Petite women are usually defined as standing 5’4” and under, and in recent years have had increasing success in finding clothing that fit. Petite-friendly clothing goes beyond clothes that are smaller – they are also sized differently in a variety of fit aspects. They are frequently shorter in the seat, higher in the waist, and shorter in arm and leg length to accommodate the proportions of a truly petite woman.
While more brands are carrying petite lines, it can still be a challenge to find just the right outfit in petite sizing. Here are some top picks for petite shoppers.
Petite Business Wear
Ann Taylor’s business wear and dress offerings are extensive and wide, even for petites. Their business suiting section has over 100 options for blazers and bottoms, coming in a variety of styles in sizes from 00P-16P.
View all Ann Taylor clothing size charts.
With petite offerings in their most popular suiting options, Talbots is a great place to go to for everyday business wear. In addition, they also offer plus-sized petite clothing, which is a category that few other retailers offer. The majority of their petite-sized clothing is offered online-only, but ground shipping is a flat $8, and they offer free returns in-store or $6.95 to return via mail.
See all Talbots size charts.
While Theory does not have a line specifically marked as “petite”, their clothes run small, and small-sized petites can very often fit into Theory sizes 00 and 0 without need for tailoring. Their size 00 measures at a 22” waist and 34” hip, which is comparable to a size 0 petite at other retailers. Theory is known for great-fitting business wear, especially pants and blazers, and offer a range of suiting options in different fabrics, including wrinkle-resistant ones.
Casual Clothing for the Petite Woman
Gap’s upscale line, Banana Republic, offers a wide range of petite options, but their stand-outs are their casual dresses, skirts, and tops, which come in a wide range of patterns, cuts, and colors. They usually offer some representation of their petite line in their brick-and-mortar stores, but the selection varies greatly depending on the size of the store. A better bet is often to shop online – where almost every regular-sized apparel item offered will have a petite sizing tab for petite sizes.
For casual attire with a relaxed and easy, yet sophisticated style, J. Jill offers a full assortment of petite items. They carry some petites in-store, if you are lucky enough to be near one of their retail locations, but they have much more extensive selection online. From knit tops to breezy linen pants and flowing skirts, most women can find some new favorites at J. Jill.
Ann Taylor LOFT
One of the retailers which has focused on and expanded their petite line is Ann Taylor LOFT – they offer a wide range of casual clothing that is sophisticated and fun. In particular, their summer offerings are perfect for the weekends, and include a huge range of shorts in a variety of lengths and styles.
J Crew’s petite line has grown over the years, and offers a wide range of casual and businesswear options, including petite versions of their hugely popular No. 2 pencil skirt and Minnie pants. However, their range of party dresses and bridal wear options is unparalleled, and they offer many of the same styles that their regular-sized line offers. They have a small petite section in their brick-and-mortar stores, but it is usually best to shop online for their party wear.
Online retailer ASOS.com also offers a wide range of petite clothing, though their options skew towards a younger, more party-going audience. Their selections are mostly comprised of body-con party dresses in the wintertime, and loose tank tops and casual dresses for warmer weather. Shipping and returns are always free.
Petite selections are aplenty!
Many retailers have started to understand that the petite market is an under-served one and petite women no longer have to resort to buying clothes from the kids or juniors’ departments. The key thing to consider, as always, is fit and quality of clothing – do not be afraid to send clothing to your tailors for a better fit.