Shopping for Petites The Long and Short of It


            As someone who is only 5’1”, I can say that my shopping experience throughout my adult and teenage life has been somewhat of a tricky one. For many years, I denied myself of petite clothing for one reason—most brands don’t carry it. And the ones that did were not ones that I was interested in shopping at. That left me with two options: buy clothes that fit poorly, or take them to a tailor and pay even more money to have them altered. What’s not considered is that oftentimes, even after these measures, the clothes still look awry.

            A few years ago, when high street brands like Topshop and Asos started releasing petite clothing, I finally discovered the clothes that looked and felt good on me. However I was often still disappointed with the selection when I would walk into a store like Nordstrom (which boasts having an extensive petite collection) only to find a couple pairs of black trousers from Ann Taylor LOFT and “mom jeans”—not the cool kind Kendall Jenner wears—from NYDJ.

            When I started exploring the petite fashion landscape for a school project in 2014, I realized that there is in fact a very minimal petite market. More surprisingly, few fashion websites and publications have even addressed this issue at all.

            So what brands carry petite clothing? Not many. On one hand, you have your clothing corporations aimed toward mass consumption: H&M, Old Navy, Express, J.Crew, Gap, etc. On the other end, you have your department stores, such as Nordstrom and the online Revolve and Asos, which offer petite brands. The list is not extensive, but there are definitely some viable options to choose from. I find pants to be the most difficult (and most important?) petite purchase—tops and jackets, or anything considering sleeve length, come in second. Because I am always shopping for petites, I’ve rounded up my shopping cart for you below:

Anthropology Camelia Dropwaist Dress ($148)
This rose-colored drop-waist dress is, in my opinion, the perfect summer date night outfit.
Anthropology East Village Jumpsuit ($168)
Anyone who is petite knows how much of a nightmare shopping for jumpsuits can be… but this one is already cut for a petite frame!
ASOS PETITE Premium Linen-Mix Clean Suit Blazer ($89)
Finding a jacket that’s tailored really well is so important—and this is the perfect color and fabric for spring.
Gap 1969 Denim Knit Jogger
A denim jogger is a new spin on your favorite comfortable trend.
Topshop Petite Moto Leigh Jeans
These are by far my favorite jean purchase ever. They fit like a glove and are super soft and comfortable. Also important: a huge color range, in case you like what you see.
J. Crew Petite Wide-Leg Ponte Pant
Because everyone’s coveting a cropped wide leg trouser right now.
Miss Selfridge US Petites Ivory Scallop Skirt
This skirt is inexpensive, trendy, and arguably appropriate for all occasions.
ASOS Petite Breton Stripe Tee & High Waist Shortie Pajama
Although it’s certainly appropriate sleepwear, I would definitely try to get away with wearing this pajama set top in public.

Finding the perfect stuff is always a search. If you’ve got suggestions, feel free to sound off in the comments.


Article by Leah Roth