Fashion and clothes have always been a challenge for me. I attended Catholic school from 6th grade to 12th grade. Getting dressed involved picking my skirt up off the floor, selecting a clean shirt, and trying to find a pair of knee socks or tights without holes in them. I had two or three pairs of shoes that I rotated. There wasn’t much to it, and I loved it.
In college, I tried to try, but looking back, I was probably a sartorial disaster. I am 5’1″, and back then we didn’t really have internet shopping. I ordered J. Crew out of a catalog, but there weren’t many or any mainstream brands offering petite fashion in an accessible way outside of the big cities. I wore a lot of clothes that were out of proportion or just too big.
Things have gotten better since then but I still find fashion challenging. The magazines and brands all showcase women who are 5’9″ or taller with skinny thighs. That is definitely not me. When I look at how they’ve styled outfits, I can immediately see they won’t work for me. Here in Des Moines, we now have one source for petite clothes outside of department stores – The Loft – and their selection leaves a lot to be desired when compared to what’s available on their website.
For the last several years, petite fashion bloggers have been a lifesaver for me. I choose to follow bloggers who shop at mainstream accessible stores like J. Crew, Loft, Anthropologie, Ann Taylor and Madewell. Their outfit posts have made it so much easier for me evaluate clothing proportions and understand how to purchase and alter clothes so that they are more flattering. These ladies are so creative and incredibly inspiring, and I am very indebted to them for making fashion fun – like it’s supposed to be.
1 – Extra Petite
Jean is likely well-known to anyone who follows petite fashion. She was the first petite fashion blogger that I began following, and I really appreciate her thoughtful reviews and advice. I also like how she mixes high and low pieces and invests in quality when it counts, which is something I aspire to do, but also shops the sales at Loft and H&M.
Of the five bloggers I’ve featured here, I would say that Jill is closest to my body type and overall style. Since she lives in Michigan, her seasons and climate are the most relevant to what we experience here in Iowa. I’ve followed her lead in focusing on adding neutrals that mix and match to my closet, which really makes getting dressed so much easier.
3 – Crystalin Marie
Crystalin Marie is a relatively new-to-me fashion blogger. She just relocated to Portland (jealous), and I really like her preppy meets edgy style. In the third photo, you’ll see her wearing flare jeans, which was a trend I really couldn’t envision myself trying, but now I’m inspired to give them another go. Good thing I held on to one of my favorite pairs from the last time they were in style.
4 – Hello Framboise
Tam is an attorney who often appears in court. I look to her for inspiration on business/work wear. I enjoy her style because she often pairs neutrals with brights and excels at pattern mixing.
Kelly’s style leans to the masculine/tomboy side, which I can appreciate but usually don’t incorporate into my own closet. Her blog contains a wealth of knowledge on both styling and altering garments to suit a more petite frame.
Where do you look for fashion inspiration? Do you have any favorite fashion bloggers to recommend?