How to Shorten a Dress Without Alterations

Belted Dress

No Alterations

As a petite woman, I often get very discouraged when I find a dress or romper that I absolutely need to add to my wardrobe but then realize that the length is too long to wear without heels. I mean, I don’t want to wear heels all day every day. It hurts.

Now, I will admit that often times I buy the piece and have it altered because I have been blessed with a grandmother who has the capability to alter my clothing. But I’m sure she’s getting tired of me asking and I am not willing to find a personal seamstress and dish out money every time that I buy something new for my closet.

So then the issue becomes whether I just forgo adding those pieces or wear heels so that I am not destroying the bottom hem as it drags along the ground. It’s an issue that many of us get annoyed by and do not fee like dealing with. Though there are so many other tips and tricks for wearing different pieces, as a petite woman, to make you look taller, I still want to be able to, like most petite women, to shop outside of the petite section.

But through this problem and the aggravation, I have discovered a few tricks to shorten dresses and rompers without making any alterations to the hemline.



{{Photos by Stephanie Vasilidias}}

Target Dress


Adding a belt at the waistline not only does the trick of giving you the illusion of looking taller, it also allows you to bring the waistline up without using any clips or pins.

Depending on how the dress lays, I may just pull the fabric up in the chest area and cinch the waistline. But sometime, I will create a small half-inch layering and then put a thick belt over it to cover that the dress is slightly scrunched up.

The belt lifts the entire dress up which essentially keeps the dress or romper from dragging.

Belted Dress Petite Dress


I completely understand that dresses do not all come with adjustable straps. Of course, if they do, adjust them to your liking and that will help with the length of your dress.

But for dresses that do not have adjustable straps, there’s a couple of methods that I use.

Many places sell the strap clips in various styles that bring your two straps together in the middle of your back in a fashionable way. I have purchased a variety of them in order to alter my dresses. For those who are a little wary of having that clip showing in the back, accessorize your dress by adding a jacket or a cardigan.

Another way of adjusting the straps is with a subtle loop method. Yes, I tie each individual strap to create a small unseen loop at the base of the strap on my back. This raises the dress slightly without any obvious hint of change being seen. The trick is that once the loop is made, you need to tuck the excess strap in the back of the dress to hide the loop.

How To Shorten A Dress Without Alterations Petite Fashion Petite Fashion

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