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"Petite people need good tailors." Tracy Paul, 5'2'', size 2; owns a brand-marketing agency

The Sporting Life: Athletics changed Tracy's physical image from shrimp to powerhouse and gave her early confidence: "I played soccer, tennis, and golf, and I did gymnastics. I still exercise every day. It's important to have an interest or passion to rely on for your sense of self-worth, so you're not just obsessing about looking good."

Tracy doesn't dwell on her small stature. "Once people engage with you, they forget about it almost immediately." On the plus side, she adds, a short woman doesn't seem intimidating, which can be useful.

Shopping Shortcuts: "I don't struggle to find clothes," Tracy says. She's figured out which brands work for her body and which don't. Of course, she has to get pants and skirts hemmed (that's where the tailor comes in). She prefers fluid styles, nothing boxy or stiff, and a close, precise fit: "You don't want too much fabric."

Shoes Stay Grounded: "I have to be comfortable; otherwise I'll feel horrible all day. I've worn sneakers my whole life—I must have 35 pairs. I also love ballerina flats. I wear heels sometimes, but for reasons of style, not to look taller."