Petite women have been navigating a taller fashion world for decades, resulting in alterations such as getting pants or skirts hemmed or dresses taken in. But with more brands making sure that no petite woman gets left behind, there are several options for finding clothes that will fit well without needing the help of a tailor.
The fashion world is finally realizing that not all bodies look the same, and they're also taking measures to celebrate it. Finding petite clothes that are specifically designed to perfectly fit the petite woman is easier than it’s ever been. If you find yourself standing somewhere below 5’4”, then perhaps it’s time to consider adding petite outfits to your wardrobe.
Once upon a time, the fashion industry took a one-size-fits-all approach to how they designed clothes. While they did offer different sizes, the overall shape and design of the clothes stayed the same. We’d like to think we’ve now evolved to be more inclusive of bodies that are of different shapes, proportions, and sizes. This shift in clothing design not only accommodates the average body shape, but also those who are taller, wider, slimmer, or more petite. This inclusivity on the part of the fashion industry has been long-awaited.
In short, petite sizing is a standard clothing size that is designed to fit women who are smaller than average. While typically this refers to height, it can also refer to slim body shapes. For our purposes, however, petite refers to being below 5’4” regardless of body shape or weight. Because regular-sized clothes are tailored for women who are 5’5” and above, regular clothing won’t give petite women the perfect fit they need. Thus, the petite standard size was born. So what’s different about a regular women’s sweater versus a women’s petite sweater Generally, a petite size garment would have narrower shoulders, shorter arm lengths, and shorter hemlines. This accommodates the shape of petite women, as they tend to have shorter arms, narrower shoulders, and shorter torsos. Similarly, petite size pants, skirts, or dresses will have the appropriate adjustments to better fit a petite woman.
If you are dressing for a professional event or for a formal occasion, something as simple as the wrong sleeve length can sabotage the look of the entire outfit. Sleeve length especially is a sneaky but important element to consider. If the sleeves on your jacket or blazer are too long, even if it fits perfectly everywhere else, it can make the garment look ill-fitted. On the other hand, wearing a women’s petite top will make all the difference in the overall look of your outfit. If you want to feel comfortable, look classy, and experience the underrated joy of fitting into your clothes perfectly, then having petite outfits in your closet is that wardrobe magic you’ve been missing.
Now that we’ve convinced you that you need to add some petite outfits to your wardrobe in 2023, it’s time to cover what garments are best bought in petite sizes. We’ve mentioned some, but even those deserve a recap.
Pants. This seems like the obvious one, but if your legs are shorter, then you should probably look at buying pants that are specifically designed to fit your body. While hemming pants is easy to do yourself, it’s still nice to buy a pair that’s made to fit your body perfectly.
Skirts and Dresses. If your skirt or dress is anything but floor-length, then you’re probably okay with regular size. However, avoid dragging your skirts by opting for a petite size. Similarly, if your dresses have tailored shoulders, are shaped at the waist or torso, or have long sleeves, then perhaps opting for a petite dress will feel better fitted to you.
Sweaters. Depending on the sweater, sweaters are generally generous at fitting anyone well. But choosing petite long sleeve sweaters or petite sweatshirts might feel more comfortable around your arms. Similarly, petite cardigans might feel more fitted around your middle.
Coats. Whether it’s a blazer or a winter jacket, if you are petite, then it’s probably going to feel and look better to be wearing a petite women’s winter coat or blazer than a regular size. This is because coats are not just about length, but also shoulder structure and arm length, too.
If you are more on the petite side, then be sure to add a few petite outfits to your wardrobe this year to feel comfortable and look great.