I’m 5’3” and These Are the Low-Maintenance, High-Style Outfits I'm Wearing All Summer

Hot Take: All-day linen pajamas are EVERYTHING

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Eberjey, Streetstyleshooters/Getty, Dana Dickey, Ayr

Jump into summer 2023 fashion, but make it petite-friendly. That’s my motto as I get my 5’3” self dressed in my casual Cali style (mostly WFH, with the occasional café lunch date or beach workout session). Here’s what I’m feeling right now, including a couple of special shortie hacks (yes, pants lovers, sometimes you can just take a scissors to that denim) that I use to make my favorite pieces work.

The 15 Best Summer Shorts to Buy If You're Under 5'3"

Short women summer outfits: Woman wearing white slip dress and carryine purse
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

1. A Bias-Cut Slip Dress

Slip dresses—long, mini, silk, linen—are trending this summer, and petites look best when the style is worn at midi length, with fabric cut on the bias so that it skims the body. This dress is the closet (!) workhorse of your summer wardrobe, so versatile that it looks right with practically any warm-weather shoe, as long as you keep it fancy (think leather sneakers and designer sandals).

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Hello, fluttering slip dress with distinctive bustline.

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This silk number has adjustable straps to raise the neckline just so.

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2. A Matching Linen Set

Linen separates for summer are as non-newsy as florals for spring, but summer 2023 is seeing a new crop of brands making lightweight (and machine-washable) linen separates in so many shapes that it's simple to find a silhouette that you're comfortable in. If you're proud of your abs, wear a crop top with matching pants or a button-front shirt open to a bra top. If you're loving your legs, wear linen shorts. And if it's super hot, wear short sleeves, shorts and decide to love your body as much as you love cool linen's inevitable wrinkles.

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No one will know you're actually wearing PJs.

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High-waist pull-on shorts and a button-front top? No problem.

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short women summer outfits colorful platforms
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3. Killer Platform Heels

Coming in hot—big chunky shoes in bright colors. Petite women have been clamoring for the always-sold-out Saint Laurent Bianca shoe in basic black, since it's sexy, adds over three inches in height and is pretty much walkable for such a high heel. Now we're seeing iterations of that shoe all over the tonal (and price) spectrum. And here's the best part—a super-colorful chunky shoe is so visually aggressive, it looks good with a basic neutral or a bunch of other bright shades.

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Sturdy leather uppers hug your tootsies.

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Satin makes this knotted sandal retro-charming.

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short women summer outfits cargo pants
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4. Cropped Jacket + Cargo Pants

Here, 5'2" style influencer Karen Wazen is wearing a baggy pair of cargo pants puddling at her feet and a jean jacket so cropped, it's like a denim shrug. This improbably attractive combo is all about proportion, since the high-waist pants elongate the leg and the jacket is so short, it lets us see a a bit of Karen underneath. The cropped jacket and the cargos are the trends here, and the way she puts them together is a lesson to remember for petites—when wearing oversized shapes, let a bit of your waist or neckline or calf or something be visible, lest you look like you're a pile of messy laundry that's gone mobile.

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All-cotton, and lived-in softness.

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Can't get enough of this boyfriend fit.

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Short women summer outfits: woman eearing two-piece dressy outfit and heels
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5. Two-Piece Dresses

We're not mad at the many two-piece dresses we've seen this summer, since they're tailor-made for the shortie. They lift the gaze to the midsection (which ranges from a sliver of skin to a full-on bare midriff). In this nude-tone example, the V neckline further draws the eye upward, making the wearer look sleeker.

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Front and back cut-outs make this cotton dress look like two pieces.

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The round neck and cap sleeves give this flowy dress structure.

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Short women summer outfits: woman in pink oversized blazer
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6. Oversized Blazer + Shorts

While an oversized blazer might seem too much fabric for petites, we're liking it with a pair of shorts and heels for a leggy look. Extra style points if the button-front shirt or T-shirt you wear underneath the jacket and the shorts are the same color, since that will look extra pulled-together. Another shorts style to try with a roomy jacket? Bike shorts that reach mid-thigh—the oversized blazer hides any booty you don't want up in everyone's face, except in Pilates.

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Lightweight, colorful and made for layering.

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One hundred percent linen elevates these shorts.

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Short women summer outfits: Woman wearing billowing red caftan
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7. Caftan (Belt Optional)

At the end of the day, we all just want to be loved. And to be comfortable. Probably the latter more. So we're thrilled to see flowing lightweight caftans, the most no-hassle garment ever created, be on-trend this summer. And as petites, we see that it's a totally wearable look, as evidenced here by petite German stylist Gitta Banko. A bright flowing tent dress and gladiator flats, plus a big bag, look utterly charming. While we'd tame the dress a bit for an evening out by adding a wide belt and carrying a large clutch, we're stanning the daytime casualness of this no-belt look. Just so long as you're not tripping over the hem, the look is golden.

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A romantic linen-blend dress in a trending hue.

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The machine-washable rayon print shouts "Summer, baby!"

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Why You Should Trust Us

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space. Suitcases to sex toys, she's got an opinion on what's best. Dana is based in Los Angeles; her work has also appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Vogue and The New York Times. Check her out on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...