Choosing Pants for Petite Body Shapes | Lands' End

Choosing Pants for Petite Body Shapes

Being petite – that is, standing 5’4” or under – means that you need to pay special attention to certain features when shopping for pants. Sure, your eye will ultimately focus on style and color first. It’s natural to be drawn to a particular silhouette or a trendy hue or pattern. But it’s important to consider the way said pants will actually look when you pull them on.

It’s often necessary for petite women to visit the tailor for alterations before they can comfortably wear anything without dragging hems on the floor, and it can be an adventure to search for bottoms that are just right. But they’re out there. All it takes is a little bit of time, effort, and understanding of the styles that best flatter your figure. Here’s what you should know if you’re on the short side.

Look for Skinny Silhouettes

Skinny jeans and pants are great for petite ladies. These jeans have the magical ability to create the illusion of length and contribute to a streamlined silhouette from top to bottom. They also contribute to a narrower looking mid-section, which in turn makes you appear a little taller.

Since short legs are often a point of contention for petite women who want to wear particular garments but are afraid they’ll look even shorter, the advent of the skinny pant is a true gift in fashion. And unlike wider cuts, it’s also much easier for tailors to hem them if it’s necessary. The only caveat? In general, shorter people should steer clear from anything with cuffs. They visually cut the body at the ankle and may contribute to a shorter appearance overall.

Check Out Boot Cuts

A structured boot cut can be flattering on petite frames. If you do choose to wear boot cut women’s jeans, however, make sure that you avoid anything too long. Even an inch longer than your normal length may overwhelm your frame or make you feel like you’re wearing too much fabric. By contrast, something that’s too short runs the risk of looking like a pair of cropped pants or creating a widened effect.

Stick with styles that are designed specifically for your petite frame. Be sure to wear your boots, wedges, or heels so that you can accurately assess the way they look when you pull them on. Dark washes are always flattering, as they also contribute to an elongated effect by creating that coveted streamlined effect.

Try a High Waist

As a petite person, you not only can wear a high waist – you should! High rise jeans are among the most flattering styles for people of all heights, but it’s particularly great if you’re petite. This style is characterized by its unique structure. The waist sits above the natural waist, creating the illusion of a naturally longer silhouette. As a result, your legs look leaner and more streamlined. As with any pair of pants, focus strongly on the right fit. There shouldn’t be any creases when you sit or bend.

The beauty of this particular look is that the styling possibilities are endless! There are so many beautiful ways to make the high waist an integral part of your wardrobe. A cropped top creates some balance and allows the full length of your pants to stand out. You could also pair it with a shorter length, light sweater for a cool and casual look. Step into a pair of heels or boots to add to the elongating effect. If you prefer to wear a flat shoe, make sure they have a pointed toe – this will help visually extend your legs, too.

Wear a Mid-Rise

If you have a short torso, it’s best to stick with a mid-rise instead of a higher waist. Otherwise, the pants may overwhelm your torso and make it look a little bit smaller than you may prefer. The concept is similar to low-rise pants; while they will elongate your midsection, they’ll make your legs look shorter. While a shorter torso typically means that your legs are longer, the mid-rise style offers some perfect middle ground for the petite body.

As with high waists, it’s easy and fun to style a mid-rise pant. Tuck a crisp women’s white blouse into your jeans and throw a structured blazer on top for a polished and sophisticated look. Or try a classic nautical stripe top with a pair of chunky canvas sneakers for an easy outfit that keeps you going on busy errand-running weekends.

The Bottom Line

As with every other piece in your closet, your comfort matters more than anything. If those pants or jeans don’t feel amazing when you pull them on, go back to the drawing board. The best styles flatter your figure, create the illusion of length, and help you feel your very best.


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