Style is an Art, not a Science: the importance of proportion.
Style Fundamental #3: Keep things in proportion.
This is especially important if you’re petite. When shopping for clothes (or re-mixing clothes you already own), the goal should always be to lengthen the lines of your body while emphasizing the smallest part of you (usually the natural waist or right below the ribcage), even if that means forgoing a trend or a style that you think is fun (i.e. shorter women tend to drown in midi dresses and skirts, whereas what might be considered a miniskirt on a tall girl would be the perfect length for a petite mademoiselle).
If you’re petite, I think you can get away with a skirt that hits slightly above-the-knees (I know that there are those who will disagree with me on this) . Knee-length is universally flattering. Midi skirts should be reserved for tall women or anyone who is willing to wear high heels. Otherwise you’ll look matronly or like you are drowning in fabric (or both).
Some general guidelines about proportion:
*Square and widely-rounded toes make your legs look shorter. Who wants that?
*When in doubt, go with a darker color on the bottom; jeans should almost always be dark-wash (and NO feathering in the thigh area/no big decals on the pockets)
*Big all-over prints (usually) overwhelm little people, while small prints tend to get lost on taller or curvier women.
*If you wear a loose, flowy shirt, pair it with something a bit more fitted, like tailored jeans or a pencil skirt. If you wear a flowy or full skirt or wide-leg pants, wear a more fitted top, and maybe even tuck it in. It’s never a good idea to do loose and flowy from head to toe (unless you’re going to a costume party), and if you wear something fitted from head to toe, make sure it’s not too fitted.
You can almost never go wrong with any of the following:
*Necklines: V-neck, sweetheart
*Skirt length: Hits at the top of the knee
*Skirt style: A-line
*Dress: Wrap or A-line
*Pants: Straight-leg, dark color (this includes jeans)
*Shoes: A happy medium between rounded-toe and pointy-toe pumps/flats.
Style “rule” that was made to be broken #3: No bare legs in winter.
I’m a HUGE fan of tights and wear them to death in the winter (especially now that I live in DC) but sometimes the dress you want to wear to a winter wedding or event doesn’t really work with tights. What’s a girl to do? Well, you could wear nude panty hose*, but I think they make me look about 20 years older as soon as I put them on. This is a personal choice every woman has got to make for herself. The point is that you don’t have to wear anything on your legs if you don’t want to. Assuming your dress is of modest length and is seasonally appropriate (and that you won’t be walking ten blocks in the freezing cold), there’s nothing wrong with going bare-legged in the winter.
*Note: if you do choose to wear nude panty hose, please please please for the love of your toes, don’t wear them with open toed shoes or sandals. Your toes end up looking imprisoned. I think we can all agree that this is a serious miscarriage of style justice.
Yikes. It is currently trendy to wear tights, especially colored tights, with open-toed shoes. So, feel free to have fun with that one if you are so inclined. It’s a much more youthful look than the above. Observe:
Ok, readers, it’s your turn: what are your thoughts on proportion? Bare legs in winter? I’m all ears!