Petite Outfit Critique - The Camera Never Lies

Last week I wore an outfit to work and thought that I looked amazing. I had combined some of my favorite pieces into what I believed was one very pretty outfit. Only after I got home and snapped some photos did I realize what a walking "fit" disaster I was.
Jacket: Theory Caprine sz 00
Shell: Ann Taylor sz XXSP
Skirt: Ann Taylor Tropical Wool skirt sz 00P (new color for Fall!)
Pumps: Ann Taylor Perfect Exotic Pumps sz 5

Can you see all the ways this ensemble fits wrong? Ay yi yi...

1. I was delusional when I said the skirt didn't need alterations. In the left photo I rolled up the waist as an "informal hem job" (bad idea, at work I forgot about it, took off my jacket and coworkers gawked at my rolls). I now see that the skirt doesn't fit at the waist, hips, nor length. The boxiness makes my legs look so tiny and short. I still love the material and quality though, so I'm getting another one in this new color at the next 30% off, and taking it to my tailor.

2. The armholes of the shell...such an atrocity should always be covered by a sweater or jacket. 

3. Lastly, the blazer is too long on me to be paired with a skirt. Skirt suits on petites are really tricky. They won't look right unless the blazer hits closer to the waist and the skirt is fitted. That's because skirts are less elongating than a nice pair of pants, so the blazer has to be extra proportionate to your frame.

The only one I've come across that works for me is this Theory skirt suit...and I just measured - that blazer is a whole 3 inches shorter than this one!
Oh well. Blog and learn, blog and learn. Now I have to find new bottoms to make this work, cuz I still love the top half w/ the jacket on!

Readers - ever think you look amazing in something, then see the "truth" in photos? This has definitely happened to me more than once.


  1. Yes, yes and double yes. I don't understand why when one looks in a full length mirror looks different than a snapshot. I think it is because you see your body in relationship to the environment? I dunno at all.

    A skirt that I recommend is an Express skirt! I got it today and I will do a blog review on it. I used your suiting post and Alteration's Needed post before strutting off to Express. Thanks to your post, I avoided the pants all together and went straight for a skirt instead.

  2. Happens to me ALL THE TIME! I thought I looked so cute wearing a long blue and green striped maxi dress, then saw the pics and I looked like a gawky 13 year old!

    Either way I think you look cute and the fit isn't horribly bad... the skirt does look a bit big and while I didn't notice the armholes initially, after you pointed it out, it's definitely noticeable. Blog and learn indeed :)

  3. I agree with the first two statements: the skirt is loose and the armholes are pretty big. But I'm not sure that the blazer is looks fine to me, but then again, I'm used to wearing longer blazers.

    I think the tie at the waist helps with the outfit, but if the skirt was more tapered, it'd be more flattering.

  4. I honestly think that if the skirt were a little more fitted, with the blazer on, this outfit wouldn't look that bad.

    And it's funny you say skirt suits are more difficult for petites to pull off because to this day, I own a million skirt suits but haven't been able to find a pant suit that works... I guess I must have weird legs because the pants always looks God awful on me.

    I do really love the lilac/white color combination. There's one great thing your coworkers probably admired! Lol.

  5. Eww and excuse the horrible grammar in that last post.

  6. Yup... somehow in my head I'm always taller than I appear :P I still love how awesome that Theory suit fits on you. But that said, I think you're probably being too hard on yourself... I didn't IMMEDIATELY notice anything that's glaringly wrong with this outfit. It's probably passable but I suppose why settle when it can look a whole lot better? :)

  7. Yessss, absolutely. For me it's called the NO folder - the images that will never see the light of day on my blog. =)

    Looking back on your Theory skirtsuit - fantastic on you!

  8. I feel ya! I have definitely left the house thinking my outfit is fantastic and realize that it looks completely off in pictures. To be honest, I don't think this outfit looks that bad. Your blouse is gorgeous!

  9. I feel your pain, feel your pain- and it is so strange how different items look in the mirror versus in a photo- it's how I learned that low-rise jeans on me are a maaaajor no (short legs + long torso + petite = Oompah Loompah).

    Like PetiteXXS said, I didn't notice anything glaringly wrong with the outfit (the colors are so pretty!) but I understand where you are coming from- it's easy for us petites to look like we're swimming in whatever we're wearing and/or playing dress up in our mom's clothing. Ugh, such a pain. :(

  10. Ugh...I still wish I had the foresight to know the Theory skirt would look amazing paired with the jacket. Not picking up that skirt is one of my biggest wardrobe mistakes.

    Nice to see the AT floral shell getting some blog time. I love that thing, but same issue, I can't wear it unless it's under a cardigan or jacket. The armholes are a bit too big.

    Totally agree, the skirt is a little big. Love the color palate though! Once you get the skirt you want tailored down, I think it'll work quite nice.

  11. Awww that sucks about the fit. I like the specific pieces of the outfit though--like the blazer, the colour of the skirt, and the detailing on the shirt. Some days I'm too rushed to get dressed and then feel bad the whole day when I re-examine what I'm wearing when I've already left the house lol

  12. The separate pieces are all so beautiful - the white Theory skirt suit looks so good. Hopefully the fitting change won't be too much and alterations will fix it all up because it's a gorgeous outfit.

    I definitely take pictures to make sure I don't look crazy in my proportions haha. I remember I felt really strange in my military outfit but when I went outside it created a kind of unique proportion I hadn't thought of before and ended up liking it though the mid calf combat boots made me look more stunted than usual. Lack of full-length mirror/mirror that doesn't lie => trust the camera

  13. Ahh to be honest I do not think the total outfit as a disaster.
    Right the skirt is a little too long and needs to be hemmed (I am so used to do that myself that it comes as a first thing I ever do before wearing a skirt or dress) but, overall, it fits.
    What disturb me more are the ruffles coming off the jacket, seems weird to me with the pearls added.. but stil!
    And the jacket is great too.
    Otherwise I would say that I always have jackets way too long and large for me (well it is true... in a way, so difficult to find a proper fitting jacket here).
    Today, as I am waiting for my futon to be delivered before going to the office (I hate waiting) I am wearing an tee shirt and a low waist white skirt, not pencil mind you. So it is not close to the body.
    Well I do think low waist is really a bad idea but anyway I managed and I do not think (well I hope) that I look so bad.
    But I do not have a full length mirror...

  14. I totallly agree with you. I do think the skirt is a bit big on you and same with the shell. With petites, it's hard for us to find something that would fit nicely around the waist/hips area. Finding a nice fitted pencil skirt is even hardly. With a quick fix from your tailor, I am sure it'll look super nice on you.

  15. I totally know how you feel! You can look at yourself in the morning and feel great and then pass a reflective window or see a photo or something later and just say what was I thinking!? ><

    I see what you mean about the skirt and the jacket is slightly long but I certainly don't think this outfit is a disaster! The colours are stunning together =)

  16. Well obvious I TOTALLY know what you mean about pictures telling the truth about an outfit LOL! I have so many items in my wardrobe that probably need tailoring but I've just worn them so much or have had them for so long that it's hard to look at items objectively. That's what the blogging is for! ;)

    I agree the skirt is a bit big and would probably look more tailored paired with a better jacket. Really loving that top though!

  17. ALWAYS. I try to plan my best outfits for when I go on vacation and when I go to review pics I always end up saying, "What was I thinking?" Nevertheless, I love the colors of your outfit. The purple ruffles peaking out from your white Theory blazer in the last photo is just to die for.

    And this is totally unrelated, but yesterday I was reading on Petite XXS's comments about how Asians always wonder what kind of Asian others are. I actually wonder what is the size/stature of other petites' boyfriends/significant others. Do most petite ladies have a man whose height/build complement their petite frame or otherwise? Not exactly a "fit" topic but maybe one of you bloggers can do some kind of survey for curiosities sake? lol

  18. I think the color looks lovely on you but everything is a bit too big/long on you. Nothing a trip to the seamstress can't save, right?

    I do this all the time. I think something looks better than it does, even in photos. I have to have people point out to me the oddities to be made aware of it. It's bad. That's partially why I started blogging so I can get some honest opinions.

    Also, re: medium gray Chanel, yes, it is $3400 for both lambskin and caviar! Before the August 1 price hike, it was 2600 for caviar and 2850 for lambskin. Ugh, I am so peeved at them right now. I almost want to stop buying to make a point. If you want that gray maybe wait until Bloomies offer 20% off a purchase to new card applications? I don't really know many Bloomies SA's but I am sure you can just call up the boutique and find out. Good luck!

  19. The color looks absolutely amazing on you. I can see why you thought you looked amazing it them. :) Because you do. (except a bit of a fit problem of course). I agree with ALL your points about jacket too long for the skirt ensemble, shell armhole too big, and skirt needs hemming and taken in. The jacket will work fine with pants/jeans I think just not with skirts.
    BUT (a big BUT), I don't think anyone else would notice that it's ill-fitting except yourself. I would be totally drawn to the color and ignore everything else. :)

  20. Lovely as always, I adore the soft colors.

  21. I really like the outfit! I agree that the skirt could use some alterations, but it's really not that bad!

    ALL THE TIME I look at my pictures and think WTH was I thinking? Usually it has to do with hemlines, though - I think they're too short or too long looking.

  22. The top half is beautiful. I love the jacket with the pearls.

    I love the picture of you without the jacket...your embarrassment is obvious! Lol!

    I am really loveing the Petite Slim Denim Skirt from LOFT. It is such a nice neutral! The regular price is already pretty decent...$49.50. I was able to get it for $28 this Tuesday...they had the 30% promotion, plus I had a 20% teacher discount they let me use on top of that...I ended up getting $193 taken off my total purchase price! I am still so happy about that! :)

  23. This has happened to me numerous times. *Sigh*. Must learn and do better...

  24. Mmm.. the skirt does seem a little big but all in all the look as a whole is simply gorgeous! =)

  25. the color combo is very cute & summery though! i have a problem finding skirts that are tapered on the bottom as well.

    i think it's a good outfit, just need a little shrinking to all the pieces!

  26. That's definitely happened to me. Or even the "truth" about how a fabric looks in my somewhat low lit apartment vs the bright sun of San Diego! haha. I had a shirt that when we were out, my boyfriend and I both looked at and said "eww that needs to be dismissed from the wardrobe" haha

  27. When I was 19 I thought I looked FANTASTIC with electric blue hair. The photos of said blue hair in retrospect, however, say otherwise.

    I still think this outfit looks great on you, awkward fit or not. I love the soft feminine colors thrust into the corporate conservative context. Great job anyway, I'd say.

  28. Oh Jean, you are too hard on yourself!

    @ first, I only noticed the arm hole, but that's b/c the shirt looks newly tucked and thus, dragging down the arm hole. If that's not the case, you always have a solution to pair it with a jacket or a cardigan, since most people don't go sleeveless @ the office anyhow.

    I don't think the jacket is too long b/c it has the belt, so when tied, it creates an emphasis of your natural waist, eliminating the boxy dilemma. The skirt needs only a bit of tapering. No biggie.

    You're lucky Theory jackets fit you. I just discovered 00s are too big for me. womp!!

    I dig this lavender ensemble.

  29. I love the idea of the entire ensemble - ruffles, pearls, lavendar! *swoon* but to be honest, you're swimming in the outfit!
    A better fit on all 3 items would have made it perfect.

    regardless, you're still adorable!


  30. You are adorable and too hard on yourself!

    I thought the first picture looked lovely, and I really liked all the soft colours. True about the skirt needing some alterations and the armholes, but that's not the first thing that I noticed.

  31. Thanks guys for the thoughts and comments : ) And I don't know why the mirror lies...but Hannah's explanation sounds pretty good. Pics show your body in an environment whereas in a mirror you are just looking back at yourself. ?

    Angie / Marigami - shock! how do you ladies live? i can't survive without my full length mirror (neither can the boyfriend, always hogging my space to gel his hair!) hehe

    Michelle - oh wow, I didn't know that Loft loves teachers dicount could be combined with other discounts! Lucky you! Too bad you don't blog so can't see your pile of new stuff...: )

    Aubrey - lol I guess we are our own harshest critics. Or however that saying goes. You must be teeny! But don't lose faith if you tried on a few 00 blazers that didn't fit. Their sizing varies, so you'll have to hit one that is "shrunken fit."

    RL - hehe, lets see if we can satisfy your curiosity.

    Sara - how funny : ) How could I forget the issue of lighting. I've had quite a few photos with flash that nicely revealed my stark white undergarments.

    Elle - noooo. So it is true. If we boycott, I'm sure they will notice and lower their prices...NOT. During our no tax weekend I paid both the bloomies and N.M. SAs a visit but they were not interested in helping me. Even if they did find my coveted I'd have a hard time swallowing that new price tag.

  32. I have become much more concerned about the fittings since I start reading your blog. You obviously spread this "perfect fitting fever" to me (which I didn't really care in the past). That blazer is very beautiful and i love how you pair it with your Ann Taylor top.

  33. Unfortunately, I don't think the two of us alone can take down Chanel's ridiculous price hiking strategy. Well, I'll resist the department stores and boutiques in the meantime as a show of solidarity but as soon as the right red m/l shows up I don't know what I'll do. In any case, I'll keep an eye out for a gray for you.

  34. You still looked amazing! The fit is not that noticeable!

  35. PAG - The saleswomen told me that sometimes they do/don't. Since it is the beginning of the school year for many, they were offering that discount.

    I might take a few pictures of my outfits and post them on the AN forum. Already have my first week or two of outfits planned out. :)

  36. That's so funny. I tried to do the same with one pencil skirt--rolling up the waist, and pretending that all was fine, until I looked at the rear in the mirror--it was a disaster, like you wrote. I suppose for a skirt that doesn't fit, just fixing the length typically does not solve the fit of the whole skirt. To think about it, it's probably a good thing. Pencil skirts should be tailored to fit all the right places as it is. When alteration is necessary, the whole skirt should be taken into consideration. Otherwise, I would question the designer's capability.

  37. I love your blog! I just found it a few days ago, and I too, am petite! I'm about 94 lbs and almost 5'2", and finding pants are the biggest pain for me!


  38. Oh yes, I've gotten skirts like that before that really do look cute. But then they don't fit in the waist OR the hips OR the length. It's really too bad.

  39. That has definitely happened to me, but I think that shirt looks pretty on you :) Didn't even notice the armholes! x


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