoes, bags, belts, and what looks best for your body type
  • How to spot great finds at the local flea market or the best boutiques
  • What to spend your money on and where you can scrimp
  • Cool stores coast-to-coast to check out when you're traveling
  • Practical tips for fabric care, shoe maintenance, and stain remedies

by Kendall Farr 

Amazon Review: A celebrity fashion stylist reveals the tricks of her trade and shows women of all sizes how to pull together their own polished, individual look.  Whether she’s petite, average, or plus size, every woman has experienced the frustration of searching for flattering clothes. In The Pocket Stylist every reader can have a consultation with her own personal stylist and use the author’s behind-the-scenes wardrobe wisdom:

  • Taking her true measurements—from eight different body zones—to ensure an attractive fit based on the reader’s unique silhouette and the proportions that will flatter it best
  • Why ready-to-wear isn’t, and how and when to use a tailor for a custom fit
  • The best fabrics for your unique silhouette
  • How to balance trends with the classic, indispensable pieces that are the backbone of any well-conceived wardrobe
  • What "closet archaeology" can unearth and reveal about your wardrobe needs
  • Why the right lingerie makes a critical difference in the fit of your clothes
  • Tips from other experts on the beauty principles that ground your everyday look— Bobbi Brown and Sonja Kashuk for makeup and Kevin Mancuso for hair—offer backstage access
  • Accessories that give an outfit an individual look and that no versatile wardrobe should be without
Best of all, The Pocket Stylist features specifically edited shopping lists for various body types. Four "styled" looks for each silhouette—from jeans-casual to cocktails—illustrate ideal proportion and fit. The reader becomes Kendall Farr’s client and will learn to shop and dress herself like a pro. The Pocket Stylist delivers the behind the camera expertise of a veteran stylist in one purse-size indispensable guide.

by Lisa Arbetter

Amazon Review: Since its launch nine years ago, In Style magazine has built a readership more than seven million strong. In doing so, it has become the pre-eminent publication for style-conscious women. The magazine's lively mix of fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and celebrity has created a legion of loyal readers who consider In Style their most trusted fashion advisor. Secrets of Style: In Style's Complete Guide to Dressing Your Best Every Day is the magazine's first book-dedicated to its signature subject, fashion. Secrets of Style offers a full range of timeless advice, including tips on dressing the best for you and your lifestyle, developing a personal style, and shopping strategies, beginning with the basics: -How to flatter your body type -How to find the right fit for every clothing item -How to look great seven days (and nights) a week -How to shop wisely for everything, from shoes to winter coats Scores of detailed, full-color illustrations and beautiful still photographs bring the book's ideas to life, while photos of chic celebrities demonstrate how the beautiful people get that way. From defining the perfect fit to examining successful style icons of the past, Secrets of Style is a complete and timely reference designed to help you discover your best look every day. Secrets of Style explains the best cuts and fabrics for every figure type. Wardrobe staples like pants, suits, and tops are discussed in specific detail, and advice is offered on how to get the most out of accessories. Tons of tips on time and money-saving shopping strategies, selecting clothes for special events, maternity wear, travel wardrobes and packing, clothing care, and much more make this title an enduring one-stop reference.


  1. Congrats on starting your new blog! I can't wait to read more!

    The Pocket Stylist is a great book...I bust it out every now and then when I need some advice. And I subscribe to Lucky Magazine, so I get all the great stuff in the book and more! Great advice. =)

  2. I couldn't help laughing while reading your first few paragraphs. I can relate all too well! Can't wait to see most posts : )

  3. Great post...I understand where you're coming from. Perhaps I should look into those books.

  4. Thanks for your comments, ladies! I didn't even know people were reading the blog yet. I will try to post more frequently in the future.