Original Drawings by Catie Stricker-Howell (Catie the Sketch Lady)



I can’t wear a ball gown. I’m too petite!” 


Actually, a ball gown is very flattering on a petite girl. Once the dress is hemmed, a petite figure can own this silhouette. If the dress still seems overwhelming, some of the crinoline lining the skirt can be removed to cut down on the volume. With ball gowns, it’s more about proportion than body type; and they are actually flattering on most body shapes. Ball gowns accentuate the bust and the waist of most figures while hiding what could be larger hips that may be out of proportion with a woman’s upper half. Some think that the full skirt makes them look hippy, while, in actuality, it hides larger hips. Sometimes a dropped waist on a ball gown will dispel this thought because it accents a beautiful figure while still hiding the lower hips. This special occasion may be the only time you get to wear a ball gown and be a “Princess”, so don’t rule this style out.


The mermaid and Fit N Flare gowns bring to life those women graced with a “Jessica Rabbit” figure. In this case, again, it’s more about proportion than size, although height may play an important part.


Really petite women can lose a lot of the shape in a mermaid gown unless the company you are ordering from will do customization. If you are petite and in love with a mermaid style, consider platform shoes to add that needed height for a more proportioned fit. So if you have curves, no matter what the size, don’t rule this style out.


The sheath silhouette has the ability to make a petite woman look taller because the straight lines elongate the body. But try to stay away from horizontal lines in the design which will cut off the silhouette. Simplicity of design and the petite figure go hand in hand. For the petite with an apple shape, an empire waistline cuts in under the bust which will accent her smaller part while covering up a larger mid-section. A woman with smaller shoulders will look lovely in an off the shoulder style because it will balance the proportion of the silhouette. A woman with broad shoulders can minimize their effect by wearing a halter, a high neck with cutaway shoulders, or even a strapless gown. The rectangular figure can capitalize on their shape by choosing dresses with a design that makes them appear to be curvy. Keeping these ideas in mind, there is no reason for a petite woman to rule out the sheath style.


The A-Line or princess style gown usually is somewhat fitted on the upper hip and gradually flows out to form a silhouette that looks like the capital letter “A”. Since this shape can accommodate most body types, the top of the gown becomes the focal point. For large busted women, a strapless top that goes straight across or a bodice with a slight dip will corral the “girls” and give sufficient support. If you prefer more of a sweetheart neckline, then having a sheer top above the bodice would be best, and although appearing demure, the sheer top is actually quite sexy. Wider straps would also allow the busty bride to wear undergarments that would be both comfortable and practical. The A-Line or princess style is a great style for everyone, so don’t rule this style out!


By Deidre Torra