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.

Baubles and Bags Create Courage and Confidence

How Shopping at the CRC makes an Impact

One of the most famous movie lines in modern history came from an adorable creature named Yoda in Star Wars. Yoda’s role as a legendary teacher consisted of training each of the main characters in the Star Wars series how to be a warrior; a force for good. Yoda instructed Luke Skywalker, the movie’s hero, to take action. In his profound proclamation he instructed the young prodigy “Do. Or do not do. There is no try.”

What on earth could this analogy possibly have to do with the CRC’s mission? Here’s how I see the correlation.

Yoda possessed unparalleled light, or good energy. He lived in a cave to conceal it. Although none of us are in such a predicament, we do live in an undisputed paradise with near perfect weather, natural beauty, wealth; a place where dreams come true. Unfortunately, many in our community aren’t included in this bounty.

There are too many individuals amongst us who literally struggle to put food on their tables, overcome the fear and challenges that accompany domestic violence, or desperately need a real life Yoda to coach them to gainful employment. We may not all be Yodas, but we certainly can do things to support those who are.

Baubles and Bags Create Courage and Confidence

Here’s the correlation between Yoda’s plea to take action and the CRC Resale stores. Baubles, bags and other items sold at the CRC Resale stores, create courage and confidence that are delivered through the CRC’s programs. These programs not only fight hunger, stop domestic violence and empower self-sufficiency in our local community, these programs arm individuals with the courage to leave abusive relationships and the confidence to secure positive employment and make life changes for a brighter future.

The CRC stores receive all kinds of fabulous donations including luxury leather goods, handbags and clothing.  I can make the argument that the purchase of a luxury item is synonymous with the purchase of a necessary item at the right price point. Often a great deal results in ownership of a possession that we wonder how we ever could have lived without. The elusive act of finding a deal is simplified by the CRC as is the process of finding unique treasures.

Do I need a designer handbag? Although I’d like to say yes, I cannot. I need a functional, durable bag although I adore fashionable handbags. My visual branding as a stylist, and creating credibility with clients, is premised on what I wear. While I legitimately want a designer purse, like most women I forego such an expenditure due to the high price tag that luxury purses command.

While volunteering at the CRC, I found two luxury bags that I was able to afford. This never would have happened in the traditional retail world. I purchased a brand new Marc Jacobs bag and a gently used Prada purse. These bags became necessities at the prices for which they were sold. Each bag became an essential part of my wardrobe and boosts my confidence when I’m striving for an extra polished look. Other treasures I’ve found at the Encinitas store include a St. John dress, as well as a gorgeous pair of brand new Pour La Victoire heels. The dress, heels and Prada handbag created an unachievable outfit, if sourced through regularly priced shopping. This outfit has served me well on numerous important occasions. I am empowered with the confidence knowing the money CRC received from my purchases will continue to serve others in crisis.

The CRC stores are also full of Coach handbags, wallets, belts and shoes. As of a few years ago, one in five bags carried by women in the United States was made by Coach. As a result of Coach’s consumer following and product quality, many beautiful Coach products line the shelfs of each CRC store. Coach is also outside my budget for leather good purchases, but not when purchased at the CRC. Stop by and see if you agree.

Let’s talk about baubles. Is an outfit complete without jewelry? If you ask me, accessories make the outfit. Consequently, I defend jewelry as an important component of a wardrobe budget. Accessories can increase the cost of an outfit by thirty to fifty percent. But, they don’t have to. Savvy shoppers know that fashionable and vintage jewelry can be found at incredible prices in resale stores. I’ve been fortunate to find fantastic pieces of jewelry for myself, and several of my clients, at the CRC.

Funding CRC Programs

Like a pebble creating a ripple in a pond, very small dollar amounts can make very large impacts to the CRC programs. Here are four examples of how dollars donated, or received in resale store sales, become benefits provided.

  • $25 - Provide a family of four with healthy food for a day.
  • $100 - Give shelter to a homeless individual or family.
  • $250 - Provide an individual or family with the counseling they need to heal.
  • $500 - Help provide a child the chance to heal in CRC’s Therapeutic Children's Center.

Are Discounts Available at the CRC?

The remarkable deals in the stores get sweetened on several days of the week. Take advantage of these discounts to stretch your dollars further:

  • Daily ten percent discount for seniors and active duty military.
  • Tuesdays are pick your discount days. A fish bowl full of envelopes contain discounts. Each customer may select an envelope which contains a discount that will be applied to his or her
  • Wednesdays are half priced media day. Media includes books, music, and
  • On Saturdays and Sundays, a discount on a specific colored price tag is available.

Do come in and visit us soon! Do bring a friend. Do take something with you when you leave. Do donate something for the CRC to sell when you go. Do tell friends about the reasons to support the CRC. Do. Or do not do. There is no try!


Lyndell Werling CRC Encinitas