The long and short of it...Trousers

Q. I recently bought a pair of jeggings but they are too long for me as I am only 5ft 1in. I wear them tucked inside my boots; if I get them turned up by a dressmaker will they look right?

A.
Few women could live without their perfect pair of trousers - the ones which make you look like you've magically lost half a stone overnight, cling to the right bits and hide the bulges. But finding them can be time-consuming, not to mention frustrating – especially if you are petite - and who really wants the hassle of having to get garments altered once you’ve already bought them.

Of course you can get your jeggings taken up (companies such as The Zip Yard offer a fantastic alterations service) and this will immediately solve the problem, but wouldn’t it be better if you’d bought the correct length in the first place? Nowadays the high street offers a wide selection of jeans and trousers aimed at the smaller customer, with stores such as Topshop, Minuet Petite, M&S, Principles Petite and the catalogue company La Redoute producing fashionable lines for the petite customers.

Of course, it’s important to know what styles will be most flattering to your frame, for example, cropped trousers can make legs look shorter, so go for skinny and cigarette styles if you want to create the illusion of leaner, longer pins. It’s also vital to add some height to your legs by teaming your jeggings with a pair of heels.

Copy the celebrities’ favourite tip (Kate Middleton swears by this one) and wear a pair of nude coloured high heel shoes, as this will make your legs appear much longer. Keep your accessories small in size because you’ll need them to look in proportion to your petite frame. A cute little clutch bag and delicate jewellery will help add the finishing touches to your daytime look, so invest in a few fashion forward pieces to bring your look bang up to date.

Where to shop

The Additions catalogue (0845 304 0008, additionsdirect.co.uk) stocks an appealing range for petite ladies and the good news is that it‘s relatively inexpensive too. Country Casuals (01845 573120, countrycasuals.co.uk) stocks fashionable clothes aimed at the over 40‘s in a wide range of sizes and fits. Dorothy Perkins (dorothyperkins.co.uk) sells one of the best tall or petite ranges: very inexpensive. Topshop (0800 731 8284) also offers good tall and petite collections. Gap sizes are helpful: its trousers and jeans come in ankle, regular and tall (0800 427789).

Georgina Heffernan