This story was updated in January 2019.
Whenever I am down or feeling low, I look at the pretty poster in my room with an affirmative quote on it. It goes like this: “A great dress can make you remember what is beautiful about life”. This beaut is a product of the American fashion designer, Rachel Roy. And just like that, I feel happy again! After all, they make us look so pretty and oh-so-feminine.
Though most dresses are really easy to wear, some of them can be a little tricky to sport. Of course, we are talking about short dresses. How short is too short, how to wear a short dress modestly, how to look confident in a short dress - these questions are often heard but rarely addressed properly. Well, not anymore.
When it comes to dressing up, we all have been stuck in situations where we want to go short, but don’t know how to. So here is a list of all the important dos and don’ts of wearing a short dress that you use for a carefree and stylish day:
No matter how cute they look, short dresses are prone to wardrobe malfunctions. So, as a part of your prevention plan, wear cycling shorts or boy shorts under your dress. Not only will they make you feel comfortable, but also won’t let your underwear show.
Your dress should be snug enough to fit you at all the right places but not so tight that it borders on unflattering and looks like you are trying too hard. If your dress is too tight, it will move up your thighs as you sit or move, and you don’t want that now, do you? So, look for dresses that suit your body type. It is advisable to go short or tight, but not both! In case you are stuck with a dress that is, in fact, a little too tight (it’s okay, we have all made mistakes while shopping online), you can stretch it out at home... More on that later.
Your legs are your biggest accessory when you are wearing a mini dress. Let them be the centre of attention and keep the rest of your accessories simple and minimal.
If you are wearing a dress that is showing off a lot of your legs, try keeping other parts of your body covered. For example, go for a mini dress with long sleeves. The key is to balance out the proportions of the look and not make it too revealing. This is a good trick to keep in mind to stay classy and modest while wearing a short dress.
Panty lines can kill a fabulous look, no matter how stunning the dress is. Wear seamless underwear to avoid this annoying problem. Invest in a quality body shaper to emphasize your curves. You can go for an underskirt also depending on the dress style. Know your lingerie to feel confident and comfy inside out.
The definition of short can vary from person to person. So, how short is too short? The ideal length is right below your fingertips when you rest your arms on either side. Try not to go shorter than that. Not only will the right length keep you comfortable, but will complement your body too.
One of the most important things that women often forget is to moisturize their legs properly. Dry and droughty legs are a big turn off, especially while carrying a short dress. Hence, apply a good moisturizer that will stay for a longer duration and give you the much-needed nourishment while you are at it. Groom your legs well and shine on, ladies!
Avoid wearing high heels, as these will only make it harder to walk when you have to manage both a short dress and the risk of tripping or falling on uneven surfaces. Also, an elevated heel height will give the impression of an even shorter dress making you more uncomfortable. Go for comfy flats or sneakers and we promise you will feel more at ease. If you insist on wearing heels, go for smaller heels such as kitten heels.
Remember to take the weather into consideration. Check for a windy day before you don a flowing dress to walk around outside in. If wind decides to go against you, you could become a victim of the Marilyn Monroe moment. Oops!
In the end, it is all about how you carry yourself. If you get conscious and keep pulling your dress down to cover your legs, it can, and it will ruin your entire look. It will only attract unnecessary attention. For starters, don’t wear a dress that you aren’t comfortable in.
Asymmetrical hemline or a high-low hemline will add a trendy spin to your short dress while covering more area of your legs. You can also opt for a dress with a deep slant cut.
Now that you have all the literature you possibly need on things to keep in mind while wearing a short dress, let us address some of the most important questions that make you put that mini back in the cupboard.
Easy. All you have to do is follow the dos and don’ts mentioned above, read through all the FAQs that I have answered in the sections below and you will feel as comfortable in a short dress as you feel in jeans and T-shirt.
The quintessential thing to remember here is to wear the dress length you feel the comfiest and confident in. Everything else will fall in place.
If you are not used to wearing short dresses, even an inch higher than your comfort level will make you feel conscious. The solution isn’t to try anything new. Instead, try it with either of these easy tips:
1. As already mentioned in the first tip, you can wear a pair of cycling shorts underneath your dress. Make sure that the shorts are fully covered by the dress. They should not be visible from underneath. And if possible, go for a neutral colour like black or a nude that matches your skin tone. You can even match them to the colour of your dress.
2. If the length of your dress is as short as a tunic, you can also wear a pair of cool denim shorts or chino shorts underneath. This way, even if they become visible at some point, your outfit will lurk of style. Remember Katrina’s outfit in Choomantar from Mere Brother Ki Dulhan? She wore brown shorts under her red floral mini dress and paired it with boots. So modish!
3. You can also opt for stockings. They have the superpower to make any ordinary outfit look high street and classy. This will help you get rid of the worries, make you feel more confident and, best of all, you will be able to wear your favourite short dresses effortlessly.
Movement of any kind including sitting down, standing up or simply walking can be tricky with a short dress. But you don’t have to worry as long as you follow the ‘Bend it like Beckham’ rule. Well, maybe not exactly like Beckham.
1. While sitting, make sure to bend from your knees, keeping the hemline of your dress level rather than making the back come up with your forward movement.
2. Also, hold the back of your skirt close to your body with your hands before you bend over. Especially before sitting down, as it will keep the dress down and flat rather than hiked up or rumpled underneath you. Even when you are about to get up, your dress will be in place.
3. Keep your knees together or cross-legged (Meghan Markle style) when you are sitting on a chair or a couch. If you have to sit on the floor or a bean bag, sit on your shins and fold both your legs to one side.
4. As a countermeasure, you can also place a bag, jacket, or other clothing item or accessory over your lap when sitting to help avoid the risk of others seeing up your dress.
Of course, you can. The idea is to carry off the trends, whatever it is, in a way that makes you comfortable in your own skin. This, in turn, will make you feel confident and you won’t ever have to flaunt a frumpy OOTD ever again. Remember Jenny? Jenny Humphrey from Gossip Girl? Das what I’m talkin’ bout!
If you feel a little uncomfortable with how much skin you are showing with a short dress, pull on a pair of ankle-length tights or leggings underneath to cover up your legs. You can go with a classic black pair or experiment with small printed (think floral or polka dots) or striped tights for a chic look.
Who says dresses belong only in summer. Just like a basic white tee, dresses, too, are all-season. In fact, all the stylish ways in which you can make a dress look bomb in winter, you can’t in any other weather. And I have just the word to sum it up - layering.
1. Add cardigans, jackets, and shrugs to your dress. This will help break up the short line of the dress and allow you to feel warm.
2. Try wearing a trench coat or any long coat over your dress. Keep it unfastened in the front so you can still show off your dress and bare legs while being covered from the back.
3. Speaking of bare legs, you can cover them with stockings or tights of your choice as mentioned above.
4. If you want to sport a bold look, I suggest you ditch the stockings and go straight for a pair of thigh-high boots. Lampshade your way into a stylish winter effortlessly.
5. Furthermore, you can accessorize with warm scarves, stoles or muffles and cute beanies. Include a pair of fuzzy gloves in your look to add some statement. Also a great option - knee-high socks or leg warmers.
6. Wear a thin but warm thermal underneath your dress so there is an extra (invisible) layer to protect you from the cold. You can opt for a sleeveless, short-sleeved or full-sleeved thermal depending on the dress style.
7. Not a fan of thermals? Not to worry. Another way to stylishly up your dress game in winter is by wearing a solid turtleneck underneath your dress. It will protect your upper half and add oodles of sophistication to your look.
8. Go for a sweater dress or dresses with, at least, some percentage of acrylic, polyester or other warm fabric in its composition. The dress by itself will keep you reasonably warm.
Ah, the problem you and I have all fallen prey to. Whether it is a short dress or a mini skirt, the struggle to keep the hemline leveled is real. Mostly, it happens if the dress that you are wearing is too tight. But if that is not the case, fret not. Here are some fashion hacks that can help you with this:
1. Textured tights, like fishnet, lace, or self-ribbed can help keep a form-fitting dress from riding up.
2. This one may sound a little weird but putting a thin layer of hairspray over your legs and the top of your thighs can be extremely helpful. It is the same trick used by gymnasts to keep their leotards in place. Make sure that your skin is not allergic to the hairspray. Do a patch test before priming hairspray all over your legs.
3. You can use thin double-sided tape to stick your dress to your thighs but this hack works best with form-fitting dresses such as bodycon. If you are going for the tape method, make sure your legs are well groomed to avoid any skin-pulling while you move.
4. The friction from shapewear with the silkiest of material can help keep your hands and mind free from the possibility of your dress riding up or moving from side-to-side.
5. Sometimes, the dress ladders up the cycling shorts. So, be very sure of the material of your safety shorts. Opt for ones made from stretchy materials - the friction will take care of the rest.
As promised above, here are some easy tricks and hacks that can help you stretch out a dress without disturbing its form. But first things first, whatever you do, DO NOT wash the dress as that can further tighten it by shrinking the material. Try one of these things:
1. Just like you break into a new pair of shoes to avoid shoe bites, wear your dress at home ahead of time. In fact, wear it with another dress or a pair of shorts and a regular-fit top underneath to allow extra space for when you actually have to wear it.
2. The most tried and trusted way to stretch out a cotton or linen dress is to wet it and stretch it. All you have to do is soak the dress in water and baby shampoo/conditioner solution for half an hour. Remove it and gently wring out excess water so it is damp enough to stretch. Lay the dress flat on a clean and dry cloth, gently stretch it out pulling the sleeves, waistline and hemline to the desired length, and place a heavy object or a weight on every corner to hold it. Leave the weights on until the dress dries completely.
P.S. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day, so make sure that you allow plenty of time for the dress to dry and form. If you want to speed up the process, try using a blow dryer on low speed.
4. If all else fails, trust your tailor to help you re-form your dress or add additional fabric to it.
Now, what am I missing? Yes, of course, a cute dress, that’s who! Want a great dress to remind yourself what is beautiful about life? Here are 10 dresses, short and not-so-short, that will take you places.
Well, ladies, this is how you make a short dress day last longer.
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