Being Short and Curvy

Being short and curvy has never been an issue for me, until I hit my mid-life. Many of the rules applied to young women, such as emphasising your hour glass figure through figure hugging clothing or by simply wearing a belt, become harder when your waist line mutineers under the control of the peri-menopause. Where there used to be a nipped in place, it’s been cantankerously filled in. Being apposed to any form of waist trainer, corset or other garment that displaces my inner organs, it’s time to figure this out.

Life as a short and curvy woman

I now own two collections of clothing. Those patiently waiting for the return of my flat tummy (sadly underused/some labels still attached) and those mid-rift disguisers (on a constant wash cycle) that swing about somewhat when I walk.

The thing is, I like to eat. I have no desire to be glutenous or lazy but I am passionate about good food and so is my whole family. When we get together it’s a chopping, baking, whisking, roasting, wine glass clinking, big foodie adventure.

The trouble is, short and curvy women are packing a lot into a smaller space and so even the tiniest weight gain can be obvious. At 5ft 3, if I’m 5lbs up I feel like a fatty, if I’m 5lbs down, it’s like having a major body overhaul. This typically results in a flurry of clothes tag removal, a restaurant or two, then back to the A-line tee-shirts. The trouble is some baggy clothes can have you looking like a hobbit with fashion dilemmas.

Then, there is the grocery comparisons. Women shapes are either like pears, apples, string-bean, carrot etc. Quite honestly, if there was a food market selling a fruit the shape of my little body I could only assume a new world had recently been discovered.

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Photo by Gavin Hardy

The annoyances

There is a prejudice about shorter people that confuses me. If being tall was a talent I’d lift my hat, but seeing as it was handed to you by your predecessors genetics and you really had very little to do with it, you (not you, you’re lovely) have no reason to look down on any of us!

Sadly short and curvy women are not represented by models. Tall, petite and plus size are regular features in high street clothing brands, but I’m an ‘inbetweenie’. Petite clothes make me look like a child at the end of the school year, and regular (elfin) clothes make me look like a dwarf in drag. I appreciate that this isn’t an exclusive problem. For example, some clothes claim to fit an ‘athletic build’. What does that mean?! Like swimmers, who are broad across the shoulders? Or tennis players, who have thighs that can crack open a coconut. Then, you have football players who have stomachs like a glockenspiel…

Standard clothes on a short and curvy older woman can be a minefield. Take a pair of jeans, where petite are too small but regular jeans need rolling up so many times, they bash together when you walk. Then, there is the harmless vest top, rocked by the likes of Jennifer Aniston. On me, the little straps are too long and so my ‘hooters’ unintentionally signal for attention. Gone is my attempt at casual chic, instead it’s too sexy and a bit desperate looking. Fitted shirts, too can pop open to reveal ‘the puppies’ AND at the same time excess cloth hangs out the back. Go figure that one!

The worse clothing item, however, is the one piece swim suit which are often too long in the shoulder straps. So, at best, your cleavage is over exposed (and under lotioned), but possibly you could have a nipple unblinkingly staring at some abashed stranger across the affinity pool. Which is possibly beneficial because it’ll divert attention from your badly fitted, sagging crotch area.

Even foot wear can cause a predicament. Let me tell you, knee high boots and wellies aren’t fashioned for us slight of height. Standard height wellies rub the heck out of the soft back of your knee and you can forget wearing thigh high boots! Ballerina pumps are dream. Let’s just leave it there. Sigh. Really high heels should be avoided too, I think. Partly because they are stupid. I mean really. But also because you are out of proportion, there’s a hint of little girl wearing mummy’s shoes about them. And also, I don’t care how much height I have gained if I walk like I have a bout of irritable bowl or a rod poked up my rear.

Lifts are unpleasant. All short people know this. When you stand in a full lift, armpit height, you do question why you haven’t worn those torturous mile high stilettos.  Even worse, is a face full of another woman’s udders. It’s just not my bag.

The positives

You always get in the front of a family photo. You know how in wedding group photos some people are always missing in action. They know they were there, but the evidence is only a wrinkled forehead above Aunty Dots shoulder. Well, for us shortest members of the tribe we get prime position. Every time.

You could develop ninja sewing skills. Imagine being able to alter your clothes to fit properly. You could then do it for the rest of us. Either that or you should allow yourself to wear better, well made clothes or get your clothes tailored to fit properly by a professional.

Being short and curvy forces us to make better clothes choices. For example, shorts designed to look scandalous will inevitably fit well below our buttock crease. Also, skirts that hit the mid-calf suit us well, and they are much more chic than a mini anyway. Not overlooking clothes that skim the body, rather than fit tight, are also understatedly sexy and look best on short and curvy women.

You are smaller overall. So, even tho’ you feel curvy you are probably smaller than someone tall and lean! Chances are you have small feet, and for a woman, that’s always nice.

Many consider short and curvy woman cute or adorable. That’s not a bad first impression. You can always shatter their illusion later.

Being short and curvy can make you look unassuming and unintimidating. Some will interpret that as ‘incapable’. This is a great opportunity, just quietly overachieve and then take the prize!

We can use all the prejudice we get for being short and curvy for a better good. By never poking at someone for being ginger, wirey, dumpy or hulk like. If being short and curvy is all we have to worry about, then we are truly blessed.

On a final note, know that ankle grazers are our friend and they will always exist (because women like us will always buy them).

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