As a shorter-than-average woman, I fall into the petite (5’4” and under) category of most clothing retailers. Or, as I like to call it: women who so desperately want to try the oversized button-down trend but end up looking like a child in a lab coat. Trust me, I’ve tried. Not one of my best decisions. However, I’ve just recently discovered a ton of brands that cater to the petite demographic; smaller arm holes, shorter hem lines, narrower and shorter shoulder straps, etc. I used to think of my height as limiting, but I love finding pieces that flatter my frame — or some cases, altering pieces to fit to my frame. So many opportunities :)
- Proportions are everything. I’m preaching to the choir here—flatter your height with appropriate hemlines that emphasize your shape; don’t hide it under yards of fabric.
- Find a tailor. Become friends. Become best friends. The Foith women have had to tailor our jeans since we could walk (okay, not really…but almost). Find a tailor that knows your body type, your personality and how you feel most comfortable in your clothing. Tailoring is a worthy investment, and can make a $20 dress look like a million bucks.
- Dress to your body shape (this goes for all sizes!) Petite women usually have shorter torsos, and with shorter torsos come the golden rule: Treat your waist the way you would want to be treated…flatter it, emphasize it and love it!
- Heels are your best friend (at least for the first hour of the evening) Reach for a pair of heels, whether they be 1 inch or 5 inch. The wedge heel is my go-to, because they balance the pressure over your entire foot—hooray for stylish comfort! Heels give your calves a lift and subconsciously make you stand up straight and walk with confidence. Yes, I welcome high fives from mothers around the world for that helpful tip ;)
My favorite brands with petite options:
- J.Crew has established itself as an on-trend international brand, with more options for petites than any other brand (they just controversially added sizes 000 and XXXS to appeal to their petite consumers in Asia). My go-to items I reach for every year: the infamous schoolboy blazer, and a classy lace dress.
- Ann Taylor Loft is the chic younger sister of the women’s brand Ann Taylor, and offers work-appropriate styles as well as casual weekend dresses and lounge wear—and almost all of their clothing is offered in petites! I’m eyeing this moto jacket for fall, maybe to throw over this chic floral shift dress!
- Anthropologie has mastered the perfect blend of boutique brands, and their petite offerings are better than ever. I couldn’t help but snatch up this girly dress (which is perfect to get engaged in, I’ve heard :) ) and this neutral top to pair with shorts now and jeans later.
- ASOS is a British clothing brand with over 850 brands, including petites (and tall options!); their smock dresses are a favorite of my little sister. I mean, how adorable is this check-print option?
And there you have it. Dressing as a petite is easier than you think; just love and honor the shape God gave you. I mean, “petite” is French for the word “small”, and how adorably chic is that?
Images via Leigh Foith
Leigh is a marketing representative currently living in the DFW area. Leigh and I attended the same college, and have had fun keeping up with one another since we've graduated :) Leigh lights up a room with her kind and bubbly personality. She is a stellar "connector" of people, and uses her skills to create incredible social media. She's also quite the style maven, so I'm thrilled be sharing her knowledge with you today! Like our contributor yesterday, Leigh was also recently featured as a Ruby - you can read her feature here.