I’m 5’3” and Here Are 5 Office Ready Short Girl Style Lessons I Learned from Quinta Brunson

I’m in My Janine Teagues Era

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I must admit that I have always struggled with dressing for the office. For starters, I’m a natural tomboy with a bit of a bohemian/punk edge, meaning I don’t usually gravitate towards the usual “business casual” pieces like a blazer, tailored trousers and heels. Add to that the fact that I’m a petite 5’3” individual, and finding workplace attire that's stylish and fits my proportions is quite the task. Luckily, Quinta Brunson has really helped me out in this department—not just with her real-life styling, but with the fashion evolution of her Abbott Elementary character, Janine Teagues.

While Janine Teagues’ style isn’t always appreciated by her colleagues, I find that her outfits are a fun representation of her personality, while still flattering her petite frame. Below are five short girl style lessons I’ve learned from Quinta Brunson and have applied to my own workplace wardrobe.

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1. Accentuate Your Torso with a Blazer

Brunson really shows that a simple blazer that accentuates your shoulders and upper torso can really go a long way. For petites, make sure the blazer reaches your hips or hits slightly below to create the illusion of length. Hip-length blazers can also help create more balanced proportions between your upper and lower body—especially when they’re slightly oversized. I’ll admit, I’ve had to get some of my blazers altered to achieve the best fit. Yes, it’s a bit of a pain to spend the extra money at first, but the results are well worth it when you see how much better the blazer looks when it’s properly fitted to your body.

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2. Don’t Be Afraid to Wear More Color

It’s not uncommon to see Brunson in bright yellow, orange and pink shades, and she wears florals like nobody’s business. She has also sported a variety of bright green colors within her wardrobe as well. While you might hesitate to try bolder colors at first, eye-catching hues and patterns command attention, which you might need in certain workplace situations like giving a presentation.

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3. Add a Belt to Your Bottoms

Brunson also wears a lot of belts, which is a strategic styling choice that creates a more defined waist. In doing so, your body looks more proportional, and your waistline appears cinched. Belts also help with lengthening your waist, while simultaneously complimenting your hips and curves. Once again, this means you’ll appear slightly taller. Tip: Choose a slimmer belt as opposed to a wide one, as the latter can make your torso look shorter.

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4. Go for Wide-Leg Pants or Cropped Jeans

Wide-leg pants are a must-have for petites because the high-rise cut automatically makes your legs appear longer. Sometimes Brunson also rocks high-waisted cropped jeans, which is another tip you can take advantage of because the proportions have a lengthening effect on your torso and lower body. Similar to blazers, you may have to get your pants altered for the best fit. Again, it’s totally worth it because the seamstress will take your measurements and craft your pants to fit perfectly around your waist and hips. It’s only about $20 to get done, and in my experience, you can usually get your pants back in a day or two.

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5. Grab a Pair of Pumps

Pumps are always appropriate for the workplace, and they go with every outfit. Wearing a pencil skirt? Pumps. Wearing a pair of dress pants? Pumps. You can even pair pumps with jeans for a semi-casual style. Needless to say, you should keep three to four pairs you can regularly rotate within your closet. Luckily, there are a wide range of chic (and affordable) pumps on the market that are also quite comfortable. On that note, you can also add a cushioned insole if you’re concerned about walking in heels all day.

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