There are so many misconceptions when it comes to petite clothing, so understanding the design process can be confusing. Is everything just...shorter? Nope!

If brands simply chopped a few inches off hems and sleeve lengths, we shorties would definitely still run into some problems. Curious about what petite designers take into consideration? Today, we'll cover the main ways petite clothing is made differently to better fit your petite body!

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The standard height for someone considered petite is 5’4” and under. Regular sized clothing is usually designed for women between 5’5” and 5’7”. This is why most of us are constantly tripping over pants, rolling up sleeves and tucking in regular tops so that they don’t look like tunics or dresses. Yikes!

Petite clothing is designed to be shorter in all these areas. For pants, the inseams can be anywhere from 3 to 4 inches shorter depending on the style—bootcut and flares, which are most commonly styled with some sort of heel, are still a little longer, just as they are for regular sizes. Get started with your own stylist to find the right length pants for you.

For petites with shorter toros, the base of arm holes will be raised in order to get the fit around the bicep and shoulder right. Sleeves are also about 1 to 2 inches shorter, but can sometimes be a little less or more.


Waist & Rise

This is where petite sizing can get tricky and sometimes confusing. While a petite body is shorter in height, that doesn’t always mean it’s evenly shorter all around.

Some of us have shorter torsos and long legs, some are the opposite, and some are more balanced. Since petite bodies are shorter, the waistline of a garment will usually be raised in order to land in the right spot—your waist! For pants and jeans, the rise is often designed shorter too.

Let’s face it, we’ve all tried on a pair of what are supposed to be mid-rise jeans, only to find them coming to or well above our natural waists. Because they’re not actually supposed to be high-rise, you’ll often find that they're too loose where it should be fitted since the top of the jeans were meant to be lower, closer to your hips.



Ever try on a piece of clothing only to feel ridiculous because the design details that were meant to be cute were just way off? *raises hand* One of the most common problems is grabbing a trendy pair of distressed jeans, only to see the knee holes at your shins when you look in the mirror!

When petite pieces are designed, they’re made with petite proportions in mind. This can vary depending on the individual, but usually you’ll find that things like distressing will be exactly where they’re supposed to be—at your knees! Bust darts that help shape a top will actually hit you at the right spots, allowing the clothing to shape and form to your bust properly. Elbow patches won’t land on your forearms and yes, you guessed it! They'll be at your elbows! Design details like these matter. The closer they get the placement right, from embellishments to seams, the better it will fit! You'll also find that some brands will scale down a larger print so that it doesn't overwhelm a petite frame.


Curious to see how petite clothing can fit you differently? Take the Style Quiz to get started and one of our expert petite stylists will help you find the perfect fit for you.

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*cover photo: Pinterest