Has anyone ever called you petite? If so, you likely fall into the height category of 5’ 4” and under. When shopping, you find the sleeves and shirt hems are either too long or too baggy…or a combination of both. The hems of pants and dresses are often too long and too loose. For outerwear clothing, the shoulders are even too narrow.
According to the CDC, the average American woman is 5’3”, placing her in the ‘petite’ category. However, wider waistlines and plus-size shoppers seem to receive the most attention at clothing stores. Petites have unique challenges when it comes to dressing. Most petite garments are really just scaled-down versions of average items and accessories, which do not flatter the petite smaller frame. Unfortunately, dressing to create length and accentuate the petite figure is not always easy.
Many people get confused with the term “petite”. The common assumption of petite is, “you must be a size 0-4.” This is not true. The term petite refers to height and proportion, not size and weight. When a garment is truly “petite”, it means the fit of the garment is specifically cut for petite proportions, meaning height and shape.
The best styles for a true petite size are skirts and dresses that fall at the knee or a few inches above. As for shorts, the same rule applies. It is recommended that a petite wears her shorts at the knee or above. For petite figures, capris are not a recommended style because they tend to cut you off, making you look shorter. If you choose to wear capris, it is recommended to pair them with the right heels to distract the eye and create length.
The main goal of a petite is to look taller. Here are some tips from Jocelyn Gash, Dressbarn Petite Buyer.
- Create prominent vertical prints and details such as zip fronts, cable patterns, ribbed knits, and vertical pleats.
- Wear 3/4 sleeves because they will make your arms appear longer.
- Select solid, dark colors from bottom to top to create an elongated look, and then strategically place eye catching accessories where you want people to look.
- For example: Longer necklaces, opposed to shorter chokers so that eyes are drawn up and down; visually creates length.
- V necks (depending on chest size) can be your best friend and create a lengthening effect similar to long necklaces.
Some recommended petite styles from Dressbarn are shown below. We at First Class Fashionista wish all petites good luck and happy shopping! We sincerely hope you never get scaled-down or put into the wrong outfit again!