Reader Request: Building Confidence Beyond Stature

“Sometimes because I am so petite, I feel like a kid compared to the "grownups" at my workplace. Have you ever had that feeling? Do people ever say you look younger than you are? I get it a lot and it definitely lowers my self esteem. Could you do a post about confidence?” --- Anonymous


Dear reader – I can relate. Being extra petite and youthful looking can definitely hinder one’s confidence. I work with tall, well-spoken and put-together individuals, and at times it can feel daunting. When I first started working, I was asked my age several times by clients…mortifying.

It's rumored that taller people may be more successful in the workplace than their shorter counterparts, due to greater self-esteem and social confidence that possibly comes with height. Although I somewhat agree with this theory, it only means that petite women like us need to put in a little extra effort to find our confidence and achieve our own success. I’m still learning as I go, but here are some things I personally keep in mind:

Look your best, carry yourself well, and be a valuable contributor.

1. Look Your Best
First off – take care of your appearance. Groom yourself. Wear clothes that make you feel good. What works for me:
- Use makeup to enhance your natural features. I’m a huge believer in using makeup to help one look more mature (especially on Asian eyes). 
- Wear apparel that fits and flatters your figure. Fit is the premise of my blog, and the most important aspect of an outfit. A woman can look striking in a cheap black suit that fits her to perfection, or could look like a mess in an ill-fitting designer ensemble. Front, side and back view photos can help gauge the true fit of something. 
- Have a “go-to” ensemble. Everyone has “off” days and lazy days, so prepare simple, foolproof combinations for those days. My go-to work outfit is a ruffled blouse tucked into a pencil skirt, plus Ann Taylor perfect pumps. 
- Wear heels. Without a doubt I feel longer and leaner—and subsequently more confident—when wearing heels. 3.5 inch heels are the perfect height for me. Practice walking and make sure the shoes fit (use inserts if needs be), as nothing feels worse than shoes slipping off with every step.
2. Carry Yourself Well
The way you carry yourself transcends size or age. The points below are things that I’m working hard on to improve. Sometimes you're not aware of these things unless someone else points it out (usually, however, only someone who truly cares about you – like a parent – will point out such things): 
- Stand up straight. Good posture is critical for petites. A straight back, shoulders, and neck can instantly add inches. 
- Project your voice. Many petite women whom I’ve met have delicate little voices that accentuate their size. I’m not suggesting shouting at the top of your lungs, but it's important to speak confidently and audibly. Also factor in the height of whom you're talking to, because taller people are further away (no joke...I speak louder to taller coworkers or else they have to bend down to hear). 
- Be engaging. Try to maintain eye contact during conversations, listen actively, and show genuine signs of engagement. 
- Greet with confidence. Everyone appreciates a warm smile and a firm handshake. During a mock interview, my college career counselor pointed out how my weak little handshake may be mistaken for a lack of confidence.

3. Be a Valuable Contributor
Despite the above two sections, the bottom line is: If you're good at what you do and bring value to your team, you will command the respect of others –regardless of how tall you are or how you look. There’s an executive at one of my clients who is shorter than me, is hopelessly unfashionable, slouchy, and softspoken. But those who work with her have the utmost respect for her.

When opportunities arise to ask questions, give suggestions, or share an experience – try to push yourself to say something, even if you’re shy. People remember and respect those who contribute. When you have the respect of those around you, confidence should come naturally.

Readers -  Can you relate? Please share your own experiences or advice.

Petite Lookbook: Embracing the Lace

My Target order arrived this weekend and I'll be reviewing things slowly. First up is a definite keeper. I wasn't so sure about this affordable lace cardigan at first, but after trying it on with pieces in my closet I fell in love. I first wore it to work over a simple black sheath dress and got numerous compliments. Even my friend who was originally disgusted by my purchase now wants one!
Skirt: Banana Republic Paper Bag Skirt sz 0P (similar here in 00)
Belt: BR outlet   Bag: Chanel WOC   Cameo: Peri

The key is to not wear it over a contrasting top a la the hideous Target model pic (but thank you, Target, for the awful photo because that's why this cardigan is now so cheap). I paired this with a simple black cami, a neutral skirt, plus some basic black accessories. If I were to nitpick, I'd complain about the slightly too-long sleeves. However, they are very easy to scrunch up, and I prefer them at the elbow anyways to make the overall look less lacy.

Funny story about this skirt - I was shipping my blog sale items when I noticed one address was 3 blocks away from my apartment! I offered to meet up in person to do the exchange, and she came bearing a gift - a Banana Republic paper bag skirt that she had allegedly outgrown. I have nothing like this skirt and already wore it (and got compliments on it) several times. The belt loops and bunchy nature of the skirt allow me to make the 0P work. Thanks so much, Jenny!!

The silhouette of this skirt resembles the J.crew wool bell skirt(still left in sz 00), so if you ordered this cardigan and own the J.crew skirt, I highly recommend trying the two together : )
Here are photos to show how the cardigan fits. I would not wear it over jeans (much prefer it tucked into skirts and over dresses), but these give you an idea of the longer length and overall snug fit. If you are bigger than me, I'd recommend sizing up to a S as the XS is fitted on me all-around. 
I highly recommend this cardigan to anyone who wants to add something "different" to their wardrobe. The brown did not work out for me, but I can see myself wearing the black with many different ensembles. At just $11.98 (plus other discounts and ebates), this is a welcome addition to my wardrobe.

PS - one new item was added to my blogsale, and prices on other items have been lowered.

Readers - did anyone else pick up this lace cardigan? If so, how are you styling it?

Petite Lookbook: Prim and Proper

Thank you everyone who entered my Valentine's Day giveaway. The winner this time is Thuy! Please visit this post for the selection details. Please email me within 72 hours to claim your prize : )

A while back I posted about one of my favorite ways to wear a cardigan - tucked into a pencil skirt. I wanted to show how this can work nicely for longer cardigans, as long as they are thin and fitted.
Cardigan: LOFT XXSP (similar here in 12 colors)
Silk Pleated Blouse: J.Crew sz 0 (taken in)
Tweed Skirt: Theory 00  Rings: Topshop
Belt: J.Crew sz S (extra holes punched
Vintage Pendant: "Peri" Cameo (from here)

This is how I used to wear this cardigan for work. Atrocious! Thank you, photos, for enlightening me. The long cardi hanging over the pencil skirt left no room for body definition.

Here is the same exact sweater and skirt done over again. Ideally the cardigan would be more fitted in the torso, but the look is already cleaner and the overall shape definition is greatly improved.
 Skirt: Ann Taylor Tropical Wool Pencil Skirt in 00P (taken in) - new color available!

For this prim outfit, I reached for my favorite vintage Peri cameo. Vintage trinkets look beautiful over delicate materials like silks, chiffon, and lace (as shown here). This is probably one of my most-worn accessories (can be donned as a pendant or a pin), and the best part - it was under $10 on eBay.

Readers - Have you tried the tucked-in cardi for work yet?

Chanel Petite Shopping Tote & Wallet on Chain WOC Review

Although handbags can "make" or complete an outfit, I rarely show them on my blog. I have a very small collection, so you guys would surely get sick of seeing them! After college I purged all of my bags (many of them awkwardly-sized) and started fresh. I wanted to invest carefully in pieces that were beautiful and timeless, that were suitable for my size, and most importantly - were functional.
Video review:

1. Petite Shopping Tote (PST) 9" width x 9" height x 3" depth
Beautiful, classic tote - but for reasons mentioned in the video, isn't the most functional for me

2. Wallet on Chain (WOC) - 7" length x 5" height x 1" depth
This bag wasn't even on my radar until I discovered (non-petite) Anh of 9to5chic. She always looks effortlessly polished, and her WOC makes frequent appearances in outfits for all sorts of occasions. The WOC satisfies all of my requirements. It can be worn as a:
-long shoulder bag
- clutch
- double-chained purse; or
- cross-body bag
Dress: J.Crew paisley sheath sz 0P, altered
Booties: Adrienne Vittadini "adam"
YSL Arty Ring in Turquoise, sz 5 (taped)

I got lucky and purchased both of these pre-owned. I don't discriminate against pre-owned Chanel as long as it's in excellent condition and comes with all the original packaging (box, dustbag, tags, auth card). The current retail price of the PST is around $1600, and the rectangular caviar WOC goes for around $1300.

Readers - What is your favorite go-to handbag?

YSL Arty Rings for Small Hands?

I realize I'm about one year behind on this one. I don't really pursue "trends," and thus consider myself a clothing blogger and not a fashion or style blogger. But oh, these much-hyped rings are really quite beautiful in person.

Yves Saint Laurent Arty Ring in Turquoise and Coral, sz 5 (bought 'em here)
I first read about these rings over a year ago, but size 5 was frequently sold out. I was also worried the large stone would look like an Easter egg swallowing up my child-sized paws. Then I saw Tiffany's blue one in action and loved it on her petite hands. In person, I don't find the size overwhelming at all. What are your thoughts?

On a whim, I checked Saks' website last month and saw that not one, but eight colors were available in size 5! I wish they made the stones interchangeable with magnets or something :
Yves Saint Laurent Arty Ring in Turquoise and Coral

YSL size 5 may not be small enough right out of the box for those with tiny fingers. There was definitely some sizing inconsistency too between the two I received. The smaller size 5 fits bigger than my size 6 Forever21 rings! Thankfully, after my post about ring-sizing, Jenny shared a tip (thank you, Jenny!) involving double-sided mounting or foam tape which has worked amazingly on all my rings.

To sum it up...

Arty Likes:
- Beautiful bold design and color. I can see someone (my future child, perhaps?) finding this 20 years down the road and loving it as a vintage piece.
- Unique. And I use this word relatively. This ring is "last year" amongst the world of trendy fashion bloggers, but I have not yet run into anyone in conservative Boston with this, and it was unique to my coworkers and friends.

Arty Dislikes:
- Expensive for costume jewelry (but for designer costume jewelry, it's actually not bad)
- The oval is made of glass. That means it could probably shatter or chip on light impact. My F21 oval ring already shattered after it flew off my finger. But that was $6...

Readers - Classic statement piece or fleeting trend? Which color gets your vote?