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Why You Should Never Let Anyone Tell You “You Can’t Pull That Off”


high waisted bikini

When you’re just a smidge over five feet tall you get told entirely too often that you can’t pull off certain trends. Whether it’s your friends saying that wide-leg pants are ‘just not for you’ or fashion magazines urging you to stay away from gladiator sandals, people are always trying to draw lines between what certain body types should and shouldn’t wear. My take on it? It’s complete bullshit.

Now, I know that I often suggest you wear certain things and or don’t wear certain others – but here’s the thing: As a fashion writer, I firmly believe that certain pieces are inappropriate for certain situations. When it comes to body type, on the other hand, I say if you like it, wear it.

You know how most magazines/web sites break down what you should wear based on your body type? So if you’re petite, you should wear Bermuda shorts (worst piece of advice I’ve ever heard, BTW). If you’re athletic you should wear lots of ruffles. If you’re ‘curvy’ you should cover yourself up completely and stick to all black.

It’s a ridiculous attempt to make the case that there’s only one ideal body type. For example, I’ve always been very short. But does that mean I’m constantly on the prowl for items that’ll make me look taller, as the magazines so sweetly suggest? No. In fact, I happen to love being small. Have you seen the prices on items in the kids’ section? In fact some of my favorite styles – like maxi skirts, oversized tops and shoes that cover the ankle – are supposed no-nos for girls who are my height. My priority when getting dressed is whether or not I like what I see in the mirror. It’s a big picture thing, not a detail thing.

With that being said, there are items that just don’t look right on me. Jumpsuits, for example – my torso is especially short so there’s always excess fabric around the belly when I try to wear a one-piece number. It looks awkward on me because of my height – but that doesn’t mean I can’t wear jumpsuits. It means I have to hunt around for one that flatters me a little bit more, maybe get one tailored a bit or even throw a vest over one that looks too large around the waist to camouflage the weird bagginess.

Swimsuits are a prime example. If you’re not stick thin, you’ve probably been told that you should stick to a one piece suit. If a one-piece would make you feel more comfortable than a bikini, by all means, wear one. But if you’d die to be in a bikini, find a great one and wear it. Look for one that emphasizes your favorite body part. If you’re not fond of your midsection, opt for one of those high-waisted numbers. Don’t just let someone tell you you can’t do it, find a way to make it work for you and prove everyone wrong.

Don’t be afraid to break some rules once in a while – you may just find a hack that works really well for you. Like those thick belts that used to be cool – remember how everyone suggested that you were them around the smallest part of your waist? Good idea, but for me, slouching those belts down around my hips worked even better. It was just a really flattering look on my frame, even tough it wasn’t ‘the right way of doing things.’

But enough ranting. Here’s my advice: If you’re completely stumped, try using the ‘dressing for your body type’ guides as a jumping off point – but don’t be afraid to experiment. Busty girls can wear tank tops, athletic frames can wear feminine cuts, shorties can wear maxi dresses, full-figured ladies can wear bikinis, lanky types can wear wrap dresses. It’s all about figuring out how to make the style work for you – and if you feel confident in it, you will rock it.

    I'm a Chicago-based writer and graduate of the Medill School of Journalism who has written for sites like,,,,, Racked, Thrillist and The Huffington Post.