Friday, July 20, 2018

Body Confidence at Any Height // Petite Wardrobe Staples Feat. True & Co.

Hello, beautiful! When you're petite like I am (we're talking 5'2" and below, here), shopping for clothes - and all the frilly, lacy things that go beneath them - can be stressful AF. Sleeves are too long, pants fit you in either the waist or legs (but never both!) and stores don't carry bra sizes small enough for a petite gal's erm, well, gals.

That's why I was super excited to learn about True & Co's mission to help every girl find a bra that fits. When they reached out to me to ask if I wanted to participate in their body confidence project - not for sponsorship - I was thrilled to spread the word about their fit-finding service.

I volunteered to write this post to help spread the word about True & Co and its' awesome quest to make sure girls like me with odd sizes don't have to search low and high for a well-fitting bra anymore! Because, honestly: for us shorties, what could be better than that?

As someone who's 5'2," ranges anywhere from an XS to a size 4 in clothing and wears a size 30D - yes, 30D - in bras, I know the struggle is real for those of us shopping for short legs and tiny torsos. Thankfully, after 20 years of experience as a short girl, I've picked up a couple of tricks for finding clothes that fit - and, of course, wearing them with confidence!

Here are all my tips for rocking your short bod with confidence, and my favorite clothing brands for fitting a petite frame. But first, three cheers to True & Co, without whom this post may not exist: hip, hip, hooray!

Why I Love Being Short

Like most teenage girls, it took me a long time to start feeling comfortable in my own skin and loving the body I was born with. Some days, I wished that I could be as tall as my friends, or not feel the compulsive need to wear high heels to school dances so I could be tall enough to dance with my dates. Other days, I looked at other short girls around me and wondered why they were so skinny: as a shortie with boobs and a butt, I often felt "fat" simply for having some meat on my petite bones! 

Eventually, I realized that being short was a blessing in disguise. Sure, I can't reach the top shelf without standing on a chair - but chances are, I can also reach into that weird space under the fridge or under the car seat when you inevitably lose your phone someplace small and specific. 

As a dancer, I also learned to love my short frame - because unlike other areas, like modeling or basketball, ballet dance actually values us short girls! Did you know some ballet auditions will look for girls specifically under 5'6"? I don't bring this up to encourage ballet's often unhealthy standards of beauty - we all know how Black Swan went for Natalie Portman, after all - but rather to point out how transformative it can be when you find a community that not only accepts you, but also finds your imperfections desirable. From ballet I learned that if you have an "odd" body type, you can find some community or standard of beauty somewhere where your body is anything but "odd" after all! 

And you know what else? Some of the women America considers most beautiful are way shorter than you probably think they are. Kim Kardashian may have curves galore, but in reality, she's only as tall as I am! (5'2," to be exact.) Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga may know how to belt, but they're both only 5'1" - so, as tall as my somewhat-shorter mother and grandmother before me. And funny girls Anna Kendrick and Amy Poehler? Both are only 5'2," but both are capable of bringing out the big laughs! 

There's nothing wrong with being taller than 5'2." You could be 4'9" or 6'1" and I wouldn't care - I'd still want to be your friend! But as a short girl who has sometimes gotten down on herself about her height, or felt frustrated that clothes weren't made for me, finding role models to look up to and spaces where my body type was valued completely transformed my body confidence. 

Whereas I was once terrified to stand next to my equally-short friends in a bikini, for fear of looking bigger than them, I am now proud to be a curvy 5'2" (just like Kim K!) and love to brag about finding the perfect pair of petite pants for my curves. I am also on my way to embracing my body in new ways, too: I am also a yogi, and if all goes as planned, I will become a certified barre instructor in September 2018! It's all about finding that balance between loving your body the way it is, and finding new ways to use and improve it through mindful movement. 

Where to Find the Perfect Fit

If there's anything I know to be true about being a short girl, it's that finding clothes that actually fit can be a pain and a half (to say the least!). For some reason, stores all seem to think that us petite girls all fall into one body type - one I'd liken to the 90 lb girl you knew in high school who stayed skinny despite subsisting only on french fries. 

However, like all women, short girls come in a range of shapes and sizes. You can't put us in a box, people! Thankfully, with 20 years of experience of living life at 5'2" and under, I've gathered a few shopping tricks for finding the perfect fit at any height. Here are some of my favorite stores for stocking up on petite wardrobe essentials, and my recommendations for the best products around.

Skinny jeans that won't bunch: Hollister Co.

Hollister Co. isn't just for your teenage cousin anymore, shorties: I've sworn by its jean sales ever since I discovered the range of shapes, sizes, cuts and styles they offer. No other store even comes close to offering as much variety as Hollister! Their jeans start at size 00 and run all the way up to size 15 - plus, they've got short, regular and long inseams/legs for girls of any size. 

Haley's pick: Advanced Stretch High Rise Jean Leggings ($29, On Sale)

Ankle pants that actually hit your ankles: J. Crew

Finding work pants when you're 5'2" means a major ride on the struggle bus, people! Most styles are either too long, too baggy or too tight - which is why discovering J. Crew Factory's selection of petite ankle pants at 19 was a true revelation. Because nothing screams "adulting" better than a good pair of ankle crops - am I right or amirite? (Psst...they come in sizes 00-12, too!)

Haley's pick: Petite Winnie Pant in Navy ($34.50)

Sleeves you won't need to roll up: LOFT

When you're under 5'3," sleeve lengths can be one of the trickiest things for a clothing brand to get right. A size XS might fit you in every other place...but when it comes to the sleeves, well, let's just say you could fit an entire second hand in there. That's why I was excited to discover that LOFT - one of my favorite clothing brands of all time! - offers a wide variety of tops in petite sizes. Their tops boast shorter sleeve lengths and a better fit, for petite girls ranging all the way from size XXS to size XXL. 

Mini dresses that fit mini girls: Lilly Pulitzer

Lilly Pulitzer's shift dresses may not come in explicit petite sizing, but as a girl who is 5'2" (and wears a size 2 from Lilly), I have always found her shift dresses to fit better than any others. They're tasteful and tapered, with a snug fit in the bodice and a flattering above-the-knee hemline - yes, even at 5'2"! Plus, Lilly serves gals in sizes 00-16, so you're guaranteed pretty prep at almost any shape.

Haley's pick: Mila Shift Dress in Blue Peri Pop Up Stuffed Shells ($178)

A watch that won't overwhelm little wrists: the FitBit Alta

The FitBit Alta makes the perfect watch for little wrists because it's far from big and bulky, with a slim face that's amazing for petite body types. Not to mention, it's pretty dang smart, too! Functioning as a pedometer, pager (yep, that's right - you can read incoming texts on your Alta!) and calorie-tracker all in one, the Alta proves that great things do indeed come in small packages, after all.

Haley's pick: FitBit Alta HR in Soft Pink/Rose Gold ($149.95)

Gape-free cups you'll be able to fill: True & Co

Last but not least, we get to True & Co - the form-fitting lingerie company that inspired this body confidence post in the first place! To me, feeling confident in your lingerie is less about black lace and booty, and more about the right fit. At True & Co, the focus is on finding bras and panties that fit your unique body right - not looking like a Victoria's Secret angel strutting her way down the runway. With an easy quiz to help you find the right fit, you'll be on your way to wardrobe bliss in under five minutes.

Haley's pick: True Everyday Demi Bra in Dulce ($14, On Sale!) 

What wardrobe staples do you swear by? LMK @haleymarieblog or in the comments below!