5 "Fav" Fashion Brands for the "petite"...

By no means am I a fashionista but I certainly harbour an appreciation for good taste. I admire fashion that is eclectic, trendy or risk-taking, but I wouldn't say I embody that sort of style. Elegant simplicity is my cup of tea. Feminine, yet strong, tasteful and timeless are just a few words to describe what I love in terms of style. One always needs a few basics- a high waisted pencil skirt, tailored pants, a few well-fitted dresses, well-cut blazer, high heels ( thick and thin), a button-up shirt that fits perfectly. Clothing that frames and embraces the unique woman you are, with all your curves, or not. Ultimately, it is how you wear it, how you are able to accentuate your assets and the feeling you feel when you wear those pieces of clothing. It is a form of self-expression and creativity, an innate desire that exists in each of us.

Throughout the formative years of my life ( up into my first few years of University), I hated my body. I was always smaller than average, born pre-mature- a typical late bloomer in every sense of the word. You probably won't find too many people complaining about being too small. I suppose we always want to have what we can't have. I can assure you both extremes are challenging when it comes to clothing-too big or too small. Sometimes classmates would poke fun at me for shopping at junior type shops like " Zara for Kids or Gap for Kids" into my twenties. I never really felt I had much to "accentuate". I also felt regular clothing stores just didn't make clothing that fit a small framed girl like myself. I had to always "take things in" shorten or hem pants and jackets. Not to mention, searching the sales racks for size 5 shoes! It wasn't really into my thirties when I started to feel more comfortable in my skin and embrace the body I was given. Use what you've got!

In this last decade, I have started to experiment with fashion brands that both suit me and make me feel good. Yes, our body is simply our shell holding us in but fashion, although may seemingly be superficial and commercial to some, is incredibly creative and dynamic, as are all the talented fashion designers who create extraordinary pieces of art work through their designs.

So in my search for the perfect clothing items for shorter or "petite" women like myself, here are a few of my favourite affordable fashion brands ( in no particular order) from formal to informal.

1. Maje : A brand that comes from Paris, of course! Can be pricy, but if you wait until their winter and summer sales, you will find something to your liking and within your budget. Now found in many department stores across Europe and North America, I would describe Maje as highly feminine, versatile, ageless, and expressive with just the right amount of subtlety. You kind of have to put the clothing on to understand what I mean. You can find anything here from pants, dresses, coats to skirts.

2. Oysho: Founded in Spain, specializing in women's undergarments, from lingerie, pyjamas, nighties, maternity to my favourite of all, their sportwear! They carry sizes for a variety of bodies but Oysho is definitely my " go-to" shop for yoga apparel. They have such unique patterned yoga pants and tops that hug the body beautifully. Since I discovered this store in Milano many years ago, I have never gone back to anything else but them. Their clothing makes me feel strong, grounded and highly creative, as I do when I work through the many yoga poses in my sequences, offering me new perspectives. Additionally, Oysho offers many environmental campaigns and initiatives working towards sustainable manufacturing.

3. Mauro Leone: An Italian family owned shoe business, Mauro Leone has been the only place, and I mean ONLY place I have bought my shoes at in the last decade. Since size 35 is scarce, I will buy many at time, stocking up on a variety of styles, sometimes buying the same shoes but in a different colour! Their shoes are leather of course, but sourced locally and ethically in Italy. Shoes are durable, unique and comfortable...but also a perfect match for an elegant and/or feminine or playful outfit. You can find anything here from sandals, boots to heels.

4. Leith: This is a Nordstrom brand that offers a lot of versatility; unique and fitted tops, pants, weekend laid back clothing or evening dresses. I've bought a few coats here. Durable, affordable, edgy to elegant...it is only a matter of time that Leith will be found everywhere!

5. Aritzia: A Canadian fashion company, Aritzia offers a variety of in house-brands from Wilfred, Babaton, TNA, Le Fou by Wilfred, and Community just to name a few. Clothing is perfectly tailored, trendy yet polished and refined. They carry other clothing brands as well, but Artizia's lines are always up to date and I personally feel their clothing looks good on all body types.

There really is enough fashion to go around for everyone. You don't have to be a supermodel to look good in clothing (and even a super model's life is not perfect). As my father has always graciously reminded me... "the best medicine and the best wine comes in the smallest of packages." Thanks Dad.