Why Women NEED To Have Petite Sizes 

We’re short (At least if you’re petite).  But it’s not just that WE’RE short. Everything about us is short. Our legs are short. Our arms are short. Our torsos are short. We’re basically just pint sized adults.

So what does this mean for us exactly? It means that because EVERY PART of our body is shorter than the standard sized person (I refuse to say normal) , the length of the sleeves, the inseam and the waistline have to be shorter too. 

What happens when everything is too long? #shortgirlproblems and shopping fail, that’s what happens. You can see the visuals on my previous post, but basically you end up looking like a 5 year old playing dress up with your grandma’s wardrobe. That’s right, your GRANDMA’S.

At a stunning and youthful age 32, I have no desire to age prematurely. I’ve spent way too much on anti-aging for that!

In addition to being vertically challenged, petite women also tend to be slightly more narrow than a regular woman of the same size. 

That doesn’t mean we’re slimmer (My love handles and chest beg to differ). It just means a regular size 6 would be slightly wider at the shoulders and hips than a 6P (petite). 

Imagine getting a 2P so that the dress would fit at the bust… only for it to be snug at the shoulders. If you’ve ever gotten stuck in a dress in the fitting room you’ll know that this isn’t fun!  

In addition to thinking about the sizing, designing petite fashion also requires consideration for stylistic features. This would accentuate a smaller frame and help elongate and lengthen the body and limbs. One example of this would be laying off all that frills and ruffles that end up drowning a smaller frame. Who wants to look like a cockatoo anyway?

 AKA yes we’re short but we don’t want to LOOK short. We want to look like a tall small person (if that makes any sense).

Unfortunately, that leads us straight to a dead end a lot of the time as:

  • Petite sizes are not always available
  • Not all clothing is created equal 
  • Not all sizes are accurate (Which one of us hasn’t wondered why I’m a size 4 here and a size 6 there? And no I haven’t gained weight! It was ONE donut!)

Our Favorite Fashion Tips

This being the case, as petite women, we have to learn some tips and tricks to make sure our clothes not only look good but make us look good. Trinh and I are both 5’1 tall.

So without further ado, here are some tips to help petites look taller and more proportionate (I will admit I had not been doing any of this).

Shell N Silk Hi-Lo Dress

Skirts! The best way to elongate your legs is to wear the hem anywhere above the knee (but keep it classy) or slightly below the knees.

Try something asymmetrical (hi-lo style) or that has a slit to show more legs. Short legs can be nice legs too ladies.

Avoid chunky shoes if you’re wearing skirts below the knees.

Consider rolled up sleeves if you’re wearing something that’s covering your arms and legs! This will show long lines and help to create an elongated look. 

¾ sleeves break up sleeves and create a lightness to the arms, and showing legs will extend them.

Midi/maxi skirts and dresses are great! Just stay a little past the widest part of the calf where the legs start to narrow. 

High waisted pants and skirts will help give your figure balance between the top and bottom while elongating the legs. 

Vertical stripes are another way to elongate your body! 

Jumpsuits that cinch at the waist looks great on petite frames. It creates a vertical look which helps extends the body and helps you, essentially, look longer. I don’t have this in my closet but… I really really want one of these… 

Try going monochromatic. Wearing one color top and bottom helps to create the vertical appeal. 

How about a V-neck style? The reason v-necks are good for petites is because it shows more of the neck, collarbone, and cleavage, helping to elongate that area.

Shell N off shoulder wrap dress

Shell N knit sweater and mini skirt

Show some skin tastefully. Similar to v-necks, showing other parts like the shoulders, legs, or arms will help expose the linear look. 

Baring your shoulders will also elongate the neckline. 

Cropped tops are another way to extend your body! And a pair of high waisted bottoms is a fantastic way of keeping yourself proportionate and giving the appeal of longer legs.  

Straight leg/tapered pants also help the legs look slim and long. Even better if you add a pair of heels!

Another great tip is to learn quick alterations so you can do them at home. Easy alterations are hemming, shortening the shoulder straps, taking in the waist. Don’t try these on an expensive piece though! That’s what professionals are for (And I don’t want to be blamed for ruining your clothes).

Well fitting clothes will always do you well as a petite girl, so finding the right fit is important.

If you’re a petite like me though, I’m sure you don’t enjoy shopping. But the fact is that keeping a few key pieces in your closet is a must if you’re a petite female. We can’t wear outfits the same way as standard sized people. We’re not standard sized. So let’s own our petiteness but dress like a tall petite person. (And if you think that’s an oxymoron- it is, but that doesn’t make it less true!)


What are some fashion tips/tricks you practice as a petite woman?

As always guys, be slow. Be fashionable.

-Sid and Shell

Shell N Fashion