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Q. I’ve seen Dolman sleeve tops and dresses everywhere this season, but I’m not convinced that they’d be flattering. Can a petite woman (5’) with a larger chest (34D) get away with so much extra fabric under the arms?

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A. Dolman sleeves are a big trend this season, but they can be tricky to wear for petite women or women with full busts. However, you don’t need to avoid this trend completely. Dolman sleeves vary in size from giant batwing styles to more subtle kimono sleeves. Generally, you should opt for sleeves with a smaller drape. It’s also important to consider the neckline; look for v-necks and scoop necks which are more flattering for a large chest than a higher neckline. Finally, you may find that a short sleeve or 3/4 sleeve is more flattering than a long dolman sleeve. 

A high neckline and exaggerated sleeves are not the best option for a petite or large busted figure
Better choices are smaller dolman sleeves with v-necks or scoop necks:

(note: this was originally published on our new site: StyleBakeryMom.com)

Q. I’m 12 weeks pregnant with my 6th child! I’m a petite athletic 5ft tall post pregnancy weight of 105. I’ve always had a hard time dressing my petite frame with all my pregnancies. I continue to run 30 miles per week and continue weight training but since I’m short I tend to look chunky anyway! I would like some tips on how to elongate my torso and look cute for once during my pregnancy. I have very toned arms, shoulders, and legs, how would I go about focusing on those areas rather than on my mid section which tends to hold a lot of my weight gain. Hope you can help!

A. First of all - your 6th child? Wow, congratulations! How you find the time or strength to run 30 miles a week and weight train is beyond me, but good for you!

It can be very tough for petite pregnant women to find clothes that are flattering, since most clothes tend to make you look like you’re all belly. Since you’re fortunate enough to have toned arms, shoulders and legs, you should flaunt them! Look for sleeveless tops, above the knee dresses and skinny pants or jeans that show off your slimmest features. Look for silhouettes that are sleek and form-fitting, and avoid extra fabric like ruffles that will overwhelm your figure. When possible, wear a sturdy heel or wedge to add height.

Some outfit ideas:

  • Skinny pants, fitted t-shirt and a cardigan
  • Short shorts and a bohemian printed top or loose tunic
  • Short sleeveless shift dresses
  • Long maxi dresses with or without a little jean jacket
  • Leggings and a slim fitting tunic top

Here are some pieces to get you started:

Q. I know I’m two years late on this trend, but I am in a desperate search for black riding boots. I’m 5’3, so I don’t want anything too tall. Please help!

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A. It’s never too late to buy a pair of riding boots - they are a classic look that you’ll wear for years and years. In fact, it’s the perfect time of year to invest in a pair since many are on sale. Since you are petite, it’s important not to choose a pair of boots that are too tall. Look for a shaft (the height of the boot) that hits an inch or more below your knee. A shaft that is too high and close to your knee can visually shorten the look of your legs. You may have to try on several different boots to find the most flattering shaft height for you, but try a 14” or 15” height to start. Here are some options that are 15” tall or shorter:

Q. I love the snake print blouses I’ve been seeing everywhere recently, but they can so easily go from sophisticated to tacky. Can you recommend a short or long sleeve version similar to this Ella Moss Boa Tank? Tanks and 3/4 sleeve blouses abound, but I find them to be less versatile.

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A. I am a huge fan of adding a touch of python to your look, whether in the form of a piece of clothing or a chic accessory. When worn tastefully, it looks far from tacky. I love the tank you picked out (plus, it’s on sale!) It may actually be more versatile than you think when you consider it makes the perfect underpinning for a blazer, jacket or cardigan. If your mind is set on a short sleeve or long sleeve version, here are some sophisticated contenders:

Q. I am attending a wedding in February (in Chicago). It is a morning wedding with a luncheon following. I have a cap sleeved navy silk sheath dress with a black patent leather belt. My question is do I wear hosiery? If so, what color? Peek a boo shoes or classic pumps?

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A. February in Chicago can be quite cold. Black solid tights or black textured tights paired with either peep-toe pumps or classic pumps is your best bet. The black/navy combination is a perfectly chic option for your daytime wedding.

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