Prints can be flattering on a short, full-figured woman, as seen with this Jessica London dress from OneStopPlus.com. Photo: OneStopPlus.com

When you're both short and full-figured, finding trendy styles for the spring and summer seasons can mean double trouble.

"This body type faces two challenges: those of both a petite woman and a curvier or full-figured woman," Sam Saboura, fashion guru and "My Body, My Style" host, tells StyleList. "So it's almost like dressing two body types at the same time. Being petite is all about trying to get length wherever you can and not interrupting the body line. If you can create one long line, you can make yourself look taller and leaner at the same time."

And to create that slimming, lengthening look, fit is key, says stylist and fashion expert Lindsay Albanese.

"Start off with clothing that accentuates your favorite fuller-figure feature," she tells StyleList. "And an affordable tailor in the area -- maybe one at your cleaner's -- should be on speed-dial."

Zahir Babvani, vice president of design for plus-size fashion retailer OneStopPlus.com, agrees that the right fit is essential to making any figure look good.

"Shorter plus-sized women should avoid shapeless clothing because it makes the body look bigger than it actually is," he tells StyleList.

Also, don't be afraid to show off a little skin, Saboura adds.

"If a woman with this body type is too covered up with clothing, she's going to look heavier and she's going to look shorter," he says. "Showing the arm a little bit is going to make you look taller and leaner. So three-quarter-length sleeves in tops and cardigans are a wonderful way to conceal the fuller upper arm and upper body, but also bare some skin at same time."

We asked our experts to break down some of spring and summer's hottest trends for the shorter, full-figured woman. Here's how to make the looks work for you.



Soft, flowing styles

"A key trend this spring is all about effortless tailoring -- simple, easy pieces that are versatile and fresh," Babvani says. "It's great for this body type because the clothes aren't overly fussy for a shorter frame. One of the most flattering trends for this season is romanticism, which is all about soft, light airy knits and sheers that are fluid and have beautiful draping. Jersey is an ideal fabric for the warm, summer days and is perfect with the right kind of draping. Soft draping is important so that it doesn't overpower a petite height."

Longer hemlines

"Longer skirts are a huge trend for spring," Saboura says. "I think they can work for a petite woman if she adds height. Otherwise, she's going to benefit from something that stops just below the knee. She needs to show a little bit of leg to get some length."

Plenty of prints

"It's a very print-heavy season," Saboura says. "But I'm more of a fan of texture for this body type than I am of print. However, if you want to wear a print, choose a print that's low in contrast and monochromatic in color. Match the print to your camisole or trouser by working in the same color family. That will give your body a much better line."

"Try smaller prints, so they don't overwhelm your frame and wear only one patterned piece per outfit," Albanese adds. "And vertical lines are always a good choice because they streamline your figure."

"Patterns are fun, but must be executed in the right way," Babvani says. "Petite full-figured women should try smaller prints, as they do not overwhelm the frame. Jessica London offers a variety of dresses, which are great for the spring and summer."


Whites and brights

"The white dress is a big trend of the season, but I'm not a fan of that for this body type," Saboura says. "If she wants to wear an easy-breezy, summery dress, she should choose cobalt blues, or darker versions of the bright spring colors that are in for the season. Dark, burnt orange is fabulous for spring and a great alternative to wearing black, navy or gray. A dark shade of citrus or a deep magenta also says spring and summer, but still provides some coverage."

"Full-figured women should not shy away from color," Babvani says. "Black is not always the most slimming or flattering color. An appealing outfit is as much about proportion, fit and overall style as it is about color."

"Color is always exciting and eye-catching," Albanese says. "Try complementing a bold-colored top with a dark pant or denim, or the reverse."

The wedge heel

"We're seeing a ton of narrow wedge heels this season," Albanese says. "They are the perfect choice to make your legs appear longer."

"Because she's petite and curvy, she's really going to benefit from wearing a heel and adding some height," Saboura says. "I love the idea of a wedge sandal for this body type for spring and summer because it's a great way to add height and provide balance."

1970s-style halters

"As far as dresses go, halters are a big trend, but I do not like the halter for this body type -- there's too much focus on the upper body," Saboura says. "Instead, a woman with this body type is going to benefit more from a shift-style dress paired with a cardigan. A shift dress will give you an ample amount of coverage and has nice seaming details that can help define the curves of your body for you."

Statement accessories

"A petite, full-figured woman shouldn't overwhelm her frame with big jewelry, like statement necklaces and giant cuffs," Saboura says. "That will just exaggerate the fact that she is petite. Make sure your accessories are in line with the size of your frame. So, medium-size to small accessories are best, and use minimal accessories, period. This woman is going to benefit more from carrying a small clutch bag, for example, than she's going to benefit from carrying a big, oversized hobo, which would just add volume to her body."

"Long, layered necklaces and pendants are best because they draw the eye up and down as opposed to left to right," Albanese says. "Also, since a dark, monochromatic outfit is a petite, fuller-figured woman's best look, accessorize with color. Just remember, only one color statement piece per look."

"Accessories can definitely make or break an outfit," Babvani says. "This season, it's about making a statement with accessories. Pair a dress with a bold, brightly colored clutch. Chain-metal jewelry can also give you an edge and will definitely leave a lasting impression."

Belts

"If you're going to accent your look with a waist belt, choose wider styles as opposed to super skinny belts," Albanese advises.

"The skinny belt is a huge trend for spring, but I would choose a medium-size belt to balance out her fullness," Saboura says. "The belt should be monochromatic in tone and should be an accent to highlight the waist -- not to cinch it in."

Wider leg pants

"I like the idea of a trouser-leg pant for this body type, as long as it's not an exaggerated bell," Saboura says. "Bell-bottoms and flared legs tend to drag the eye down on a petite woman and make her look shorter. Because she's curvy, I would avoid super skinny legs, that style will emphasize her hips and her butt. Straight legs are really the best way to go. This body type is softer, so you want to contrast the softness of the body with some structure. The pants should have enough structure and drape to them that they fall from the fullest part of her hips and thighs, so they're not clinging or grabbing any part of her lower body."