Wardrobe From Scratch: Case Study – LEANNA

Ohhh goodness, guys.  Bear with me on this one.  The task was not easy and I’m not confident in how well this wardrobe will suit her.  Let’s just say, petite women, I feel your shopping frustrations.  I’ll explain why below.

But first, let’s meet Leanna!  Leanna is a super active mom of a 6 year old and a 1 year old who has a full-time job and is the anchor for her large extended family.  Not only does Leanna need help dressing for all of these different settings, she also needs help dressing her 5’2″ frame and her body shape.  She said, The problems I’ve had with fit are finding the right pieces and styles that keep me from looking short and dumpy. I’ve had trouble highlighting my smaller legs, given I’m only 5’2″ with a short waist, while also drawing attention away from my round midsection.”

Leanna’s style preferences are SO fun and exciting, so I wanted to give Leanna a colorful, funky wardrobe full of lots of patterns, but I also had to juggle finding pieces that would fit her petite frame and flatter her figure…and hopefully at reasonable prices.  

The difficulty was that there aren’t as many options for petite women, and whatever was in stores at this time tended not to be as fun and exciting as I think Leanna could do.  I did my best, but I Just couldn’t find as many pieces for her that I had envisioned.  Instead I relied more on accessories to incorporate that pop to the outfits.  

Some of these items are pretty expensive (compared to what’s usually on this blog, at least), so please understand that this is not a list of specific items that Leanna should buy as it is more a list of types of items she could look for.

Almost all links are for petite sizes but often have petite and regular options.  Shopping links throughout the post below.


Shopping Links:
orange  |  chambray  |  zig zag  |  dotted top

Since Leanna is concerned about her midsection, I hoped for tops with structure built in, like an empire waist, a faux-wrap, an open neck, or darting or seaming in a “C” shape at the waist to create definition for her, but honestly the options available with those characteristics were mostly kind of boring.  I ended up just choosing some pieces with more pattern and color that I hope will work for her shape.

I could at least find tops with open necklines to elongate her petite frame, and top #4 has an empire waist which should hit the narrowest part of her, right under her bust, and flow down to conceal anything she’s worried about.


Shopping Links:
blazer  |  denim  |  cargo

The black blazer will be a great staple for her, particularly for work and for nights out.  If you click to the one above you can see it has some seams that will nip in and create more definition for her upper body.  “Make the clothes do the work for you,” say Stacy and Clinton.

I love denim jackets and cargo jackets for on-the-go moms because they’re durable for when you’re with kids, but they can also be chic and worn for other occasions that don’t involve kids.  The cargo jacket I listed has strings to nip in at the waist too, also helping create some definition in the waist.

Cardigans are also excellent for moms (and for work) because you can move around really easily in them.  Since Leanna didn’t seem to be scared of prints, I thought a printed cardi would be great for her. Whether it’s animal print, stripes, florals, or a fun geometric one, a printed cardi will be an instant piece to add interest to plain basics.


Shopping Links:
black  |  striped  |  purple  |  denim  |  floral
The goal with the skirts was to add some volume to her lower half to balance out her top half with skirts that come straight down or a little away from her body at least around the knees.
Also, for someone who is petite (correct me if I’m wrong) I’ve read that a good rule of thumb is for skirts and dresses to hit just above the knee, or at least at the knee.  That should help elongate the leg line. 
There were quite a few skirt options, but since this is just a starter kit wardrobe I went with ones that could function in at least two, if not three, of Leanna’s lifestyle activities.  I also looked at skirts with pleats and a-lines but the particular options I saw didn’t seem like they could serve dual purposes.


Shopping Links:
Similarly to skirts, I chose pants that would go from her hip and make a nice straight line down to add some volume and balance out her top half.  Also, since Leanna’s lower half is smaller, her pants can be lighter to draw attention to them.  
Grey trousers will be a great work staple for Leanna.  I looked for a lighter or medium shade of grey.  
Straight legged jeans in a medium-wash.  I’d prefer something even slightly lighter for Leanna than the ones I showed, but that’s what I could find.
Olive kahki/cargos is always a plus for time with kids, but I could also see these dressed up with heels.
White jeans...I just threw this one in there even if it might not be practical with little kids.  But you never know, that doesn’t scare some people!  She has such a thin lower half that white straight legged jeans would look so great on her!


Shopping Links:
black  |  purple  |  blue print  |  green print
Faux-wraps, v-necks, empire waists, and a-line skirts.  Like I mentioned above with tops and skirts, these are exactly what Leanna needs.  The wraps and empire waists will create definition for her, the open necks will elongate her neckline, and volume at the bottom of the skirts will balance out her upper half.  
I think each of these dresses will serve her in two to three of her different lifestyle activities too!
Shopping Links:
orange scarf  |  leopard  |  green  |  necklace  |  metallic  |  leopard
boots  |  blue  |  striped  |  black  |  leopard  |  sandals
The possibilities here are endless, but I chose fun colors for her.  And honestly, looking at her style preferences on Pinterest, leopard pumps and striped flats might be mild for her!  She could totally rock a zebra print wedge!  But the point isn’t the specific pieces…the point is to incorporate pattern and funkiness into her outfits by using printed shoes, colorful jewelry, and colored/patterned scarves.

Seriously guys, I’m wiped from shopping!  This one was really difficult to do, especially online, because like I said, I’m not confident that this will suit her style preferences well.  Usually if the person is in front of me this is a good starting place but we get to tweak things if my hunches don’t work well.  Without having her actually in front of me for feedback and that kinda stuff I wasn’t quite sure about everything so I hope this works out for her!

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed.  Your encouragement is much appreciated!

Like last time you can create outfits for Leanna below.  What might be helpful is if you labeled them for the types of activities you think she could wear the outfit to based on her profile above.  🙂

**For more posts like this, see the Wardrobe From Scratch Series.

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