Remember when baby-doll dresses exploded onto the fashion scene back in the 1980’s? Well, they’ve got some staying power because I keep seeing this style return every few seasons. And that’s great news for petites.
The baby-doll dress, with its empire waist and girly shape, does a great job complementing petite figures. The higher waistline creates the illusion of a longer lower body. And the style is feminine enough to accentuate your best features and flatter almost all body types.
Just make sure to choose a silhouette that’s not too puffy. With an empire waist, if the skirt portion is too voluminous, it can overwhelm a petite shape. Opt for a simple A-line style that skims your body. Hello, legs that go on for miles!
I’m wearing an M.S.S.P. (Max Studio Specialty Products) dress from Dillard’s. I like the M.S.S.P. line because of its super-comfy fabrics, romantic designs, and feminine colors. And the X-Small sizes tend to fit well.
By the way, I recently tried on another M.S.S.P. dress that’s similar to mine – same color, similar fabric, cute ivory-colored knit details. It’s a tank version, and not exactly a baby-doll. But it does have a higher empire-like waist-line. (pictured below)
I tried on the X-Small size. For my small frame, the neck-line dipped too low. And the arm holes were a little too big. I’m pretty sure tailoring could fix the issue by shortening the straps, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to add that cost on to the price tag of the dress. So, I ended up leaving this one behind in the dressing room. But it was otherwise a good fit – comfortable in the torso, snug waist, and good length right above the knee. It looks really cute on a petite body. I’ll have to go back and keep searching for similar styles in the M.S.S.P. brand.
To keep a baby-doll outfit from appearing too, well, doll-like, I pair this style with grown-up shoes and accessories, like this chunky statement necklace from Banana Republic. It gives some “oomph” to this otherwise floaty, sweet, delicate look.
And on my feet, I’m wearing BCBGeneration laser-cut platform heels to ground the whole ensemble. These platforms are super-thick, and I feel really tall (5’4”!) when I wear them. Platform shoes can be a petite gal’s best friend, thanks to the added hidden elevation under your feet. If they’re too tall for you, don’t worry. Even a smaller, subtle platform is effective at boosting your height. Just be careful when walking on cobblestone in these types of shoes! And you probably guessed it already: I especially love these shoes because of their neutral color. Nude shoes = longer-looking legs!
I hope baby-dolls and empire waists continue to stick around for a long time because petites really own this style. You can wear it casual, or dress it up. This dress has given me a lot of mileage, attending bridal showers, weekend brunches, backyard barbecues, and just going out for a day of shopping.
- DRESS: M.S.S.P. Max Studio Specialty Products pink baby-doll dress. Similar tank style dress here.
- SHOES: BCBGeneration laser-cut heels. Talk about a lucky discount find! I was browsing at Ross one day, and I stumbled upon these randomly. Last ones left! I get asked about these shoes all the time, but unfortunately, I can’t find them available online anymore. If I do see them, I’ll update down the road.
- NECKLACE: Banana Republic rhinestone statement necklace. I couldn’t resist buying this fun, sparkly piece. It’s bold and dramatic by day, and glimmery enough to dress up at night. I couldn’t find this exact necklace online, but Banana Republic has these similar necklaces that I find equally charming, here, here, and here.
- EARRINGS: Saks Off 5th Cubic Zirconia studs. I found this similar pair of Banana Republic earrings here.