Petite gals usually run into a few different fit issues, but what tops the list? If you’re petite like me, which I’m guessing you are since you’ve decided to check out this blog, you know that inseams are probably your biggest enemy when it comes to clothing! Here are some helpful tips for finding the inseam that's perfect for you.
What is an inseam and why does it matter?
Inseam is the measured length that runs from the crotch to the hem of a garment—this can be a pair of pants, shorts or anything with a “bottom” attached, like jumpsuits or overalls. Getting the inseam right is especially important for a petite stature because the most common problem we run into as shorties is length. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in front of a dressing room mirror laughing at how long a pair of pants were on my 5’3” frame. You try to cuff or fold to make it better, but that often makes things a bit too chunky at the hem, further shortening your legs because they end up cut-off by the bulk. When you wear something with the right inseam, everything changes. You look taller and just so much more sleek and put-together.
How do you measure your inseam?
No idea what your inseam is? Don’t worry, I didn’t know mine for the longest time because I was so used to settling for anything that didn’t drown me too badly. That is, until I tried on my first pair of petite pants—GAME. CHANGER. In order to get your inseam, you’ll need a soft measuring tape and a friend if possible because you’ll get a more accurate measurement with the extra help. Hold the top of the measuring tape at your crotch and without pulling it, check the number that hits at your ankle bone. The average inseam for petites is 26”, but that can vary depending on your height, your proportions, and the type of bottom you're wearing.
Skinny & Straight
Once you have your inseam, keep in mind that the inseam of a garment will also depend on the style and silhouette. This is important in getting the most flattering fit and look. For skinny and straight legs, look for an inseam that’s just about the same as your measured inseam for the best fit so that you don’t have anything bunching up at the hem. With the right inseam, skinny and straight styles will smoothly run down your legs.
Short Story Tip: Grab a pair of straight leg jeans with your measured inseam so that you can style it rolled or cuffed for a girlfriend jeans look—a bit more fitted and shorter than boyfriend jeans.
Boyfriend & Cropped
One of the best things about boyfriend jeans is that you have more flexibility with inseam since they’re styled folded or cuffed. Inseam still matters though! You want boyfriend jeans to hit about 3” above your ankle for the most flattering look. Cropped pants usually look best with a similar length to boyfriend jeans so that the length looks intentional. However, they can still look great a little longer. Go too short and you're living in capri's land. Go too long and you look like you're wearing a pair of unfortunately shrunken pants. To avoid looking like they’re just pants you forget to take out of the dryer—whoops!—be mindful of the silhouette in comparison to the inseam.
Short Story Tip: Cropped pants that flare out at the hem do wonders for balancing out wider hips, but if they’re too long, they end up looking like high water pants. Not the cutest look!
Bootcut & Flares
While petite gals tend to run from these wider silhouettes, thinking they’re too overwhelming, they are absolutely amazing at helping create the illusion of a taller frame! When shopping for these styles, you’ll usually find that they’re about 2 to 3 inches longer than your usual skinny or straight leg inseam. This is because bootcut and flares are made to accommodate heels! To get the most length out of these styles, always try to style these wider silhouettes with some sort of heel, no matter how short. Avoid buying bootcut or flares that you’re going to need to hem. This will take away from the shape of the leg, which can completely change the style and look you’re going for.
Short Story Tip: Find a pair that skims the floor at the base of your heel while you’re wearing the kind of shoe you plan on styling them with.
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*cover photo: Pinterest