Have you noticed how tall slim girls look great in anything short, tight and sassy? However uncomplicated the cuts of their dresses are, somehow, magically, their extra long legs seem to make up for the simplicity of their dress. Take that same dress and put it on a pear-shaped petite woman and she will look chubby because the lack of leg miles will make her look like she just tried too hard .
I am definitely one of those pears: big hips, short legs but thankfully there is a slightly narrower waist to make up for what nature hasn’t blessed me with. Growing up, my mother would screech at the sight of me going out to a party in a very short skirt or a figure skimming dress saying it made me look “provocative” which in other words meant vulgar in her vocabulary.
So after a few years of experimenting with various styles , getting it horribly wrong with all those short and tight dresses, I have finally found some middle ground between looking a bit more individual and sexy at the same time. The main inspiration to my looks comes from none other than revered French luxury label Lanvin, if I could accept the idea of blowing half of my paychecks on a single dress, I would have by now been their number 1 customer. Sadly enough (or luckily enough one might argue), I prefer to take that same amount of money to spend it on many outfits, only to keep up with my fashion bulimia.
So how do I create a Lanvin-inspired look then? Start with a chiffon or parachute silk dress, the lightest fabrics possible, with a bit of a drape or an interesting off the shoulder or asymmetric cut, preferably in a jewel tone or even black.
Shown here is a mustard yellow DVF dress bought 2 years ago from Matches, with a front knot and a cowl-neck: it was originally meant to be my proper and ladylike dress to wear to my husband’s work events, as I didn’t want to look inappropriate in front of all these banking bigwigs, but I very quickly realized that it just wasn’t me and that I looked like I had no waist. I decided to give the dress a bit more of an edge by wearing one of the straps off the shoulder.
The second main ingredient is a very high quality thick grosgrain ribbon, about 1 inch wide and either a black or taupe colour or if you’re brave enough a striking fuschia depending on the colour of your dress. This ribbon is to be tied around the waist to cinch in any extra fabric and to create an interesting drape, giving your petite frame a much more flattering figure.
The third main ingredient is an interesting and chunky necklace to lift the dress, shown here is a black crystal necklace by KennethJay Lane and a Marni necklace, these 2 necklaces are versatile enough to go with anything in my wardrobe. I chose the grayish black crystal one to offset the warmth of the yellow dress, basically I just discovered by accident that Grey and yellow go incredibly well together…
You can also add a chunky cuff or replace the necklace with heavy chandelier earrings. Last but not least, always choose an incredible pair of statement heels, even if you decide to cut expenses and buy a cheaper dress, the shoes have to carry everything off almost like the pedestal of a statue. Shown here is a pair of grey mirror strappy Jimmy Choo sandals. The black Maje asymmetric chiffon dress shown on top is worn with a pair of nude lizard Sergio Rossi ankle strap sandals, for extra leg-lengthening effect.
One tip I can give you is to look into your closet and salvage any older or unworn dresses and inject them with the right accessories and you’ll end up with a brand new fresher look!
All Photos by Style Under Fire