Petite Figure Types

Many women think that only tall model-like girls can look beautiful and be successful. This is far from being the truth. There are plenty of petite ladies who look really gorgeous and don’t feel defective about their height.

This post will be the first in a series to tell you about petite women fashion. But before talking about fashion itself we have to analyze petite figure types. Generally there are four figure shapes of short women. You must know your figure type to be able to select clothing that will accentuate your best features and minimize areas that you want to hide or de-emphasize. Let’s start.

Hourglass Figure Type

This type is considered ideal. A woman with an hourglass shape is equally balanced on top and bottom. It means that her bust measurement is about the same with the hip measurement. Another peculiarity of this figure shape is a defined waistline.

Usually the waist is about ten or more inches smaller than the bust and the hip measurements. It surely looks nice and women of other shapes long for creating at least an optical illusion of an hourglass figure. It is easy to do with the help of garments and accessories chosen appropriately.

If you are an hourglass figure girl you have no problems in choosing clothes. Your main goal is to make the most of your curves without overemphasizing them.

To achieve that do the following:

  • Use contrasting colors, pattern details, and interesting necklines to demonstrate your proportions.
  • Elongate the figure with vertical lines.
  • Keep upper and lower details of garments balanced.
  • Choose slim pants and straight pencil skirts.
  • Pair close-fitting tops with full skirts.

What you should avoid is:

  • Choosing empire styles if you have a large bust.
  • Wearing boxy, bulky clothes that hide your shape.
  • Overwhelming a petite figure with big prints, oversized tops, or too-long pants and skirts.

Triangle Figure Type

The triangle-shaped figure is the most common figure type for women. Ladies of this type have narrower shoulders and possibly smaller breasts (though it is not necessary) and larger hips compared to the ones of hourglass-shaped women.

Generally women of this figure type must choose clothes which can accentuate their bust, minimize the waistline and de-emphasize hips and thighs.

In case you are a triangle figure type your goal is to minimize the hips and thighs and create fullness above the waistline.

What you should do is:

  • Add details such as appliqué, embroidery or textured stitch patterns to the upper body of your garments.
  • Use wide collars and necklines (the best to look on you is a boatneck!) or shoulder yokes to draw attention upward.
  • Keep top hemlines well above or below the widest area of the hips; skirts just above the knee or longer.
  • Hide heavy hips and thighs with the help of dark colors.

Steer clear of:

  • Pleats, gathers, and in-seam pockets.
  • Hem tops and shirts to hit directly on the hips.
  • Raglan sleeves or halter styles that drag the eye downward, emphasizing your lower half.
  • Placing patch pockets, bulky side seams, or tight banding at the hips. Instead, use them on top to balance your shape.
  • Wearing short skirts—they’ll widen your rear view.

Inverted Triangle Figure Type

Inverted triangle-shaped figures are not very common naturally but with the development of plastic surgery and various ways to enhance ladies’ bust it becomes more wide-spread.

Characteristic features of this figure type are the following: proportionally wider shoulders and/or larger bust while the hips and thighs are smaller.

To avoid too heavy look at the top women of this figure type must wear clothing that creates an illusion of a defined waistline and smaller bust.

When you are an inverted triangle figure type you need to minimize the bust and shoulders and emphasize the hips.

Add details such as pockets, patterns, and textural fabrics to the lower half of garments to balance out your shape.

  • Choose styles with drop waists, peplums, and pockets.
  • Use raglan sleeves and V-necklines to draw the eye to your lower part.
  • Balance out your figure with full skirts.

Stay away from:

  • Using yokes or pattern details that attract attention to the shoulders or bust.
  • Placing pockets on bodice—they’ll make your upper half appear wider.
  • Adding details such as ruffles to necklines—instead, keep them simple.
  • Layer pieces—it adds bulks where you don’t need them.
  • Wearing miniskirts, and narrow silhouettes—they’ll make you look heavier at the top.

Rectangle Figure Type

Women with rectangle figures tend to have relatively equal bust and hip measurements, but they don’t have a defined waistline.

Lea Michele

On the contrary to the hourglass figure type rectangle shapes have little difference between waist measurement and bust and hip ones.

As a result the rectangle shape looks more or less straight up and down. Figures of these ladies are close to the hourglass figured women but they have to work hard to visually minimize their waistline.

If you are a rectangle figure girl your main goal will be creating the illusion of curves and waist shaping.

  • Use button plackets and neckline details to draw the eye to the upper part of your body.
  • Opt for layer vests over tops that fall below the waistline.
  • Place pockets or other pattern details at the hips or bust are good for you.
  • Wear flared skirts and bias cuts.
  • Pair short skirts with long patterned tops.
  • Use pleats and gathers to widen your hips. This will make the waist appear smaller.

Things to beware of:

  • Placing blocks of color or pattern at the waistline.
  • Choosing styles with belts, waist shaping or peplums.
  • Wearing wide or boxy styles.
  • Using large patch pockets.

  • Mmm… interesting.i surely have an hourglass fuigure. it’s pleasant to learn it’s considered ideal!!

  • My figure type is Rectangle.

  • This is all very well and good, but if it is so great to be petite, why are there very few petite models around. Most people I know tend to look at celebs and models and work out a style they like from them. We can’t do that! Also, most clothes are made to fit “normal” sized people, the petite range in normal high-street stores is always tiny – usually 1 T-shirt, skirt, jeans etc. Why should we have to shop in a separate petite shops? There is always much more choice in the long and tall” section and even the “maternity” section. Why can’t they make the same clothes that are on the “normal” rails, but just smaller versions of? I really love shopping, but it is soooo fustrating!

  • I think I have a mix of and hourglass and an inverted triangle shape, but oh my god I would kill to have a rectangle shape! My friend has that shape and I’m so jealous! Anyone who has rectangle shape is soooo lucky.

  • i have the rectangle shape and believe you me it is not something you desire. Basically you look like a boy and as a result actual boys pay very little attention to you…it’s is very annoying and as the article says virtually impossible to shop for because you may find the perfect height trousers for a petite woman but then the width is too big (or vice versa) and you can never wear low cut tops.
    Trust me hourglass is the sexiest figure!

  • Roisin, you need to relax. Rectangles are perfectly attractive and tend to have much nicer faces than curvier shapes. Boys are not all shalow

    and no, hourglasses (or cones, which tend to be confused with hourglasses) are NOT the sexiest. that’s the media’s ideal it obsesses over but it’s not the sexiest. they all are. dont let the world brainwash you.

    and danielle, it’s impossible to have 2 shapes. you have either one or the other. that’s the same as saying a circle can be part box or something. If you have the shoulders wider than your chest and hips, you are a cone shape.

  • I have that inverted triangle…hate my narrow hips

  • I am an uber petite rectangle. Do I look like a boy? Trust me, unless I dress like a tomboy, nobody will ever mistake me for a boy! My guy has loved and praised my petiteness for several decades. The positives include breasts that are still perky, no back trouble, no sagging butt or cottage cheese thighs, and I’ve never being sexually harassed by cretins and jerks who can’t control that Madison Avenue/Hollywood-inspired Pavlovian response to huge chests. Since most such guys can’t express a cogent thought and can’t be trusted not to cheat, I haven’t missed a thing. I look into mirrors and thank my lucky stars I’m an ectomorph. Trust in yourself. Don’t let body image misperceptions do your thinking for you. NEVER let lack of self-esteem or the selfish primate who claims he’d love you “if only you’d augment something” pressure you into body modifications.

  • I’m not sure if I’m an hourglass or a triangle, I have wide hips but a very skinny waist, I love it though, it makes me choose clothes that are more unique and eye-catching.

  • Thanks for sharing.I come under triangle.

  • I’m shure that I’m Triangle .. and I compain about my ugly ,huge hips 24.7
    Trust me … Id kill for a Rectangel figure .. its so much easier . :o
    I could realy cry everytime ,when I see how my hip bones totaly fall out of my bikini line . :c
    My friends say that Im over reacting ,and that guys totaly love big hips on girls , but I realy hate them -.- , well who doesnt have figure problems .. some mite not understand my complains , but you’d feel the same way if u’d have my hips .. ♥

  • honestly why would anyone want to be shaped like a rectangle. If you are curvy appreciate it. women are supposed to be beautiful and voluptious.

  • Guys are actually more attracted to women with curves rather than “rectangular” shapes, as curves subconsciously represent fertility and health in a man’s brain. I would hate being rectangular, it’s so plain and curves are sexy.
    I think I’m sort of a triangle and slightly hourglass figured, though I’m skinny…

  • I really can’t find my body shape.. Could you help me, please? :-). My measurements are:
    74 – 54 – 75 cm / 29,12 – 21,25 – 29,5 inches
    I think that I am a rectangle or an hour glass, but what do you think? :I Thanks, have a great day! xoxo

  • If your measurements are correct you’re an hourglass. Lucky girl!

  • I’m still very confused about my body shape.. I need help please… I’m not petite in the actual sense bcos i’m 5’6(height)
    my body measurements are 34-26-36 inches.. so what body shape am i pls?

  • Hello Ladies, I am in dire need of help. Ive been trying to find out what “shape” I am for weeks now, and i just feel more and more confused.
    I am definitely petite, at only 5 feet tall and 110lbs, post pregnancy (overweight right now for my natural size) … yes unfortunately much like a little girl…im in my late 20’s lol
    Anyways, my “bust” is 34inches(c), but after my first pregnancy it did go down to 32inches(c) (this is measuring at the widest part of my breasts with form fitting bra on)
    my waist is 27inches and my hips are the SAME as my bust at 34inches.

    I feel like my shoulders look slightly wider than my hips….so have always assumed im an inverted triangle, but according to measurements and my extreme lack of wast length, along with the fact that my legs are 53% of my body height very lean and toned and i dont have much of a bottom at all…maybe im a rectangle shape?

    if you could email me!!!
    it would be a life saver.

  • Looking so nice.

  • here are plenty of petite ladies who look really gorgeous and don’t feel defective about their height.