With Alterations Needed Kelly Tucker (30) has created a go-to source for petite women looking for tailoring suggestions that will help them to achieve great fit. Being very petite herself, at 4′ 11″ with a slender build, she’s also pounded the pavement researching clothing brands that will work for a smaller frame. Kelly is a Modern Classic dresser with a small, well-curated wardrobe full of investment pieces. She has a preppy element to her style and likes to throw touches of boyish charm into the mix. All those years of clothes not fitting straight of the rack have played a crucial role in developing her current style persona:
“When I began making a conscientious effort to build my wardrobe, keeping it small and curated was done mostly by force. My size is not widely available or produced by many companies so my choices are already quite limited. If I happen to find an item that meets my style and size preferences, it is not uncommon to see it sell out quickly due to limited production of my size. This causes me to pay full retail for pieces I really covet and takes a big chunk out of my shopping budget. Tack on the added cost of alterations to make it fit perfectly and my shopping choices become very considered. If I’m going to throw another $100 at the retail cost of a blazer to alter it down to fit me, it needs to last and be in line with who I am, stylistically speaking. For this reason, I’ve taken a pretty strong stance on personal style and lean towards uniform dressing that I can embrace for years to come. It’s become important for me to develop a distinct personal style so that I’m not spending money to tailor fleeting trends.”
Burgundy is Kelly’s favourite neutral, and you’ll see it pop up regularly when you browse her archives. It goes well with her preferred colour palette of blues, whites, creams and blacks, allowing her to effortlessly mix and match to her heart’s content. This cardigan over flared skirt look perfectly illustrates the classic side of her style persona, showcasing impeccable, traditional fit and a keen eye for great proportions. Petite women rock a shorter hemline like nobody’s business. This is a fun, girly silhouette that gets its sophisticated air from the bold stripe and kick of saturated merlot — I love how crisp it looks against the white in the skirt. The gold lace bib necklace and link bracelet add a certain richness to the whole. The two-toned tonal pumps provide a tad of texture. One of Kelly’s bag beauties, the iconic black Chanel 2.55, also makes her first appearance. Now that’s what I call the icing on the cake!
“Jeans go with everything.” It’s one of Kelly’s style mottos, and she has spent a lot of time and effort scouring stores to find the perfect pairs. Getting the fit right on straight legs has proven a little tough for this ultra petite lass, as the scrunching and the way they rest on top of her shoes was never exactly right. So it’s skinny jeans to the rescue! Here she’s paired them with a drapey cream crêpe de Chine shirt with contrasting black cuffs and collar. A simple, sleek look for the weekend. Funny surprise: the bow is a snap-on bowtie from ASOS, and not actually part of the blouse. For me, the star of the show is that little red darling dangling from Kelly’s shoulder — the twin to her black 2.55 handbag and one of Kelly’s most prized possessions:
“I really love learning about brand heritage, and Coco Chanel has such an interesting (and controversial) story that I really fell in love with her brand before I got my hands on these handbags. I wanted deeply to own something Chanel, and so my holy grail handbag quickly became the timeless classic flap. Both my Chanels were found while on vacation, which is sweet because I have those warm fuzzy vacation memories attached to them. I’m very satisfied with my little Chanel collection, but have definitely considered adding a third. I’d be tempted if the perfect shade of turquoise were to pop up. Or maybe a black Classic Flap with gold hardware (both of mine have silver and a girl’s gotta have options, right?). I was tempted by the Boy bag recently too. Chanel handbag collecting is a slippery slope!”
The pale blush pink pumps were the first thing that caught my eye in this smart casual shorts ensemble. Don’t petites look fab in short shorts! By keeping the footwear low contrast Kelly’s gams look miles long. These spiked heels are a clever contrast in themselves, the soft colour being a quite unexpected pairing with the tough spikes. The studded wrap ring and spiked bracelet continue the refined tough vibe. Yet the outfit as a whole has Kelly’s polished, ladylike signature written all over it. She’s also rocking one of her trademark pieces, a great fitting tailored blazer. The white is fab with the blue chambray shirt, a super flattering colour on Kelly. The tan bag and blush skinny belt tie this soft colour palette together. While the seersucker shorts and cheerfully bright brue-green nail polish scream Summertime. Let’s all go for ice cream!
Boarding school prep meets Euro Chic. I knew I wanted to feature this smart casual outfit the minute I saw Kelly sporting her Cordovan penny loafers — or her “grandpa shoes”, as she affectionally calls them. The colour is an unusual mix of deep red and brown hues. The shine adds a dressy touch to the look. And have you noticed how Kelly’s curls provide built-in textural interest? This continues with the studs on her fabulous Valentino Rockstud double handle tote bag (a statement piece for sure) and the marled fabric of the sweater vest. Beautiful blues and burgundy reds play the main role here. Combining modern classics like the gold-buttoned blazer and striped button-down with playfully rolled skinnies keeps everything looking modern and fresh. Accessories have been kept simple: a ladylike pearl bracelet, trusted men’s size watch and a vintage brooch that adds to the schoolboy vibe. Check out the detail shot to discover a delightful dandy-esque feature: the polka dot pocket square hidden under Kelly’s curls.
The perfect length tan Burberry trench, a timeless item with great fashion staying power, takes centre stage in this Modern Classic Spring outfit. Kelly likes to wear the double-breasted coat open in milder weather, but finds that the extra fabric tends to swallow her up. That’s where this clever trick comes in handy: fold back and button in the extra fabric on itself. Then cinch the belt at the back to complete the slimmer effect. I adore this head-to-toe ladylike look because every little detail is just right. From the happy yellow colour of the pleated skirt (it even has pockets!), to the well-chosen graphic looms print on the blouse and the touches of black repeated throughout the outfit that don’t feel heavy in the least. Folding over the collar of her blue print blouse and finishing off the ensemble with a coral bubble necklace adds a delicious splash of subtle colour against Kelly’s face.
Another brunette that looks terrific in blue! Kelly collects dress shirts and has a soft spot for traditional menswear fabrics and clothing. She likes to experiment with androgynous looks as long as the end result is tailored with a feminine shape. I call this her cheeky tomboy in designer heels outfit, it’s my personal favourite. It’s a tad RATE (rough around the edges) with the distressed denim — found after much hunting around as she’s very particular about placement of faux scuffed knees — yet still put-together. The Glen plaid waistcoat is sassily boyish, the suede pointy toe cobalt heels dainty and fun. Kelly is not a swap your bag all the time type of gal, preferring to keep her beloved investment pieces into constant rotation. So, Le Fabuleux Chanel Noir comes out to play again. An über versatile piece with a sky-high longevity factor for sure!
I had a ball browsing Kelly’s super polished modern classic outfits, and I’m very curious to hear what you think. If you need advice on clothing alterations and fit issues for petites, then do check out the Alterations Needed forum and the info underneath each blog post. Or you can also follow Kelly’s pinboards, which are an excellent representation of our petite blogger’s style sensibilities.