Ya know how everyone buys a different dress every year for the annual holiday party. Well guess where all those end up?! THE THRIFT STORE. I find the best special occasion/cocktail dresses while I’m thrifting. 3 out of 5 of these outfits are thrifted and the other 2 are pieces that I will have for a very long time (that I’ve already owned for a few years). My promise to myself is that if I’m going to buy something at a department store it has to fit better than anything in my closet, I have to wear it once every year, and own it for at least 8 years.
This guide is to give you tips and tricks for finding a holiday dress to fit your petite body! Sometimes, being petite it’s easy for a dress to wear YOU, instead of you wearing the dress. Find some tips and tricks next to each dress to make you the star of your holiday party this year! These dresses go from most conservative to most badass 😏
For reference for this post, I am 5’0, 117 pounds, and usually a size 0-4 depending on the brand, fabric, fit, etc. I generally have a more athletic frame with an hourglass shape.
Conservative Red Stunner
I like to refer to this dress as my “governor’s wife” dress, because throw on a string of pearls and a faux fur shrug and BOOM, inauguration ready!
- high neckline and cap sleeve to show some skin but not in a frisky place
- accentuating waist detail to show off your figure
- straight skirt to the knee to elongate the figure
- pointed toe pumps to elongate the leg, try a nude heel for even more effect!
My favorite things about this dress…
- It’s COMFORTABLE and since it has the waist detail and straight skirt, I can eat as many little apps as I want without feeling bloated and gross
- It’s TIMELESS. While I did buy this dress brand new at a department store (which I never do, thrifting forever), I’ll have it for a very long time since it will never go out of style. I’ve already had it almost 3 years!
- The red pops and makes a statement without being too loud. It’s interesting without being distracting.
Classic Silver Brocade
This is more of a traditional holiday dress that you’d only wear for a holiday party! I actually wore it to a live showing of “White Christmas” which is one of my most favorite old Christmas movies (streaming now on Netflix)!
- Waist definiton, creating structure is KEY for proportionality
- A skirt that is A-line, not necessarily full. Cupcake skirts tend to make short legs look shorter
- An lower cut neckline can elongate a shorter torso
- When you have a busy pattern, try to make skin covered to uncovered ratio more even so the pattern doesn’t overpower your small frame
The Little Black Dress
Getting into the “sexier” category with this one! However, I LIVE for a good cutout, but in a way that accents a petite figure, not to distract from it. This is one of my best thrift store finds to date!
- Try to think of the 10% – 20% rule when looking at dresses with cutouts – this helps with proportionality
- Stick to a straight skirt to not distract away from the cutout
- Think of another pop of something so that the focus isn’t solely on the showing skin – hence the red heels
Holiday photo posing tips…
- Stand on your tip toes even if you’re wearing heels (don’t ask me why this works, but it does 🤷♀️)
- Lean forward ever so slightly
- Tilt your chin up a little more than you normally would – this avoids your forehead being out of proportion
- Roll your shoulders back and stand up like your grandmother is watching and judging you
The “Make-Em’-Stare” Dress
Here’s the deal, there are some dresses that just make you feel like you stop the room. This is it for me and I’m not afraid to admit it! This was a one-of-a-kind thrift store find, SWOON!
- If you’re going to have this much skin coverage then having a pattern that creates structure is CRUCIAL
- Even though this dress is very tight, due to the studs it’s still flattering even though I’m not a toothpick
The Unconventional Holiday Look – The Bodysuit
I actually wore this bodysuit at my first company holiday party ever. This exact outfit with a women’s all black tuxedo jacket and I felt HOT AF. I was also the only female there not in a dress 💁.
- Bodysuits can be tough BUT look for a leg that stops and the ANKLE. Anything shorter can make your legs look short
- The torso and crotch length can sometimes be an issue so make sure it’s tight without being too tight
- Again, waist definition is KEY here