Style tips when you’re short and stocky (like me)

Short and stocky. That’s the only way to describe my physique. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be taller and thinner, though I wasn’t cut out to be that. I’m only 1.56 cm tall (or 5’1″), wear a size 37 shoe (or US 7, UK 4), have a well-endowed chest and wear anything from a size small to extra large depending on the store and fit of the clothes (but mainly 38-40/ US 8-10/ UK 10-12). Average size, but not average height which sometimes can be a feat when buying clothes. Though, with the amount of shoplogs featured on here I’m sure you wouldn’t have thought it. Here are my tips and tricks on how to dress when you have my body shape and I’ve thrown in a bunch of general ones for the heck of it.


1.) Wear highwaisted pants & skirts

When you’re stocky and short, the trick is to make yourself appear taller. You do that by accentuating your waist and legs. That is why highwaisted pants and skirts make all the difference. It accentuates your waistline and make your legs look longer. Add a belt for added effect. Instant win. The only downside: it can accentuate your bust so when your have a larger cup size make sure you wear something on top that takes care of that problem.

2.) Tuck your shirts

Another way to appear taller is to tuck your shirts. Especially when wearing things that are highwaisted. You will prevent yourself from being cut in half at an awkward point and usually makes you appear slightly slimmer as the shirt cannot cling to your pants (which are usually bulkier, esp. jeans).

3.) Skirt length

Make sure your skirts hit you somewhere above the knee or are full length. Skirts that hit you mid calf will make you appear shorter. Highwaisted full length skirts can work as they can make your legs look endless. The same goes for shorter styles. I deem mid-thigh to knee length appropriate for all occasions: you get to show a bit of leg, but not too much.

4.) It’s all about proportions

When you wear something bulky on top (i.e. the bulky knit sweater trend of upcoming season), pair is with a tighter bottom. And the other way around: when you wear something tight on top, wear something flowy or bulky at the bottom. Pairing bulky with bulky can make you appear frumpy and short, whereas tight on tight usually makes you look like a rolled ham. Both aren’t looks I’m a big fan off.

5.) It’s all about deception

Trying to minimize the look of your ginormous double Ds? Wear v-necks, boat necks or lower cut round necks on your shirts. Avoid turtle necks at all costs and crew necks in solid colors. Certain colors, patterns (e.g. horizontal stripes of the right width) and flattering prints can make or break the bank as well. Avoid vertical stripes on your upper half when you’re large chested. The size of your boobs will distort the lines making them look bigger.

6.) It’s all about deception (2)

To elongate your legs simply wear a pair of opaque tights that match the color of your shoes (preferably heels). This instantly adds inches to your legs and makes you look longer. Avoid leggings (unless you wear them with ankle boots that cover the end of the leg) as they cut you into pieces.

7.) Size doesn’t matter

It doesn’t. Like I said in the intro, I have every size ranging from a small to an XL (and maybe even and XXL) hanging in my closet. Wear what fits, regardless of the size on the tag. Each store has its own sizes. I’m always an L at ZARA whereas as H&M let’s me get away with M and GAP even with an S. Try on your clothes and see if you feel comfortable in them. That is so much more important than the number.

8.) Don’t pat that shoulder

Steer away from shoulder pads, embellishments, ruffles, and any other concoction that adds bulk to your shoulders. When you’re bulky and boxy like me (my shoulders can fit into a size M men’s shirt, no kidding) you want to minimize your shoulders, not emphasize them. Wear shirts that have sleeves and when sleeveless just poke over your shoulder and always check out the stitching around the shoulder area on sweaters.

9.) Spice up your outfit

You can spunk up any old outfit by adding statement accessories. I tend to go through phases: earrings, necklaces, bracelets, hair clips… Right now I’m in a bracelet period. I have only one rule though: don’t over do it. When I wear a bulky bracelet I may just wear that, or earrings, or a necklace or a hair accessory, not both and definitely not all together. I do wear earrings on a daily basis, but those are just simple studs that go with everything.

10.) Texture

Mixing textures can do a lot for your look. A sturdy denim paired with a flowy chiffon blouse is nearly always a great combo. A thick woolen knit sweater looks great on a lightweight looking pant. Don’t mix flannel with flannel (it will look like PJs) nor mix a sheer chiffon blouse with a sheer chiffon skirt. Playing around with texture is fun and can make some surprisingly creative looks.

What are your golden rules to clothes’ buying?

3 responses to “Style tips when you’re short and stocky (like me)”

  1. En ergens, heel ver weg, diep verscholen in de krochten van mijn geheugen, leeft nog een 21-jarig buurmeisje op kistjes in een wat vale denim tuinbroek met rode stekeltjes… 😛

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