For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had trouble finding the right clothes that fit my frame. Being just under 5 feet (my doctor says 4’11” but if you round up it’s practically 5 feet), finding clothes that don’t swamp my frame is some kind of miracle. In the fashion world, “petite” is characterised as someone 5’4” and under. This is often difficult to shop for when most of the industry caters to models that are an average of 5’8” or 5’9”. As a result, I’ve found that a lot of “regular fit” clothes are either too long or too big. Only in the past few years has the fashion industry really started to accommodate to petite fashion, and lucky for me, I’ve found out that the UK market caters better to petite fashion than the US. As my style has developed, I’ve really started to branch out, looking for the most flattering clothes that fit me comfortably, as well as disguising how short I am. Below are my tips and tricks for pieces that have really been staples in my closet and are perfect for a petite fit.
Finding trousers or jeans that fit have always been the hardest part of being petite. Everything just seems to be too long or too baggy. For me, the best trousers that fit are cropped and skinny, just above my ankle. This usually means trousers or jeans that have a 24″-26” inseam (“Normal” sizing jeans usually have a 28″ to 29″ inseam). In addition to buying cropped trousers, make sure that the fit is snug and super skinny. Skinny trousers hug the legs, and make them appear longer, which is a must for petite gals. Asos, J.Crew, and Boohoo have wonderful petite styles for trousers that have a 26” inseam and come in a variety of materials, colours, and prints.
A bit of a heel is always a must for short girls. I’m not a huge fan of them, and would rather be in flats all day, but when I do wear them, I love a good block heel, especially in a mid-length. Strappy sandals with a mid-length block heel are a perfect addition to a dress up or dress down an outfit, whether you’re going to class or a formal event. Asos and NewLook are two options for heels, with affordable prices as well as smaller sizes. For someone who has ridculoulsy small feet, I never seem to run out of options there.
Longer maxi dresses have always seemed to swamp me. I find myself tripping over the hem, and have only worn a long dress once, which was prom (and I had to cut off 13 inches off the bottom of my dress!). Therefore, I always lean towards mini-dresses, and shorter styles that hit above the knee. I find myself reaching towards my favourite black mini dress or a lacy yellow, above the knee number for all my formal events. A black mini dress is also great for smart-casual events, which always seem to be a thing at St. Andrews.
Mid-length jacket or jacket
Finding jackets that fit properly have also been a bit of a struggle. Once again, they always seem to be too long or big, especially the sleeves. Luckily, I’ve found a number of coats that fit me well, and that I love. Coats are the best way to dress up an outfit, give some warmth, or add a pop of colour. The one constant in my coats are the length: they always hit me mid-thigh and above the knee. For petite girls, I find that having coats that go below the knee only make us look shorter. So, finding outerwear that hit anywhere from the hip to just above the knee is a better fit.
Tips and tricks:
- Learn to sew: I know, it seems stupid, but I feel like learning to sew should be a skill everyone should have.
- Find brands that work for you: Like most people, I have a few favourite stores that I’ll always go back to, just because they cater to my size and style. These include J.Crew, Asos, and Banana Republic, because they offer a large range of clothes in petite sizes.
- Know your measurements: Every brand or store is different with sizing, but most have size charts that list their measurements for their clothing. In one store I might be a UK 6 or in the US I might be a different size such as 00.
- Open your horizons (and closet): Some of my favourite pieces in my closet have come from a charity shop or the kids section! I know it may seem weird to be shopping in the kids section, but for someone who is petite, I can find many of the same clothes from the adults section in a kids section for a fraction of the price.