What works best: Body-conscious and tailored pieces—shaped jackets, hip-length tops, hemlines at or above the knee, and tapered pants—complement diminutive features.
What to keep in mind: It’s not just about hemming for shorter legs. Head to the petites department for scaled-down proportions elsewhere, including the shoulders, the sleeves, and the rise (to avoid the ugly low-hanging crotch).
What works best: Volume (full skirts), length (floor-sweeping flares), and prints (op-art geometrics), which would swallow up smaller frames, look dramatic and stylish on the long-limbed.
What to keep in mind: Statuesque women can also have long torsos, so opt for tall sizes not just for pants but also for swimsuits, dresses, and tops. Skip anything cropped, which can look shrunken on you.
What works best: Think forgivingly flowy, not oversize; lots of excess fabric makes you look bigger. Pair softer pieces with items that have built-in structure, like blazers or slightly bootcut pants, in areas where you need to be reined in.
What to keep in mind: There is a sizable difference between a 16 and a 16W. If you see that extra letter, you’ll get more generously cut armholes, a roomier bustline, and a larger waist-to-hip ratio.