Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fashion and clothing advice for petite and curvy women

Ok, I'm about 5'9" or 5'10". So I have to admit, I can't speak from personal experience on this one. But my mother is 5'3" and I have had multiple petite but curvy or busty friends, and there are a few unique challenges involved.

For some annoying reason, people act like "petite" means everything about you is small. Well, of course that's ridiculous- petite just refers to a woman who is 5'4" or under. Now, generally, if you are petite, you are going to be "scaled down" from a taller version of your body type and frame size, and that's why petite clothing tends to be narrower as well as shorter- the idea is to account for your smaller frame size.

Unfortunately, though, "petite" bras tend to come in band sizes 28-34 or so and cup sizes AA, A, B, and maybe C. If you are a curvy petite, you have to buy "plus size" bras- how ironic is that?

But even if you have a larger cup size, petite women have different bra needs:
    • If possible, it's even more important for a petite woman to wear a bra that fits. It's easier to obscure your waist when you're petite. Learn how to measure yourself here.
    • Look for a bra that has shorter underwires. If the underwires are too long, they will poke uncomfortably into your armpit, even in your correct bra size. A good style to look for is "balcony" or "balconette" bras, which have lower cups and shorter underwires.
    • You may find that the bra straps are too long for you, due to your shorter torso. Of course, they shouldn't be tight, but if they are too long they will be falling off your shoulders. You may be able to find a bra that has shorter straps, but it can be hard to tell when you are buying online unless somebody mentions it in the reviews. It's also a fairly easy alteration to shorten the straps from what I have heard.

As for clothing, I would generally follow the advice for your body shape, not your height. There are a few exceptions or special things to take note of, though:
    • It's the Law of Flattering Clothing for Curvy And Hourglass Ladies, but it's is even more important here: Thou Shalt Define Your Waist. Seriously, buy the liftiest bra you possibly can and always, always make sure that your clothing fits at the waist.
    • I love wide waist belts to define my waist, but you may find that they overwhelm a petite figure. Go with what you think looks good, though. Smaller waist belts are probably good, though.
    • My mother likes drop waist style dresses, because they create the look of a longer waistline.
    • This only truly occurred to me recently- unfortunately, if you are petite, it's a whole lot easier for people to look right down your shirt. Even accidentally. You are probably going to want to show less cleavage than a taller curvy girl could get away with.
    • Unfortunately, there are no clothing companies that I know of that cater to petite and curvy women. My advice is to buy clothing designed with extra room at the bust, and then have it taken in if necessary- shortening sleeves and hemlines is generally going to be an easier task for a tailor than essentially remaking the entire garment to fit your chest.
    • You may find, like my mother does, that regular petite shirts fit at the shoulders better, but are actually too short! That's because a large chest takes up a good bit of fabric- another reason to buy clothing that fits your chest, and have the rest taken in.
    • You might have good luck with Trashy Diva clothes- I have heard that they work well for a variety of heights, and they have some styles that have slightly higher necklines, while still being flattering. Oh, and they go down to a size 2 which is good for about a 22-24 inch waist.

If there's anything I've missed, please do let me know- I will edit this post and add any suggestions that I get!

49 comments:

  1. I have to constantly remind my husband that petite doesn't mean 'skinny'. I'm short (5'2"), busty, and not skinny. Many petite clothing manufacturers also think that short means skinny. At a large retail chain of plus size clothing, I was told that it didn't matter that shirts and skirts weren't in their petite line because I could just buy short sleeves or hem the skirt. But the distance between waist and hips, and waist and bust is the big defining feature of being petite (along with shoulder width). I can buy low-waisted, regular size jeans, and have them come up to my waist, and the leg almost fits. I have also bought petite jeans that were too long. It's a tough, tough world when you're short and not skinny :(

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  2. Hello!

    I am a petite slim and curvy girl and I am so glad that you have set up this blog! It is so wonderful to know that I am not the only person out there that knows that thin and curvy is not an oxymoron. :)

    One thing that I have discovered on my journey to a more flattering wardrobe is that even though everyone says to wear pants and skirts that hit at the natural waist, it does not work for me because of my rather short waist. If they are not the same or a similar color to my shirt/blouse (even that's not certain), it will make me look disproportionately leggy. Don't get me wrong, long legs are beautiful, but my short and petite torso doesn't look right if my waistband is that high.

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  3. TracyKM- I know, it really sucks when you don't fit into the fashion industry's narrow ideas of what shapes women are! And on top of it, "specialty" sizes or companies tend to only address one fit problem. Alterations can help but when you have too many fit problems, you really need things designed for you. I hope that over time, my blog can help you find things that might fit better! Have you checked out Etsy? there are some sellers on there that will make custom clothing for you, and it's often pretty reasonable priced.

    Mandy-- Thank you! I'm glad you like my blog. What you said about the high-waisted things is similar to what my mom told me about drop-waist dresses being flattering, so that makes perfect sense!
    I think the advice to wear natural-waisted things probably assumes you are an average to tall hourglass- a lot of those advice things consider petite and curvy to be separate issues so they don't really address the needs of both.

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  4. Hi! I just found your blog and am really glad! This post particularly speaks to me as a short hourglass. While petite clothes will fit my narrow shoulders, ribcage, and waist, they never come close to fitting in the chest. Unlike Mandy, though, I'm more long-waisted, so petite pants never have a long enough rise (and on the other end, I've had issues with the waistband of at-the-waist dresses squeezing around my lowest ribs). I can get away with a high-waisted silouhette because of my long torso, but I definitely found a sweet spot for pants waistbands right below my natural waist... I'm hoping to be able to diversify from stretchy knits tops and button-downs reinforced with hidden hook-and-eyes, so I appreciate the reviews and advice and look forward to what you have in store!

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  5. Hi, great blog! I am in love!

    I am 5"3' and 120 pounds with a d-cup, curvy hips, a wide, short waist, broad shoulders and a lil bit of a muffin top... I have gotten down to 110 pounds and still look bulky in some clothes!

    Your bit about Vickie Secret inspired me, and I made an bra fitting STAT.

    This blog is a godsend... keep writing and I will keep you bookmarked!

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  6. hey i am a lil petite,a 32c wid a 24 waist and a 32 hip...am i curvy or thin?????? i weigh about 50 kgs and am about 5'4".........

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  7. Hi Shahana,

    It sounds like you are both curvy and thin! The point of this site is that those things aren't opposites, you can certainly be both.

    Most women won't have a 24" waist and then a 32" ribcage, though, so I would advise you to take a look at my bra measurement guide to make sure you are wearing the right bra size: http://www.thinandcurvy.com/2010/10/how-to-measure-your-bra-size-correct.html

    That way, your breasts will be lifted and supported and you will be able to show your tiny waist much better. :-)

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  8. Hi!! Im 14 and i'm already getting into my shape. I am an obvious hourglass figure and i am short, I am a D cup bra and i weigh about 8 stone.
    i am finding it hard to find a style that suits my shape wich doesnt make my thighs look huge (i have chunky things and calves) I have a small waist of "28 and i have a short torso.
    I do love wearing chino trousers but i would really love to find a pair of jeans that are modern and on trend. This is really important for me because i see myself as a bit of a fashionista with a unique quirk!
    please can anyone give me some ideas? I would be over the moon!
    i love your blog and i salut you!
    Thankyou :)))) x

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  9. Anonymous,
    I have 28" waist, 39" hip and am 5'2". I try on all the jeans styles in the regular range normally with the 30" or 32" leg (even though my own inner leg is 28").
    Once I have found a pair to fit my waist and hips/upper thighs, i buy it and then turn up the bottom hem. This doesn't take very long and it means that I can choose the jeans which fit properly.
    Bootcut jeans tend to look best on me beacuse the flare balances out my hips and they make my legs look longer, especially with heels on.
    Jeans which sit just under my belly button are the most comfortable and hide my muffin top too.
    I hope this helps you find a pair of jeans that suit you.

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  10. Anonymous,
    If you have 40 pounds ( 70 dollars) to spend Gap Curvy Jeans are the curviest jeans I could find at a store where I could actually try them on, but the curviest ones I could find anywhere to fit my 28" waist, 44" hips are at pzijeans.com based in Atlanta, Georgia. I got the size 8 which fits in the hips and thighs and is only 2" too big in the waist, a small enough difference that a belt will close the gap.

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  11. Would love to see any links for petite clothing that works for us busty petite folks. Any great online shops?

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  12. Nice to know i'm not the only one suffering! I'm 5'2" weigh about 110 pounds and have a hourglass figure, and it is truly impossible for me to find clothes that flatter me :( Am thinking of learning how to make my own clothes - would be more productive than fruitless searching for something I can never find :p

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    Replies
    1. Ha! Tell it, girl! I'm 5'2" & 98 lbs & 32-23-35, so yeah, no doubt! I try to alter my jeans to fit my waist, but usually destroy them in the process. Good thing I exclusively shop at Goodwill! :)

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  13. Since starting my blog I have received e-mails from people telling me they are happy to see such a curvy petite--(and aside from being happy to be seen as "curvy") I am surprised at how many petite bloggers are so tiny.

    I think curvy petites should start a group--or is there one I should know of?

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  14. UGH! I'm so frustrated at trying to get petite curvy clothes. When they actually fit the waist, they squash my chest or poof out at the bottom because of my curves. I wonder if biubiu will make clothes that fit petites. I can't wear regular clothes becasue the armholes just dont fit.

    <3 this blog though :)

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  15. Hiya! It was great reading this blog! I'm 5'3" and I've had so much trouble finding clothes that fit me- both tops and bottoms but mostly bottom. I weigh about 140 and I'm pretty fit. I wear a 36C (I think I'm starting to verge on a D... I'm not excited..), and I have a waist of 28". And I wear my pants in the 'hip hugger' area haha which is about 34". My inseam is only 25 1/2" to 26"... this makes it really hard for me to find pants that will cover my rear which is- for lack of a better description- a "J'Lo booty" as my mother put it haha I would love some tips on finding some jeans that fit right. Thanks!

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  16. I'm petite, skinny, but have a very large bust. It's so frustrating...but for advice, I say flowy tops. Shirts that scoop at your bustline also make your boobs look smaller than a high-collared shirt, which is interesting but true.

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  17. Hi! i just came accross this post as i was searching the net for clothing brands for bigger busted women, i have found a brilliant company in the UK, Pepperberry. they make clothes specially designed for women with bigger busts. thought id let you know about it, i tried a couple of dresses and they fit me perfect, not easy to find!!
    Claire

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  18. hi i am 5'0 ft and i wear a size 12 had a baby 2 yrs ago now i feel awkward about clothing styles ive never been this big and dont know what clothes look best on me i want to wear dresses but until i lose my stomache i guess ill stick with skirts

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  19. Is there anyone else out there that is over 50 and petite?
    Why is it always assumed that women over 50 must be size 14+
    Surely there must be more like me? Not every women gets larger as she gets older!

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  20. hey ladies, hope you can offer me some advise. im very short, 4ft10, african so curvy, but not heavy, 39kgs. however i have fat and muscly arms and i cant find anything other than blouses to wear. please help either with exercise or clothing tips. thanks

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  21. Hey ladies, having a hard time finding a prom dress that will fit correctly. I'm 16, 5'2, with a d-cup, a 25" waist and 34" hips. I have a beautiful hourglass figure but finding this dress is extremely frustrating.

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  22. I am 4'10 inches, with a 34c/d bust, a 24 inch waist and 32 inch hips. Due to my VERY short torso, and short legs, I can't find clothes that look good on me anymore. I miss the days when I was a B cup, and get into an XS. Now I can only sometimes make a medium sized shirt fit. I'ts really frustrating to go shopping only to have to spend MORE money to get an item altered to fit. Where are the companies for tiny women like us? I'm tired of being overlooked.

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  23. Would love to see any links for petite clothing that works for us busty petite folks.

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  24. Hi and thanks for this helpful blog. I'm 5 4' and 36' hips 36D bust recently adding weight around the middle it's about 31'. I don't fit into my jeans as I have this weight in middle section that pours over the waist band. I have a very masculine shape. I feel drab and I hate dressing to go out.. help.. Wan

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  25. I am 5 foot a size 16 with a DD cup and large hips. Definitely, a hour glass shape. I have found Levi's new curvy jeans fit pretty well although I do still have to have them hemmed. The Buckle has some nice jeans for the curvy figure and they do free alterations but a hefty price tag. I now have to dress in biz cas. for a new job and have no idea how to get cloths that don't look funny on me.

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  26. I am 5'2.5", 145ibs, with a 34DD cup size, (true cup size). I'm definitely an hourglass shape and I just can't find a look that I think flatters my body. Any suggestions?

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  27. I am glad I am not alone! At 5' 1" 120lbs with a 28FF bra size and 25" waist I have NEVER been able to buy a top that wasn't stretchy. I am small, and thin, but all clothing makes me look dumpy and squat. I am lucky that petite juniors jeans seem to fit me near perfectly, as I have small hips, and relatively long legs, but my chest and shoulders are huge in proportion to the rest of me. You are right about wide belts being too big. A wide belt takes up my entire torso, and I only have about 3" between my boobs and bellybutton to begin with, even in a well fitting, supportive bra. Truely, the only success I have had is in wearing an underbust corset. I can lace it up and make my waist tiny, and my boobs don't get squashed. I wish I had more options, or could even find a nice white blouse to wear under a corset. I end up wearing a lot of stretchy sweaters and small tank tops, and although I am going to try and order a few things from biubiu, I don't have much hope for things changing in the near future.

    I just bought my wedding dress, which is the first real thing I have had tailored to fit, and boy has that been a nightmare! It will look great on my wedding day this summer, but I had to order 2 sizes up on a corseted style to accomodate my bust, then have the back panel extended. Now I have to take in the whole waist a couple of inches on each side, which requires taking apart all of the beading and redoing it all. Luckily the petite size is at least the right length. This will be the only garment I ever buy that I am willing to pay $200+ to have tailored, so I will try to enjoy the fit while I have it.

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  28. I know, we need petite and curvy clothes badly. I wear juniors and it's prefect though :) Bras are my problem, the cup fits but the wires are under my armpit!

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  29. I need help badly im 17 , 5'0 , a 34 d , and 125 lbs . i really don't know what will look good on my body but i love to dress vintage . i need advice asap on what would look good with my body type . im tired on second guessing myself on what to buy when i go shopping . help please . haha (:

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  30. I need help badly im 17 , 5'0 , a 34 d , and 125 lbs . i really don't know what will look good on my body but i love to dress vintage . i need advice asap on what would look good with my body type . im tired on second guessing myself on what to buy when i go shopping . help please . haha (:

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  31. I'm glad i'm not the only curvy petite here. I've always felt like i was the only one out of everyone i knew. I'm just barely 5'3 with a very large bust (i'm not exactly sure what size, i have to go get myself measured because i'm so busty) and i have slightly curvy hips. It's hard for me to find clothes that flatter me because flowy tops or tops that come out after the chest, it makes me look bigger around the waist which sucks. Although i'm well proportioned, people often think my chest is unreal because of how small i am(i do not mean that i am sticks and bones and skinny as a twig. i have more of a skinny but athletic looking body) But this article did help and it was nice to know i'm not alone.

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  32. I bought some fantastic jeans from an American company NYDJ (not your daughter's jeans)! They now shorten it, because they have a more fashionable image. I bought some dark wash boot cuts, and they curve right around my hips and bum with no waist gap. They also hide my tummy.
    Really no one does great clothes for curvy women, even bigger sizes tend to be terrible shapes. I find wrap dresses are one of the few things that work well for me.

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  33. I'm 5'1" and wear a 36ish(?)DD, 2P-4P in pants. My boobs sag down close to my belly button, and even the best of bras doesn't do much to "uncover" or "define" my so-called waist! I would LOVE to see some links to blogs or retailers that address this!

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  34. I am 5' 2" and weigh 114 lbs. I have a 27.5 inch under bust measurement and 35 inch across breast measurement and according to the charts, I should be wearing a 28 F or 30E bra. I ordered two bras from Bare Necessities and they were fine in the band but way too small in the cup. Does anyone know of a lingerie shop in Georgia or north Florida where I can try on bras? Sooo tired of wearing the wrong size! Thanks!

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  35. So here I am--65 years old searching for a coat, a vest, pullover sweaters,shirts,jeans, dress pants, dresses anything to wear!! I get totally worn out looking for and trying on clothes. I have big boobs, I have a big belly and that is all that is big on me, nothing else. I have a wardrobe that sucks! Large is too big for my frame, too small for my boobs and belly and a tailor to tailor for me is out of the budget--not an option. What company addresses this--I can't go around with squished boobs and a belly that is killed from tight waist and the alternate is every other area too big! JEEZ, PLEASE SOME CLOTHING COMPANY ADDRESS THIS PROBLEM

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  36. Agreed!
    I am a petite(5ft4in)plus size(16 on bottom,XL and 38 DDD bra)hourglass.
    It is so hard to find clothes that actually fit like they should.
    It seems nowadays all clothes are meant to make other body types into hourglass shapes so the fashion industry has almost forgotten that us hourglass women still exist!!!
    so on top of hard to find sizes I have to weed out all the 'body type correcting' items that make my butt or breasts 'pop' so I can have the coveted hourglass i already have.
    I have found that NY and Company and Chicos(tho on the expensive side) make clothes that fit me well and are properly fitted.
    To keep within the budget I go try on pieces at their stores and then note the size and go hunt for preowned on ebay.

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  37. For those of us with big bootys...I really like the brand apple bottoms. I have worn several of their jeans fits small waist and ample room for the more curvaceous thigh!

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  38. Hello!
    My name is Lorena and I am so glad I found your blog, it has been so incredibly helpful :)
    Finally someone understands my clothing problems- all my girlfriends are tall, thin and not really curvy so shopping with them can really put me down in the dumps because I can't find anything :/
    I'm 4'10" and weigh around 110-114 pounds and 18 years old (thank GOD I am out of high school- all the teasing). My measurements don't really sound that curvy tho; bust:34, waist:24, hips 34, but I do have a little something in the bust area (28E/28DD) which can really give me some major gabs with some button up shirts.
    This blog has really gave me some self-confidence and that I should love my curves! Thank you so much! Just because I'm not 5'9", 135 pounds and have a straight down frame doesn't make me ugly or have an awkward frame either. We are all beautiful :)

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  39. It's important to note that tall women might also need "petite" bra sizing for various reasons. I'm 5'10" and my bra size is a 36F. However, my breasts are set very high on my frame, and I can only wear balconette styles in consequence. I was told to look for bras designed for more petite (height-wise) frames. Very odd since I am so tall.

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  40. I'm 32" bust, 24" waist and 32" hips....but here's the other problem...I'm almost 50! Where does one my size and my age shop??? It's frustrating, because I don't want to look like a junior and I don't want to look like a little old lady either! Stores, please...please link us to the STORES!!!

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  41. I am 5'2", and I am a 32DDDD (32G), i have a very small waist 22",I am in highschool, and I have a terrible time finding dresses and dress clothes that don't make me look like a slut, for lack of better terms. A lot of girls make rude comments to/about my bust, and it is quite hurtful, all the shirts I buy just don't look right and I get made fun of for it and called a fake, I wish my chest wasn't this large,and its such a pain to find clothes. Any suggestions for clothing, and ways to be more comfortable in my body?

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    Replies
    1. To be more comfortable in your body - those girls are probably rude to you because they're jealous that you have curves. Don't get too concerned about what they think. All that really matters is that you like how you look. And you should. We are all who we are for a reason.
      For the clothes - I would probably suggest learning to take in clothes. That way, you can buy to fit your bust and just take in the rest. Also, you could maybe try a belt? I'm not really sure if that will work, though.

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  42. Hello All! I am will you ladies in this. I'm so sorry you have to go though the silent pain of standing in your closet and wondering how to balance your top with your bottom and wishing you could just put a t-shirt on.... but you cant. And no one in your house understands. It makes you want to cry before a night out to dinner or the movies - God forbid the beach or the pool! And even when you think you look great - sometimes you catch a glimps of yourself in a window while out and think - holy crap - this top makes me look like I'm pregnant! I am 5' tall and weigh 109. I'm petite and thin with 32G. But I cant ever find 32G bras that don't cut under my arm pits! they are all made for larger women, not petites... same with the racerback bras... the X is so high on my back it's at my neck! Anyone else have this problem? So this leaves out a lot of tank tops for me. I also have to buy shirts in a large size to accommodate my bust... which makes me look dumpy. I relate to so many of your posts on here. I too have tried to sew up my bras to make them fit properly. I too shop at Goodwill so I can "re-size" - and the reason why I shop re-sale is because it has already been washed - no shrinking - this is crucial for big busted girls like us. I too was embarrassed in highschool. I too am frustrated. I too don't want to be stuck in this sterotype of big boobs tight clothes.... and other women DO resent the way I look unless I dress like a grandma. I too am tired. There must be a designer out there brave enough to take this on.

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  43. In the fashion world, a woman is considered petite if she is under 5 feet 4 inches tall, regardless of her weight. If you're a petite woman, you'll have to be more conscious of the most flattering clothing styles for your height.
    http://www.apparelnbags.com/store/golf-apparel.htm

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  44. Fabric with a bit of stretch in it is best for a short woman with a large bust. This solves the problem of 'the chest taking up a lot of fabric,' maintains the correct proportions, and ensures your waist is accented. If you are not confident in your midsection, then choose items that have some stretch (5% elastine for instance) but not too much - it will cling to you boobs and just under your boobs (the smallest part of your body) and hopefully skim over your midsection.

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  45. 5'2 pride! I'm a 34H/36GG cup and have a waist of 28 with hips of 42....finding anything that fits me is such a nightmare! I can't count the amount of times someone has gasped and exclaimed woah! I thought you were fat! When they see me at pool side or someone has come up to me and stared at my boobs asking if they were real (At work even!)If anyone knows any stores let us know please!

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  46. I love this blog! I too have always had friends that are over 5'7" (some even pushing and even over the 6' range), so shopping has been a painful experience for years. I am 4'8"...not sure on my exact measurements, but I am a 4P, with a 34DD bra.

    While any kind of shopping is miserable, I am most frustrated with finding clothes for the office and shoes (5 and 5.5).

    I do The Limited, Ann Taylor, Express, to name a few since they tend to have clothes for petites and even some curvy clothing. The problem is that even in those stores, the selection is very limited, especially if you are also curvy. All I have are pants and skirts in black or tan, no fun prints and no fun materials.

    Any other suggestions? Any good online stores with a better variety?

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    Replies
    1. Loft has some pretty options for petite/curvy ladies! http://www.loft.com/petite-skirts/cat1340040?supCat=catl00005

      As far as shoes go, I highly recommend checking out Nordstrom. They're awesome at carrying extended sizes (both small and large, narrow and wide). Good luck!

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