Shopping Tips for You Petite Gals!

fashion petite style style tips Mar 24, 2024

Petite sizes

One of the misconceptions about petite sizes is that you have to be a tiny waif of a woman to qualify. This is so not the case!

Actually, in clothing parlance, “petite” refers to height, not girth: women under 5' 4" are considered petite by the industry whether they wear a size 24 or a 4.

Although many shorter women are concerned about fit (like getting a jacket waist to hit where it's supposed to or finding sleeves that don't hang to the knuckles), there are issues of color, scale and proportion that make it difficult to find styles that look flattering.

I remember the wonder one of my clients experienced when we found her petite designer clothing that actually fit her with no need for tailoring. Wealthy and British, she’d always shopped at the most expensive stores and was accustomed to having every sleeve and hem shortened. She was delighted by the concept that clothing could actually fit her right off the rack making shopping a less arduous experience.

I recommend resources like Petite Sophisticate or merchants that feature all sizes, like J. Jill. Some smaller sized women even swear by the children's departments in the Gap for casual clothes. Also, since most Asian women tend to be petite, geographic areas like San Francisco, New York and LA that have large Asian populations tend to have many stores catering to that demographic. This is especially helpful for women with very small feet (under size 5). Speaking of small feet, if you do wear less than a size 5, look in the children’s department at Nordstrom’s or other major department stores. You’ll find excellent quality for far less money than the adult counterparts! If finding the best styles and sizes for you in local stores is too challenging, go online to find a place to order shoes in your size. Here are some links to check out:

Here’s a link to a Huffpost article about where to find shoes to fit your small foot:

Additional Tips for Petite Women:

In order to give the appearance of looking taller, you should tend toward monochromatic or tonal dressing, sleek lines, smaller prints and accessories that are scaled-for-you (in other words, no huge hoop earrings or enormous purses or shoulder bags!). The same chunky knit sweater or floor-length skirt that looks so great on the runway may be overwhelming for a smaller woman. Try modifying trends to work for you (maybe a lightweight sweater with a chunky knit scarf or cap and a lower calf skirt with boots instead of extremes).

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