Personal,  Projects

My Extra-Extra Petite Capsule Wardrobe

Summer & Fall Fashion Reboot

Super excited to share some of what’s in my closet (or what will hopefully be there soon haha)! This project has been months in the making. I’ve looked to my style-sister Sepideh who shares my taste, my stylish sisters who are way better than me at this, my own experience with design principles, and petite fashion bloggers I’ve recently discovered. Also had some deep self-reflection on the way. I decided on a capsule wardrobe—a small wardrobe comprising of interchangeable pieces that are versatile and quality. I tried to learn how to best dress my body, and figure out how my personal style translates to life with children and dressing modestly. Mom Life demands flexibility, durability, and comfort. I cleared out my current wardrobe after letting go of ill-fitting clothing (not much was left after that one requirement!), worn out/damaged clothing, anything that needed work or wasn’t perfect AS IS, and pieces that I was ready to move on from.

What I Look For

I’m now in my 30s and re-examining my personal style, which has evolved as I’ve grown older. I had my first child in my 20s, but my body bounced back a lot easier then and style was more forgiving. I’ve changed in that 10 years, fluctuating in weight, gaining hips, losing breasts… and I’ve come to know what I like—simple!

  • I don’t compromise anymore. Now that I know my perfect fit exists and what it feels like, I will never go back. If the fit is off, pass. If it’s not exactly what I wanted, pass. If I’ll get limited or no wear out of it from a one-time event, pass. I used to buy sandals in a half-size too big because they were so cute; I wore them only once because they were so uncomfortable sliding off my feet and tripping me up. Nothing is cute enough to be worth that.
  • Low heels and flats are my shoe jam; got rid of all my sky-high heels and don’t miss them at all.
  • Pockets on dresses (and every bottom). I need them!
  • I’ve had my fun with my bold colors and daring trends, and now I’m wanting something more classic and sophisticated. Polished but not so dressy that it’s high-maintenance or delicate.
  • I prefer neutrals that go with everything. No more struggling to match! Thank goodness blue is a neutral, because that’s a staple for me year-round!
  • Solid and simple patterns with flattering forms. I used to like the challenge of experimenting with loud/busy textiles, and now I just really prefer the ease of not having to think about making it work.
  • I look for lasting materials in finishes that will carry me through more than one season. I pay attention to the fabric tag now, looking for breathable, soft, and easy care that I won’t destroy in one wash.
  • No dry cleaning. It’s never going to happen. Ok, for that one very extra special winter jacket, maybe.
  • No bras. If I need to wear one with this outfit, NOPE. One of the great things about being flat chested? Having no use for “support” and being able to go bra-less. #Perks #FreeYourself
  • Conservative. This is a tough one in fashion today where showing skin is a style tip for short girls. I need clothing that covers my shoulders, chest, back, mid-drift, and thighs. I find that covering these areas helps me to feel more comfortable anyway! I’ve also found that I prefer not to try to “make it work” with clothing that doesn’t cover. It’s ultimately about fit. I’m done with the look of layered undershirts, wearing skirt extenders, pinning, or covering up with boleros and cardigans.

What’s In My Capsule Wardrobe?

The following isn’t all-inclusive but it’s a start.


  1. Linen Tie-Front Shirt with Vertical Stripes
  2. Loft Chambray with Boat Neck and Puff Sleeves, made of Tencel (great fabric for summer)
  3. Soft Fitted Black / White T-Shirts
  4. Chambray Button-Down Collared Shirt
  5. J Crew Club-collared Perfect Shirt (long sleeve button down for fall, in place of flannel shirt)
  6. Cream Lightweight 3/4 Sleeve Blouse
  7. White Ruffle Crop Top (Rouje LaLa)
  8. French Stripe Long-Sleeve Shirt
  9. Cropped Knit Sweater, Olive green
  10. Black Cropped Turtleneck


  1. Free People Black Denim A-Line Cropped Overalls
  2. Denim Shorts
  3. White Denim Shorts
  4. Linen Cropped Wide-Leg Pants, Rusty vertical stripes
  5. Linen Mid-Rise Linen Draw-string Pants, olive
  6. Mid-Rise Seersucker Cotton Cropped Pants by Merona, gray vertical stripes
  7. Everlane High-Waisted Dark Wash Ankle Jeans
  8. Everlane High-Waisted True Black Ankle Jeans

Dresses + Skirts

  1. Linen Wrap Dress, Custom Sizing from Etsy
  2. White Eyelet Summery Cotton Short-sleeve Dress
  3. Grayish Taupe Drapey Flowy Dress
  4. Black Short-sleeve dress with White contrast collar
  5. Black Tulle Skirt
  6. Beige High-Waisted Flare Skirt
  7. Red Pencil Skirt
  8. Downeast High-Waisted Green Polka-Dot Bow Skirt
  9. Mustard Pencil Skirt

Seasonal, Footwear, Accessories

  1. Ruffled One-piece Swimsuit by Janela Bay
  2. Saltwater Sandals, navy color
  3. Free People Royale Flat, leather slip-on with pointed toe
  4. Black Blondo Waterproof Elvina Boots, pointed toe, 2in heel, ankle high
  5. Wide-brimmed Natural Sun Hat
  6. Nisolo Huarache Sandal
  7. Brown Skinny Belt
  8. Aviator Sunglasses
  9. J Crew Cocoon City Wool Coat

The Magic of Correct Sizing and Fit

Our bodies are beautiful and we just need to dress it in clothes made for them—not the other way around.

I am 4’11” and nothing has ever fit me properly. I recently recorded my body measurements which was a game-changer for me. I found that I have a tiny torso, and really long legs proportionally! This means that even though I’m very short, most cropped styles will fit me—both cropped tops, and cropped or ankle bottoms.

I also discovered petite sizes on my journey to personal style, and it has changed my life. I can’t tell you the Hallelujah moment that occurred when I tried on the first coat that ever fit me; I wanted to cry from just the relief that I’m not a mutant. The size was “Extra-Extra-Small-Petite”, which up to that point I didn’t know existed. The majority of stores don’t carry my size, so having my body measurements has been so helpful when shopping online. If there’s anything I’ve learned from this experience, it’s that our bodies are beautiful and we just need to dress it in clothes made for them—not the other way around. Petite clothing is cut and made for shorter women, and in my case being even shorter than most petites will also still need tailoring. Everything looks better when it fits, so it’s absolutely worth the effort to find your correct size. I love the wardrobe even more because the fact that it fits my unique body is part of what makes it “me”.

Tricky Business of Skin Tones

The most confusing and frustrating part of my research was skin tone. Something about how the right tone will prevent, “it looks off / you’ll look washed out or sullen”, and turn it into, “you’re glowing / radiant”? There’s so much pressure for a person like me who does believe in the power of color, but is trying to have a small wardrobe with no room for error in basing it on the wrong colors. The trouble was, there was no clear answer for me. That whole thing about veins? Do you look better in gold vs silver jewelry? Better on a white vs cream colored background? Which colors are you subconsciously drawn to? What do you mostly already have in your wardrobe? A bajillion quizzes and searches for visuals to compare? OH. MY. WORD. I’m super embarrassed to say I tried all the things in my obsession to just know, and still came out with, “All my answers contradict…. I don’t know??!” I gave up and decided I would wear **whatever I want** and ignore skin tone entirely. It helped me to just move on, but we’ve determined I’m a NEUTRAL so I can wear whatever I want. Maybe that’s why it wasn’t clear cut for me, and maybe it will help others out there who may have an elusive skin tone.

Petite Styling Takeaways

With my proportions (short torso, long leg, overall super ultra short), I’m trying these tips out with my selections:

  • Monochrome
  • High Waisted / High Rise Bottoms for a long leg line and defined waist
  • Tuck all tops into high-waisted bottoms
  • Vertical stripes, OR small horizontal stripes
  • Scale: smaller person = smaller print / pattern
  • Pointy shoes / low vamp help elongate the legs
  • Shoes in your skin tone (nude) help extend your leg
  • To keep 1/3 to 2/3 ratio: Cropped tops with long bottoms
  • Cropped OR Ultra long (duster, full length) jackets

How Did I Get Here?

Years ago I was a designer for work; being stylish and fashionable simply came with the territory. At that time, I fit into pre-pregnancy clothing and tolerated wearing uncomfortable clothes. It’s been over 6 years since I bought clothing (outside of running or working out) for myself. How is that possible, Kat? It was easy! I just transitioned to working from home, my body went through 2 more pregnancies, and I gave up on clothes. Nothing ever fit me well but I didn’t change sizes, I appreciated what I had and made do with it, shopping overwhelmed me, and we had other priorities. My desires seemed trivial as the kids outgrew shoes every 4 months or we needed to replace last season’s worn out work clothes for my husband. I was patient that someday the outside of me would match my inside. How exciting that the time is now!

Why I Did a Complete Wardrobe Redo

It all started with a joke made by just the right person at just the right time, with just enough awkward pause afterwards to leave me wondering if there was any truth to it. A normal person would let it go. My mind, though, said, “Hold up, let me overthink this…” I had been pretty confident in myself and thought very little what others thought of how I looked. Evidently not anymore, haha. That same night, we were supposed to go out to dinner with other adults, so I scoured my closet for something to wear. I ended up in a corner crying. Sure, “I have nothing to wear,” but I also realized everything I had was a gift or hand-me-down, that what I wore was not a reflection of me—only that I reflected everyone else. I had an existential crisis, “Who am I? Why is there nothing left of ‘me’ in my own closet? Is THIS my style?” All the pieces I would have worn that evening were from the very person who may have criticized me so, and I didn’t want to wear those anymore—especially not that night. I tried to get past the mental block, but the clothes were ruined for me. All that remained was a simple chambray top and black jeans (I had bought them for myself long ago) that I squeezed into made myself fit into. In my own way, that suited me.

Now I’m giving myself a chance to start over, save up for, and buy what I want.

The Change

The biggest change has been the effortlessness of clothing that properly fits. I’m confident in who I am and how I want to present myself. No more pinning, pulling, layering in order to cover up, holes/stains/rips, or awkward bulges of extra fabric. It doesn’t take long to figure out what to wear because everything goes with everything else, and is in good condition! Packing and traveling is so much simpler! I can say that I love every piece I have, and that makes me want to wear them more often and take better care of them. It’s also easier to care for them because the quality is so much better. I finally do feel like my clothes represent me; that unity has definitely made me excited about activities and feelings I’m having while wearing clothes again.

I didn’t try with my old wardrobe, and I don’t try now (see paragraph above on effort)— but now I’ve been getting style compliments whenever I go out in public. That change has been so unexpected! In places where the women definitely dress up and look put together. This one lady stopped me while we were shopping in a store, and said how much she loved my outfit. I said thank you and thought we’d just move on, but she wanted to know specifically where I got everything, fit, brands, sizes, etc. She was super cute with a few kids, too, so it was really nice to know she liked it that much!

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