Petite is a term I never associate with myself. The term brings to mind a tiny, lithe woman whereas I see myself as merely short. I've got an ample bosom, a full booty, and hips that don't lie. At 5’1” and 125 pounds and by many Asian standards, I am still considered fat. Well into my 30’s, I am no longer bothered when Pinoys would tell me or my mother (the horrors!) that I needed to lose weight. These are often people who I do not even know personally but seem to think its okay to comment about my size or heft. Notice how I specifically said Pinoys? Well as it turns out, we, along with other Asian countries are very caught up with the concept that sexy or attractive means having a slender frame. Western friends would however dispute what they found to be a ridiculous body concern. They stated that I had a nice hourglass figure and that anyone would half a brain would kill for—their words, not mine.

The biggest hurdle about being petite and curvy is finding clothes that fit right. When you’re merely short the problem is always just the length. This combo, however, means you have to deal with both the length and the width issues. Here is how I get it together:

1. First off, get measured correctly.
Go to a trusted seamstress and have your vitals sorted out. Knowing your digits allows you to find clothing that will fit you correctly especially if you are like me and you enjoy shopping online.

Get a clue on your US or UK sizing. However, do not, I repeat, DO NOT rely on this form of measure 100 percent. Designers and clothing brands tend to play around with their sizing. For example, if I want nice loose-fitting bottoms that allow my hips and hiney room to breathe I often go for an US 8 to 12 for most clothing labels. Although a size 10 to 12 is loose for me in the waist area, a belt keeps me from showing builders bum. Also, I have discovered that in certain brands, I am miraculously much smaller. Cotton On for example, has smaller sizing labels. Read: A size 10 in H&M is equivalent to a size 6 in Cotton On. So while it is nifty to know your sizing, it is best not to fully rely on it. Simply use it as a means to cut down all the time spent rifling and fitting clothes. You may also just do what I do and use your phone to keep your sizing listed down per brand.

2. Embrace classic items with a sexy twist.
When it comes to styles, I’m a no nonsense kind of dresser. Classic cuts are my go tos along with solid colors. I rarely ever choose prints because I personally feel I get more milage out of my neutral palette.

I love maxi dresses because they are comfortable. While it may sound counter intuitive for me to be wearing so many long garments, it in fact does the opposite. You see, when you are short and you wear so many different smaller pieces, you cut your body up giving a a clear distinction where your torso is, your bottom half, etc. The longer items tend to elongate the body not to mention it is easier to hide your wedge heels underneath with no one being the wiser.

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Tube skirts are also a staple for me they hug you in the right places and even though you are rocking one that’s grazing your ankles you still have a hot sexy vibe going for you. Plus, they can be paired with heels or sneakers. With sweater fabrics in season, you can pair these stretchy, hip-hugging skirts with a nice loose sweater, or you may opt for a knit tube skirt that can take you from office to party. Peplum and pencil skirts are also amazing in accentuating the waist and hip ratio, giving petite curvy girls an even more va va voom look.

It is extremely easy to go from looking curvy to frumpy as f*ck. I find that a lot of the flowier styles are harder to get away with because the fabric tends to drown my frame. With shirt dresses making a comeback, my picks are often solid darker hues or higher ones with slim vertical stripes. Cinching at the waist is optional, but it does help highlight your killer curves more.

3. Lastly, showing just the right amount of skin is essential when you aren't the iconic sized Coca Cola bottle, rather you’re a Coke Sakto.
Go by the general rule: if you are showing skin up top, keep the bottom half modest and vice versa. Growing up in the 90s I love me some camisoles as outerwear, which I refer to as my “pantulog couture.” If you're up for this look, might I suggest a wide legged trouser, heels, and slinky camisole with enough cleavage on show. Don’t forget to top that off with a well-fitted boyfriend blazer.

Mind you, I did buy into the whole “ang taba mo, mag-diet ka!” comments. But after spending so many hours working out religiously and missing out so much on life (I once spent NYE working out and not partying), I came to realize that while I did lose an inch here and there, the chest and hip area remained the same. Nowadays when I workout, my main objectives are to build strength and stamina rather than trying to fit into the Pinoy norms—not to mention that it was dumb of me to get carried away with what people were saying when I should’ve put genetics into consideration. So to my grandmas and great grandmas, thank you for the bewbs and the booty!

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