What Is the Best Dress Length for a Short Woman?

Petite actress Rachel Bilson looks long and lean at Skylight in New York City.
... Amy Sussman/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Petite women can look stylish in a variety of hem lengths, but the most flattering fit falls just above -- or even way above -- the knee. A short dress maximizes a petite silhouette and creates the illusion of length along the body.

1 The Mini

The mini-dress can seem a bit intimidating, but it's this hem that's the most flattering for petite legs. Hitting the body mid-thigh, it shows off the legs and visually lengthens the lower body. The minimal amount of fabric also prevents a shorter figure from being drowned out, unlike a billowing maxi skirt, which has the potential to overwhelm a petite shape.

2 Happy Medium

A more conservative, yet equally flattering, approach is found in a hem that falls just an inch or two above the knee. This length preserves the lengthening effect of a mini, in a way that's wearable when you need a bit of coverage. An A-line shape skims the hips and thighs, while a fitted pencil shape amplifies the long look by closely hugging the silhouette.

3 The Maxi

A maxi-skirt is generally not as flattering for a pint-size figure as a shorter skirt, but keeping the fit close to the body can make it work. A slim-fitting maxi-skirt eliminates the heavy layering that drowns out a small body shape, and helps to retain a little length along the figure. Pair it with a slim-fitting top and wedge heels to enhance this elongating effect.

Whitney DeGroat began her writing career in 2007 at "The Springfield Paper." She has also written for newspapers such as the "Springfield News-Sun" and "Dayton Daily News" and served as a fashion columnist for "The Torch." DeGroat received a Bachelor of Arts in English at Wittenberg University.