by Suzie Bonaldi



The Petite Girls Guide to Shopping & Shooting Outfits


Fake it 'till you make it, right? I'm pretty sure that's how the saying goes? Except when you're five foot nothing and in your twenties you know the "making it" isn't really a reality anymore.

People are always surprised when they hear me say my height via twitter or YouTube - which is good, it shows the effort I've been putting in hasn't gone to waste. However, meeting me in real life has most people coo-ing over how miniature I am - the illusion is shattered every time. Dammit.

I often get questions on where I shop for clothes and how I make myself not look too tiny in photos, so today I thought I'd note down a few points that might help answer some of those questions.


Sometimes I do find it slightly bizarre that I'm asked where I shop due to my height - the majority of my wardrobe is made up of generic high street stores like Topshop, ASOS, Zara, Miss Selfridge, River Island etc, with more high end high street like Whistles and Cos running throughout (and then the occasional designer bag and shoes - you can be any hight for those!) 


The difference isn't always where you shop, it's how you shop. For example, I generally only buy pieces for the top half of my body from Zara - coats, t-shirts, jumpers etc. Never dresses or trousers as they're just too long! The same goes for Whistles and Cos - these shops seem to be made for 5'5" and above. (However, this being said if you do find something you love - see if you can wonder-web it - that stuff is what dreams are made of!) 

Topshop and Miss Selfridge are perfect for shopping for dresses, skirts, jeans - anything on the bottom half (this is why the majority of my clothes come from Topshop). Although Topshop has it's own petite range I rarely ever have to use it as I don't tend to like dresses that are super short now anyway, so the normal range is usually a very respectable length and their "ankle grazer" jeans are normal full length jeans on me.

However - if you're someone who needs to shop in the petite range more frequently, these are some of my favourites for petite ranges (and other pint sized friendly stores).

Topshop Petite Range
ASOS Petite Range
Miss Selfridge
Brandy Melville 
Forever 21


So I generally shop like anyone else would - just being a little more mindful about where I shop for certain pieces. But I ALWAYS make sure I try everything on first - in different sizes and height ranges. I probably spend longer shopping for one outfit than most, but it's all about trial and error - making sure the fit is the best it can be is so important - this ethos works across the board, whatever size you are!

It's also important to know what lengths suit your body shape in terms of hem lines - I've been picking out my own clothes for well over a decade now, and I've learnt the ideal length for different styles of coats - I generally know how something is going to fall and where to straight away by looking at something.  


Shopping is the makeup equivalent to foundation, you have to have the perfect fit to get things off to a good start, but it's what you do from there that really brings everything to life. Play around with different lengths - short jackets/longer hems, long jackets - shorter hems ect. I find doing this and getting it right can really exaggerate the length of parts of your body. 

Shoes also play a super important part in this. Black ankle boots that are tight around the ankle always help to elongate the leg when paired with black skinny jeans. I rarely ever wear chunky boots any more as it doesn't flatter my leg length. Same goes for heels that have a chunky ankle strap!

Although it can be frustrating to have a smaller frame, there will often be times when you can work the length difference to your advantage: crop tops become normal tops, pea coats become trench coats and some dresses become midi dresses!



Although I dress reasonably well for my height, it's all down to the camera when it comes to how tall I want you to think I am! For every shot that looks like it's taken straight ahead of me, my pal behind the lens is actually crouching on the ground and for every shot that looks like it was shot from below - they're basically lying on the floor - I'm sure Alix and Joe could write their own post on what it's like to be the photographer for a pint sized blogger. 

I also spend my life on tip toe-ing slightly on camera - there's also the good old "slide & twist" that old school photographers use. Lean back a little, twist your body to face the camera and slide one leg forward a little in front of the other. Sounds complicated - feels bizarre. I only pull that one out when on set, but the foot slide mixed with a slight tip toe works perfectly for adding inches to your legs in full body Instagram selfies - also makes for a great calf work out.




  1. Good tips!! I'm 160 cm so that isn't long too... Those stores are my favs too ;)

  2. Very nice look! Like the colors!

  3. your out fit is really lovely and also the colours as well!

  4. You look lovely :)

  5. Great tips, I am petite girl so these will be useful :)
    I love your bag (btw I am currently watching your Autumn Style Favourite video while reading this!) x

    Maë -

  6. I am also a "petite" girl, and I like shop in kid section from time to time. H&M kid section is really great, the clothes really don't look like children clothes, I also like to shop in New look kid section for shoes, they're perfect for small feet!
    Jennifer | Pretty as Summer

  7. I love your bag, especially the details! You look lovely. :)

     Miriam ♥ A whole lot of serendipity

  8. Great tips! I'm 5'2 and finding clothes on the high street that don't look as if they're drowning me is such a struggle - I do love Topshop's Petite range though! I'll be taking those photo tips on board from here out!

    Ciara x | Ciara Pocket

  9. This is such a great post! I am only 5ft3 and I get most my bottoms from Topshop too and don't use the petite collection as they fit me perfectly in the standard length

    Lauren x |

  10. LOVE this post! I'm 5'1" and when it comes to finding clothes that fit perfectly and are well-tailored, the struggle is real...! Totally agree with you about Zara, I've always wanted to try their jeans but they are just way too long. Topshop Petite and Brandy Melville are my best friends! x

    Brigitte |

  11. super:) xx

  12. You always look lovely! And that bag needs to be in my life!

  13. I sometimes wish I was smaller :( I am 5'10 and I struggle buying jeans long enough and skinny enough for my ankles :(

  14. I'm not as short as you, but I will definitely use some of these tips! Love your outfit too!

  15. Really helpful tips, thank you !
    I tend to opt toward Topshop and Miss Selfridge for any type of jeans / skirts / dresses too.

    Imaan |

  16. I really love your outfit here! I'm of average height so it was really interesting to read about a perspective I hadn't considered before!

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

  17. Great tips! And lovely photos! <3

  18. I loved this post! I'm 4'8 and finding clothes can be a real struggle- especially as we do not have the British stores close to me here in NZ, I often have to resort to Online shopping and so store suggestions are so helpful! Your outfit is gorgeous, loved this post!

  19. I've always wanted to branch out and take outfit photos, but my height only seems to be a hindrance! I'll certainly be using some of these tips from now on!
    Jodie, xo // Jodie Loue

  20. Thank you for this, I am also 5ft and I am always trying to find the best stores for me, I feel like I spend hours shopping just to come out with nothing at the end. I also am a huge fan of topshop's ankle grazer jeans haha they are wonderful! Thanks! :) xxx

  21. Thanks for your amazing tips. I am really tiny myself and I would definately look in to the lines that yoou recommended:))

  22. This was still great post even if I feel like I'm a giant. It really does take skill to get that right angle and you did a great job at it as I would have never guessed you were that height. Shopping for tall people seems just as hard too so there is no in between.

    Jackie | fashionxfairytale |

  23. You've also got a long neck which I'd fab for making you look taller naturally, esp on camera ;)

  24. Your outfits always look amazing and I love those jeans! Loved reading this post, I'm short too so this is so helpful :)

    Millie x | Millies Wardrobe

  25. Loved this post! As you know I'm teeny tiny too so always try to avoid looking like the size of a doll in pictures!

    Gemma xx

  26. Aww you're so cute! I'm a tall girl so this doesn't really apply to me but I LOVE that bag x

    Wonky Lauren

  27. These are some spot on tips! One thing I love and never forget to do, in terms of styling, is wearing things that make my legs look 10x longer! It really helps with the height illusion; so it's always high waisted everything and tucked in shirts. By the way, lovely bag! The feather accent definitely makes it a more interesting black bag.
    xx Melody ::

  28. your coat is to die for. i'm not the tallest girl either and my boyfriend had to lay down in the sand to film a lookbook for me...struggles of being a petit girl.

  29. Such a cutie! And I love that Topshop trench!!!

  30. Love the tips! I'm 5'5" and somehow when I shoot photos of myself I tend to look small so thanks for spreading some knowledge around!

  31. Such a useful tip, Suzie! :)

  32. I'm definitely not petite but I know Topshop stuff is excellent x

  33. This is so useful I'm 5'2 and I only buy my jeans through Topshop Petite, so I'm glad that you've suggested a few other stores for me to try out, thanks!! x

  34. Topshop is the best! And so is your style hehe :)
    Any new bloggers out there want to support each other?

  35. I love this post! I'm five feet tall even as well and I've been struggling to look professional and not like a kid in her mom's clothe! You're absolutely right though, figuring out what stores have clothes cut for your body is invaluable.

    Hustle & Whoa

  36. Your hair looks amazing in those pictures!
    By the way I really understand you as I am the smallest one always! hahhaa

    Laura xx

  37. I am 5'2" myself (as well as slightly curvy). That makes shopping difficult because petite ranges rarely carry curvier cuts. You know what I'm talking about if most of your pants have a gap in the back of the waist! I do quite a bit of shopping in LOFT, but it can become frustrating to have choices narrowed due to cut or length. I've been teaching myself to sew, and I started altering my garments. (I am NOT the crafty type... Where there's a will, there's a way!) I feel like I have a new wardrobe because slight alterations make my clothes fit comfortably and hug in all the right places. The result is a polished, flattering look. If anyone is contemplating learning to alter clothes, I highly recommend it. Jump right in! There are so many resources on the Internet that you don't need a teacher. Best!

  38. I am 5'2" myself (as well as slightly curvy). That makes shopping difficult because petite ranges rarely carry curvier cuts. You know what I'm talking about if most of your pants have a gap in the back of the waist! I do quite a bit of shopping in LOFT, but it can become frustrating to have choices narrowed due to cut or length. I've been teaching myself to sew, and I started altering my garments. (I am NOT the crafty type... Where there's a will, there's a way!) I feel like I have a new wardrobe because slight alterations make my clothes fit comfortably and hug in all the right places. The result is a polished, flattering look. If anyone is contemplating learning to alter clothes, I highly recommend it. Jump right in! There are so many resources on the Internet that you don't need a teacher. Best!

  39. Thank you for sharing your tips! I'm 5'1 and look like a munchkin next to my friends, especially as I simply cannot handle heels unless its to a sit down meal! I tend to stay away from the petite range as so many tops are cropped nowadays so I stick to the regular sizing so some cropped tops appear normal length on me.
    Danielle x

  40. These tips are really important for all of us and mostly now these days for online shopping and selecting outfit attire and know to which is better and how we make good one and guide well for shopping.
    love from women shopping

  41. The tips are great for any kind of person or height! Love the whole outfit!

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  44. I LOVED this post! I'm only 4'11 haha. But I find myself using some of your tips myself, such as always buying my top half items from regular sections and then going for more petite ranges for my bottom half. Topshop is great for petite girls, with or without the petite collection! I'm going to use more of these tips when I'm shooting outfit posts and shopping around. Thanks for sharing!xx

    Lauren |

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