There are so many misconceptions when it comes to petite clothing, so understanding the petite 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? Let's 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! Not ideal.

Petite clothing is designed to be shorter in all these areas. For petites, the base of arm holes will be raised on tops and blouses in order to get the fit around the bicep and shoulder right. Plus, the hemline on tops is raised to hit just at or above the hips meaning fewer French tucks in the future!

Dresses and skirts fall much differently on someone who is taller than 5'4 than they would on a 4'11 frame. When buying petite, so much attention and information is taken into account when curating and designing dresses, jumpsuits, and skirt lengths so that they will lay nicely throughout the torso and hit at the most flattering points. So many petite problems, solved!

Inseam & 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.

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 with your petite proportions in mind. Whether you have a long or short torso as a petite, you will find a comfortable fitting option you love when choosing petite.

Let’s face it, we’ve all tried on a pair of what are supposed to be ankle-length and they are so long we can barely walk. Inseam is always an obstacle for petites, but don't lose hope! Tailored petite pieces are designed with that in mind and created to ensure the best length for you. Inseams can be anywhere from 3 to 4 inches shorter depending on the style. Want to figure out how you can accurately find your correct petite inseam? Short Story has created an inseam guide for just that!

Sleeve Length

Along with inseam, sleeve lengths are hard to get right on petites. While some petites out there will have different proportions like shorter or longer arms, long sleeve clothing items not made for petites can feel extremely long. You can only cuff your tops for so long without craving a better fit!

Petite sizing sleeve length could be 0.5 to 2.5 inches shorter than regular sizing but can sometimes be a little less or more depending on the clothing item. If 3/4 sleeve styles are your favorite to wear, petite-specific tops will hit exactly at those points whereas regular tops will be longer and less flattering.

True petite styles like blazers and jackets are designed with a fitted body, shrunken shoulders that will comfortably fit petite frames, and a sleeve that will hit at or a little lower than the wrist. When exclusively choosing petite, you can say goodbye to long sleeves that give off spaghetti noodles vibes and say hello to tailored and sophisticated fits!


Ever tried on a piece of clothing only to feel ridiculous because the design details that were meant to be cute were just way off? 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 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 on petites. 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. We can truly have it all!

Petite clothing is made differently and for a good reason. Like everyone, we shorties love to wear clothes that fit! Being petite isn’t a problem that needs solving, but is something to be celebrated! And when it comes to embracing all things petite, Short Story are the petite expert in providing curated outfits and personalized styling advice right to your door for an effortless experience.

So what are you waiting for?! Sign up and one of our talented stylists will curate a collection tailored to your body shape and preferred style.

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*Cover photo: Short Story