Petite is a term used to describe someone who is short in stature, usually under 5’4″. This is actually rather interesting to me because I recently read somewhere that the average height of American women is 5’4″. That would mean that a large percentage of our society is considered petite. The term can also refer to having a smaller frame and delicate features. Petite clothing is designed specifically to fit the smaller proportions of shorter individuals.
Most people think that petite just means “short” and that having a shorter length or inseam is the only adjustment that we need for pants to fit. That can sometimes be okay, however, when petite clothing is designed, it typically has a shorter inseam, shorter torso, and shorter sleeves than regular sizes. The armholes and necklines are also adjusted to fit a petite figure. Additionally, petite clothing often features a higher waistline to flatter a smaller frame. Petite clothing is designed to fit the body better and create a more flattering silhouette.
Clothing Tips for Petites
- Avoid wearing clothes that are too baggy; instead, opt for more tailored pieces that will fit your body more snugly and flatter your figure.
- Look for pieces with hemlines that hit just above the knee; this will help to elongate your legs.
- Choose patterned pieces to create the illusion of added height.
- Avoid wearing some horizontal stripes as they can make you look wider and shorter. I personally like a thinner stripe or a monochromatic stripe instead.
- Try wearing a monochromatic look; wearing one color head-to-toe can create a slimming and lengthening effect.
- Look for belts that fit your natural waist, which will create the illusion of an hourglass figure.
- Wear heels to give yourself a few extra inches of height.
- Accessorize with statement jewelry to draw the eye up and away from your lower half.
- Wear v-neck tops to create the illusion of a longer torso.
- Opt for cropped jeans or pants that are cinched at the ankle to show off your shoes and create the illusion of longer legs.
I’ve written in the past about a subscription clothing box that is personalized for petite ladies. I found some really nice things through this site. They send you a box of curated items that fit your style and your request of items that you may be looking for.
I often do my shopping for my petite clothing at Ann Taylor, Loft, Nordstrom, or Banana Republic and Athleta (for athletic wear). Their clothing is nice for petites because alterations by a tailor aren’t usually necessary.
Where do you shop for your petite clothing?
Coming up soon… how to wear regular size clothing when you’re petite.