In an ideal world, petite women would be able to find clothing that fits them perfectly right out of the box, with no hemming, tucking or tweaking necessary. Alas, that is not the case, but luckily there is an army of TikTok fashionistas ready and willing to share all sorts of short gal style hacks to make clothing look fabulous without visiting a tailor or heading to the sewing machine. Here are five videos with crucial style advice for anyone under 5’3” to bookmark ASAP.
The Absolute Best Styling Tips for Short Women We Learned on TikTok
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1. using A Hair Tie To Hem Your Trousers
Realistically the best solution for straight-leg trousers that are too long is to bring them to a tailor or hem them yourself. However, sometimes you’re in a rush or don’t have the funds or skills for a proper fix, and that’s exactly why it’s great to have this hack in your back pocket. All you need is a pair of nylon hair ties (they’re stretchier and softer, so they won’t be uncomfortable or cut off circulation at your ankles).
How to do it: Take a nylon hair tie and pull it up over the hem of your pants. Pull the fabric so that there is just a small length of fabric secured under the hair tie, then fold over the remaining fabric so that it drapes over the hair tie. You can adjust the amount of fabric tucked into the hair tie to make your pants longer or shorter depending on your footwear. (P.S. Here’s another video of the same hack if you want to see more examples.)
2. using A Hair Tie To Adjust Your Sleeves
There are two parts to this hair tie hack—the first helps keep rolled up sleeves in place and the second, much like the pants hack above, give petite gals an easy way to shorten coat sleeves without going to a tailor. And, yes, it is essentially the same as the pants hack above, but for shirtsleeves.
How to do it: To keep rolled sleeves in place, take a nylon hair tie and pull it up over your sleeve to the point you want your sleeves to hit. Then roll the cuff right into the hair tie and continue folding it back to the desired length. For coat sleeves, again pull the hair tie up over your sleeve, but this time pull your sleeve so that just a small amount of fabric is tucked under the elastic and fold the rest over the top to give the illusion of a hemmed cuff.
3. knotting A Maxi Dress
This hack works best for dresses that have a side slit (preferably on both sides), but there is a way to make it work for maxis that don’t. And while the finished look won’t necessarily have the same straight-up-and-down silhouette of the original design, we do love the draped effect this hack creates and find it can actually make your dress look more expensive than a simple column cut.
How to do it: If your dress has slits on the side, simply take the two sides of the slit (about 3 or 4 inches from the top) and tie them together in a knot. Knot them once more to secure in place and voila! You’re done. For dresses that don’t have a side slit, you can turn the dress inside out and gather some fabric at the knee and do an overhand knot from the inside. This should give a similarly draped effect without leaving a distracting and obvious nub on the outside.
4. adding A Belt To Shorten Your Hemline
Whether you’re looking to add shape to a floaty tent dress or just want to raise the hem to a more flattering spot, a belt is by far the easiest way to hack it. Use a wider belt to make it a part of your look, or choose a thinner one or even a shoestring or ribbon to have it be less obvious.
How to do it: Take a belt and fashion it at your natural waist. Pull the fabric of your dress up through the top of the belt until the hem hits the point you find most flattering. Fold the fabric over the top of the belt for a pretty draped effect.
5. choosing The Right Hangers And Investing In Fashion Tape
This video from 4’9” TikTok creator petite.fable has three different short gal tips, but our favorites are the first and last. Both are about investing in the right tools to best take care of your clothing.
First, she recommends buying children’s size hangers (velvet or wood is best) which are more likely to properly fit the shoulders of coats and blouses and not poke out into the arms like standard hangers often do. Her other hot tip is to invest in hemming tape, which is incredibly cheap (we’re talking less than $2 for 8 yards of the stuff) and makes it easy to hem pant legs, shirtsleeves or dresses if they don’t work with the above hair tie hack.