How To Pull Off An Oversized Shirt Look When You're Petite

Those with petite frames may be admired for how cute they look, but that doesn't mean that their fashion choices are devoid of challenges. In fact, if you're 5-foot-4 or shorter, you probably already know this. 

You may know how to pull off a pixie haircut with style, but when it comes to shopping for clothes, you're faced with limited collections for your size at clothing stores. Maybe you even resort to shopping at the children's section sometimes. And on those rare occasions when you find something that almost fits, you only buy the item in the hopes of coming back home to alter it, perhaps by trimming hems off jeans or tucking in a dress so it fits — you know the drill. 

Given this predicament, you might be inclined to think that there is absolutely no place for oversized shirts in your closet if you're petite. This isn't entirely true. Despite what you might be thinking (For instance, "Will the item swallow me whole?") there are great ways to style big clothes on small figures. Oversized shirts are a comfortable and easy style to go to and they're not reserved for those with bigger frames. Petite figures can benefit from it, too. Here are eight ways you can pull off an oversized shirt look if you're shorter in stature.

Choose shirts that don't have too many design details

The key to picking what shirts to wear for your oversized-shirt look is to pay attention to design details. Since you're going to be choosing something one or two sizes bigger than your regular fit, steer clear of form-fitting design features like bust darts or princess seams. You want the shirt to look effortlessly chic on you, not clumsily resting in all the wrong places. Fitted elements on a shirt only work when they flatter the areas of your figure they're meant to gravitate toward, so choose loose-fitting or flowy shirts instead. 

Expose some skin

Styling baggy clothes for a flattering fit doesn't mean all skin must be covered. In fact, whether it's open-toe sandals, ripped jeans, an off-the-shoulder look, or even a simple button-down that's exposing your neck, showing off some skin can work wonders when you're trying to style an oversized shirt. You can even pair your baggy shirt with a crop top and leave the buttons undone for a more carefree ensemble. The idea is to open up your body and not make it look like you're drowning in your clothes. This summer look goes great with shorts and sneakers. 

Balance is everything

This probably comes as a no-brainer when styling baggy shirts on a petite frame, but too much of anything oversized can definitely swallow your figure. This is why balance is key. Speaking to Byrdie, luxury fashion designer Neil J. Rodgers offered specific guidance for short silhouettes styling bagging clothing. 

"Break your body into sections, the way you might when composing a photograph," he said. "Pick one section and dress that in an oversized way."

In other words, limit your baggy clothing to one portion. The classic example of this style trick is to combine your shirt with a pair of tight-fitting leggings (or skinny jeans). More options include adding small pieces of jewelry and tiny clutches to complement your look.

A belt is your best friend

Shopping for petite sizes can get overwhelming. So why not combine that oversized shirt hanging at the back of your wardrobe with your favorite pair of jeans and throw a belt on top to complete the look? A Japanese obi belt could add a unique touch, but so can any belt, really. If you want to ditch the pants, you can do that, too. Any kind of belt can effortlessly transform your shirt into a dress within a few minutes — a fashion plus only short silhouettes can enjoy.

Baggy doesn't have to mean casual

Even though oversized shirts exude comfort, that doesn't mean they have to be synonymous with casual every time you wear them. Especially if you want to try pairing a baggy shirt with stylish accessories for a more elegant affair like a night out with your friends. The trick is to polish the look up with knee-high boots, gorgeous earrings, and even a high ponytail. Heels can give an instant lift to an otherwise casual ensemble, too. They might even be the only thing you need to class up the staple white button-down shirt you own. 

The classic tucked-in look

Sometimes styling a baggy floral shirt sitting in your closet is as simple as tucking it in. While there are plenty of ways to bring some fit to an oversized shirt for a petite frame, simply (and neatly) tucking the excess material into your jeans should do the trick. It could be a loose tuck or a tighter form-fitting one. The choice is yours. Perhaps this is why baggy and loose-fitting shirts are a versatile wardrobe basic shaping up to be the trendiest piece of 2023. And why not roll up the sleeves while you're at it?

The knotted baggy shirt look

You might already be accustomed to bunching up your big t-shirt at the front and styling it into a knot when you're petite. Why not apply the same hack to oversized shirts? There are plenty of ways to do it, too. You can even knot the shirt at the back for a unique finish. Just make sure you don't crease the parts of the clothing that you want to be visibly wrinkle-free once you're out the door.

The half tuck

Tucking in only one half of your baggy shirt is another way to style this timeless look. Clearly, styling an oversized shirt over baggy long shorts isn't something everyone worries about. But for those who want a different vibe and want to elongate their legs by exposing their waistline, one TikToker recommended tucking in half of your shirt, and pairing the ensemble with sandals, trainers, or knee-high boots. This is perfect for those times when you want to add some height to your petite stature.