5 Tips on How to Wear a Long Dress – [Especially if You Are Petite]

How many times have you avoided a trend because you felt that you didn’t have the “right” body to wear it? Long dresses, booties, and kimonos challenged me in the past. However, I confidently wear all of these pieces today because I figured out how to create outfits with them. Do you know how to wear a long dress, especially if you’re petite? I decided to write about this topic after several friends told me they can’t wear long dresses.  

Last month I purchased a black floor length column dress. I’ve received many compliments while wearing it. Truth be told, anyone can wear a long dress with proper styling and accessories. Here are five tips to create a winning long dress look! 

1. Shoes Make or Break the Outfit

Isn’t this really true of all outfits? With a long dress, you have an opportunity to create the illusion of being much taller by wearing shoes with a platform (that no one sees). This is one of my signature moves. At 5’4, I appreciate the chance to elongate my frame. I’ll never be a super model but I can look taller with the right footwear.  You can even avoid shortening dresses by finding heels that provide proper vertical lift.

I invest in heels that not only provide me with a significant height advantage, but are also comfortable. Many YSL, Badgley Mischka, Michael Kors, Kelsi Dagger, and Pour la Victoire heels feature a platform heel. Bonus: Platforms prevent the foot pain and exhaustion that results from wearing shoes that don’t support the sole of your foot.

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2. Accessorize Appropriately

Long dresses look different visually than knee length or midi dresses. Minimize jewelry and place it strategically. To continue with the theme of elongating the body, wear chandelier or hoop earrings. This draws the eye up to the face and keeps the look clean. Wear long necklaces, thirty or more inches, to lengthen your silhouette. When I wear bracelets, they’re dainty; not large and chunky like bangles or cuffs.

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3. Jackets and Cardigans

Avoid accenting the biggest part of your body. Create an hour glass shape with a fitted jacket or cardigan that hits the hip. For curvier and shorter ladies like myself, avoid large jackets and bulky sweaters that comes to the hip. They draw visual attention and add volume in the wrong place. A tailored slim fitting dark monochrome colored jacket slenderizes.

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4. Monochrome Versus Patterns

Monochrome dresses and patterns with small print are a girl’s best friend. Horizontal stripes, large floral and graphic patterns, as well as bulky fabrics overwhelm most women, especially petite women. Many patterns also tend to look bad in pictures.

My black column dress works well because it has ruffles at the shoulder which makes my torso look smaller by comparison. The dark color and thin material also make this dress work. If the dress was white, peach, silver, or another light color, I wouldn’t have even tried it on. Use color, patterns, and textures to your advantage!

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5. Plan the Outfit Ahead of Time

Try on outfits in advance to give yourself plenty of time to find the optimal shoes and accessories.  Dressing under duress leads to anxiety and frustration. As women, we strive hard to look perfect and feel empowered when we walk out the door. If we don’t achieve this feeling, we wear it on our faces. Stress doesn’t match any of my outfits. How about you?

Good luck making a beautiful outfit with your long dress! Tag me in your Instagram photos @ lyndellwerling.