How can I look stylish in simple clothing? 5 Tips

Model wearing a well put together outfit in black dress with textured black and white accessories

Before jumping into the answer, let me begin with the benefit of having simple clothing in the first place. Perhaps you are reading this because you value ethical and sustainable practices and are purchasing your clothes mindfully.

There is an ethos for simplicity in eco-friendly brands, for several reasons. While that is not the topic of this post, let’s nod to that reality before moving on. Let’s just bear in mind that slow fashion means emphasizing classic styles that will not be yesterday’s trend destined for the landfill tomorrow.  

So, let’s talk about rocking it! The point of view is for you, the short woman who is an ethical fashion shopper.

Tip #1: Make sure it fits!

This is really a must, my petite friends. No matter what styling tips you adhere to, if your clothing doesn’t fit your body, you will have a hard time making it look stylish. That’s where EcoPetites comes in for you! The styles are designed and made specifically for petites.

Don’t forget that the proper fit of your bra can make a big difference, too. Check out my post on wearing the right bra size and what petite fit issues to look out for.

Find a good tailor in your neighborhood for things like blazers, pants and other more structured and fitted styles. But please, start with petite sizes! There are many ways in which the proportions are still better designed for you—it’s not just sleeve length.

Tip #2: Develop a Capsule Wardrobe

The purpose of a capsule wardrobe is to have items that mix and match with each other and make adding new pieces easier, as you will likely already have something to match with it.

What is in your capsule is personal. It depends on your lifestyle, your budget, your aesthetic and even where you live. With shopping sustainable fashion as a caveat, availability can also be a factor. For me, I stopped wearing jeans years ago. Organic cotton petite jeans were out of my budget. When I didn’t want to sew myself a pair or go thrifting, I realized that I am actually not a huge fan of wearing jeans anyway. But you might live in jeans and reside somewhere with lots of petite jeans in your local vintage shops. Give yourself permission to not own that which you don’t like or is hard to find, even if it is on someone else’s must-have capsule list.

Most advice centers around neutrals for the capsule, but I don’t think that’s necessary. However, if you choose a non-neutral, you best love it, and be willing to build a wardrobe around one color. (I think this topic deserves its own post, don’t ya think? Stay tuned.)

Again, let’s get back to the idea of simplicity. If you are consciously building your capsule, choosing one or two neutrals is a great building block. Think beyond black or white: you can use navy, olive, khaki, brown, beige, cinnamon or grey as your capsule neutral. This also helps with tonal dressing, a useful petite fashion technique.

Tip #3: Quality over quantity

Ditch the fast fashion shopping, seek staples over trends and look for well-made items. Even if your purchase is not from a sustainable brand per se, this is at least an improvement. Your closet will be less cluttered, and you will look more stylish, less slave-of-fashion.

Quality simple basics make it easier to showcase the occasional statement garment or your favorite unique jewelry. That means simple and basic is the canvas on which to create your own style.  Which brings us to…

Tip #4: Accessorize

Adding a belt is my favorite petite-friendly accessory. You can use it to accentuate your waist, make a dress or long oversized top more fitted or add dimension and visual texture – or all three! I love using an accent color in multiple locations to vertically draw the eye around and pull your outfit together. Think shoes, belt and earrings for example.

Jewelry can add a lot of style and personal touch to your outfit. See my articles about rings here and here.

Look for a theme in your accessories. It could be a pattern theme: adding dots and stripes, or swirls and vines, or tiny flowers. The theme could be an accent color. It could be thematic; plants and leaves, animal prints, geometric patterns. You name it—but try to choose based on some form of unity.

Create a focal point with the accessories so they complement without competing or overwhelming your petite stature. Be selective about utilizing bold addtions. A colorful silk scarf or headwrap can be the focus and then pick out one color in the scarf for a single-color belt.

Tip #5: Find your own personal style.

This is probably the hardest to accomplish, yet you probably are already doing so to some degree, just by choosing things you like. Sometimes other people see it more than you. Has anyone every picked something out and said, this looks like something you would wear? And they were right? That’s the right friend to ask to help you increase awareness of your style. Just a little effort at first, and then it kind of runs on its own engine.

For me, when I got on my jewelry kick, it was about realizing that I really didn’t have rings and most of my jewelry were gifts. My jewelry style was entirely defined by what other people imagined for me, and I didn’t even really know what I would choose. But I got there! Ironically, I now wear those gifts of jewelry a lot more! I just needed to combine what I already had in a way that was more suitable for me.

Pulling it altogether

Once you have quality, properly fitting clothing, the other three tips are really about creating harmony and balance in the outfit. The capsule means you have a base set that already work together, and the accessories give you a way to pull it together with your personal touch. Remember...

Summary of personal style tips

Quality & Fit first.
Follow through utilizing a Capsule,
add your Accessories,
and top off with a dash of personal Style.